Updated: Mar 27, 2019
OK folks, these are so much more than just sandals, they're the best shoes of ALL TIME! Sandals are typically thought of as fashion or casual wear in the western world. These, however, are all-around go anywhere, do anything footwear. "But do they stay on your feet?" Yes, incredibly well. No matter the activity, a correctly fitted #huarache style shoe (traditional shoes of the #Tarahumara) will stay firmly attached without your foot needing to do extra work to hold it on.
A lot of people think all sorts of other types of shoes can also be considered minimal because there's not much there, but the fact of the matter is, flip-flops and other loose fitting shoes cause your foot to do more work to keep it on than you realize. Commonly the toe flexors are overactive thus interrupting your normal sequence of muscle firing, negatively impacting your biomechanics.
What l routinely see in the clinic is very poor control of pronation and supination, or in other words, poor control of the arch. You've probably just been taught that "pronation is bad," but pronation is a necessary part of the gait cycle and any amount of it is not actually associated with pain or injury. What does predict injury, however, is how pronation is CONTROLLED. Yes, it's true this type of footwear has no arch support. "But, doesn't my foot need support?" Well... no. At least not in a permanent state like it typically is.
If your feet had never been subjected to restrictive footwear and had been loaded and challenged consistently over the many years of your life, no, you would not need support. If you had never been subjected to a narrow toe box which interrupts the natural stability system of the foot, no, you would not need support. If you had never been subjected to any amount of heel which shortens your heel cord and causes postural imbalances, no, you would not need support. But in your current state, you're more accustomed to restrictive footwear than you realize.
This has weakened your foot incredibly over the years. One of the best ways to regain the agility and natural movement of our youth is to go barefoot. Of course, this might mean a HUGE transition for you. Done right, and consistently, it could still take up to 2-3 years to fully adapt to barefoot shoes. Even longer to undo your specific tissue restrictions that have accumulated over the years. And even at that point, you may still be more subject to injury. The experts can't say for certain. There's just not enough evidence.
But is it worth it? In my opinion, I wouldn't trade the strength, mobility, and ability I've gained in my feet since going minimal for anything. For me, it's about unlocking the strength of my ancestors, and sharing my experience with others so that they may safely improve the strength of their feet as well. I'm 32, about to be 33, but I can run with the best of them in their early 20's. These new feet and body, on the other hand, are only about 10 years old. It was about 10 years ago that I started this barefoot journey. Do you want to unlock the true potential of your feet? Do you want to speed up the process and solidify the correct neuromotor patterns early on? Let's talk. Visit the Go Barefoot page for more info.
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