Most of us spend our day in shoes. We go to work in shoes, do errands in shoes, and work out in shoes. There’s also a shoe for every activity we do, making us think that we should always be wearing shoes to keep our feet healthy. But did you know that going barefoot keeps our feet active and promotes good foot health? Shoes can actually cause poor foot health, among other issues.
It’s not just about going barefoot. There is a certain technique to use to ensure you are going about it correctly. You want to make sure you grip your toes to the ground. This will generate an arch in your foot and create a connection through your hip. When Brian Mackenzie does this, his toes will often turn white.
Benefit #1: Allows us to Engage our Feet
Going barefoot allows us to actually use our feet and toes. If we’re constantly covering up our feet and putting a buffer between our feet and the ground, we have no connection and our feet become inactive. However, when we are barefoot, our toes are able to engage, stay active, and interact with the ground.
Benefit #2: Creates Torque
Sprinters use torque to propel themselves to the finish line. To generate torque, sprinters have to be able to use their feet correctly to establish an arch. This arch is what allows them to connect with their hips and use their bodyweight to generate force. When athletes aren’t able to connect their foot to the ground properly, there’s not a real connection which means their ability to produce an arch (AKA torque) is diminished.
Benefit #3: Promotes Good Foot Health
Many people are dealing with highly dysfunctional feet. Most issues seen in athletes can be linked to their feet. In fact, Brian and his team can typically pick up on most issues they’re going to see with an athlete just by looking at their feet. So it’s important to focus on foot health to not only prevent foot issues but other issues throughout the body as well.
Going barefoot allows your feet and toes to widen. It’s actually a good thing if your toes don’t touch- it’s a sign of good foot health. Many people who wear shoes have toes that are close together and sometimes even overlap. This is a sign of poor foot health. Adopting barefoot habits can make you much more comfortable and mitigate a lot of mobility issues, among other benefits.
Benefit #4: Prevents Issues Throughout the Entire Body
Another benefit of going barefoot is for those who have collapsed arches or flat feet. When using the proper barefoot technique that allows the hips to connect, feet are able to re-establish an arch and become stronger and more mobile. A lot of MMA athletes deal with collapsed arches, which shows that they are not using their feet and hips as they should be.
Barefoot techniques also prevent improper form. When your body knows how to properly connect to the ground, it prevents athletes from doing abnormal movements. For example, some athletes will put their weight on the outer part of their foot while running or doing activities like deadlifts and squats. This supinated movement can not only cause pain on the outside of the foot, but it also can cause many other issues. By incorporating barefoot principles and allowing our feet to function properly, we can prevent many other issues throughout the body.
Brian Mackenzie has seen the difference in his athletes. Those who have transitioned to a more barefoot lifestyle are complaining a lot less about various issues than those who have not yet transitioned. While most of us would like to lead a more barefoot lifestyle, for many it just isn’t realistic. We have to go to work and be in situations where shoes are required. For all those people, Brian recommends just going barefoot as much as you possibly can.
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