“Where is your science to back all this up?”
I can hear it already, well, stuff science, science is what got us in this mess. Science can be twisted to suit those who pay more! In this case it’s the big shoe companies that pay.
For what I’m about to say I have no science to back me up, first off, I don’t feel like I need science for what I consider something so obvious, you either believe what I say because you see it makes sense by looking at your own mechanics, or you don’t, either way is fine with me.
Got any of the following?
- weak ankles
- shin splints
- knee pain
I’ve written about this before, and I’ll write about it many times over until I see change, change in the way that shoes are marketed to the people. Yes we need shoes, of course, no one wants to step in stinky doodoo, glass or other sharp filthy objects!
But we need the right shoes, we do not need most of the shoes that we’re sold on TV. We don’t need squishy, impact reducing, tight fitting, runners or high heels that look like they’re from the future. Yes you need them if you want to look super cool rather than care about your posture, your back, comfortability, strength, firm base and so on.
Rearfoot Striking Is Not Natural
We’re not made to run striking our heels, our mechanics are designed for landing on the ball of our feet, going to mid foot and pushing off on the ball/toes. Where is my science? My science is here, take off your shoes right now and run on hard surface for 1K like you would do with runners. You can’t? That’s right, you need soft runners with a soft heel to be able to land with your heels first, yet we’re not born with runners, they’re made for us so we can run and land on our heels. And they’ve only been manufactured in the last 3 or 5 decades, a Caveman didn’t have fancy pancy runners.
Here’s the biggest problem with people trying to go barefeet or changing shoes, they do what a lot of newbiews to CrossFit do, go hard, start at the top and forget progression. You don’t just go from wearing comfy soft squishy bouncy shoes to flat soles or five finger vibrams, you just don’t, it’s asking for trouble because you’re not used to it, if you’re not used to something you need to learn, progress, adjust and ween into it. They take the wrong path and then blame the outcome on the implement rather than the implementation.
Strong Calfs Required
Forefoot runners require strong calfs, you don’t develop that overnight, so when people start changing their stride they’ll do the same distances they do before they made a change, quickly the calf muscles become tired and their stride goes back to the heels, when wearing flat shoes or minimalistic shoes this will cause heel issues due to the impact. They’ll blame the shoes, rather than not taking the path required.
Why do you require strong calfs for forefoot running? You need to use your calf muscles to pull your heel up, pulling your heel up is done to push the ball of your foot down, this is what you want to do so that the ball of the foot can land first, then you want to have your calf muscles contracted to reduce the impact to the mid and heel of the foot, the higher the distance you land from the more contraction is required. To then actively push off the ball of the foot again, you need to once again contract the calf muscles. More pushing is required the faster your move. Sprinting might require no connection of the mid or heel of the foot due to the speed.
Flat minimalistic breathable shoes with the correct technique of walking, jogging, running or sprinting is the best, there is nothing better.
Landing on the ball of your foot is like a spring that takes the impact, in this case your foot plus calf muscles are the springs and take the impact. Landing on your heels also means more impact on your knees, in effect landing on your heel takes out one whole joint, your ankle, and the impact travels straight through the tibia and fibula into the next joint, the knee! Furthermore, heel striking takes away movement from the ankle joint, not only dorsiflexion and plantar flexion but also inversion and eversion. Hence the reason why people get weak ankles, they don’t need to do jack shit anymore with those fancy runners.