Usually I drive barefoot, allowing my feet intimate contact with the pedals. It’s safest. The other day, for no particular reason, I wore shoes as I headed out for some retail therapy. Not stability shoes, not butt-toning shoes, but $6 Wal*Mart aqua shoes. Footwear, nevertheless.
Sure enough, as I sat stopped at a red light two blocks from home, a little old lady (88 years!) ran her Caddy through a red light, and into my car. I told you driving barefoot was safer.
But that’s not the point of my story. The point is, I spent the next several days driving a rental car, a 2011 Honda Civic. You know how modern cars have headrests to prevent whiplash in the case of a frontal collision? Well, Honda figured out a way to improve their scores on the crash test – their headrest forces your head and neck forward all the time. Every minute that you’re sitting in the car, even when you are not inelastically colliding with another vehicle, tree, or whatever, your neck is painfully bent forward. In my case, sitting in that car immediately gave me a sore neck and back that would last all day. (Somewhere a spine surgeon is counting up his boat payments.)
Do you see the parallel to running shoes? Bulky shoes, like these mutant Honda headrests, might do a better job of protecting you in some extremely rare case, but for the day to day life where you spend 95+% of your time, the shoes are worse. In fact, they hurt you. Headrests are important. But is the vertical headrest in my new Mazda so much less safe than the neck-destroying Honda headrests? I doubt it. And my back and neck are much, much happier. (And in the case of feet, you know when the conditions require shoes: you winter in Minnesota, you work construction, etc.)
Ask “why?” Don’t live in fear. Don’t trust big companies to think for you, because their bottom line too often comes out of your bottom line.