Ah, summer. Soft breeze in your hair, grass between your toes, nasty calluses on your feet from going barefoot… Don’t fear those calluses, though. New research has revealed that foot calluses — thickened skin that forms naturally when one walks barefoot — have evolved to protect the feet and provide for comfortable walking in perhaps ways that shoes can’t match. Unlike shoes, foot calluses offer protection without compromising sensitivity or gait, according to a study published today (June 26) online in the journal Nature. Shoes, in contrast, reduce sensitivity in the foot and alter the way that the impact forces transfer from the foot to joints higher up the leg. The researchers — from institutes in the United States, Germany and Africa — stressed that their findings don’t demonstrate that walking barefoot is healthier than walking in shoes. At its core, the study is about human evolution. Yet the fact that we have evolved to walk barefoot, and that barefoot walking is mechanically different from walking in shoes, may imply that going barefoot can impart certain long-term health benefits worth investigating, the researchers said. “It is fun to figure ou...