Did you know, lifting heavy shoes with each step really adds up?
Barefoot Running - The MOVIE
Free your Feet to Minimize Impact, Maximize Efficiency, and Discover the Pleasure of Getting in Touch with the Earth. Learn how to run barefoot and be inspired! Visually stunning and filmed on Maui, DVD chapters include properrunning form, technique for different terrain, pad development, connecting with nature, drills, strength work, recovery and even footwear for when you need a shoe. Learn from the best-selling authors of Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee, also authors of the upcoming book, Barefoot Walking (Crown Publishing, March, 2013).
Music by: Barefoot Truth, "Reach"
For songs and show dates visit:
Barefoot Running, The Movie:
Free Your Feet to Minimize Impact, Maximize Efficiency and Discover the Pleasure of Getting in Touch with the Earth
We had a blast working our tails off this winter, filming the ultimate barefoot running DVD in Maui, Hawaii. You’ll find everything you need to know about safely easing into barefoot running, from foot strengthening to proper posture, running form and recovery, all with a greater sense of awareness of your body and the world around you. Be inspired to go out and play like a kid again!
1 dvd 19,99 uS $
How Moc-Like Are Your Shoes? The More Moccasin-like, the Better
The majority of running injuries today come from shoes. How can that be? Running shoes are cushier and more highly engineered than ever before, so what’s the problem?
Encasing your feet in modern footwear—from the high-end athletic shoes to even those that claim to be “more natural”—can hurt your feet (not protect them), cripple your health, and ruin your stride.
Here’s the logic. We all grew up wearing footwear that slowly, over time, made our feet brittle, fragile, and anything but the strong, healthy shock-absorbers and propulsion devices they were meant to be
We consumers are becoming more educated about the harmful effects of shoes, and footwear manufacturers are racing to produce new, more natural footwear.
But do these supposedly natural or minimalist shoes help protect your feet? And specifically what do you look for today when choosing a shoe? (After all, an SUV is minimalist compared to a semi-truck, but is it truly minimalist transportation?)
At our barefoot running talks and clinics, we always devote time to talking about footwear. When we started doing clinics, over 200 talks ago, there were only two or three minimalist shoes on the market. But that was last year. This year there are dozens of minimalist-type shoes, and nearly every major manufacturer has its own minimalist version of a shoe, if not an entire line.
Unfortunately, many if not most of these shoes are anything but “minimalist” (note the quotes). That’s why I’ve coined a new term to make it easier to know what’s safe to buy, or what’s more natural and better for your feet: moccasin-like or moc-like.
According to Dr. William Rossi, an esteemed podiatrist who has written many books on the human foot: Ironically, the closest we have ever come to an “ideal” shoe was the original lightweight, soft-sole, heel-less, simple moccasin, which dates back more than 14,000 years. It consisted of a piece of crudely tanned but soft leather wrapped around the foot and held on with rawhide thongs. Presto! Custom fit, perfect in biomechanical function, and no encumbrances to the foot or gait.
So wiggle your toes and flex your feet while you ask yourself how “moc-like” are your shoes. Specifically answer these questions:
Do they give my toes room to move?
Is there 3-dimensional flexibility to the shoe?
Can my feet truly feel the ground?
Are my toes sitting flat, rather than pointing up toward the sky?
Does the shoe allow my arch to move freely like a natural spring?
Is the sole flat and close to the ground?
Does the shoe have a uniform bottom or pattern on it, rather than grooves and different treads to try to guide my feet?
The more you answer “yes” to these questions, the more likely your footwear will work with you, rather than against you.
When you’re at your favorite shoe retailer, you’ll likely stand in front of a wall of shoes with a bewildering array of choices. Check out the 8 essentials to look for when buying a minimalist shoe.
8 Footwear Essentials
When you’re at your favorite shoe retailer, you’ll likely stand in front of a wall of shoes with a bewildering array of choices. In my previous post, I discussed the importance of choosing running and walking shoes that are more moccasin-like (or moc-like). And I cautioned that many of the so-called minimalist shoes being rushed to retailers may not be so moc-like.
To choose a shoe that won’t continue the harmful effects caused by the types of shoes you’ve probably been wearing your entire life, follow these guidelines in selecting your truly minimalist footwear [barefoot is still best] so you can be more moc-like.
Here are the 8 essentials to look for when buying a minimalist shoe:
You want a wide toe box that gives your feet room to move around and grab and spread when you run or walk. Feet adapt to their environment. Put on a narrow shoe, and you end up with a narrow foot. Cram your feet into pointy shoes, and you develop bunions and hammertoes. Perhaps the number one reason shoes are killing us is the front end of our shoes. Our feet are supposed to be wide, stable platforms. Toes are meant to flare out in the front rather than regress, hide, or trip all over each other. A shoe with a wide front end that gives your toes plenty of room helps with support and stability (say goodbye to pronation) and allows the foot to act as a spring, keeps pressure off your plantar fascia, and protects the ankle from rolling.
