Have you ever wondered why humans are the only animals that wear shoes? Do we even really need to wear them at all? Is it safe to go barefoot?
Why are Humans the Only Animals That Wear Shoes?
Some anthropological evidence suggests that humans began wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago, but the oldest surviving shoes are only around 10,000 years old.
So, why do humans wear shoes? There are plenty of reasons. In major cities and large urban areas, more of the ground we walk on is solid, hard, and unforgiving. We need the soles of our shoes to absorb the shock of the impact. Thousands of years ago, this was a non-issue, humans just walked around on grass.
Shoes also protect our feet and toes from glass, metal, and other sharp or dangerous objects that we might not notice as we travel by foot.
Another reason? Temperature. Shoes guard our feet from freezing temperatures in the winter and from serious burns from hot pavement in the summer.
While the earth is covered in bacteria, most of them are not dangerous to your feet and some are actually beneficial. Can you guess where bacteria can cause problems? Like athlete’s foot or toe nail fungus? Inside your shoe! Shoes are the perfect incubator for bacteria – they’re dark, moist, and warm, perfect for several species of bacteria to thrive, like E. Coli.
Is It Safe to Go Barefoot?
Yes and no.
It depends on where you are. Use your best judgement in protecting the health of your feet and ankles. Feel free to walk around barefoot at home and in your yard, but be wary of rules in place by restaurants and businesses, potentially dangerous surfaces, and over-exposure to the sun (always remember to put sunscreen on your feet). Remember to regularly wash your feet, inspect for skin problems like warts, calluses, or moles, and avoid going barefoot in bacteria hotspots like gym locker rooms.
Interested in learning more about going barefoot in Dallas this summer? Contact your Richardson foot doctor at Metroplex Foot & Ankle today for more information.