Biomechanist, Katy Bowman, M.S., has been on the show before to talk about her other books on alignment and movement.
In this episode we talk about some key points in her new book, Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear. We talk about what minimal footwear is, what to look for and how to transition into it. And why you might want to make the switch to minimal shoes in the first place.
The GIVEAWAYS for minimal shoes, books, footcare and foot massage products are happening on my Facebook page!
April 6-10 My-Happy Feet Alignment Socks
April 15 – Moji FootPro massage roller
April 21- Vivobarefoot shoe giveaway
April 23 – Skora shoe giveaway
April 24 – Whole Body Barefoot book giveaway
April 27- Moji Foot massage roller
April 29 – Correct Toes
- What are minimal shoes anyway? and why don’t flip flops count?
- It’s not defined by the total amount of mass of the shoe. It’s about the minimal effects on natural human movement.
- Minimal shoe characteristics: flexible, flat, wide toe box (space for the toes to spread), lightness of the shoe, no heel, no toe extension
- Why eliminating the heel is so important
- How the heel affects the whole body – it’s essentially like putting your body in a position to go down hill ALL THE TIME
- The importance of a gradual transition from a regular shoe to a minimal one – your entire body has to acclamate
- The exercises in her book help your foot and body get used to more movement variety again
- Variation in terrain is an important part of the minimal footwear discussion
21:07 James Earls excerpt from a previous interview:
- How traditional footwear affects how we walk and our myofascial meridians (according to the Anatomy Trains model)
- Walking in shoes that restrict the feet sends forces into tissues that don’t handle those forces as well
- With good foot position and movement we get a reasonably equal placement of forces in the tissues
- Why orthotics should be a last resort. They can be a crutch. They can be useful for some people, but it’s also good to try to regain the health, strength and alignment of the feet
30:40 Dr. Mark Cheng excerpt from a previous interview:
- A third of the bones are in the feet and we move them around like slabs of concrete!
- We want all the joints in the feet (33 of them!) to be useful, functional, and responsive
- If we can’t get those small joints to have some level of play and facility then we can’t get more recruitment out of them
- His foot mobility drill is at the bottom of this page – you’re going to want to try this one!
[The body teasers are a play on brain teasers. The goal is to play, experiment, get us thinking about how we move and ultimately to improve how we move.]
1. James Earls recommends forward lunges:
- Start from neutral
- Step forward with one foot and a little knee flexion
- Maintain an upright sternum.
- Keep the back heel down sometimes and other times let it peel off the floor so you come into toe extension.
- If possible do the forward lunges with a minimalist shoe or barefoot
- Experiment with the stride length
- Experiment with speed
2. Dr. Mark Cheng recommends this foot mobility drill
3. General guidelines for footwear transition from Whole Body Barefoot:
When switching to barefoot or minimal footwear, give underutilized muscle time to develop. Begin foot exercises before switching shoes, and continue the foot exercises while doing your whole-body training in less supportive shoes. Master shoeless walking before you try shoeless running.
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