A 3-dimensional shoe that can flex and bend everywhere is more like a natural moccasin. Most shoes, however, are 2-dimensional. When they can’t flex or bend, neither can your feet. This eliminates stability and balance. You can’t feel the ground, and your feet can’t mold to the shape of the terrain. Moc-like shoes allow your feet to be the natural shock-absorbers they were meant to be.
A shoe should be soft and pliable, like the bottom of your feet, able to mold to the shape of varying terrain. This helps improve circulation and flexibility to the feet (they become rigid and arthritic over time if they can’t flex and bend). A natural foot lands softly and subtly, gently rolling onto the ground. Encase your foot in a 2-dimensional block of wood, however, and your foot smacks the ground hard and loses its ability to be a foot. Make sure your footwear is soft and flexible and that it can bend everywhere, not just at flex points where the manufacturer wants your feet to bend. Feet bend almost everywhere, and so should your shoes.
The more your feet can feel the ground, the lighter you’ll stride, and the more you’ll keep from tripping. Think of playing the piano wearing heavy, thick gloves. Good luck playing light, and you can forget about Mozart. When you can’t feel the ground, your feet are blindfolded, and there’s no way to land light. Look for thin-soled footwear that lets you feel the ground like moccasins do.
Eighteen out of 19 muscles and tendons of the foot all attach to the toes. When your toes can grab downward, they help support and build a magnificent arch (don’t believe what you’ve been told, arches can grow much stronger over time, they’re not weak; but for a strong arch, you need strong toes). Yet if your toes are pointed upward because the shoe points them upward, your toes can’t support the arch, and it collapses like a bridge with the supports washed away.
Arch support locks out your natural spring, which is the shock absorber in your feet. Moccasins are always built without any arch support. It’s the soul of the foot—a shock absorber, spring, and stability mechanism, all built into one. To put anything under such a sophisticated mechanism is to defeat the entire structure of the foot. You’ll want to wean yourself off arch support slowly as your foot grows stronger.
As you strengthen your feet, and spend more time barefoot, look for shoes that allow your arch to be free and act as a natural spring. Stay away from anything that supports the arch, has stiffened materials under the arch, or pinches together under the foot (often manufacturers make footwear narrower under the arch, this way when you lace up, the sides of the shoe act as an arch support). You’ll need to gradually work your way to moc-like “unsupportive” shoes (or shoes that let your feet do the work of supporting your body), but once you do, you’ll grow that sacred arch and never look back. Is your sole flat and close to the ground? There’s a new term in the shoe biz called Zero Drop. This means that the heel should be at the same height as the front of your shoes. I prefer a simpler term: flat. How flat is your shoe? Many manufacturers are calling shoes Zero Drop while there’s still a high heel, and maybe even high toes. Anything that’s off the ground more than a centimeter is starting to get unstable. Heck, every millimeter you’re higher off the ground, the less natural your stride, and the more likely you are to twist or strain your ankles, knees, legs, and feet.
A high-heeled running shoe (the average running shoe now has an inch or two of a heel) changes your stride, strains your hamstrings and IT bands, and prevents you from using gravity to propel yourself forward. Instead, you’re stuck bending forward at the waist—a very inefficient and, over time, painful way to run.
Don’t be fooled by footwear manufacturers who put anything under the forefoot or the heel and tell you this mimics “natural running.” There’s nothing natural about being higher off the ground. Look for the flattest, lowest footwear you can find. Period.
Flip your shoe over and study the body. Is there a long groove from heel to toe (also known as “motion control”) or different tread patterns and sipes? These are all designed so the shoe can tell you where it wants your foot to go, rather than you telling your foot where you want to go (this over-control dictated by the tread on the shoe often leads to shin splints). You don’t find shin splints when you go barefoot, because your feet can land where they want to. From now on, flip over your shoes and look at the soles. If they have a channel or groove, then stay away. And if they have multiple tread patterns, colors, or different types of nubs on different places as well, then stay away. All of this is designed to outsmart the foot and tell it where the shoe wants it to go.
Look for footwear, like a moccasin, that has almost nothing going on, on the bottom. The less the pattern on the bottom of the shoe, the more uniform the surface, the more the foot can decide where it wants to land.
The next time you go looking for footwear, really examine the shoes. Ask yourself if they’re truly moc-like. Twist them, bend them, flip them over, run your fingers along the inside (look for seams that can irritate the feet), lay them flat and check out the heel, the toes, and the general shape of a shoe. Does it look like the shape of a natural foot (with wide flared toes), or is it banana shaped, or like a torpedo, missile, or something else undesirable? Ask yourself how much they resemble a moccasin, rather than a boot. Do this and, above all else, make sure they feel comfortable to your feet from the get-go (a break-in period is really your feet breaking into the shoe and something to avoid). Follow these 8 rules, and you’re probably on the right track.
Now go out there and have some fun. Run Bare!