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Rescue Your Feet From Toxic Shoes With This Simple Exercise

by | Oct 11, 2016 | Exercises, Happy Feet | 6 comments

I had to go to the dentist the other day. On my walk over there, I saw a poster outside of Holt Renfrew that really caught my eye. Anything promoting really beautiful, really damaging shoes always does. When I saw it, all I could about were this poor woman’s squished, unhappy feet….

bad shoes

Of course, I know that modern fashion choices are totally not about health. But I still get sad when I see people promoting shoes that are damaging women. Because maybe, just maybe, we could try having stuff that’s gorgeous but also doesn’t cause us long term damage.

Shoes damage men, too, but it’s exactly this culture of ‘beauty’ (and high heels) that’s the reason women get more foot issues (and knee issues, and hip issues) than men. It really breaks my heart.

It’s hard to see my clients, friends and members of my family struggle with disfiguring and disabling foot problems that were completely avoidable.

Movement and health aren’t always easy choices. There are huge cultural barriers that can be really challenging to overcome. If you can, though, the rewards are huge!

Your Body Needs Minimal Shoes!

The research is really, really clear! Minimal shoes (or even barefoot) are one of the very best things you can do for your body.

But, if you’ve been wearing regular shoes, or even crazy heels and pointy toes, you’ll have to transition slowly so you don’t overload your body and create an injury.

You may never make it to bare feet – but that’s not really the point. Any amount of change that helps your feet act more like feet will allow your whole body to benefit!

Want to learn more about better shoe choices and foot health? Here’s the short version. If you want to go deeper, Katy Bowman’s book Simple Steps To Foot Pain Relief is packed with great info! In the meantime, you can get started right away the exercise I’m sharing today.

Transition Better To Minimal Shoes With This Exercise

This is a really simple but powerful exercise (though it might take a couple of tries to feel like you ‘get it’ especially if you are just starting to work on strengthening your foot muscles). This will help you regain the natural strength and function of your feet. It’s a great way to support your transition to minimal shoes, and an absolute must if you’re working to correct a bunion or plantar fasciitis.

Try doing this about 5 times, holding for 10 seconds, three times daily, and see how your feet feel in a week. If you want to progress from there, try doing it standing on one foot.

Fight Back Against Toxic Fashion

Switching to healthier shoes is a powerful way to reclaim your health and to start to shift our cultural ideas around how we should look! Just make sure you do it carefully and gently – and prepare to be amazed by how great your feet can feel.

Also, that means we can swap tips about shoes! Tell me what your favourite minimal shoe options are in the comments below!

another-round-headshotPetra is a movement educator and personal trainer with a passion for helping people find greater ease, joy and health in their bodies. She believes that better movement can help every body - and she's always happy to chat about it. When she's not teaching, you'll probably find her hanging out on a set of monkey bars.


Hi! I’m Petra.

Movement coach
Your body has the potential to feel amazing and work better at every age. I'm here to help you learn to move better so that you can find your natural resilience, strength, and long term wellness.
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