Shoespiracy is a short documentary which sheds light on a ‘shoe-shaped’ public health scandal. This feet-first short documentary is set to challenge the way you think about the effects your footwear is having on your feet, and your overall health.
This short documentary was made by VIVOBAREFOOT and Fable Films, to capture the professional opinions of some of the leading shoemakers, medics, bio-mechanists and researchers in the barefoot-related sciences to make this conventional-wisdom busting short about how modern shoes are contributing to poor foot health. It takes viewers on a journey, which begins with your feet and the origins of functional footwear. Fast forward to the 1970s jogging boom and the birth of fancy underfoot technology, that would balloon into a multi-billion-dollar sneaker industry that we all know today.
But is all that cushioning and support actually doing us more harm than good? As feet become weaker and more bent out of shape than ever, we are paying the price. With chronic foot pain common amongst many in the western world and mobility at an all-time low, conventional heeled, padded and ‘supportive’ shoes are a big part of the problem and it’s time we all knew the truth.
That there is a 20 billion pair a year, silent public health scandal afoot, and its shoe shaped!

So who are we? VIVOBAREFOOT are a leading global barefoot footwear company, we make shoes that allow your feet to do their natural thing. Our ultra-thin soles allow you to reconnect your feet with your brains and the world around you. We believe healthy natural movement is based on sensory feedback from the feet to the brain and that this is the best anti-ageing programme known to humans. We believe that your feet work perfectly without padding, Orthotics and cushioning. We made Shoespiracy as a public service message, to get people thinking about their feet, how they use them & ultimately to think twice about what shoes they buy.

Shoespiracy, was made in collaboration with the some of the biggest brains connected to feet and barefoot science today, including professors, doctors, bio-mechanists, movement experts, opinion formers and cobblers.
Dr. Irene Davis, Director of the Spaulding National Running Center, Spaulding Hospital, Cambridge and visiting Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, USA
Dr. Davis has been studying the relationship between lower extremity structure, mechanics and injury in runners for the past 20 years. A renowned researcher and clinician, Dr. Davis is known in running communities as "The Barefoot Running Professor" for her advocacy and innovative work for barefoot and minimal footwear running.
Dr Davis published a study earlier this year that shows your feet get stronger if you walk in barefoot or minimal shoes. Read it here
Catherine Willems PhD, Director of Future Footwear Foundation at KASK, School of Arts, Ghent, Belgium
Future Footwear Foundation was developed by Catherine Willems as part of her doctoral research at the School of Arts (KASK) of University College Ghent, Belgium. Its aim is to promote understanding of human locomotion and sustainable footwear for body and environment by studying and working with indigenous cobblers.
Mike Friton, Nike designer of the Presto and other famous Nike shoes
Mike Friton is a freelance shoemaker and innovator with over 30 years of experience at Nike. He left the shoe giant in 2011 to launch his own footwear prototype enterprise – Friton Design.
Charlie Dark, Musician, Yoga Teacher & founder of Run Dem Crew
Charlie Dark is a self-professed man of many talents who lends his hand to everything from DJ-ing and producing, to teaching poetry, moonlighting as a Yoga teacher and of course, running. A pioneering figure in the world of alternative running groups, his London-based team Run Dem Crew has gathered hundreds of members since its beginnings in 2007.
The making of this short film wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of the incredible people named below and for that, we would like to say a huge thank you!
Prof. Dan Lieberman, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University.
Daniel Lieberman is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard and has published numerous studies about why the human body looks and behaves the way it does. One of his current areas of study is the advantages of barefoot running.
Dr Emily Splichal, CEO/Founder Evidence Based Fitness Academy, Podiatrist and Functional movement specialist.
As a Podiatrist, Human Movement Specialist and Global Leader in Barefoot Science and Rehabilitation, Dr Splichal has developed a keen eye for movement dysfunction and neuromuscular control during gait.
Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes
Christopher McDougall is an American author and journalist. He is credited with starting the barefoot-running movement, with the New York Times bestseller Born to Run, which looks at the Tarahumara Indians and their ability to run more than 100 miles in a day.
Dr. Rangan Charterjee, Physician, Star of Doctor in the House and the 4 Pillar Health Plan, Bestselling Author and Podcast Host
A medical doctor with over 16 years’ experience, best known for his work on the 4 Pillars of Health. Dr Rangan Chatterjee is a pioneer in the emerging field of progressive medicine and is changing the way that we look at illness.
You can listen to Dr Chaterjee’s podcast with VIVOBarefoot founder Galahad Clark here –
All opinions in the film are that of the contributors featured
The research shared below supports the beliefs that are expressed in the Shoespiracy documentary that modern footwear developed over the last 50 or so years is ruining our feet, and our overall health.
Our feet are biomechanical masterpieces, millions of years in the making, it seems a shame not to use them. When left to their own devices, they can cope with everything from walking and running to jumping and dancing. But by cramming them into a modern shoe, you negate their natural function. A thick sole restricts flexibility. A narrow toe box compromises natural movement. A shoe heel & cushioning robs you of your natural spring.
There’s no shortage of evidence that your feet can cope pretty well without unnecessary padding, support or orthotics and that foot pain is attributable to modern footwear.
You can read the studies, research, opinions of experts and journalists below.
To learn more about transitioning to minimal barefoot shoes, and healthier, stronger, natural feet visit VIVOBAREFOOT & find out more about how to transition safely.
77% (of North Americans) adults suffer foot problems. New Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Suffer from Foot Pain
Source: American Podiatric Medical Association
Conclusions drawn from a comparative study of the feet of barefooted and shoe-wearing peoples
Author: Phillip Hoffman
Walking in Minimalist Shoes Is Effective for Strengthening Foot Muscles
Authors: Ridge ST, Olsen MT, Bruening DA, Jurgensmeier K, Griffin D, Davis IS, Johnson AW
Ticking Time Bomb: Childrens shoes cause health problems later in life for Adults
Source:Dr. Phil Maffetone
Foot Strike Patterns Differ Between Children and Adolescents Growing up Barefoot vs. Shod.
Authors: Hollander K, de Villiers JE, Venter R, Sehner S, Wegscheider K, Braumann KM, Zech A.
Foot strength and stiffness are related to footwear use in a comparison of minimally- vs. conventionally-shod populations
Source: Nicholas B. Holowka, Ian J. Wallace & Daniel E. Lieberman

