Shoes: Minimalist or Cushioned?

My knees hurt, I must need new shoes.

The quote reflects a common western mentality that if we have pain, we must need more support. Whether that support is a faster gadget, pain killers or better cushion in our shoes, we westerners have been trained to look for our solutions externally. It may interest you to know that I too was a chronic foot, knee and hip pain person who jumped from shoe to shoe until I found the solution that fixed it all….and it didn’t cost me a dime.

Extra Supportive Shoe Philosophy

Many of us are familiar with casts for a broken limb. If we break a bone a specialized doctor puts a cast on the area to immobilize it so that pressure can be taken off of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones; thus we get out of pain and heal. When explaining shoes to clients, I like to describe fitted and extra-supportive shoes as a cast for our feet. Specialized doctors evaluate and recognize that you have weaknesses that are causing pain. They then create a specialized insert or shoe that holds your bones in a pain-free position. When your feet or knees start hurting again, they change the cast or create you a new one.

Minimalist Shoe Philosophy
Minimalists shoes are designed to mimic barefoot walking by giving as little support as possible. They force the feet to become strong enough to hold their own structures in place.

My Opinion of Extra Supportive Shoes
Casts suck.

You will be amazed by how much your foot, hip, knee, ankle and low back symptoms resolve if you take the time to get your feet stronger. I made this change several years ago and my chronic foot and knee pain has never returned. I can’t imagine walking around all my life with back pain and asking the doctor to keep giving me new back braces!

It’s my opinion that most of the internal and external injuries we sustain are self-inflicted. Think about how weak our feet must be from walking around on pavement in hard-bottomed shoes all day. Now add an extra-supportive shoe that holds up and disengages all of our weakened areas and it’s a wonder we can walk at all.

I Want to go Minimalist…How?

I am in LOVE with Nike Free. Pick up a pair of Nike Free 5.0 and wear them for an hour each day. Slowly increase your time until you can wear them a couple full days a week. Expect some discomfort as your floppy feet wake up…push through! It took me about 6 months to be able to exercise in them full-time.

Now go run around in a field and blow bubbles!

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