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Thoughts Involving Shoes

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
  • Shoes make you WALK funny.

Over the past year, I have work many different shoes.  I prefer to be barefoot mostly.  When I walk barefoot I tend to land on my heel; in the center of my heel.  Sometimes, however, I land on my forefoot.  I believe the terrain dictates how my body will determine which gait is best. As far as shoes go… My Dr. Marten Wing-tips are probably the most rigid, thick, & restrictive shoe.  When I wear these, I seem to have more of that “duck” foot walking gait.  I land on the outside corner of the heel and roll inward as my foot rolls forward.  The moccasins that I purchased at Target seem to make me slightly pigeon-toed.  I still land on my heel, but it seems to be more centrally located rather than the outside corner.  I sometimes notice a forefoot landing in these shoes.  My flip-flops… well… this walking gait is unique.  I mean, any shoe that requires you to grip it to keep it on your foot while you walk can not be encouraging a natural walking gait.  I have a pair of Ocean Minded shoes (that is the brand, but no link).  These are wider and I like them (probably) the most out of all the shoes I punish my feet with.  The sole is thick and isn’t very flexible.  In these shoes, my gait seems more robotic than human.  I tie them loosely so that my foot can still participate in the action of walking.  If tied tighter, my gait… well… robotic.  Does this prove my theory even slightly?  Shoes make you walk funny.


  • Shoes make you RUN funny

When you run barefoot, it is needless to say that landing on the heel is not recommended.  A forefoot landing (or midfoot, I won’t argue semantics here), allows your body to take measurements and make adjustments to limit impact.  This is all in the interests of minimizing pain.  A body doesn’t tend to allow a person to continue doing things that cause pain or injury.  So… yes… a forefoot landing.  When I wear running shoes (I mean the thick ones here), I tend to land on my heel.  I mean, how can you not land on your heel first?  Most of these shoes have 1/2″ to 1″ higher heel than the forefoot.  It is only (ready of the oxymoron here) natural that a foot shod with the latest high-heeled running shoe will make the person tend toward a heel landing.  The impact forces are sudden.  This doesn’t immediately hurt, but the theory is that these sudden impact forces cause injury over time.  Running without shoes allows your body to make the necessary adjustments to limit pain and prevent injury.  If you take off the shoes, your gait will likely change.  Doesn’t this prove the theory?  Shoes make you run funny.


  • Shoes cause foot atrophy

Atrophy?  What is that? The context I am referring to is the wasting away of a part of the body due to lack of use.  The two pieces of the intricate puzzle we call the foot I am referring to are the plantar skin and fat padding.  How can you argue with the adage?… If you don’t use it, you lose it.  We have been told this for years by our parents and teachers.  Even my drill instructors told me this from time to time.  Over the past year, I have been trying to go barefoot as much as possible.  In the USA, going completely barefoot is difficult due to the social ramifications.  It is quite sad, but many people actually have a problem with bare feet.  This can be reserved for another post, but I think this lies within themselves.  Anyhow, when I wear shoes all day long at work my feet are bathed in their own sweat.  The skin becomes saturated and less leathery.  In this state, I believe that it is weaker.  It can not adequately perform it’s job and for the first few minutes after freeing the feet for the evening, my feet are a bit over-sensitive to the terrain.  I also think that the constant squeezing that a shoe subjects the foot to is contrary to a health fat-pad.  Wrap your arm in an Ace bandage and see if it doesn’t appear smaller hours later.  Compressed… the water squeezed out of the arm.  I think the same thing happens to the foot when wrapped in a shoe.  Fat cells… all the water squeezed out of them.  (Ok, not all of it).  Can this be healthy for your feet?  Over time, the fat-pad likely atrophies and is no longer sufficient to perform its purpose should you decide to ditch shoes all together.  My feet were subjected to shoes for YEARS.  It is fair to say that I don’t have much fat-pad (if any) in the forefoot area.  My hope is that continued barefooting will encourage the return of the fat.  In my case, I think the plantar skin is trying to take up the slack.  Aren’t bodies amazing?


Here… read some of this crap.  Most of these people’s problems aren’t foot related… they are shoe related.

Have a great day and take off your shoes.  :)

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