Supportive shoes date to 40,000 years

August 24, 2005

Modern-type supportive shoes came into existence between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago, a Washington University professor has determined.

Erik Trinkaus, a professor of physical anthropology, argues early humans living in far northern climates began placing insulation on their feet around 500,000 years ago. But frequency of use and the actual mechanical protection provided by the footwear was unclear.

Lacking physical evidence, Trinkaus analyzed the foot bones of western Eurasian Middle Paleolithic and middle Upper Paleolithic humans.

"I discovered the bones of the little toes of humans from that time frame were much less strongly built than those of their ancestors, while their leg bones remained large and strong," Trinkaus said. "The most logical cause would be the introduction of supportive footwear."

During barefoot walking, the smaller toes flex for traction, keeping the toe bones strong, he explained. Supportive footwear lessens the roll of the little toes, thus weakening them.

His research appeared in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Opinion: Do we really have a choice about eating meat?

Related Stories

Walking: the cheap, easy workout

June 29, 2016

(HealthDay)—Walking is a simple and inexpensive exercise that has been shown to offer numerous benefits for bones, muscles and joints.

Researchers show elephants really do have a sixth toe

December 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sometimes it seems, nature finds it must resort to some trickery to respond appropriately to changing conditions. Take the elephant, for example. Way back in time, say fifty million years ago, the hulking ...

Don't suffer in silence with toe pain

August 1, 2011

While deformities of the lesser toes (all toes other than the big toe) can be very painful, there are numerous surgical and nonsurgical treatments for these conditions that are usually quite effective. A literature review ...

Recommended for you

Isolation of Fe(IV) decamethylferrocene salts

August 29, 2016

(Phys.org)—Ferrocene is the model compound that students often learn when they are introduced to organometallic chemistry. It has an iron center that is coordinated to the π electrons in two cyclopentadienyl rings. (C5H5- ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.