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Why Minimal Shoes?

Getting our feet strong and healthy is one of the most powerful movement changes we can make.

Foot issues hurt, and they prevent us from fully enjoying our lives.

Since feet are the way we connect with the ground in walking and running, they have a big impact on our whole body movement patterns. That means that weak, stiff feet are a big factor in knee, hip, spine and neck issues.

Foot weakness – and our foot problems – are the result of wearing modern shoes our whole lives.

So to get better feet, we need to switch to better shoes. Here’s how to do it right. 

How To Transition To Minimal Shoes

The keys to a safe shoe transition are simple:

#1 Take it slowly. Really, really slowly. Slower than you think. Years if you need them.

#2 Give yourself a number of shoe options at all times so you can meet your feet where they’re at.

#3 Do plenty of exercises to strengthen and mobilize your feet, such as the ones in my free Fix Your Feet boot camp, which has helped hundreds of people take the first steps towards healthy, happy feet.

What Should You Look For In A Minimal Shoe?

A minimal shoe should allow your feet to function naturally. To do so, they must have the following 5 characteristics:

#1 Zero drop – There should be no rise at the heel, so you can stand with your weight supported by your heels instead of pushing forward on the forefoot.

#2 A wide toe box – So you have room for your toes to spread out naturally.

#3 A thin, flexible sole – This allows your feet to move as part of your natural gait pattern and in response to the surfaces you walk on.

#4 No toe spring – Raised toes create unbalanced foot muscles, with the bottom of the foot becoming too long and the top becoming too short.

#5 Fully attached to your feet – Slides and flip flop styles cause your feet to grip unnaturally at every step. Shoes need to be fully attached to your feet so your feet can function naturally.

For transitioning, it’s usually best to choose a shoe that has zero or minimal drop, a wide toe box, no toe spring, and is fully attached, but has a thicker, more cushioned sole. I really liked the Altra brand for my transition and I recommend it often. There are several shoe lists in the resources side bar for you to explore.

More Shoe Transition Tips

Some great tools to consider for your shoe transition are toe spreaders and metatarsal pads. Having balls, rocks and other texture options around the house is also an excellent choice.

Toe spreaders help your toes return to a more natural, wide spread alignment (and bring instantly better circulation to your feet). I prefer the CorrectToes brand because you can wear them in shoes while you walk (if the toes are wide enough).  Here’s a more in-depth discussion of toe spreaders.

Metatarsal pads are a supportive pad that go into your shoes. They’re great if you’ve got unbalanced foot muscles, because they help keep the protective fat pads in the right spot so you don’t overload your forefoot. Here’s how to tell if you can benefit from metatarsal pads.

And here’s one of my favourite easy foot movement tools for you to see:

Transitioning to minimal shoes is one of the most powerful movement changes you can make and I’m excited for your journey! 

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