MFC’s Adam In The Media – Bare Feet & Heel Pain!

MFC’s Adam In The Media – Bare Feet & Heel Pain!

Unless you haven’t read the online news or scrolled through your Facebook feed in the last day or two, you’ll already be aware of the woman from Auckland that was turned away from Sylvia Park mall for not wearing shoes. Security described it as against the dress code. She described it as just part of her kiwi culture.


So, who was the authority to shed some wisdom on this topic? Our very own Adam Philps!

To listen to the interview with Radio LIVE’s Mark Sainsbury, hit play below!


To read Newshub’s version of the interview, click here.

To read Stuff’s article on the original incident, click here.

And for those who’d prefer to read rather than listen, here’s the interview:



As a Podiatrist, you’re a specialist in the feet?

Yes, that’s my area of interest and passion.

So, do you go barefooted?

I do, around my own home. I wouldn’t go barefooted around a mall.

Why not?

Well, Masterton doesn’t have any malls [laughs]. I think that it’s due to the things that I see every day in my practice – like infections in the feet and legs that are caused by cracks in the skin around the toes, the potential for bugs particularly up in the more tropical parts of New Zealand, hookworms getting into your feet…

Hang on, but we’re used to bare feet all the time. We’re not born with shoes. Do we get too soft, Adam?

I think what happened was probably more of a health and safety policy of the [Sylvia Park] mall. I think they’re protecting themselves in not wanting to make customers vulnerable to picking up a bug from a urine soaked floor or getting some glass in their foot. I don’t think [the floors are] all that hygienic.

Are we designed to not wear shoes?

Yes, we’re very capable [of not wearing shoes] and I think what’s changed over the years is that or surfaces are a lot harder now with a lot more concrete around.

There is a barefoot running revolution, so to speak, that is occurring where people are running [significant distaces] without shoes. I think that [due to this], the rate of injury at the heels and legs are going up.

I’ve seen women’s feet and toes develop almost a sharp edge [bunion] from the shoes they wear. Are we deforming our feet for fashion?

Yes. I think it’s a bit unfair that women have to feel obliged to put their feet into such shoes but I suppose that’s fashion.

What do you wear, Adam?

Well, I’m not wearing high heels right now Mark! [laughs]. I’m wearing a pair of RM Williams lace-up shoes with a solid back and a small heel. I find this sort of shoe helps me to stay a lot more comfortable.

This is the dilemma with a lot of people’s shoes. Do you wear something with a lot of support or do you wear something like a very light trainer where you almost don’t know that you’ve got it on?

Certainly, in situations where you’re trying to strengthen the foot, you’d wear a minimalistic type of shoe, where possible, to give the muscles in the foot the ability to strengthen and respond to their environment. But the more stable the shoe, the less work the feet are going to have to do [and the less energy they use].

In your house Adam, when visitors arrive, do you ask them to take off their shoes?

Yes, it’s shoes off at our house for sure. But I don’t think it’s because I’m a Podiatrist. I used to live in South Korea where we had to take out shoes off and I could see why – we’d pretty much eat off the floor there. I’ve got little kids that’ll eat off the floor at our house too.

I once took a bite a sandwich made by a guy with his feet on live television. What’s the biggest problem Kiwi’s have with their feet?

We see a lot of heel pain in our practice caused by an ageing population, because of fat pads thinning beneath the heel. People are also wanting to stay active for longer so we have people aged over 40 and 50 wanting to live like 20 and 30-year-olds. Our job is to keep them able to be active for longer [without pain and injury].”


If you’ve got any questions about feet, bare feet, shoes, or anything else that we didn’t answer on the radio, send us an email at!