Humans have a great ability to adapt. Recently, we’ve adapting into needing something on our feet. We need shoes to protect our feet from different surfaces and temperatures. We rely on shoes to let us perform our best. Imagine an NFL running back trying to cut hard into turf without cleats. Ever try to walk on hot pavement? You need something to protect you from getting burned. Shoes have their place, however, we shouldn’t forget about these complex things that are our feet.
There are 33 joints in our feet. These joints have ligaments, tendons and muscles surrounding them. All of these work together to help us stand up, stabilize, move and feel the ground. Our toes are made to be spread out, not crammed into a narrow shoe. Our heels should be on the ground, not lifted above our toes. Sneakers, high heels and the lot inhibit our ability to react with the ground. It numbs those muscles and joints and ligaments in our feet and we rely on needing support from shoes.
Before you throw your shoes in the trash. Remember, we do need shoes. Our environment calls for it. They help us run, lift more weight, handle varied surfaces. They have a place. My challenge for you going forward, is to be aware of your feet. Since we always have shoes or socks or slippers on our feet, we forget how to use them. We forget to let those muscles breathe and never give them a chance to stretch. Our feet are complex, let’s stop writing them off.
Be barefoot around your house. Do your warm up at the gym in your socks. Give deadlifting without shoes a try. We don’t need to ditch shoes all together, we need to find chances to let our feet be feet.