Wednesday, 18 June 2014

In Favour of Minimalist Shoes

In recent weeks I have been asked in stretch class the efficacy of wearing Vibram Five Fingers as I wear them all the time. Minimalist shoes became the new fad which seems to have peaked, judging by the negative feedback on injury from their use by unconditioned individuals. 

When VFFs first came out there was a lot of curiosity and some outright horror that I would wear a shoe that had no medial arch support. I had very flat feet with no intrinsic strength in the arch or glute activation. Activating the glutes proved to be the key to my knee tracking and improving the mobility in my feet and ankles. In conjunction with wearing VFFs I improved my single leg balancing and proprioception. This has taken years and is a continuing process of development. 

Wearing regular shoes is like wearing mittens on your hands, thumbs bound to fingers. Can you imagine trying to grasp things and sense the world through paddle hands? Shoes reduce sensitivity and dull the toes, turning your feet into stiff appendages. Sounds like torture to me!

So I still support the fad to being barefoot or locomoting in minimalist shoes. I want my feet to be as free and as sensitive as my useful hands. 

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