Have you ever said that you’ll NEVER do something? Then later find that that’s exactly what you’ve done?
Well, that’s the case here.
Two years ago I wrote a series of articles on taking care of your feet. And in one of the articles, I wrote about minimalist shoes. At the time, though I found them super comfy and they made a huge difference in my feet, I swore I’d never change over to them completely because they weren’t really all that attractive.
Time to eat my words.
Two years is a long time, and I’ve now found that my body and feet feel so good in the minimalist shoes that I wear them 90-95% of the time. And the best part? I’ve been able to find a few companies that offer super cute styles that you really want to wear!
But maybe you are new and never read that post from two years ago…
So, let’s talk about feet first, then we’ll go back to shoes.
Our feet have 28 bones and 33 joints in each foot. These joints are meant to be mobile. In fact, if you want healthy pain-free feet, they need to be. Joints that don’t move cause muscles that cross them to fall asleep. This means; stiff, unmovable, weak feet.
We also have nerve receptors on the bottoms of our feet to help the brain make decisions. This sensory input is extremely important for feeling terrain, balance, and more. Our feet palms feel texture, vibration, and pressure. But our stiff, thick shoes cut all of that ability off.
The way we stand, walk, jump, and run affect everything. Our foot health, mobility, and strength (or lack thereof) affect us from our feet to ankles, knees, pelvic floor, hips, core, glutes, spine, shoulder, neck, head. You name it…
Ummm, hello… feet are starting to look pretty important, aren’t they?
I call them the forgotten body part because it’s so rare for people to make the effort to improve their foot functionality and mobility in the normal world.
But you aren’t an everyday normal person. You are reading this, so I know that means you are special and smart enough to understand the importance of it all and to try and make your feet work nice.
The nicer you are to them. The nicer they’ll be to you. (i.e., your entire body moving with ease and less pain overall).
Now the question remains…
How do we be nice to our feet?
Honestly, that’s a huge question with many levels. And since I’m trying to keep this article concise, I’m going to say that for now, today, we are going to stick with shoes. But go to my blog for more. You can refer to my 5 days of foot love series that I wrote a few years back.
Just to make it easy, here is the link to Day One –
And you can expect me to be writing more on feet in the future as well. But for now…
Back to foot coffins, errr, I mean shoes.
Our feet and toes have the ability to be as mobile as our hands, but they aren’t.
Because we ignore them. If you’ve ever looked at a newborn, you’ll notice they have beautiful wide triangular feet. And they love to wiggle and work their toes. But as soon as they start walking most get thrown into cute, yet restrictive shoes.
Shoes today, are not built to give us what our feet really need.
They merely provide us a fun, fashionable way to encase them and make them work less. They are too tight and cut off our natural toe splay which is important as a natural shock absorber. They have thick, non-pliable soles, and then most add a heel (any tiny amount of lift is considered a heel) throwing the whole body forward and off our axis.
Many people struggle with foot pain on the daily. I can’t begin to tell you how many come to me with issues of plantar fasciitis, etc. I’m not a doctor. But I’m getting results because we are addressing the issues in the foot through strengthening, myofascial release, shoe changes, etc.
If you had the ability to help yourself out of pain, wouldn’t you use it?
Let’s just take a quick detour to the land of orthotics…
Orthotics can be a quick band-aid to help get you out of immediate pain, but it’s not a good long-term solution generally. Here’s why.
Imagine you had neck pain and went to the doctor. The doctor made a very expensive cast of your neck and then created a brace for you to wear.
You were then told to wear it for the rest of your life because it will support you better and keep the pain at bay.
You are not given any exercises to do, no massage, no nothing… Just- wear the brace and everything will be taken care of.
Except… while the pain may dissipate for a while, eventually your neck muscles would atrophy and become weaker and weaker causing more pain and more need for the brace. They should have looked closer at the origin of the problem and tried to actually fix it. We can’t just rely on an outside external source to automagically heal the issue.
Doesn’t that sound crazy? Of course, it is!!
But don’t throw out your orthotics just yet though… Do the rolling, the exercises, the barefoot movement, etc…
Give your feet some love, make them strong,… and THEN ditch those puppies. 🙂
But let’s get back to shoes…
What are you looking for in a shoe?
Your shoes should enhance your movement, not impede it.
That means they need a much wider toe box than you might normally get in a regular shoe. You want less padding too.
When our shoes have too much padding, our feet aren’t able to work as well. They become blindfolded in a way. The more our feet and sensory nerves can feel, the better they can react to terrain and vibration. The less they feel, the more “off” we are in our gait cycle, posture, and all the way up the kinetic chain.
You need shoes that are light-weight and allow real movement in the 33 joints you have there.
What you are looking for is a minimalist shoe!
Hands down, I think you’ll be amazed at the difference.
A few years ago, there wasn’t a ton of choice and being a fashion conscious individual I swore I’d never switch over fully to minimalist shoes. I don’t like wearing things that don’t visually make me happy. Just being honest…
But I’m eating my words now. My feet feel so great when I’m wearing them that when I do wear my old shoes they are uncomfortable and annoying, despite how pretty they look on my feet.
Because I spent so much time searching for cute minimalist shoes I want to share with you the shoes and companies I’ve hunted down over the past few years that make great women’s shoes and help you choose the right ones for you!
So, I’m planning a Facebook live where you can tune-in and I’ll show you shoes that I love and why I love them. And you can feel free to join in and share in the comments what you love about your minimalist shoes too if you wear them! You’ll be helping other women find great ones in the perfect size for them too.
This is not a fad. This is about fixing your feet, your posture, your gait cycle, your pain cycle.
Tune-in and let’s chat SHOES!