Why You NEED to Be Wearing Minimalist Shoes

Posted on January 3, 2022 CJ Kobliska

Hey, what’s happening y’all CJ Kobliska, the director of programming here at Gymnazo. And today, when I have a little chat with you about your feet and about transitioning into minimalist footwear. Now you’re watching this video because you’ve been doing minimalist for years, and you want to share your education with other individuals that you think could benefit from minimalist footwear. Maybe you just purchased your first pair of minimalist shoes, and you’re in the process of transitioning into mostly barefoot or minimalist style training. Or you might be on the end of I don’t know anything about minimalist, I’ve just heard it and I want to know more about it. Well, I want to help kind of guide your thoughts guide this path on where to go next. And I’m a big believer, big supporter of minimalist footwear. I think it’s all about getting back to the basics, I think it’s about really feeling your feet, feeling your body and feeling safe and comfortable in your environment. But also taking advantage and optimizing what your body is capable of. If our feet are tucked away in supportive, cushiony shoes, we’re basically asking our feet to not do very much, we’re asking them just to sit in a shoe and be there when our feet are capable of so much more. And why I love minimalist shoes is that it opens the potential it opens the capacity for movement. Because we’re building a better foundation. Think about your feet, when you’re standing up, they’re doing a lot of communicating to the rest of your body to be able to hold you up in space and even more so on a single leg. So you can think about walking is essentially going from one foot to another foot or a single a balanced another single leg balance and even running is now a leap to a leap or more of a flight phase and more impact. Well we’ve got to consider is how to progress ourself from that cushiony very supportive shoe into something that asks our feet to do much more than they have ever been asked to do before potentially. And that is to move to breathe and to communicate. Each foot has 26 bones in it, that means 52 bones are in your feet, that means a quarter of your bones in your body are down right beneath your ankles. Beyond that there are 33 joints in each foot. And there’s a network of muscles, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, over 100 of them in each foot that are working to keep your foot stable, to absorb to contract to essentially push off, keep your foot rigid, but also to be this shock absorber that’s kind of flattening piece that when we hit the ground, we’re not experiencing this huge shock, we’re experiencing more of the spring like or this loading to exploding. That’s why walking and running can be such a fun thing to do and get your mind off of whatever it is that matters because you’re just focusing on finding your flow, finding how one foot can load to the other foot loading and you’re exploding through your core your hips and down through your lower body. If you’ve been caught up in supportive and cushiony shoes your entire life, chances are your feet don’t really know how to absorb how to grip how to communicate better balance to the rest of your body. So we get kind of discombobulated even more so our posture base starts to get more kyphotic we start to protect up top because our feet don’t know what’s going on down beneath. And as soon as we get that foundation disruption, hips, get out of whack knees get out of whack. All these dysfunctions can occur Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis that are not because your feet are experiencing a lot of load, it’s because there’s either too much going on down there that your body is not able to to load and explode or chin transform those forces, or we just haven’t woken up those proprioceptive enough those sensors on the feet, those nerves in the feet that inform the rest of your body where you’re at in space. So where do you start, if you’re somebody who has never done minimalist before it’s go buy your first pair of minimalist shoes, or rather don’t buy any yet just take your shoes off throughout the day. Walk around your house, walk around your yard, barefoot. If you have the opportunity to do it throughout your day, outside of your house, go barefoot, go walk on the sand, go walk on some gravel, go walk on some grass, just keep your feet to experience life through the soles. Right if your feet can feel the grass, feel the terrain, you’re not just feeling that you’re sensing that and your body’s doing different things up top, in your shoulders, in your core, your spine and in your hips to help facilitate better balance.

