A bit of a random one today but something that has made a massive impact on my life. Strange thing to write about, shoes, but it’s true. About 2 years ago I moved to wearing predominantly ‘barefoot shoes’. These are shoes which have a low profile sole, very little or no padding and are made to replicate walking barefoot. This is of course how we were made to walk. It has been proven that heavily padded shoes can in fact cause us many back, hip and knee problems. This was what brought me to find this style of shoe.
Here is some more info about the science behind it:
Since I was 14 I have had lower back and hip problems, mainly in the form of aches and pains which were a real problem for me, especially at such a young age. Over the years I went to numerous chiropractors and physios and all seemed to ‘sort me’ for a short time and then the dull aches would return. This was particularly annoying in my hips. As many of you know, I love doing long walks and I would find my hips aching for days after.
I came across company Vivo Barefoot. Not a cheap company but a quality company who, at the time, were a small company who had pushed forward with the idea of minimalist/barefoot footwear. I bought my first pair on Vivos in Nov 18 and I have never looked back! After some time getting used to the new style and feel of the shoe, I was hooked! More importantly my back/hip problems eased and have eventually gone! As you can see from the photo, my first pair are battered and worn and that is because I wear them day in, day out. I run in them, I hike in them, they are great for everything.
Calling all parents!
As a teacher and a ‘fitness professional’ 😜 I was particularly interested in seeing the benefit the barefoot style shoe has for children. There are many interesting articles on their website, if you are interested to find out more but here are some key points taken straight from their website:
• Vivobarefoot shoes have ultra-thin, puncture resistant soles to let the 200,000+ neuro-transmitters in kids’ feet feel the ground, while keeping them protected. The more feet can feel, the more the foot-brain connection stays sparking and active.
• Thick, cushioned and supportive shoes cut off this all-important feeling, dulling the sensory feedback our brains can get from our feet.
• Vivobarefoot shoes are wide and unrestricting to let kids feet grow strong natural bones and tendons, especially the all-important Big Toe, crucial for balance and skillful movement. At least 90% of kids are born with perfect feet, let’s keep it that way.
• Stiff, narrow shoes literally deform feet and toes as they grow: taking away their potential for strength, balance and coordination. Like wearing a teeny foot cast.
• Vivobarefoot shoes are super flexible, allowing the tendons and muscles in kids feet to splay and recoil. This builds strength while sparking that vital foot-brain connection which makes for skillful, brainy feet that can move like Mowgli!
• ‘Normal’ shoes have thick, stiff soles which weaken kids’ feet and ankles as they grow, leading to clunky, ungainly movement.
This is just one company who make barefoot style shoes, there are others like Merrell for example, who have their own version. However, another thing I do love about Vivo Barefoot as a company is their consideration for their impact on the environment. They make their shoes from recycled materials. The shoe in the photo is one example of a shoe made from:
‘recycled canvas, the Geo Court Canvas is an everyday vegan barefoot classic that treads lightly on the environment. The design features distinct recycled flecked eyestay and heel, printed branding on its sidewall and a recycled polyester shoe lace and lining. Our most recycled everyday shoe yet.’
Amazing! Yes, you may pay a bit more than some other shops but I think your health, wellbeing and the environment is worth it!