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  • Evie Clayton

Feet, Shoes and Science

There is one area of advertising-based bull-plop that very few members of the public—actually I’d go so far as to say, few members of the scientific community, too—are really aware of. Big companies that have hoodwinked us all; they’ve fed us lies about our own bodies, and for decades we have blithely stood there and said “Ooh, what a shiny new product, I want that one!”

But, before I get onto that, I want you all to do me a favour, and participate, get involved, get up out of your computer chair/beanbag/bed/spot on the floor, and go for a walk; just a quick walk, around your room/office/outdoor-wifi-connected area. Pay attention to the way you move, as you do so. Try not to make your movements too deliberate, but remind yourself what walking is like.

An image of John Cleese's silly walk, in several frames

Hopefully this is not how you were walking

Okay, have you done that? Good. So, you may have noticed what human biologists would call a “heel-strike striding gait”. It’s how we, as humans, move about.

A step-by-step illustration of a human figure walking with a heel-striking gait

Heel strike locomotion

Now, I’d really love it if you’d do me another favour—this will work best if you’re wearing running shoes. So, if you’re really into running, they might look like this:

A single, expensive and high-tech looking running shoe, posed dynamically

Reebok Zigtech shoes

...or, if you’re not so fond of running, they may look a little more like this: