The benefits of being barefoot

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The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:49 pm

I've wanted some Vibram 5fingers for a while especially as I loathe shoes.

Couple of interesting links on the benefits of being bare foot, I always preferred running around with bare feet growing up which caused serious issues finding shoes that fit and I still think it's preferable. The problem with city living is hygiene and damaging your feet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/business/30shoe.html?_r=1&em
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/05/07/vibram-five-fingers-shoes/
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Rilla on Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:59 pm

There are billions of articles on Vibrams outthere.
Some good ones on Keith-in-training, but just google vibram and running, there are so many... :)

Also, I posted a link elsewhere to Vivo Barefoot - check it out!
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:21 pm

I like that link! Take careful note about building up your foot strength tho

-Do not overdo it at first. Chances are that the ligaments and musculature of your feet is underdeveloped. Use them for no more than 1/2 – 1 mile in the first 24 hours, then take a day off. I suggest alternating VFFs with “normal” shoes or flat-soled shoes like Chuck Taylors for the first week. I now use VFFs for no more than three days in a row, as I’ve had some bruising on the heel with more, and such bruising is slow to heal and massively inconvenient. Asphalt is somewhat forgiving, concrete much less so (The Embarcadero in SF, for example), and marble or stone is brutal (casino floors in Las Vegas, etc.).
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:48 pm

@Rilla: did you go for the standard anklet ones or the ones with coolmax? http://www.toesocks.co.uk/

Also, I see that http://www.lovethoseshoes.com/Range.asp?RangeID=365 do the Injinji, which are rated by the 5 fingers people.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Alex on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:53 pm

Is there really any benefit from such things in sport?
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:59 pm

Yeah I think so. Stronger foot = stronger legs = stronger hips = less injuries all over really. It is quite surprising just how much shoes affect the entire body structure.

I want these:
Image
:lol:
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:00 pm

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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:22 pm

I think there are serious benefits. Before I wandered into the field of biogeochemistry I specialised in biomechanics. I hate shoes, and positively loathe high heels. I've even changed my mind about ironworks as they have a raised heel.

Shoes compress the feet into a typical slant shape, with the big toe being the furthest point away and the others tucked in close and forming a line or side of a triangle. A human foot that has never worn shoes is more like a fan shape with all the toes spread. This has better force distribution and is much more stable for running and movement.

http://www.chiroweb.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=31847 - OK so this focuses more on women but some good underlying points. I'm trying to track down a full copy of the Gorecki paper.

Cushioned running shoes were considered an innovation as you can run landing on the heel as opposed to a natural toe or mid point landing. It can even result in No wonder people end up with knee problems. The alteration of foot shape has implications for gait, balance, planar fascia and arch strength and I could go on. See pic below
Image

It's amazing how much muscle your feet actually can have. When my foot came out of plaster after 6weeks, it was 1/3 (I measured it) the width and 1/2 the thickness it was before.

[quote=health4ni]Stronger foot = stronger legs = stronger hips = less injuries all over really[/quote] It's not simply a question of strength. It's about biomechanical alignment, correct firing and muscle activation, posture, anterior pelvic tilt. So for e.g. Joint Moments and Muscle Forces in Walking with Different Heel Heights
S.J. Hwang, H.S. Choi, H.H. Choi, H.S. Kim, and Y.H. Kim (Korea) *

Keywords

Modeling, biomechanics, high heel walking, and muscle forces
Abstract

In this study, we determined joint moments and muscle forces in the lower extremity during walking with different heel-height shoes using the 3D motion analysis and the corresponding musculoskeletal modeling. Totally fifteen healthy women participated in 3D motion analysis for various walking with barefoot, flat shoe, 3cm, 6cm and 9cm high heels. Inverse dynamic simulations were also performed using a musculoskeletal model in order to calculate joint moments and muscle forces in the lower extremity. As for the hip, joint angles, joint moments and corresponding muscle forces did not show significant differences. Rectus femoris, the biarticular muscle for hip flexor and knee extensor, revealed stronger effect on the knee than the hip. Soleus, playing the most important role for ankle plantarflexor, showed decreases in the maximum muscle force at pre-swing, as heel height increased. Tibialis anterior produced larger dorsiflexion moments for foot clearance with higher-heeled shoes.

I have even been wondering recently if the large no of people I see walking duck toed is an adaption to the fact those people do not have naturally spread feet. That they walk with their toes pointing out to try and mimic the natural fan foot shape. Tho obviously this is speculation on my part as I haven't any way of testing it.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:27 pm

^^ nice post.

I know it's not just about getting stronger feet, but they may sway Alex :lol: ;)
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:00 pm

Continuing my biomechanical tirade this evening.

Image
Most people, including doctors, have never seen a natural foot, unaltered by footwear. The following images of habitually bare feet are taken from a study performed almost 100 years ago, published 1905 in the American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, which examined the feet of native barefoot populations in the Philippines and Central Africa. A line can be drawn that runs through the heel, ball, and big toe of a habitually bare foot. The little toes spread naturally and fan out to provide a wide, stable base for walking or standing.


Image
How do our shod feet compare? The following more common image, also taken from the 1905 study, demonstrates feet that are shaped like the owner’s shoes. No such line can be drawn, and the little toes crowd to a point—a comparatively unstable, narrow base for walking or standing.


I would just like to stress that your feet are as individual as you are and very well may not spread as much as the feet in the first pic, but they will have the that line that indicates good biomechanical orientation.

I've taken a pic of my foot and I walk around barefoot as much as I can and I still have slight alignment issues, the line isn't going perfectly through my foot. The green line is my alignment and the red line is what it should be if my big toe was in the correct position. Still, it's not actually that bad.
Image
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby simon m on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:12 pm

Not sexy though and I do like a women in heels, thigh or flap high that is.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:16 pm

simon m wrote:Not sexy though and I do like a women in heels, thigh or flap high that is.

I see where you're coming from, but disformed feet from habitual high heel wearing really make me wanna upchuck
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby simon m on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:18 pm

GymBunny wrote:
simon m wrote:Not sexy though and I do like a women in heels, thigh or flap high that is.

I see where you're coming from, but disformed feet from habitual high heel wearing really make me wanna upchuck

It's like the binding of feet as well and that's wrong.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Alex on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:22 pm

Still no real sports application though apart from running, climbing or being in the gym. Wearing toe socks under Rugby boots isn't going to really make any difference for example. At least I wear wide fit boots so I'm not squashed.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Max on Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:16 pm

Is it weird I find that pic arrousing :lol: ;)
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Rilla on Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:20 pm

health4ni wrote:@Rilla: did you go for the standard anklet ones or the ones with coolmax? http://www.toesocks.co.uk/

Also, I see that http://www.lovethoseshoes.com/Range.asp?RangeID=365 do the Injinji, which are rated by the 5 fingers people.


I got the light runner and the runner and both are great. Actually the regular socks with no wicking or anything are easier to put on and get a perfect fit (without too long toes etc) probably because they're sized as a 4-11 and are very stretchy.
They feel great, even in regular shoes. :)
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:16 am

^^ thanks mate.


Thanks Lys, some more interesting stuff. My feet def need to go a bit more "natural". I read that link to that long article I posted; very good read actually.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby cleaver on Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:41 am

Max wrote:Is it weird I find that pic arrousing :lol: ;)


LOL

You'd sh@g a hairy armpit :lol:
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:11 pm

Reading all this barefoot stuff again has reignited my desire to get some Vibrams. Off to London in 2 weeks and so will try to get to a shop that sells them and get the wife to buy me them for Xmas. I also like the look of the Vivo (these & these).

