Free Your Feet
The human foot is naturally widest at the end of the toes and tapers back towards the heel. Just as the fingers can move freely so the hand can grab, so should the toes be able to move freely so the foot can grab. When we are standing or walking, the foot’s ability to grab the ground and create tension is a primary determinant of how the rest of the body will stand and move.
Most shoes tend to cause a narrowing effect of the forefoot, compressing the entire foot and toes so that the widest point ends up being at the forefoot instead of the toes. If the foot conforms to this position, the toes can no longer spread, and the foot loses its ability to support the body.
From the Ground Up
The compression of the toes creates a misalignment of the feet. The big toe deviates towards the second toe which leads to foot pronation, collapsed arches, and flat feet. This is exacerbated by the cushion in most shoes as the feet lose contact with the ground and lose their ability to create the necessary tensions to form an arch. As most shoes also have an elevated heel, this creates a forward shift of the pelvis distributing the body’s weight predominantly on the forefoot further compounding the compression of the feet. The foot compression, heel elevation, and forward shift of the pelvis create compensatory patterns and muscular imbalances up the entire kinetic chain of the body, leading to significant postural and biomechanical issues.
Foot mechanics is a key area to assess and correct to restore posture and human biomechanics. Issues in the feet can lead to issues in the ankles, knees, hips, lower back, shoulders, and neck. Being barefoot is the optimal method for correcting foot mechanics. When footwear is required, opt for footwear that provides feedback from the ground and allows the toes to move freely.