After studying the history of shoe design, it’s very simple. The only reason we have heel lifts is to make people taller. When studying physics of feet, you learn that ANY abnormal heel lift throws off our fall line thus creating all kinds of compensations up and down the kinetic chain. Add some coil springs big enough for a Volkswagon to the mix, and it spells trouble…it actually spells something else I’d like to say, but I’m doing my best to keep this site family friendly. To think we can outsmart nature with spring loaded shoes is pretty funny…not really, but you get the point hopefully. If not, you’re feet will. For more information, see my Products Section.
An interesting point few discuss, but to understand gait, you must understand what shoes have done to gait. There are precious few “natural” shoes available. The only true natural shoe design is going to be something like a moccasin! Interestingly, at one point in history, shoes were not “right or left” sides but one shoe could fit both feet. There was no “shoe last design” that forced feet into shape—and thus the authentic moccasin allows the foot to function naturally without getting in the way. The end result is that the only true “natural” gait patterns are going to be found in shoeless populations. We might view a person as having a “normal” gait in Western culture, but in reality, normal is NOT natural because our feet have been deformed by the shoes we wear which results in altered gait patterns. This is a very important point that is rarely ever mentioned in current foot and shoe discussions. For more information, see my Products Section.
Gravity. It’s heavy and moves DOWN. Since our feet are on the bottom, they take a lot of load especially if one is obese. When you consider force, physics, and gravity all stressing feet–every extra pound beyond a normal amount of body fat makes the job more difficult. Walking seems so innocent, yet even walking produces 2-3X the amount of body weight in force PER STEP. Anyone that has less than efficient gait will go into the 3X category–basically most Americans since we no longer have good structure or “natural” body composition (while it is “normal” to see obesity, it’s NOT natural).
Sad but true–feet are brutalized. If you want healthy feet–lighten the load. Remove extra body fat. Learn to walk softly and efficiently. Wear foot-healthy shoes that help your feet work harder to create a more stable foundation. Check out my Ground Forces Math post for related information or my Products Section for more information.
I saw a “fitness” woman today with some horrific shoes on. Very stylish of course which reminded me of how fashion drives the shoe business instead of function. Her shoes reminded me of the shoes above from some of my shoe history research. Throughout history, a smaller and shorter foot was viewed as more attractive. There were some folks over the generations that elongated the appearance of feet on purpose–like the shoe above. While the shoes today were not long, they were very “pointy.” Her shoes came into a very sharp point directly in “what appeared to be” the center of her foot. I have worked with lots of feet for years. I have yet to see just ONE FOOT that is pointed in the middle! Why on earth would we wear shoes that have no resemblance to the actual shape of our feet? To make them look smaller. The price women (and men) pay for fashion is disfigurement, pain, injury, and even surgery. I have yet to meet one woman that had foot surgery where the actual surgery was successful. Every single case produced another foot problem from trying to fix the first foot problem. What causes the initial problems? Usually the shoes themselves strangling the feet into submission. Sexy women are great, but pick and choose your foot battles ladies because the more you wear pointy shoes, the worse your feet will feel, and if you wear them enough–you’ll actually change the bone structure of your feet as you disfigure them. Enjoy the fashion. I’ll take fitness feet any day. *See my Products Section for more information.
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