Blogs by Brittany: Vacations are a time of rest and relaxation, so naturally a good book is a must. Today’s post was brought about because of the book that I cuddled up to the fire with in the ColoradoMountains. Granted it was tale about running and had some interesting points, I was most taken/intrigued by the section on barefoot training. It further solidified and justified my belief in barefoot training (and if possible actually elevated my level of barefootedness). We’ve looked at the benefits of barefoot several times in the past, but here is a little more proof that I got from the book (written by a writer from Runners World): According to Dr. Daniel Lieberman (Harvard), before the modern day running shoe was created by Nike in 1972, Americans had stronger feet and less incidence of injury. Since the 70’s Achilles complaints have actually increased by 10% There is no actual evidence that shoes prevent injury. In 2008 D. Craig Richards revealed that there are no evidence-based studies that shoes make you less prone to injury. The more expensive and cushiony the shoe the worse it is. Runners with high-end sneaks were 123% more likely to abstract an injury than runners in a cheap pair (according to a study by Bernard Marti, M.D.) Running impact can be up to 12 times ones body weight, so it is ridiculous to think that extra rubber padding is going to make a difference. What I loved is “you can cover an egg with an oven mitt before rapping it with a hammer; but that egg ain’t coming out alive.” ‘Putting your feet in shoes is similar to putting them in a plaster cast. If I put your leg in plaster, we’ll find 40-60% atrophy of the musculature with 6 weeks. Something similar happens to your feet when they’re encased in shoes,’ Hartmann (P.T.). Shoes are trying to ‘correct’ the natural design and purpose of the feet. Only 2-3% of population has some kind of biomechanical problem that would require corrective shoes, so why is the entire population wearing shoes, covering their feet in tampons and drinking Nike’s Kool-Aid? Money of course! Nike came to realize that they were producing crap (even the inventor agreed) and that they weren’t actually preventing injury. Just look at their Nike Air ‘barefoot’ shoes where they’ve tried to monopolize on the problem that they created. What Jeff Piscotta of Nike research found was that sod feet made runners strike on their boney heels more, where a barefoot runner had more range of motion in their feet and were able to initiate their toes (flex, spread, splay and grip), leading to less pronation and distribution of pressure. Bottom-line? Shoes weaken the feet and subsequently the rest of your lower extremity and posture by bypassing the small muscles, tendons, and bones of the feet, preventing them from doing their job as a natural arch (which actually gets stronger under pressure). We’ve totally jacked up our natural mid-foot strike, in favor of our boney arch, further f****** up ourselves. What to do? Barefoot clearly, but what about when you need to go out in public and shoes are requirement? Clearly a thin sole shoe could work, as well as any barefoot shoes (there are an assortment of them out there), my favorite being Vibram. If I don’t already feel like a spokesperson for the shoes, here I go again bragging on them. I like the toe separation, that allows me to splay and grip with my toes like you would get running completely barefoot. I wear my shoes EVERYWHERE: movies, dates, banking, to the grocery, to walk the dog, they’ve been to Tennessee, Florida and Colorado; I’ve worn them to different parks like Yosemite and Turkey Run, I wear them to climb mountains, I’ve hitch-hiked in them, I wear them to baseball games (minor league and Rex games), I read meters in them, I’ve swam across lakes in them, I’ve gone to the local market-to the fair in them, they were on my feet when I decorated pottery, to rock climb, I’ve worn them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; I’ve worn them on a bus, a boat, in a car, on a train, on a plane; they were my shoe of choice for Holiday World, drag races, Indy 500, to visit waterfalls; I’ve even been sledding in them, exercise (hike, bike, yoga, kettlebells) have all been done in my shoes, I’ve launched myself from planes and skydived in them, Zip lining in them? Yes please, I’ve ran all over the slow-pitch field in them, I’ve even gone hunting in them and practiced archery in them, I bake and cook in them and garden in them, I’ve even taken to wearing them to the bar and dancing on tables in them (which I actually recommend. They’re much more comfortable than heels and allow me to really showcase my skills, as well as providing a great calf workout. Is it no wonder that I tell people I love them, whenever prompted? I am constantly getting stopped with questions about them (which is no wonder, as you can see I clearly wear them all of the time), and most of my conversations inCaliforniastarted with them. To answer this question- Yes I love them, I don’t own any other pairs of tennis shoes. They are like being barefoot, though, which was no problem for me to adjust to since I was barefoot often growing up (but for some it may take some adjusting after a life in shoes). I’m not trying to be fashionable in them, they are a functional shoe, they’re not just for running, and they’re clearly for EVERYTHING. They have strengthened not only feet but the rest of my legs, my lower extremities (notably calves) are stronger and more defined than they’ve ever been and I can feel the power of the shoes working there way up. My calves no longer feel, it but my hips are the next area that they are strengthening. Although pricey, you can tell you definitely get your moneys worth. What else can you do? Don’t wear shoes! If I don’t have to wear shoes I don’t. I’ve actually started doing my hikes and runs in the grass completely barefoot (and yesterday I actually went to get my hair cut without shoes on). If shoes aren’t required, most likely you’ll see my feet naked. So today is just another post of why to be barefoot (and I’m warning that I have a new book coming, so there will be more in the future). So kick off your shoes or wiggle your toes into your Vibrams and embrace that fact that you’re doing your feet (and more) a real service. P.S. Vibram if you want to like hire me for sales promotions or a spokesmodel or send me a free pair of shoes for my incessant banting and encouragement of your product, I’m totally cool with that!