Shoe Addiction 

I can never wrap my mind around the overuse of shoes. It is rare to see anyone barefoot in public these days, even at the park. I don’t understand how people rationalize wearing shoes during every waking hour.

I had to scroll deep in my photo log for a shoe picture; all my shoes are in the truck. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I wore shoes last night and today when barely needed. Last night, it was dark and I was weed-wacking, so covered toes helped move quickly with no worries of briars. And today, I had planned the same (but a storm rolled up after ten minutes). 

After putting up the wacker, I jumped in the car to move it into standard position. I still had the running shoes on and I couldn’t feel the pedals. Like walking through mud, waiting to step in a hole, I had no sensation of a solid surface under the foot. It’s like the third time I’ve driven with shoes on in four years. How do you people stand it?

With bare toes, I grip the edges of the pedal. I could barely tell if I was touching the pedal. I scratch my feet on the corners of the brake pedal and massage the arch of my feet with my toes while I drive. I cross my feet often – there’s no room for that with a huge cast laced onto your feet. 

With the yard work in flip-flops (minimalist shoes), it is nice to have the majority of the sole protected. The sides are still exposed and the toes are free to breathe. This way, the full cast is not in effect; the bubble of divinity doesn’t envelope my phalanges. 

There is a chance for slight injury. Like  stepping onto a sharp stem that had broken near the ground. This happened two days ago – it shot through the rubber and stabbed me in the foot. The stem was like a nail, an inch long with a pointed tip. No blood, no cut, no worries: natural, honed foot agility saved my skin. 

Reading on the prospect of barefoot running, a couple years ago, and I came across an article that I’d love to find again. I remember stopping in a parking lot to read it. The article was too interesting to read while driving. The writer told how he had been a runner for ages. Then some health consequence made him consider a more natural approach to running. He researched the natural gait of indigenous peoples and he studied anatomy. It seemed like he did his research fairly. 

…As he described the native’s walking style, it sounded normal. It brought to my attention the way that I walk while barefoot, versus with shoes. It had never really occurred to me before, but it is systematically different. 

  • With shoes: heel strikes first and most shock is absorbed by that region. The impact causes much stress in the ankle and there is an increased chance of shin splints. 
  • Barefoot: the forefoot lands first (it’s not a footstrike as the running guides explain) and more specifically, the area under your smallest toe. The stress is then placed mostly on muscles and attaching fibers. The ankle joint takes little stress as it is allowed to move during impact. 

I could compare the stress of the ankle to auto accidents. If you were to be rear-ended by some random jackass staring at his smartphone, would you rather be (A) parked directly in front of a brick wall with no room between your bumper and brick; or, (B) in an empty lot with your car  already moving at a slow speed and in neutral?

…The answer is most definitely B. Unless you just like the idea of becoming a bloody sardine. The forward movement of your car will greatly lessen the intensity of the impact. 

Why would you want your ankles to suffer the same fate? The mechanics of the hands and feet are amazingly intricate. I’m not about to look it up but there’s a large percentage of your bones all compiled in those regions. It is a well built shock absorber that is wasted on the masses of shoed runners. 

They’re all too scared. Scared they’ll step on glass or an acorn. Afraid they won’t see the poop like Forrest Gump. Scared of ringworm. . . Really, scared of ringworm? I’ve seen it twice in my life. Once on a little kid who played with all of us other kids in mud puddles. The second occasion was a few months ago. And that was on an engineer who liked to eat old food (out the trash can when he thinks no one is looking). Scared of cutting their feet or pavement ripping their delicate flesh. 

…Yes, the pavement will rip your flesh away. Over time, calluses are built up and then there’s no problem. 

…Stepped on glass. OUCH! It happens, it hurts, now sit your butt down & break out your pocket knife and learn your lesson about looking towards the horizon. That’s the dumbest place to look and you read that as standard practice. Look at this excerpt from ruunersworld.com:

How you hold your head is key to overall posture, which determines how efficiently you run. Let your gaze guide you. Look ahead naturally, not down at your feet, and scan the horizon. This will straighten your neck and back, and bring them into alignment. Don’t allow your chin to jut out.”

Unlearn that stupidness. Watch out for snakes and debri. But don’t stare at your feet, don’t tunnel vision or you won’t see that car behind you either. The standard eye location is to scan the area within the next several steps. And it isn’t natural to look ahead, if so WHY WOULD THERE EVER HAVE BEEN ETIQUETTE SCHOOLS with books on your head? Natural is looking for snakes and tigers. In other words: in all directions. 

I just read the rest of the article. Standard dribble. “With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly–landing between your heel and midfoot–then quickly roll forward.” Sounds to me like you want to use the mechanics of the foot with your roll-forward, but you cannot land on the middle between fore and rear without being overly flat, thereby restricting ankle movement. 

But the glass. Get over it. I can’t even estimate how many times I’ve stepped on glass with no injuries beyond it being stuck in my calluses. Most times what happens when you step on debri, a sort of cunning ability occurs. 

…The foot has finely tuned sensors that detect the slightest of touches. When an object is stepped on, the foot seems to have the ability to move around the object. It is more likely that the skin is more elastic. If the debri is under the soft skin (arch), and since the foot doesn’t land flat, (the foot would be rolling backwards from forefoot to heel), the option to roll forward to the toes is readily available. Or to either side, as movement in any direction is easy while on the forefoot. 

…The adjustments don’t have to be major occurrences to avoid a rock. 

…If landing directly on the object, the pad of the forefoot is thick enough to absorb a sliver of glass and pliable enough to wrap around an acorn.

No need for an ambulance yet. The rebalancing of the foot is instantaneous. You will not personally dodge the object, your body will. 

But I don’t want rough, thick feet!

Me neither!! And I don’t, maybe that’s due to regular foot massages. Or due to walking on too much concrete, scrubbing my skin off a bit. Cause I sure don’t use lotion. 

Once upon a time in a land not too far way, I was barefoot in a grocery store. Minding my own business, tip-toeing around on cold tile floor, a kid in a  shopping cart yells out, “HE GOT FEETS!”  The little kid looked at his mom and was shocked. 

…I think I was more shocked than him. 

It really bothers me that most people refuse to see the negative side of shoe use. Besides losing the ability to step on green pine cones, they really miss out on core posture. 

*I forgot to finish about the writer talking about cadence and stride. Natural is short stride – quick movement. “Normal” is long stride – slow movement (of hip flexors). 

2_7_2017 Tuesday, 10:37pm

2 thoughts on “Shoe Addiction 

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