Why there are benefits of natural, foot-shaped shoes

There are a lot of benefits to natural, foot-shaped shoes because they let the feet function the way nature intended. Some of the most important benefits are: not feeling pain when walking; not losing toenails and, even better; not deforming our feet long-term.

Narrow, pointy shoes or boots may look better or classier to many people, but there is a high price to pay. The obvious price is pain in the feet but pain also arises in the rest of the body, such as in the knees, hips, and back. These detrimental effects are due to poor posture, which is itself due to squeezed toes and over-supported feet.

When your feet hurt because you wear narrow shoes.

No one was born with their toes squeezed, arches supported, and their heels elevated.

Foot issues occur over time, mostly due to inappropriate footwear.  Dr Ray McClanahan, PHD and founder of Northwest Foot & Ankle and Correct Toes, explains in more detail on his website what harm conventional shoes can cause to the foot and to the body.

A narrow toe-box squeezes the toes to a point, which can cause deformities and foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fascia pain, and overpronation. Arch supports weaken the foot muscles. Elevated heels can change the body's overall alignment and cause Achilles tendonitis, ankle instability, and back pain. The issue with arch support is well explained in the following video The TRUTH About Arch Support. The best part is when it says how in twelve weeks your muscles atrophied when being supported. (Thank you Squat University!)

On the other hand, natural, foot-shaped shoes promote healthy feet by letting them do what they are designed to do: move freely and support the entire body weight.

Barefoot-style shoes have a wide toe-box, a flat sole (zero drop), and no arch support. Wearing natural foot-shaped shoes is like being barefoot, so there is no interference with the foot's shape.  

Narrow versus wider toe-box shoes.

A foot-shaped toe-box allows the toes to splay naturally, which encourages vital blood flow and proper nerve function, and provides a good balance and strong arch muscles. A flat sole without heel elevation promotes proper body alignment from feet to head.

Natural foot-shaped shoes don't have arch support (Do you really need an arch?), so work with the foot muscles rather than against them, and this naturally strengthens the arch. Flat soles distribute body weight evenly without stressing the toes, ankles, knees and back.

Barefoot-style shoes allow the wearer to be more grounded and alert and allow the brain to sense the ground better, which then promotes a better balance than thick and stiff soles.

Natural foot-shaped shoes also promote a more natural foot strike. Instead of landing on the heel, the strike leans more toward the mid-foot and forefoot, which allows the foot to better absorb the impact of walking or running.

Move Freely Now

People who wear shoes with elevated heels and support rely on the shoe's construction to absorb the impact of walking which, in the long run, affects the ability of the foot to do it naturally. As the feet become weaker, so the wearer needs more and more support. It can become a vicious circle. The weaker the feet, the more support needed. Alternatively, the more the feet are stimulated, the less support is needed and, therefore, the stronger the feet become.

At the gym, the more you lift, the stronger you become. Feet are no different. Let them work the way nature intended.

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