The Good, The Bad, The Ugly PART 3: Feet

‘The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering

Leonardo Da Vinci

Natural foot function is literally the foundation of efficient, injury-free running and identifying potential structural or ‘hardware’ problems is an essential part of the BTR system (form determines function) and the ability to recognise basic foot ‘shapes’ (foot morphology) is a good place to start.


BTR-foot-goodDef. the foot-shaped foot. Also known as the ‘natural’ foot as it is the foot shape observed in unshod populations and new-born babies (read Myth of the Hereditary Bunion post). Also referred to as a ‘flexible-flat foot’ in the podiatric literature.

Even rarer than ‘good’ running technique in modern-industrialised societies due to the established paradigm of footwear design and the incredible ‘plasticity’ of the human foot.

Based on simple physics; a ‘good’ foot provides a wide, stable platform for all functional-human movements including; standing, squatting, lifting, walking and running. The ultimate goal of the BTR “bulletproof’ running system is to match a ‘good’ foot with ‘good’ running technique (matching the hardware with the compatible software)


BTR-foot-badDef. the flat foot. The ‘bogeyman’ of podiatric science and the pathology driving the insole/orthotics industry. Contrary to podiatric dogma; a ‘true’ flat foot (arch flat against the floor whilst standing) is actually quite rare within the healthy, pedestrian population (people that are still able to walk and run).

Anecdotal observations (n= > 1000) within the BTR coaching community suggest that over 90% of runners diagnosed as having ‘flat feet’ and using corrective insoles actually present ‘ugly feet’ with high-rigid arches and weak, over-pronated ankles.

Either there is an epidemic of cretinism amongst the podiatric profession or the prescribed orthotics/insoles are creating an epidemic of ‘ugly’ feet.


BTR-foot-uglyDef. the shoe-shaped foot. Also known as a ‘normal’ foot as it is the most common foot morphology in modern, shod populations.

The ‘ugly’ foot is not only compromised in ‘form’ but also in ‘function’, it’s structural instability (and lack of elasticity) is probably the primary reason for the ‘mysterious’ epidemic of chronic-running injuries prevalent in modern society.

BTR coaches are trained to identify this foot morphology and can explain to would-be ‘natural’ or ‘barefoot’ runners with ‘ugly’ feet why the risks of removing or reducing the amount of shoe far outweigh the perceived benefits. This foot has adapted to many years of wearing anatomically-inappropriate footwear and consequently cannot function adequately without it.