Treading New Ground, Exploring the Barefoot Movement

This probably comes as no surprise: as we age, our body just doesn't work the way it used to. Back pain, knee pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel...the list goes on! In my latest effort to control aches and pains, I purchased a pair of toe shoes: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes

 

The way I see it, my flat feet due to my Asian genes don't really become a problem until I wear "Western" shoes. Slippers? No problem. Flip-flops? No problem. Barefoot? Wonderful.

Why is that? I think it's because we use more of our foot to maintain our balance. In each of those shoes, I've notice that my toes work harder. There are less missteps and certainly no sprained or rolled ankles.

It's also easy to slip the shoe off and massage and stretch your feet throughout the day. However, don't take just my word on how this barefoot movement makes sense.

However, a paradigm shift is needed when walking in my Vibram Komodo Sport Five Finger Shoes. I'm a heavy heel-striker with shoes on. With minimalist, "zero-drop" or barefoot shoes, you just can't do that (well, you can try, but I really don't advise it).

I purchased my Vibrams from Mountain Equipment Co-Op. The sales associates are extremely helpful there, especially the second one I spoke with. He was full of tips on fitting and sizing.

Although, I'm still in the "first impressions stage", I can share with you what I've learned so far in my minimalist footwear experience:

  • the shoes are comfy!
  • you really do feel the surface better, ergo, your body adjusts quickly (especially when making sharp turns)
  • my knees don't hurt as much
  • normal runners are very clunky and constricting now
  • a different type of shoe is needed if walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods (more cushioning)
  • my toes are stronger

Click on the links for more information on how to transition safely to barefoot or minimalist shoes for running or for everyday use, as well as how to thoroughly clean your toes shoes.

Next on my wish list: minimalist everyday shoes from Riva's Eco Store! However, I'm going to wait until my Correct Toe Spacers arrive first.