How going Barefoot affects your Brain
Author: Dr Sam Oltman, ND
Athletic footwear affects balance in men
Author: S Robbins, E Waked, G J Gouw, J McClaran
Motor Skills of Children and Adolescents Are Influenced by Growing up Barefoot or Shod
Author: Astrid Zech, Ranel Venter, Johanna E de Villiers, Susanne Sehner, Karl Wegscheider, Karsten Hollander
Studies show kids who grow up barefoot have better motor skills.
Author: Karsten Hollander, Babette C. van der Zwaard, Johanna Elsabe de Villiers, Klaus-Michael Brauman, Ranel Venter, Astrid Zech
Effects of footwear on treadmill running biomechanics in preadolescent children.
Author: Hollander K, Riebe D, Campe S, Brauman KM, Zech A
Being barefoot. Prevalence at home, in school and during sport: a cross-sectional survey of 714 New Zealand secondary school boys.
Author: Francis P, Schofield G, Mackay L
The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot. A survey of 2300 children.
Author: Rao UB, Joseph B

Athletic footwear: unsafe due to perceptual illusions
Author: Steven E Robbins and Gerard J. Gouw

Hazard of deceptive advertising of athletic footwear.
Author: S Robbins, E Waked

The plantar sole is a 'dynamometric map' for human balance control.
Author: Kavounoudias A, Roll R, Roll JP

A comparative biomechanical analysis of habitually unshod and shod runners based on a foot morphological difference.
Author: Mei Q, Fernandez J, Fu W, Feng N, Gu Y

The effects of habitual footwear use: foot shape and function in native barefoot walkers
Author: K D’AoUt, T.C Pataky, D. De Clercq, P. Aerts

Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based?
Author: C E RichardsP J Magin,R Callister

The effect of three different levels of footwear stability on pain outcomes in women runners: a randomised control trial
Author: Michael B Ryan, Gordon A Valiant,Kymberly McDonald, Jack E Taunton