There's a new trend that has been brewing under the surface for some time. Small passionate communities are now sprouting around the country advocating and suggesting that our fancy 0 athletic shoes, high-heels, and our everyday shoes in general are not healthy for us. Whereas many of these shoes claim to help you avoid different foot injuries and offer foot and ankle support to "bring your game to the next level." These communities suggest that it's actually these shoes that are the source of all our foot pain and injuries. What do they suggest instead of these shoes? Simply not wearing shoes or in other words just going barefoot.
It's also not just these grassroots communities who are turning their back to the shod (shoe) wearing community. There's a growing amount of evidence in the scientific community that is coming around to the notion that perhaps shoes (as the modern world has created them) is not necessarily helping to prevent injuries or protect our feet as much as these shoe companies would like you to believe. On the contrary the science is beginning to show that it is actually these shoes that may be the source of our foot and lower body aches and pains.
Looking at our ancestors and how humans developed as a species is one-approach scientists have looked at how shoes have affected our lives (and why going barefoot might be a valid alternative). Dr. Rossi, a prominent podiatrist and foot expert, in a 1999 article in the scientific journal Podiatry Management made the case for going barefoot by writing: "It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of walk, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human walk, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot." The other way scientists have been researching the shoe vs. barefoot debate is examining tribes in areas where they haven't been affected as much by modern civilization and don't wear shoes and comparing them to western civilizations where shoes are basically a requirement for going anywhere in public. In particular they studied 180 individuals from 3 different social community groups: 1 group the Sotho tribe (Africa), 1 group the Zulu tribe (Africa), and 1 group of Europeans. They also took the data collected from these groups and compared it to ancient skeletons in order to see how much the foot has changed from going barefoot to wearing shoes. The result is not surprising to people who believe in the merits of walking shoes. Unfortunately, we have gravel, broken glass, hot black pavement, dirt, etc... to contend with in our daily foot commute. Such an environment does not make it easy to toss away the shoes and walk around barefoot. While people may know that wearing shoes is not necessarily good for them, but without a clean and safe environment to do so it's no surprise most people prefer to keep their shoes on.
However there is an alternative.
New shoe manufacturers have been started with the sole purpose of designing, producing, and selling minimalist inspired shoes that focus on giving wearers the benefits of going barefoot while at the same time giving wearers the protection they need in an urban environment.
One such company is Vibram which has a line of shoes called Vibram FiveFingers or simply VFF's. VFF shoes are relatively thin and also separate each of your toes into it's own compartment which is like wearing gloves on your feet. The advantage of separating the toes is that your feet are no longer constrained which allows for which allow your feet to adapt to the terrain you are walking shoes that they no longer have issues with shin splits, blisters, plantar fasciitis, and back pain that they used to have. In addition many have even stated that they feel their posture and balance have improved after wearing Vibram FiveFingers.
In the end if someone is looking for an alternative to traditional athletic shoes and hoping to get over foot pain or lower body pain then the Vibram FiveFingers are definitely worth further examination.http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2664/5802620535_da6db62040.jpg Vibram FiveFingers Shoes - Why Barefoot is Good For You
My name is Glen Thompson and after making the switch to Vibram FiveFingers shoes my feet and body couldn't be happier. You should make the switch. Your body will thank you for it.