Barefoot Shoes, the Revolution of Evolution!
This is how your foot experienced the world around it for the last million years, until a few hundred years ago:
Now this is the world your foot experiences in a modern shoe or boot:
Don't even get me started on high heels.
Do we need heels?
Heels were actually invented around 1500 AD to make it easier to ride horseback, and NEVER used for walking! Later, heels became a status symbol: the taller you appeared, the wealthier you must be. Now we look at each other's cars, and lengths of driveway to determine status anyway, so maybe it's time to lose the heels?
Discover your foot...
It's time to re-discover the results of more than 8 million years of evolution. We figured out how to get to the moon in only a few hundred years! Imagine the refinements that have been made to our feet over millions of years to make standing, walking, jumping, running, and lifting more efficient.
Take your foot, grab the ball of your foot, and move it around in a circular motion. Now push it up and down. 20 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints, 100 ligaments, and 7200 nerve endings all working together. Modern robotics has never been able to replicate the human foot; it's simply beyond current technology.
Here is the closest we have been able to come with all our technological leaps:
Do you see a raised heel?
Now grab your heel pad and try to move it up, down and around. Every time your heel strikes when you run, this is what is controlling you and adapting to the changes in your terrain. We sent people to the moon, clone animals, but somehow we have managed to screw up the most basic rules of stability.
What the FRONT profile of
What the BACK profile of
Which part of your foot do you think was designed to move and support you? Which part of your foot would you prefer to be supporting and propelling you?
Which triangle above do you think is...
A. Going to tip over first (aka rolling your ankle)?
B. Going to break first, if you keep smacking against the ground (aka bruised heels, strains, sprains)?
As a runner, have you ever heard of the term "rolling your ankle"? Of course you have, since many people do it. Now, have you ever heard of someone rolling the ball of their foot?
Here is another experiment:
1. Standing on your bare feet, pull up the balls of both your feet off the ground, so all your weight is on your heel. Tough, huh? Think about that when you are running.
2. Now move all your weight to the front of your feet and try to keep your balance. Notice the difference?
As I walk, jump and run, the first thing I noticed was the amazing stability my foot had once I transitioned my weight forward. The fastest runners and the highest jumpers are all on the balls of their feet!
If that does not convince you, how about a simple timeline of how long we have existed without heeled shoes vs a heeled shoe:
However, if you really must wear heeled, thick soled shoes, here is how long it should take to adapt based on our body's ability to adapt to new food sources...
"Another issue to consider with the history of cooking is the length of time needed for the body to adapt to it. Some geneticists think that it takes circa 1 million years for a particular species to fully adapt, on an evolutionary level, to an entirely new diet (e.g. from a Fuitarian to a largely meat-based one) and this view is reflected in our own ancestral, pre-human dietary past where extreme dietary-changes were pretty slow, taking many millions of years in some cases."
The bottom line...
If almost eight million years of evolution had sent us in the wrong direction, we would have been extinct a long time ago. We made a mistake a couple of hundred years ago and made social status more important than millions of years of evolution. It's time to correct that mistake and get back on the right evolutionary timeline.
If you decide to take the leap, remember the following: Barefoot Running and Barefoot Living are two DIFFERENT exercises.
Barefoot Living: You can start today and do it every day without risk of injury. In fact, you lower the risk of injury the moment you put on your first pair of barefoot shoes. Barefoot Living is everything you do with your feet that does not involve running distances greater than 400m without rest.
Barefoot Running is like swimming: don't jump into the water until you learn to swim! You need a month or two of "Barefoot Living" before you graduate to running. It is not just a matter of foot strength, the nerves in your feet need to reset. You need to regain much of your lost flexibility as well. In many ways, you are learning to stand, walk and run all over again!