Taking a look at my feet they are def affected by the shoes I wear... well trainers. I'm a trainer lover. I have many. Esp love Adidas; shell-toes, stan smith. My fav pair at the mo are these boys: Image

But unfortunately they are not good for the feet :cry:
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Rilla on Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:24 pm

Well Scott, they could be much much worse. Those are at the "decent" end of the spectrum as far as I can tell. Not a whole lot arch support and well, pretty flat and basic.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby health4ni on Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:09 pm

Yeah I know. I have bought trainers recently with thinner and flatter soles. But I want moooaaarrrrr :P
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Rilla on Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:35 pm

health4ni wrote:Yeah I know. I have bought trainers recently with thinner and flatter soles. But I want moooaaarrrrr :P


As do I.
I've started wearing my Chucks out of the gym and I take off my shoes alot while at work. :D
If my KSOs aren't here tomorrow, I'll flip out. :)
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Pingu on Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:01 am

GymBunny wrote:I think there are serious benefits. Before I wandered into the field of biogeochemistry I specialised in biomechanics. I hate shoes, and positively loathe high heels.

Shoes compress the feet into a typical slant shape, with the big toe being the furthest point away and the others tucked in close and forming a line or side of a triangle. A human foot that has never worn shoes is more like a fan shape with all the toes spread. This has better force distribution and is much more stable for running and movement.


This and your other posts are fascinating Lys, thanks.

Personally I cannot walk for long without shoes as I require custom made orthotics for my own wonky biomechanics, but I am certainly with you on the loathing of poor footwear choices and the effect that has on the feet and the body. Whilst I am occasionally girly and love wearing high heels, I cannot do this for very long without having to sit down, and I always end up taking them off by the end of the night! I wear embarrasingly comfortable shoes for 99.9% of the time.

It makes me cringe seeing women totter around in heels all the time, the way their over pronation makes their ankles look like they are going to break etc. The damage this does to your frame is huge.

From a sports perspective, I am really interested in that bare foot running piece in particular. I have never looked at it that way...so thank you for that!

I would love to be a barefoot walker as it feels so much better...but for me that's not an option!

Great thread Lys.
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby GymBunny on Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:16 am

Pingu wrote:
This and your other posts are fascinating Lys, thanks.

Personally I cannot walk for long without shoes as I require custom made orthotics for my own wonky biomechanics, but I am certainly with you on the loathing of poor footwear choices and the effect that has on the feet and the body. Whilst I am occasionally girly and love wearing high heels, I cannot do this for very long without having to sit down, and I always end up taking them off by the end of the night! I wear embarrasingly comfortable shoes for 99.9% of the time.

It makes me cringe seeing women totter around in heels all the time, the way their over pronation makes their ankles look like they are going to break etc. The damage this does to your frame is huge.

From a sports perspective, I am really interested in that bare foot running piece in particular. I have never looked at it that way...so thank you for that!

I would love to be a barefoot walker as it feels so much better...but for me that's not an option!

Great thread Lys.


Thanks Pingu, but tis a slight over-exaggeration to say all my posts are fascinating.

But thanks should be returned because you have just demonstrated a very common misconception about the function and behaviour of the foot in the text I have bolded. Orthotics are not good things. They effectively interfer with the natural ability of the foot to absorb impact. In fact the article link health posts summarises it very nicely, and more coherently than I can:

The arch of the foot absorbs force when the feet impact the ground, stretching tendons in multiple directions, flattening and deflecting momentum. ‘Supporting’ the arch of the foot by placing it on a convex orthotic would make it virtually impossible for it to function as a shock absorber.

The arch support, which is present in all running footwear, would interfere with the downward deflection of the medial arch on loading. Furthermore, the use of orthodics, or other structures that are fitted to the mold of the soft tissues of the foot, could cause similar difficulty. Such designs occur when an engineer looks at the foot as an inflexible lever which is delicate and thus requires packaging. Various myths persist about foot behavior due to poor understanding of its biology. (Robbins and Hanna 1987)
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Re: The benefits of being barefoot

Postby Rilla on Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:19 am

GymBunny wrote:Thanks Pingu, but tis a slight over-exaggeration to say all my posts are fascinating.


Ya think? Wow. I find all of your posts fascinating Lys, and I think you're the coolest/sweetest/nicest/hottest/insert superlative person ever.

That's all.
Have a nice day, thanks.
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