THE PROBLEM WITH SHOES...
Indeed, shoes provide stability, comfort, support; but at the same time, they immobilize your feet and ankles. They restrict natural movement, allowing certain muscles to weaken. They increase the energy cost of exercise, as well as the risk of injury.
Analysis has also shown that the mechanics of running is actually altered when wearing shoes, with runners striking the ground with their heels instead of the more efficient forefoot strike. In fact, heel strikes cause repetitive impact forces by as much as three times the body weight with each stride.
These stresses are distributed across the body and can lead to pain and injury. This could help explain why the rate of ankle sprains and knee injuries for athletes has increased rather than decreased, despite the abundant options in athletic shoes.
A September 2010 article by Laura Miler in "Becker's National Orthopedic and Spine Review" noted that "sports-related foot and ankle injuries are increasing among athletes," And several other studies have shown that those who wear high-priced, high-performance athletic shoes are actually more likely to suffer an injury. (ref: http://www.livestrong.com/article/464716-a-closer-look-at-barefoot-training/)
10 Benefits of barefoot training:
- Going barefoot strengthens the stabilizing muscles of the foot and ankle and makes them stronger. Shoes give a lot of stability and support and can make the foot and ankle lazy. Strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the feet can improve our balance and overall sports performance.
- Going barefoot improves our proprioception which will improve our balance and movement. Proprioception is our unconscious perception of space and our orientation and movement within the space around us. Going barefoot helps us to feel and connect us to our environment and this helps our balance and develops our natural movements.
- Go barefoot for stronger ankles and more support. Almost 30% of the joints in our body are in our feet. Our feet are the base of support for our whole body. Often knee and back pain stem from improper foot mechanics. Artificial support from shoes can place unnatural pressure on the knees, spine and neck. Our foot mechanics affects our whole posture.
- Going barefoot improves muscle alignment. Different muscle segments are used when we are barefoot than when we are in shoes and different muscle patterns become habitually recruited and strengthened. In addition, going barefoot improves and strengthens the neuromuscular pathways of the foot and leg. These mold the muscle firing sequences and affect the way we move.
- Going barefoot gives you stronger arches. Wearing shoes will artificially raise your arches and directly remove the responsibility from the arch muscles to do their job. Wearing shoes can create a vicious circle with arch support. First our arch muscles become weak from not being used, as they are supported by shoes. So you get weak arches and you need more support to relieve the tension temporarily. But now if you go for a flatter or less supported shoe the symptoms will return. So you end up needing more and more support but the root of the problem does not get addressed. This leads to a life of shoes and orthopedic problems. Let your natural arch muscles develop naturally to avoid these problems.
- Going barefoot increases flexibility and mobility of the foot and gives a much wider range of motion.
- Going barefoot will give you healthier feet overall. Shoes are the cause of most foot problems. Shoes often lead to bunions, corns, athlete’s foot, hammer toes, ingrown toe nails and fallen arches. People who spend lots of time barefoot do not experience any of these and generally do not even get any callouses. Research has shown that people before the invention of shoes had much healthier feet.
- Going barefoot improves our Chi (Qi) and strengthens the entire body. Our feet are often the only part of us that touches the ground. It releases all of the energy and force that we accumulate throughout our body. Going barefoot helps energy to flow smoothly through our body.
- If the stability and mobility of the feet deteriorate, this affects and changes the ankle, knee and hip positions and makes them all more prone to injuries. How many older people do you know who have hip problems? It could easily stem from having weak feet. Go barefoot now for prevention later!
- Many athletes who train barefoot have tremendous results and experience fewer injuries. (ref: http://www.robinskey.com/lose-the-shoes-10-benefits-of-barefoot-training-and-getting-started/)