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    Human Feet Are More Flexible Than We Thought

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    A study from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom shows that the outer arch of the foot flexes more that was previously thought to be good for humans, and was actually similar to a couple of great ape species.

    A study from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom shows that the outer arch of the foot flexes more that was previously thought to be good for humans, and was actually similar to a couple of great ape species.

    Eight orangutans and eleven bonobos, both species known for their adaptation to living in trees, were also part of the study, which used sensors to measure the pressure from the whole span of the foot of both the human and ape test subjects walking on a treadmill.

    Individual subjects revealed many versions of personal footprints, and they also displayed a surprising amount of variation.

    The walking patterns of the humans and primates showed overlap, where the researchers had expected to see more flexibility in the apes’ footsteps. However, according to a biologist not involved in the study, the walking patterns remain “fundamentally different,” as the apes’ weight was mostly distributed to the mid-foot, whereas humans tended to rest only half weight on the mid-foot.

    Still the new study implies that the idea of strong arch support in sports shoes may be misguided.

    The effect of regular shoe-wearing on the walking style of the human test subjects was acknowledged.

    An outside anthropologist suggests that the researchers may have reached a different conclusion if the study was conducted with people who seldom wear shoes.