Oh The Agony of DeFEET

women's feet under x-rayLadies, if you’re like me finding a great pair of shoes makes the day brighter. And when someone says “oh, I love your shoes”, I feel like a champion, especially when it’s a complete stranger.  When a man notices my shoes, it’s an ego boost for the week! Heels are my favorite. Give me 3 or 4-inch heels and I will rock them. The more unique the better. I will wear some flats, but only if necessary. But alas, I wouldn’t be writing about this if there weren’t watch outs to this habit.

Shoes are the agony of the feet, and the back, and the hips, and the brain. Wearing shoes at all has thrown our bodies out of alignment and confused our brains. Yes, even flats and tennis shoes. The more separation from the bottom of our feet and the ground the more trouble it causes up top. Our bodies are designed perfectly to stay in alignment. Accounting for wearing shoes was never part of the design. In the beginning of time shoes weren’t necessary. Our feet were meant to walk on soft surfaces that conform to the contours of our foot. But we can’t very well show up to the big meeting barefoot or walk around downtown Chicago without shoes. They were a necessity to protect our feet but have since become a fashion statement that may be doing more harm than we think. Because we walk on hard surfaces, it causes over-pronation of the foot. Basically the mid-foot, the ankle and the tibia become out of alignment because the foot is rolling inward.

You know that high heels, and even thick-soled flats, can throw the upper body out of alignment causing knee and lower back pain. It can also lead to fatigue and can make the day seem longer than it really is. Did you also know that your feet send signals to your brain? Your brain knows where it is in space by processing all of the signals it receives, sight, sound, and touch. When we’re always wearing shoes the feet don’t send a reliable signal to the brain. Thus the brain doesn’t send signals to the body to adjust to the environment. Have you ever walked on the beach, squishing the sand between your toes? That’s an awesome feeling right. You become aware of sensations and you even feel more relaxed. I love to walk barefoot in the grass, especially if I’ve been cooped up all day. It allows me to send additional information to my brain about where I am. I also feel a bit more in alignment physically and mentally. I like to walk around my house barefoot whenever possible. This is why getting a foot massage feels so good.

A great way to combat the stress caused by wearing shoes is to:

  • pick comfortable shoes
  • try barefoot shoes with ultra-thin soles that let you “feel” the ground
  • limit wearing high heels (let’s face it, we’re going to wear them)
  • walk around barefoot to allow your feet to reconnect with your brain
  • strengthen your feet by doing foot exercises

There is some debate whether barefoot shoes are helpful. Some proponents believe it absolutely is because that’s the way we’re designed. I run in barefoot running shoes and it’s awesome for me. Others believe this is bad for you because there is no arch support. It’s a bit chicken and the egg. Do we need arch support because as babies our feet were forced into shoes and not allowed to develop naturally?

If you decide to go barefoot be prepared to build up the muscles in your feet. You have relied on shoes your whole life. Many report changing their shoes and strengthening their feet has reduced chronic pain and increased energy. Do you go barefoot? Let me know in the comments below and share this post with your friends.






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