Does conventional footwear reduce intrinsic muscle strength?

Foot strength and stiffness are related to footwear use in a comparison of minimally- vs. conventionally-shod populations

Is the title of a new paper published in Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 3679 (2018), which may be read in its entirety here. Lieberman is second author, with Nicholas Holowka taking the lead and Ian Wallace also involved. All three authors are evolutionary biologists.

So, what did they conclude?

"Our results suggest that use of conventional modern shoes is associated with weaker intrinsic foot muscles that may predispose individuals to reduced foot stiffness and potentially flat foot."

Well that on its own is bound to furrow a few brows, especially given that a part of the hypothesis they tested asserted that:

"the use of shoes with features that restrict foot motion (e.g. arch supports, toe boxes) is associated with weaker foot muscles and reduced foot stiffness"

I can hear some teeth gnashing from here, and also the rubbing of hands and slavering jaws of the minimalist crew who are hanging on tenuously to the forlorn hope that running barefoot or in minimalist footwear is the one true way.

I believe we need to dive a little deeeper... Do you concur gentle reader?

First, lets take a look at the sample groups:

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical