What to Look for In a Shoe

If you wore mittens 24/7, would getting through your day be easier or harder?

Harder. Right? No question. Yet, we jam our feet into constricting mittens (shoes) and wear them all the time.

Traditional shoes reduce proprioception (the way your feet communicate with the ground and then to your brain), & weaken the foot and ankle structures which can potentially contribute to issues “upstream” at the knee, hip, & low back.

Arch support should be used as an intermittent and short term approach to a foot strength and function deficit and should not be the long term solution. Think about it: whatever is over supported is under used. Under use = weak.

If you have to wear shoes for whatever reason, consider training barefoot a few times each week. Most often, when we are barefoot, we don’t actually load the feet. So, barefoot + movement + loading is key here.

If you’re looking for new shoes, consider the tips here. You’ll want to transition slowly into minimalist shoes. The reason why everyone and their mother got injured when those ugly ass Vibram toe shoes came out is because they went from cushioned shoes to Vibrams without appropriately acclimating.

If you’re used to locomoting primarily in cushiony shoes, with rigid soles, steep drops, and narrow toe boxes, you can expect to have fairly weak feet and ankles and will to account for this when starting. Too much too soon after too little for too long = injury. Your feet have been over supported for too long, so it’ll be easy to do too much too soon.

To recap:

Look for a wide toe box, zero drop, and flexible sole. Ease into use. If needing to train in shoes, consider ditching all foot wear or wearing only minimalist shoes a few times per week. Start small and built up capacity.