Are your shoes foot friendly?
Is good arch support the first thing that comes to mind when you look for healthy, foot-friendly shoes?
In this episode of The Move Better, Feel Better show, I'm sharing my favorite question to ask yourself when evaluating whether or not your shoes support the health of your feet.
There's way more to it than good arch support.
Watch below to get all the scoop!
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Four key things to consider when choosing shoes:
1. Does the shape of the toe box match the shape of your toes? (4:55 in the video)
The toe box is the front part of the shoe where your toes rest. It should give your toes lots of room to spread out and move as needed.
2. Is the toe box flat or does it swoop up, what we call toe spring? (9:50 in the video)
Most shoes these days have some amount of toe spring, even though your toes don't naturally swoop up. Toe spring can create tension through the forefoot and into the muscles in the front of the shin. Over time, tendons in the toes can shorten and this may reduce toe mobility.
3. How flexible is the sole of your shoe? (20:45 in the video)
A more flexible, thinner sole gives your feet more opportunity to be active as they navigate uneven terrain. Your feet will have to mold around the terrain which stretches joints and muscles, the muscles in your feet will also be asked to do more which develops and maintains their strength.
How much sole flexibility and thinness is right for you depends on the current condition of your feet and the environment that you walk in.
If you spend the majority of your time on manmade surfaces (sidewalks, concrete, etc.) then more cushion would be helpful.
If you are primarily on natural surfaces then your feet may be able to tolerate a thinner sole.
And, last but definitely not least, if you've spent the majority of your life in shoes without flexible soles, essentially casting your feet, you'll want to give yourself time to condition your feet before wearing shoes with minimal support.
4. Is the sole of your shoes completely flat or is the heel elevated? (34:00 in video)
Most of you probably don't wear stilettos or "ankle breakers" on a regular basis, but did you know that any elevation of your heel above your toes requires your joints to change their alignment?
Yes, this includes men's dress shoes, boots, and most likely, your sneakers!
When you wear shoes with an elevated heel, your joints have to configure themselves in a way that allows you to remain upright.
While the exact configuration will vary from person to person based on a variety of factors, there's no doubt that your body pays a price when you wear shoes with an elevated heel.
Other topics we chatted about:
Meet your feet anatomy - (14:57 in video)
Do you really need arch support? (21:48 in video)
Tips for transitioning to minimal shoes. (24:32 in video)
Exercise to improve the strength of your feet. (30:03 in video)
Hope you can join me LIVE for the next episode of The Move Better, Feel Better show!