/ 6 min

Shoes and the Human Foot: A History Lesson

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By: KURU Footwear

Key Takeaways

  • Shoes have been around for approximately 40,000 years and the oldest known shoe is 5,500 years old, made of leather.
  • Wearing shoes for several decades, especially those that are ill-fitting and unsupportive, can lead to foot problems.
  • Women are four times more likely to have foot problems than men, and the majority of women wear shoes that are too small for their feet.
  • High heels can cause several foot problems, including the “Pump Bump,” plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, hammertoe, and shorter calf muscles.
  • KURU shoes are built on the world’s best technology for the human foot, allowing the fat pad beneath the foot to cushion every step.

Fossil evidence indicates that shoes date back to about 40,000 years ago. Did you know that archeologists can tell whether or not an ancient person wore feet by the thickness of their toe bones? If this information has piqued your curiosity, read on for more amazing shoe facts!

The human foot is one of the most amazing parts of the body. Accounting for 25% of your body’s bones, the foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 120 muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. It sounds pretty complex, doesn’t it?

We know that shoes have been around a long time. The oldest shoe is about 5,500 years old and is made of leather, like a moccasin. With the kind of lifestyle, people lived so many thousands of years ago, it is no wonder they created shoes to protect the skin of their feet from rough terrain and hot or cold weather. However, even though nature brilliantly shaped our feet for optimal performance, wearing shoes has packed a pretty hard punch in the way they have influenced our current foot shape.

In many cases, those who have chronic foot problems blame their parents. “It’s genetic,” they will say, and in some cases, they are right. Certain foot deformities such as bunions, bone spurs, or hammertoe have mild genetic qualities and leave you more susceptible, but there are precautions you can take to avoid these deformities. Genetic foot problems do not have to affect you.

The real truth about foot problems is that very few people are born with them. In fact, nature has made your feet so efficiently that it takes several decades of shoving your feet into ill-fitting, unsupportive, flat, and otherwise uncomfortable shoes before foot problems become a real issue.

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Women are Four Times More Likely to Have Foot Problems than Men

According to an American study called “If the Shoe Fits, Wear It,” a whopping 9 out of 10 women wear shoes the wrong size. Part of the problem is that even when your feet stop growing, they still spread out to be wider. In fact, some women can even gain a half to full shoe size with pregnancy. Women tend to stop measuring their feet after they are about 20 years old, meaning that as their feet spread throughout their lifetime, their shoe size changes, and they do not even know it. As a result, nine out of ten women wear too-small shoes for their feet.

Some say that if your mother had corns, bunions, or hammertoe, the daughter will too. This is true, but the good news is they are all preventable. Social norms tend to depict women in high-heeled shoes every day. Many women follow these trends and feel stylish and sexy in shoes that keep them on their toes. Unfortunately, high-heeled shoes are an incredible contributor to many problems experienced by women who wear high heels regularly. Many of these problems are permanent toe, bone, and muscle deformities that develop due to the foot being forced into an unnatural shape. Some of these deformities include:

  • The “Pump Bump”: A deformation of the heel bone where a knob forms on the back of the foot where the strap of high heels usually rests.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia due to improper arch support. Heel Spurs: Tiny knobs of bone that form in the heel as the tissue tries to heal from injuries such as plantar fasciitis.
  • Bunions: Deformity of the big toe (or, less commonly, the little toe) where painful bony growths begin to develop on the side of the toes at the knuckles. This is due to lack of wiggle room for the toes.
  • Hammertoe: A big toe deformity that causes the toe to grow at an awkward angle, usually toward the other toes. Narrow-toed shoes caused this.
  • Shorter Calf Muscles: Wearing high-heeled shoes can shorten your calf muscles over time. This means calf pain and pulling when you wear flat shoes that do not make you walk on your toes.

Ready to support your foot health? Explore our curated list of the top 10 best shoes for plantar fasciitis, designed to provide exceptional comfort and support.

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Nature’s Brilliant Design

While women are more likely to suffer from shoe-related foot problems than men are, no one is completely exempt, and it stands to reason. The average human takes about 10,000 steps per day, which equals about 115,000 over a lifetime—or four trips around the earth!

One of the most amazing things about the foot is its design. The human foot sometimes has to absorb as much as 3-4 times your body weight when you run. The foot’s arch is designed to handle this absorption by acting as a spring. In addition, everyone is born with a thick pad of fat below the heel and the ball of the foot to act as shock absorbers and cushion the foot as you step. As amazing as this natural cushion is, research shows that by age 50, more than half of that padding is gone due to the hard, flat, and unforgiving surfaces we stand on. With the natural padding in your feet dissipating, standing, walking, and being active can become too painful to bear.

Heel Better™ with KURU

The modern world has thrown a curveball at the fat pads nature gave you to keep your feet healthy. Nature did not anticipate all the uneven, hard surfaces we stand on every day. Whether concrete or gravel, these surfaces are responsible for flattening the fat pads beneath your feet, significantly reducing your fat pad’s ability to cushion your every step.

KURU shoes are built on the world’s best technology for the human foot. Through our powerful KURUSOLE technology, KURU shoes magically flex to cup nature’s fat pad and keep it below your heel, so every step is adequately cushioned.

Every KURU shoe begins by being crafted in the same shape as a real human foot. We engineered a broad, natural foot shape in the toes, allowing your feet to spread out throughout the day and for your toes to splay naturally. KURU is shaped to work with nature for maximum health and improved quality of life.

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About Us

For all media inquiries, please contact us at pr@kurufootwear.com.

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