Today we will talk about our connection to the ground and what that means for the way we exercise.
Now look at the far left image, that is what a foot should look like. Unfortunatley, style and fashion have played a big role in the mechanics of our feet. Notice the normal looking shoe in the middle and then look at the foot on the right. Now before going any further, kick off your shoes, take off your socks, and take a good look at your feet. Are your toes spread or all scrunched up? Then, take a look at your daily footwear. How does your uncovered foot look in comparison to your daily footwear. Probably shaped about the same.
Great question! Well your feet are one of the most important parts of your body. Your feet are the things that hold you up daily. They are the thing that moves us around. Now, alter your feet, and alter the locomotion of your body. Think about it like this, when the bearings and struts go on your car, what happens to the tires? They wear down in an unnatural pattern. Well we aren't cars, however our bodies are meant to move in a certain way. The bottoms of our feet are made up of thousands of nerve edings. Our feet collect information and the whole body adjusts to this.
When sneakers have a lower profile sole, you will get better connectivity to the ground. This will allow for a better movement at the ankle. Elevated heels can have a severe impact on the arch of the foot and keep the achilles tendon in a shortened state. This compromsises the achilles and the arch can fall. Fallen arches can lead to plantarfasciitis. And if you have ever had that, you know it can be as painful as walking on glass.
I'm not saying to go out and throw out all your shoes. Going from what you have now, to barefoot can actually be traumatic to your feet. The company "Vibram" lost a huge class action law suit by saying "Our Shoes Will Make Your Feet Stronger". They weren't exactly wrong. But they were careless. It's like me telling you bench pressiing 300 lbs will make you better at pushups....not exactly wrong, but there quite a few progressions to get there.
Look at this hellish beast.... yeah high heels look great but look at what happens to a foot inside these things. THAT IS ROUGH!!!
Look at these awesome things. The Nike Shox were the men's gym high heel. About the worst thing ever invented for the feet, they looked cool and gave ya an extra inch. Hey an INCH MATTERS! I had about 12 pairs of these and a scorching case of plantarfaciitis.
Nike Metcon 6
One of my personal favorites, the nike metcon is a nice transition sneaker from whatever you have now to barefoot training. Not super minimal, the Metcon offers a nice toe box for good toe splay. The sole and arch support are great for lateral and athletic movements. A great choice for the type of training we do at Core 4. Newer models are pricey but search around and you can find older models for a reasonable amount.
The Ferrari of barefoot footwear, Vivobarefoot is one of the best rated shoes in this category. A pricey shoe, they back up their cost with longgevity and performance. As close to barefoot as you can get, these shoes really allow you to feel the ground. High quality for a price.
The new kid on the block for barefoot training, the Xero is close to the Vivobarefoot. Not sure about longevity, however, I have heard a lot of good reviews.
New Balance Minimus
The New Balance Minimus was one of my favorite shoes. I foudn the sole of the shoe to be susceptible to tearing. However, all in all it was a great shoe. I believe the newer models have addressed the sole issue.
Last but not least, these gems. Well, I'll be honest. I loved training in these. This is basically a glove for your foot. The only drawback, it's a bit of an aquired taste as far as the look goes. As long as you don't mind never going on another date....these are your shoe. I kid, but seriously these are horrendous looking.
Please contact us with any questions about footwear. We love talking about biomechanics, and movement starts with the feet!