It’s not about just being symmetrical, it’s about understanding when your foot hits the ground. shit hit the fan. Literally you could be going all over the place when your foot hits the ground for the very first time going barefoot. But over time, you’re going to start to develop sensory input sensory feedback. There’s a fair and efferent loop where your body kind of knows when your foot hits the ground. How can the rest of your body position itself so that you’re not putting all this stress into your arch or into your heel? Or you’re keeping your foot so rigid and grounded that held on that now your knee or your low back is experiencing that force of gravity ground reaction and math momentum. Good. So start slow, start slow. Just maybe get 10 minutes of barefoot walking in around your house throughout the day, get your bare feet in the sand, get your bare feet in the grass experience different terrains, different fields underneath your feet. Let’s say you wanted to train barefoot, you just got your pair of shoes and you’re going man, I’m seeing somebody else don’t know where minimalist shoes and they look like they’re rocking it, I’m going to try it out too. Well, if you’ve been doing a lot of cardio, a lot of impact, a lot of running a lot of jumping, a lot of hopping a lot of skipping things that involve your foot hitting the ground a little bit harder. If you go to transition from a supportive shoe, into something that is more minimalist, your foot hasn’t established any kind of baseline on how to land or how to shift your weight or how to explode. And also your foot just hasn’t endured that much loading your shoes been doing the loading, but your shoe isn’t communicating to us your body, your shoes, just doing the work. And then once that trends worn out, you go and buy your next shoe or even worse, you keep wearing those shoes, and there’s no there’s no support. And now your feet get really achy, your knees get really achy in your back, it’s really a key because your feet are now being asked to do more than they were doing when the shoe was brand new, cool thing about minimalist shoes is there’s not much to wear out, you’re already touching the ground, especially if you’re not just zero drop, but there’s no cushion, there’s no art support in there, it’s just maybe a leather footbed. Now you’re touching and rolling, your body is going to develop new ways to move, essentially new ways to walk and to load your body over your foot. That’s going to help make it more efficient, more effective and prevent you from getting injured. But if you go right into that impact workout, and it was an hour long and used in over 100 jumps or 100 steps of impact, your foot is going to let you know and it may be a sore arch. It may be really tight calves maybe a sensation in your hips and quads and knees that get really achy. There’s nothing to be alarmed about. There’s only signals to pay attention to. And many times, it’s those extra signals that start to bring some fear up like oh my gosh, did I am I doing something wrong? Maybe minimalist shoes wasn’t a good idea. And to be honest, you just need to progress you need to do it slowly. So if one day you barefoot or minimalist, and now you’re really, really achy, your body’s telling you don’t go do a whole bunch more impact loading, because now we’re going to start creating some stress, extra stress that’s unnecessary, our body hasn’t fully healed yet. So what I recommend to individuals who are starting to transition into more minimalist shoes, is to have your old shoes have your shoes that had the extra support. And on those days when you’re feeling like you need the extra support where those supportive shoes or where your arch support. But your goal should be to utilize that less and less and less and be able to endure more in your minimal shoes with less and less strain or quicker and quicker recovery. Where if it took you four days to recover from barefoot, you probably went a little bit too hard and had a little bit too much volume and impact underneath your feet. But if you felt pretty good take you a day to recover. And now it’s a low impact day go throw those minimal shoes back on experienced some loading fill your arches compressing into the ground, fill your feet exploding your heels lifting, and essentially, your entire foot working as a unit with the rest of your body. Now I get a lot of individuals that say Oh, but I have hierarchies or oh, I have really, really flat feet. I don’t think this is going to be good for me, I need my arch support. This is the exact reason why minimalist shoes will probably be a good thing for you. And it’s because it’s going to make your foot stronger. You may have a high arch, you may have a flat foot, it’s okay. You just need to have a strong foot, you can be flat footed and strong. You can be arch strong, and you can be just as powerful on either side of that spectrum. Maybe you’re sitting somewhere in between but you’re still experiencing some discomfort. It’s all about listening to your body. If your body is saying hey, man, I’m really really sore. I’m kind of scared to jump today because it’s so sore, maybe just down tweak a little bit, take some impact out.

