Almost every single individual is wearing shoes during some point in the day, every day. We wear our shoes to protect our feet and usually buy the one we find the most comfortable. In some cases we look for the ones that give the most support as well. But are the shoes that you are wearing good for you and how can shoes have negative impact on your life?
Our feet are our pillars, supporting and absorbing force during every step that we take. Feet consist of many muscles, bones, ligaments and fascia. All of the components in our feet need to move and activate properly for our whole body and being as a whole to function optimally. Through years we have been told that the ones with the most support, best cushioning allow for best force absorption and are best for us. But are they? How do you know if your shoes may be the cause of your life’s problems?
Look out for the following symptoms:
Back Pain & Bad Posture
Many of us experience back pain or suffer from bad posture without actually knowing what is the cause. Well, your shoes just might be. Our regular shoes, everyday shoes, consist of many design components that are supposed to function as “arch support” and increase stability. Unfortunately, these components cause the normal anatomy of our foot to misalign, especially our heel. As I mentioned previously, our feet are our body’s pillars. If they are misaligned or stuck in one position the consequences will be felt upstream. This causes different muscles in our body to activate more than they should, while some do not activate at all. The muscles mostly affected are the ones around your hips and lower back. As they stiffen up as the protective mechanism, the changes in posture and pain in the back can be felt. Even disc compressions can occur and cause pain in the lower back. If you experience lower back pain there are further specific interventions you can try.
Painful joint around your knees, hips and ankles, even toes, is a common occurrence. The cause for this is quite similar to the one mentioned above. Even though you may feel as if you are standing totally parallel to the ground with your feet, usually that is not the cause. Majority of the shoes are slightly elevated at the heel causing your body to misalign. Because of this fact during every step that you take your joints absorb force at the angles they naturally aren’t supposed to.
This may be the most common misconception about your shoes. Buy the shoes with plenty of arch support and your pain will magically disappear. I am sorry to break it to you but this is really far from the truth. First and foremost, aches in your foot are made up of fascia and muscles. So why not train them as every other muscle if they are not strong enough? Having shoes with a lot of arch support for everyday use only further weakens your arches. It does not fix the underlying problem of having a weak arch. If you have a painful arch or plantar fasciitis, using arch supportive insoles or shoes can be beneficial but only if used during short painful periods and followed by proper rehabilitation exercises.
Second, using shoes with heavy arch support actually makes your feet stuck in one position. This leads to all the bones and muscles not being able to move adequately which can lead to further negative consequences. Later on in the post I will even show you how your shoes deform our feet.
Inflammation & Infection
There are a few consequences of wearing improper footwear, especially narrow shoes regarding inflammation and infection. The two most common ones you should pay attention to are athlete’s foot and ingrown nails. Athlete’s foot is quite annoying condition to have. You may experience flakey skin, inflamed feet all because of build up of bacteria and fungi. Even ingrown nails can lead to fungal infection aside from being a painful experience. The narrow shoes are the major contributors to development of these conditions. Use antifungal creams when these conditions are developed or avoid them by buying proper fitting shoes.
Shoes Impact On Feet
In today’s world the most important aspect of buying shoes is comfort and support. While this may be true for some individuals, most of us develop previously mentioned problems because we depend on our shoes. Being dependent on a tool to fix your problems is not a way to go. Especially when most of the shoes are way too narrow and do not fit our feets anatomy. Look at this picture of a how your feet should look like and the one of an modern adult. The deformation caused by your regular shoes make our feet unrecognizable. The bones and muscles in our feet are not moving and functioning properly. Hence, the further problems upstream.
We need to remember that we were born with strong and flexible feet. How come we forgot to train them like every other body part and give them enough space to move properly?
Most Optimal Shoes For Your Feet
I am a big believer that a healthy body moves freely and you life will improve tremendously if you reconnect with your body. My whole life I have been stuck in narrow and too supportive shoes believing it is the way to go. I could not find the answer for my feet and back being in chronic pain. So I did some research and came across VivoBareFoot. These shoes changed my life.
VIVOBAREFOOT are first minimalist shoes that offer maximal sensory feedback while providing maximum protection with their ultra thin puncture resistant soles. Imagine walking barefoot while being protected, comfortable and becoming stronger. They are made with sustainable material allowing you to reconnect your feet and body back with your roots.
But what about symptomes that I talked about earlier? How does VIVOBAREFOOT combat those?
Correct Posture & Pain Relief
Most shoe manufacturers make their shoes with slightly elevated heels and strengthened soles. This makes natural barefoot movement impossible. That is why VIVOBAREFOOT have absolutely flat soles without heel elevation. Because of that all the pressure from your spine is relieved. Bones and muscles in your feet can move and function properly ensuring optimal posture and health of joints. The big changes could even be noticed in your training. As your muscles, bones and joints realign in the anatomically most optimal manner your movement will become more free allowing you to properly activate muscles in your body.
The nerves on the soles of your feet are responsible for 70% of sensory feedback that your brain receives. This means you will be more aware of not only your body yet your surroundings as well while walking in these shoes. Furthermore the stimulation of nerve endings in the soles of your feet results in better blood circulation. Besides sensory information, walking barefoot saves your energy and reduces injuries while improving the walking technique.
Walking barefoot is what we humans are made for, especially while taking whats anatomically best. In the picture shown above comparing infants and adult feet you can notice the deformities which years of shoe wearing cause. We need to allow our toes to move properly and that is made possible with a wide toe box. While having enough side support in the base and middle part of the shoe a wider toe box provides much needed space for optimal restriction free movement for your toes. Not only will your feet and body thank you, the chances of you developing other conditions such as hallux valgus decrease dramatically.
Your feet are your body’s pillars. If they are not aligned, are stuck, not moving or feeling well, the rest of your body will notice it. You learned which negative impacts your everyday shoes can have on your life. Despite from training up your feet, you can try switching up your shoes to the minemalistic type one. From my personal and scientific part I recommend VIVOBAREFOOT. They are comfortable, protective, stylish and, most importantly, will cause your body to move and feel great again.