There is nothing closer to nature than going au naturel! While I’m not suggesting you should shed your clothes and go walking into the forest, there are a few ways in which we can not only be a little more in touch with our bodies, but also get closer to the ground we walk on.
While we do often need gear to assist us and protect our bodies when active, there is also plenty of research around the benefits of going back to basics.
So what do we know about traditional footwear?
Traditional footwear is designed to provide benefits such as support, cushioning, protection and comfort to help make our experience better while being active. Whether it be hiking boots, trail running shoes, sandals, or even our everyday shoes, these are designed with specific features like extra cushioning, ankle support, arch supports or structured uppers. to help reduce discomfort and injury while wearing them.
So this sounds great, right - so what else do we need to consider?
While traditional footwear has more features, this means our bodies do less. While this is not a bad thing by any means, what this does mean is our bodies become accustomed to the environment that is working in. These extra features mean that the smaller intrinsic muscles and tendons become reliant on something external. Take these external features away and our bodies become exposed. If you think back to when you were a kid, often you would get hurt and could bounce back from injury. However as we get older we take just that little bit longer. Often that's because we have had a little more comforts in life than when we were kid's. Much like when you get an amazing new matress for your bed. Feels great, your body loves the comfort however when you hit the trails for that over night hike, or you stay in a place that's not so familiar your back (and sleep) suffers.
The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece.
The natural foot is wide (fan shaped), flexible (with three dynamic arches), and sensory (with thousands of nerve endings).
The Part of the brain that gests information from the feet is the same size as the part of the brain that gets information from the hands. Take away this feedback and the brain gets confused, resulting in unskillful movement and pain.
The foot is the body’s base of support. The arches act like springs and, when ‘unloaded’, the intrinsic muscles and ligaments provide arch support. When ‘loaded’ the arch collapses and the ligaments, muscles and tendons provide elastic recoil. When running your body needs to absorb 2x your body weight in shock. The arches and ankle are designed to absorb 52% of this shock. Take away this – by heel striking – and that ‘shock’ needs to be absorbed by the knees and hips.
Shoes should let your feet do their thing. We like Vivobarefoot, as Vivo allow your feet to function naturally.
While we recognise that every body is different, and some bodies need a little more help than others. Vivobarefoot can be a great tool to help condition your body and feet - a little like doing yoga for your feet. For some this may mean using Vivo as a training tool which will enhance your experience when doing your favourite hike, your weekend walk or gym session. Whereas for others it will mean you might mean a new way of life.