Form, Function & How to Fix Your Feet

Peter Francis, Ph.D.

Get your earthing on with bare feet and minimal footwear to bring your body’s power center back into alignment.

Photo credit: pexels-pnw-production-8981001

In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

…whether you’re hiking, climbing, working or playing, your feet ground you. Except when they don’t. Shoes don’t always match up to the function of your life. You can end up with pain and misalignment throughout your body when your feet are encased in shoes that don’t support your body’s natural biomechanics.

Feet, for all their variety in shape and size, get the award for amazing. Your feet literally form the center of your body’s whole system of movement. Did you know these facts about the human foot?

  • 26 bones, nearly 30 muscles and thousands of nerve endings
  • 33 articulations (each with six degrees of freedom of motion)
  • Humans began running about 2 million years ago to be able to hunt

“If the foot moves normally, then the muscles start to work and so on and so on,” says Peter Francis, Ph.D. “It’s really just about allowing your foot to move as nature intended.”

Peter joins the show from the Carlow Institute of Technology in Carlow, Ireland. There, he lectures in sport and health science and researches how modern environments effect human health and performance.

With degrees in Sport and Exercise Science and Physical Therapy, and a PhD in Exercise Science, he’s written more than two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and led numerous research projects. He’s also worked with teams and individuals at amateur, European and Olympic level.

He knows feet! And, he’s got a lot to share about how feet influence the way your body moves. A runner himself, Peter studies the role of foot development with and without shoes. He then figures out what that means for movement skills and injury risk.

“Essentially you need a shoe that is wide, thin, and flexible so that your foot can move as it did for millions of years before."

Peter Francis, Ph.D.

Your feet are by their form and function incredibly sensory. When you block sensory information from your feet, you have trouble maintaining stability and balance.

You may think that your shoes help support your feet, but the opposite proves true. Shoes strip your natural movement and make your feet weak.

“We were barefoot for millions of years,” Peter says. “And when we get that level of feedback into our feet, if we think of our brain like a computer, if it gets really good information in, it can then allow you to move really well.”

Your shoes, not your feet, are the problem.

Recent research studies have shown that minimal footwear can increase foot strength and toe flexion. Upgrading your feet means increased athletic performance, better foot health, improvements in your gait and a lessened fall risk.

Peter’s done research on how shoes impact children’s physical development and all the ways shoes can affect their gait as they grow. The important connection between nature and human health starts with our kids.

In this conversation, you’ll learn what footwear works best for you and your kids and the importance of variability and fun in your movements. Start with Vivobarefoot barefoot-style shoes to reap the benefits of living life barefoot (or close to it).

SPECIAL OFFER FOR THE HUMAN UPGRADE LISTENERS: Vivobarefoot is offering 100-day free trial on their footwear. Visit and use code ASPREY20 for men’s women’s and kids’ shoes. You’ll get 20% off your first order.

Enjoy the show!

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