"It's gotta be the shoes!" -- Mars Blackmon
Does anyone remember the old Nike commercial where Mars Blackmon (a.k.a. Spike Lee) was asking basketball legend Michael Jordon about how and why he is so good? Blackmon was asking Jordon about everything--from his dunks to his haircut to his long shorts--before finally being convinced that it was his shoes that made all the difference.
While Jordon denied that any of those things actually made a difference, there was no changing Blackmon's mind, and Nike's next great marketing slogan was born. For me personally, Nike (and more specifically, Jordan) created a desire within me to get a pair of Jordan shoes for basketball season. And, guess what? I GOT THEM!
Well...let me rephrase that.
I guess I should say that I had them.
I had a pair of Air Jordan high-tops...until my three older sisters found out. They threw such a fit that their little brother got a pair of $125 shoes just for the basketball season that my parents returned them to the store! If I'm being honest, I believe their frustration stemmed from the fact that I was the only one in the family to get a Big Wheel (a Dukes of Hazzard one, at that) despite their incessant requests for one, so there was no way that I was getting Air Jordan sneakers as well. Truth be told, they are actually still angry (seriously...STILL angry) about that Big Wheel...but I digress...
Yes, at the eleventh hour, my Air Jordans where snatched from my hands. So close...yet so far!
That brings me to today's post about shoes. While I obviously don't believe that Michael Jordan's shoes made him the player that he was, I do believe that shoes make a huge difference in our overall function and ability to move.
When it comes to what you put on your feet, the Egoscue philosophy is simple: less is best. Ideally, we want you (and your foot) to be able to move as functionally as possible, as much as possible. Obviously, we recommend taking movement breaks throughout your day as much as you can. In addition, we are huge fans of getting your body functional before you go and do your regular workouts. But we also want you to stay as functional as possible throughout your workouts (and as you go throughout your day).
How can we accomplish that? There are different ways to do it, including doing your Egoscue menu, but one simple change you can make is to start wearing a shoe that allows as much functional movement as possible at the feet--the functional base of support for the rest of your body.
Your foot is designed to move, and shoes should allow that movement to happen. Shoes that take away from that ability aren't doing you or your body any favors. Sure, there may be a time and a place to wear shoes that don't allow a lot of movement (yes, it's ok to wear high-heels from time to time, ladies), but generally speaking, the less shoe, the better.
As your foot is allowed to move as it's designed, you are creating a functional "domino-effect" of improved and increased movement up the rest of the bodily chain. Basically, if your foot is moving better, so will your ankle, knee, hip, spine, etc. The improved function and mobility doesn't simply stop at the foot. It continues the path up the body, impacting you from toe to head.
"Barefoot shoes"--a term given to shoes that allow for the foot to move as designed--have been around for years now. Dating back to the early 2000s, we have had a plethora of minimalist shoes from which to choose. Nike, New Balance, Fila, Adidas, Merrell, the list goes on an on, have all had minimalist options. There are so many choices now, that the job of finding the "right" one for you can feel like a daunting task.
That's exactly why I wanted to weigh in on this issue. I actually talked about minimalist shoes on a Facebook Live broadcast, and the response was great. Clearly, several of you who tuned in to that video were in the market for minimalist shoes! The feedback and responses I have received from that talk has been incredible. I'm glad I covered this topic!
1. VivoBarefoot -- Choose any style they offer. You can't go wrong with the VivoBarefoot shoes.
3. New Balance Minimus -- These are my favorite running/race shoes. Some of the newer versions are a bit stiffer than the originals, but they are still great shoes.
4. Nike Free -- This is a good introductory shoe for those who are trying to transition to barefoot shoes. I have a pair that I wear currently.
5. Merrell Trail Glove -- Personally, this is my least favorite of the minimalist shoes I have used but some folks rave about them.
QUESTION: What is YOUR favorite pair of barefoot shoes?
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