to minimal shoes
I tell my clients in the very first session that if they’re only willing to make one change to improve their overall wellbeing, switching to minimal shoes and spending more time barefoot is it.
Because the more restrictive a shoe, the less it allows the joints in your foot to move and the more other joints will have to move to accomplish the goal.
This is compensation, and can only occur when the body is preforming sub-optimally.
If you are wearing shoes that restrict movement in your feet in order to protect them, you’re putting your feet and other areas of your body at risk.
If any joint limitation is happening in the feet, pain can show up anywhere in the body thats compensating for that limitation. The surrounding muscles can’t experience their full range of motion and will start to become weak and stiff.
This also means that other joints in the system will not receive the appropriate neurological messages. Things will slowly start spiraling downwards into reduced performance and the potential for pain arises, as your body downgrades itself and preforms sub-optimally.
Good news! Encouraging the body to move in ways that it has forgotten due to adaptation and compensation is possible.
We can teach the body to move freely again and reintegrate those missing movements back into our gait cycle.
Five Things to Look for in a Shoe
1. NO Heel / Zero Drop
2. Wide Toe Box
3. Flexible Sole
4. Attaches To Foot
5. NO Toe Spring
For you to achieve efficient full-body natural movement your feet must be able to function naturally. You can’t force feet that have been in stiff restrictive shoes your whole life to suddenly be fully functional. Especially when on uneven terrain.
You can’t expect your feet to become healthy again overnight, just by changing your shoes. You may need an evaluation and prescribed corrective movements. Gradually you can free your feet and start to achieve the well-being your body and life deserve … step by step.
1. Why NO Heel?
Any amount of heel raise will mess up your entire body’s alignment. Can you say lower back pain? Pelvic floor issues? Zero-drop is the term for the most nature-friendly choice. A shoe heel shortens the calf muscles, which directly effects your neck tension, your cardiovascular system, and contributes to a decrease in bone density.
2. Why Wide Toe Box?
Because that is the natural shape of the foot. If the toes have room to spread out rather than being squished into a point they have the chance to function in gait like they were designed. Your toes are supposed to be wider than the ball of your foot. Squished toes alter the gait cycle, also a big cause of bunions and nerve issues.
3. Why A Flexible Sole?
Inflexible soles prevent the foot from articulating in gait. Which means foot muscles atrophy and joints stiffen. You should be able to bend the entire shoe without effort. Feet are designed to sense the environment. When you separate your feet from the ground it sends miss information to the brain. A flexible minimal sole allows the foot to feel the ground, become mobile, and fully participate in gait.
4. Why Fully Attach your Shoe to Your Foot?
If a shoe can’t be attached properly (think flip-flops, slides and other barely-there styles), you have to change your gait to keep the shoe on your foot. Without a heal strap your shin and toe muscles have to work excessively to grip the shoe. Witch creates tension and injuries.
5. Why No Toe Spring?
This strange modern addition to shoes, is the elevation of your shoe’s toe box off the ground. Holding and immobilizing your toes in an unnatural position. This limits your foots natural ability to push off and propel you forward, which shortens the achilles and the muscles at the top of the foot, while overworking the arch.
The body is very adaptable, so you’ll need to work within its capacity for change.
Go slow, be kind to yourself and do the corrective movements.
By now you may relies this is a whole body job. That will benefit your whole life.
We are in exciting times as many of us are waking up to what is NORMAL in our culture isn’t necessarily NATURAL to our wellbeing.
These are some
Awakening shoe companies I love
Keep in mind not every shoe offered by these companies meets the criteria above to be a true barefoot/minimal shoe.
Thank you for adding any other companies to our list, HERE