Something’s Wrong With Your Shoes

I keep picking on running shoes, and, when possible, my clients and I walk and train barefoot. We take off our running shoes and go barefoot for some really good reasons. These are just a few of them:

 

Sensory Perception

There is a network of nerves on the bottom of your feet which sent information to the brain about the ground underneath your feet: . This triggers reflexes that help you avoid injuries when you sense something sharp or uneven. The thick soles of your running shoes limit sensory perception, and limit the key reflexes your body is intelligently equipped with to avoid injury, whether skeletal or muscular.

 

Flat Foot

Flat foot essentially means the arch of the foot doesn’t develop properly or it collapses. This can lead to other injuries.

There are people who are genetically predisposed to getting flat feet, but in many, many cases the problem is caused my weak foot muscles. These muscles help create and maintain the shape of the arch. Like any other arch you see in construction, they support your weight as it bounces up and down.

Your running shoes have arch support and cushioning so your muscles work less. Like any other muscles, if the muscles in the arch of your foot are not trained they weaken.

So I ask you this: if weak muscles in the arch leads to flat feet, are shoes that make those muscles work less the best choice?

Stiff soles are there to make the foot muscles work less as well. The less the muscles work, the weaker they become.

 

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is that sharp pain you may have felt in the sole of your feet after a run or when you wake up in the morning.

The plantar fascia is a tendonlike sheet of tissue at the base of your foot. It works with he muscles in your arch. That sharp pain comes from inflammation of the plantar fascia.

If the arch muscles are weak then the plantar fascia has to work more, to compensate for those weak muscles. More stress on the plantar fascia eventually leads to inflammation.

Thus weak foot muscles contribute to plantar fasciitis as well. Padded shoes, created to help the foot work less, contribute to weak foot muscles. Weak foot muscles then need support, we give them support, they stay weak or get worse, and on, and on we go. A vicious circle.

One way I alleviate plantar fasciitis pain is by using a golf ball. Walking can also help the recovery process.

 

Uneven terrain

Among the things I love most in the outdoors is the uneven terrain. The flat, shiny gym or home floor does little to develop foot muscles. It does help but not as much as when you walk, run , crawl and balance on uneven terrain.

Uneven doesn’t mean holes in the ground. Your foot muscles will react to the slightest drop, even if it’s 1mm.

That is one of the many reasons why I choose the outdoors for myself and also for my clients.

 

Should you throw away your shoes?

There is no doubt that shoes protect us in many situations, such as when we step on a sharp object. They also protect us during the winter. There is nothing wrong in wearing shoes.

However, there is the downside of wearing shoes which has been the topic of this article. Thus, the solution is to balance it out. Wear shoes, wear minimalist shoes and go barefoot as well, indoors but more importantly outdoors where you have uneven terrain.

 

Now, I am not a podiatrist, but I do know this: strong and flexible feet are healthy feet. Strong, flexible and healthy fit make good foundations for a strong, flexible and healthy body. 

A great book to read is The Story Of The Human Body by Daniel Lieberman.

 

If you do need advice, or maybe have questions about minimalist shoes contact me.

alexandramerisoiu

Alexandra Merisoiu, The Body Engineer, is the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health And Human Movement and Dracula’s Retreat. She is also a qualified Low Back Pain Management and Prevention Exercise Instructor and REPS registered.


She specialises in working with runners, beginners and advanced, who want to run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries. This is done through natural movement fitness and running technique and mechanics drawn from the many disciplines Alexandra has studies throughout the years, including long distance running.


Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches. Throughout her Martial Arts career she has achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, runs her own Karate club and is IJKA 2017 triple World Champion, 2016 WMO Martial Arts British National and European Champion. She still competes at an international level.


It is through these learnings, and drawing inspiration from respected natural movement names such as MovNat, IdoPortal and POSE Method of running among many others, that she has created The Merisoiu Technique and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with Natural Human Movement.


Alexandra’s mission is to challenge the status quo of how to achieve the truly strong, fit and powerful body a runner needs to perform at their best level. This is done through building strong, lasting foundations in the natural outdoor environment; reducing the risk of injuries and educating people on the power of the fundamentals of natural human movement and running mechanics.


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