It was the view and understanding of Dr. Munson, way back then, that “Weakening of the foot muscles is one of the penalties of civilization, as walking is less and less a factor in locomotion....the introduction of railroads, street cars and automobiles, has materially interfered with foot development.”
"I did an hour hike up and down a back-country ski trail the other day in a custom pair of minimalist shoes. Packed snow, nine degrees Fahrenheit, and my feet were toasty the whole way. They have no heel lift, no cushioning, an anatomically correct design, and are the only shoes I've found other than FiveFingers where I can actually splay my toes; they have excellent traction. No need for snow shoes, or Yaktrax.
A new start-up minimalist shoe company? Nope, this company has been making minimalist footwear for over 100 years. It's the Russell Moccasin Co. of Berlin, Wisconsin, and the shoe in question was produced for me as a prototype after a conversation with the 80-year old owner.
Like many of us, after starting to wear Vibrams on a regular basis, I realized that traditional shoes were no longer going to cut it. I'd been able to find decent, but not great, alternatives for office wear, but the one problem remaining was cold weather. How to get a boot that would be suitable for hiking in the winter in snow and on ice? After a good deal of research, I found that the Russell Moccasin Co. makes custom boots, and some of them sounded close to what I was looking for."
I suspect a few are now beginning to think I have lost my mind :)
I and my family have a long history with the Russel Moccasin Co. So if you have ever wondered where my shoe fetish started, it was here while in the 2nd grade.
I could go on but I'll leave that for the Q&A session in the comments that are sure to follow. If you are a minimalist runner I suspect you'll like what Russel has been doing with shoes and boots for years. For the rest of your it might take a bit of wrangling to wrap your head around the need let alone the actual shoes/boots Russel offers and their cost.
There isn't much footwear that gives Dane "happy feet". A custom pair of Russels is one of my definitions of the term. But until just the last few days I had never thought about actually just running in them. I have used them for everything else and in conditions that would never makes sense if you didn't know more about the construction of Russel's entire line of footwear.
But "just running" in them makes a lot of sense if you are into a minimalist running shoe. Which I have been, long before the Nike Free or Vibram 5 Finger.
If you ever wondered what tight rock shoes or rigid soled mountaineering boots were doing to your feet this is a good read.
Dr. Edward Luman Munson's observations from 100 years ago: