Friday, March 23, 2012

Barefoot

I am a barefoot convert, whole heartedly!

 

I started out as a child wearing remarkably unsupportive shoes and often flip flops or bare feet (OFTEN bare feet).  I had crazy high arches.  But as I got older I got more “grown up” shoes.  The world told me to seek out MORE SUPPORT!  I did.  I then got arch pain.  Then low back pain.  Then flat feet.  Then hip and knee pain. I went from stabilizing shoes (standard shoes) to wearing orthotics then superfeet.  Most people assume this means I’d be in orthotics for the rest of my life.  Nothing I did worked.  The last straw was when I, as an underactive, overweight girl decided to do a 3 mile walk for a good cause.  The pressure on the sides of my feet from my most comfortable shoes (with superfeet insoles) mixed with the weight, and my heel strikes not only made my whole body hurt but I’m pretty sure it broke one of those awesome small bones in my foot.  Walking was pretty painful after that.

 

Then I researched those silly Vibram 5 finger shoes.  It went on talking about how we were built to be barefoot.  It helps the development of our legs and feet and create a walking and running stride that is far less shocking to our bodies.  Esepcially when you consider that people running in stabilizing shoes tend to run with a heel strike.  This adds SO MUCH jarring motion to our feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.  No good.

 

What really did it for me was when I heard this said by a barefoot enthusiast (of course I’m paraphrasing), “Pediatric Doctors and podiatrists agree, we acknowledge as a fact, that babies need to learn to walk in soft soled shoes.  They talk about how it helps foot development. Then why is it that as soon as they’re walking do we splint their feet.”  And that’s exactly what most modern shoes do.  Yes, they are protecting your feet from both the elements and from things like hot pavement and broken glass, but they’re also preventing us from flexing our feet and moving and working our muscles and tendons the way they should.

 

My first try was the Vibrams.  They were the only ones I knew about.  I finally got the smallest I could get in a store.  36.  Too big.  Oh, to have such small feet.  I need a 35.  Guess what they’re rumored to make but you can’t actually find ANYWHERE?  Yeah, 35s.  Plus, with my mutant elf toes the rubber toe cap thingy hurt my toe.  Then a friend of mine told me about Vivobarefoot.  I went on their website.  No individual toes. What? Barefoot shoes and I can keep my socks?!  Sweet.  I love socks.  The styles?  Everything from quirky weird running shoes to regular running shoes to boots to mary janes.  I opted for the children’s mary janes.  Because I often size up for the width of my feet I got 36s (can’t compare em to the Vibrams. They have the same euro #s but the fit varies so much).  In retrospect, being leather shoes I would have got 35s.  They stretched out and now they’re looser than they probably sould be but you know what?  I ADORE them.  Other than flip flops they’re pretty much the only shoe I wear.  Ridiculously comfortable.  What have I noticed?  VAST reduction in pain. NO knee or arch pain anymore.  Bizarre thing?  I have arches again!! I tried wearing some other shoes recently and you know what happened?  All the pain started coming back from just a couple days of wearing them.  Yeah, a convert. 

 

Since then I’ve tried several other pairs of minimalist/barefoot shoes and no others will accommodate my strange duck feet.  So I’ll be sticking with Vivobarefoot shoes and I’ll be very happy. 

 

I encourage you to check out some barefoot shoes for yourself.  Vivobarefoot’s site has all sorts of great information about the barefoot revolution.. Check it out!

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