Shoes vs. Barefoot
Like the roots of a plant in a pot that is too small, the feet wither in unsuitable shoes.
If you look at your bare feet and compare them with your hands you will see some similarities but also differences. (Normally) both have 5 fingers or toes that can move separately from each other – right? Often the opposite is the case: we can coordinate our fingers quite well (some more – some less) – of course, we use our hands and fingers all the time to do all kinds of things: reach for something, support something, make music (piano, guitar, …), beat something, etc.. According to the credo “Use it or Lose it”, it also makes sense that we can control our fingers so well. Through daily practice we strengthen the muscles in the area, strengthen the connection between the nervous system and the muscles, tune all kinds of receptors for perception (pain, pressure, temperature, …) and improve perception – even if we close our eyes.
What would happen if we put on mittens for 8 hours a day for a year? All the above-mentioned characteristics would most likely deteriorate. After a year, we would have hands that would be numb to sensation, simple tasks would only work with difficulty.
And why should it be any different with our feet?
Sure, our hands have many more connections to our nervous system, which makes the finest coordinative tasks possible in the first place. But still: wearing shoes (or better: prisons) every day that constrict our feet, don’t allow the toes to spread, don’t provide ventilation and serve as passive support, weakening the stabilising foot muscles, can’t be good in the long run.
This page is all about movement and long-term performance (gymnastics to the urn). In this sense, it also makes sense to get rid of your shoes from time to time or to change your choice of shoes. More feeling and strength in the feet improves stability in all athletic movements (jumping, running, stopping, etc.), promotes balance and provides a stable basis for every movement in which we stand on our feet!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never wear shoes again. Shoes are chic, offer protection and are often important for being able to perform movements. But maybe you should take your shoes off more often and walk around barefoot or find out about barefoot shoes (VivoBareFoot, Joe Nimble, etc.). Your feet will thank you!
In addition, you can incorporate the exercises in this Video into your daily routine to get your feet back in shape.