“The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.” – Lao-Tzu
It is Friday night and you are ready to go out however you are unsure which shoes to wear with your fancy black dress. Hundreds of mini questions rush through your mind, “Shall I wear the tight Prada shoes or the Gucci super high heel ones, or maybe just wear the flat slippery shoes and hope I won’t slip, or maybe I should wear the Giorgio Armani shoes that make my feet look super small?” Can you believe that humans are willing to spend a fortune on what is thought to be an amazing pair of shoes while they are in fact paying a fortune to destroy their feet and body!
The best shoe is your own barefoot.
Over the past three decades, shoe manufacturers have created shoes costing hundreds to thousands of dollars. For example, some of the Gucci winter/ fall collection shoes start at $1300. $1300 actually translate to injury, deformities, bunions, corn, hammer toe, Metatarsalgia, or even Morton's neuroma. Metatarsalgia is a painful type of inflammation that occurs in the ball of the foot as a result of repeated pressure on the metatarsal bones, which are the bones that run between the toes and the arch of the foot.
Morton's neuroma is an injury to the nerves in the mid-foot which causes tissue around the area to thicken, and can cause pain and numbness. Surgery may be needed. Shoes can also effect your knees, hips, and legs. For example, High heels place an increased amount of pressure on the knee, particularly the inner knee, which is one of the more common areas that women experience osteoarthritis. One study found that this pressure on the knee joint increased by 26 percent, which is a significant increase considered the forces that the knee is already subjected to.
So why do people invest so much in hurting themselves?
Why do we believe the best athletes are those who have the best shoes? Today, fitness shoe manufacturers have developed advanced technology to cushion and control motion in our feet and ankles. This advanced support does not allow articulation of our joints and soft tissue. It makes us lose flexibility and mobility resulting in stiff, and weak feet.
On the other hand, your cheapest shoe- being barefoot, has been specially designed to walk and run on. Walking barefoot strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet, ankles and calves. This helps prevent injury, knee strain and back problems. Not only that, but because it works muscles not used when you’re wearing shoes, it strengthens and stretches your core, helping keep your posture upright, and your balance spot on. In addition, walking barefoot entitles you to a free reflexology session, decreases anxiety and depression, and improves energy and sleep.
The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing exactly 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The best exercise to strengthen your feet is to walk on the sand, while swimming is the best exercise to stretch your feet. It is important to walk barefoot several times a week to feel the physical and mental health benefits. Therefore, avoid disconnecting yourself from earth.