It’s not worse of a workout, it may even be more powerful because now you’re getting this awareness, this feedback loop from your feet saying, hey, my feet are tired. Would you go do a bunch more pull ups. If your biceps are so fatigued and your arms were stuck like this? Or they didn’t want to fully straighten out? Would you be thinking that pull ups would be a great idea that next day max effort, probably not, but maybe some kind of pulling activity that’s just less intense. Same thing goes for your feet. If you did a bunch of impact and running, jumping and landing on those feet and they’re feeling extremely sore today. If that workout includes jumping in impact, ask the coach to tweak it a little bit. Say my feet are extremely sore. My calves are extremely sore and start to ebb and flow each day and understand more about what your feet are letting you know. You may have been wearing all these various supportive shoes that may have inhibited that communication going back up to your brain and you didn’t even know that the rest of your body is getting better. extra stress your knees, were taking a little extra load your low back was taking a little extra load your cervical spine and shoulders were taking a little bit of extra load. And now it’s slowly built up over time that you have lower back pain that went from acute to chronic. Or now you’re a little Achilles that got kind of funky. Now it’s really bothering you. And it’s more of a chronic pain. Maybe you had some kneecap aching before and now it’s just non stop nagging. Chances are that your feet just haven’t been doing much the work, your shoe may have done so much. But now you’ve had them for six months, and they’ve worn out some of the treads, so they’re not doing as much shock absorption. Now your feet have to do it but your feet don’t know what they’re doing. So now your knees, your back, your shoulders have to make up for it. The great thing about minimalist is you’re going to get that feedback in real time, it’s going to be instantaneous, you’re going to feel when your toes are moving a certain way, your foot sliding a certain way your heel strikes versus your mid foot strikes versus your forefoot strikes. There’s no wrong way to move. With this. It’s just learning to move better and express yourself better through movement. And if you can allow your soles of your feet to breathe and to move around your toes to explore and experience more space in a shoe. You’re going to have a more thorough input and experience in your training that’s going to inform you to make those little cues those little tweaks that aren’t just about impact or speed or power strength, but about position. So encourage you. If you haven’t done minimalist shoes and you’re just now getting into it progress, slowly walk around barefoot in your house and on days undefeated feeling a little extra sore in your feet or in your legs. Use your supportive shoes again, you’re not going backwards, you’re simply bridging that gap from extra support that your body doesn’t need to now utilize in the support that your body was innately built with are born with. And allow your time to adjust. Allow yourself time to adjust. It’s not going to be overnight. I’ve been doing minimalist training for years minimalist barefoot training, where now I prefer barefoot over any other shoe because I’m very aware of when I’m working too hard or when I’m putting too much impact or too much force into a certain part of my body. I started by just jumping into barefoot training and my feet, my ankles, my knees my back, let me know I stepped back away from that went back to my nike freeze my my bigger cushion soles and I felt good. But I wanted to get back into that barefoot training because I was a wrestler, I loved being barefoot on the beach, walking in the sand and not getting sore calves and ankles, just enjoying the experience of moving through some warm sand. And it took time it’s been now about a decade and I feel much more comfortable being barefoot or with a very very low supportive shoe. I like these very much. They’re my vivo barefoot, super durable base. But there’s I mean, there’s zeros, there’s Altras there’s Vibram FiveFingers there’s so many different shoes tennis shoes out there that all our versions of minimalist shoes, and you really got to find the one that works best for you. Um, sizing is going to be different, you got to make sure that there’s space in your shoe. If you didn’t know already, when you sweat, your your feet grow about a half size up to a size. So if you try are trying on shoes, when you’re cold, you’re like this fits really nice and then you go work out in them and you’re feeling me and my feet are kind of cramped up, your your shoe might be too small. And so that might be the issue. But that’s especially important going to barefoot. If you’re not used to going barefoot shoe or minimalist shoe, and it’s swallowing your foot when you’re working out, you might now be creating more dysfunction rather than more ability and enhancing your capacity to move. So be mindful of taking slow progressions, be mindful of allowing your time allowing yourself time to transition and feel more about your feet and address the changes in your body to you might be squatting different walking different, jumping different.

Running different is gonna be the biggest thing because if you’re running in barefoot shoes, and you never done it before, your gait patterns gonna shift and you got to be super mindful not to go too far too soon, because you don’t want to get injured. Right, you can’t really avoid injury. Prevent it too much. But you can set yourself up for more success, where if there’s a bit of a strain, you don’t go back out and run for distance again, you just take some time to heal and to get back out after other things to do. You can do our key exercises for your feet, single a balanced activities, a little step matrix, something like doing a tap in rotation a tap back and forth rotating across, opening up, taking your foot forward and back or side to side, just exposing your foot to different angulations of movement is now going to help to strengthen not only your arch, but all those other interactions of that network of tendons and ligaments and muscles and bones that are going to inform your not only your foot but your ankle, your knee, your hip and the rest of your body how to stabilize how to now transition effectively and efficiently versus spending too much time. Just feeling extremely comfortable in a cushions shoe that over time ends up hurting in the long run because your feet got weaker and weaker and weaker, because you weren’t using them. And whenever you don’t use you’re going to end up losing. So treat your feet with respect. Give them some honor and give them the love they deserve. Squeeze your toes a little bit, move around, push your arch get to know your feet much more by just taking your shoes off, taking those socks off and sticking them in the earth. And I’d love to know if this video was helpful for you. If you have more questions about minimalist, we could talk for hours about this but just it’s a matter of hearing your body and communicating with your body to a sense of I can go back to my other shoes, and then I’m going to wear these and trust that process it’s probably going to take you somewhere between six to 12 weeks to start to gain more comfortability in regular wear in those shoes, but beyond there now your feet are stronger than ever. Now your posture has a chance to get better. Now the strength in your hips your core can be utilized because your feet are turning those tissues on. So hope you guys enjoyed. Good luck out there with minimalist wear. Be Safe and Enjoy your feet. Talk soon

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