Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Z-Health Thought of the Day: How to find Healthy Shoes

We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of "foot fitness" and shoes. I'm learning more and more with Z-Health too about how important our feet are neurologically especially when you consider the Ground Forces Math involved with each foot strike.

On these notes, I found a great shoe review section. It's a "bare foot" website, but the point is to find shoes that you can wear that let your feet function more like they are bare foot i.e. less restriction.

The new trend in shoes is "less is more." You will see more and more shoes being built with less support and more flexibility, so the feet can do what they were designed to do in the first place--stabilize. All of our fancy running shoes to correct pronation, supination, poor stabilization basically got this result--more injuries! Want to fix all these problems the right way? Improve the fitness of your feet!!! Even work boots now are being made to flex properly so the feet can do what they need to do. I'll be developing this idea a lot in 2010, but for now, here is the review site and one very simple rule to find a "foot healthy" shoe!

To find a shoe that is foot healthy, simply pick it up, turn it over, and apply these two tests:
1. Break it in half at the arch
2. Twist it diagonally at the arch

Most shoes will only break at the toe box area, but the shoe needs to actually break in the middle section. If the shoe is too stiff to "twist" then the foot cannot function properly.

I bought one pair of Ecko shoes that my feet LOVE. I never understood why until taking the Z-Health training. When I got home, I tested the Eckos, and sure enough, they broke in the middle and twisted! That's why my feet love them--because my feet can function properly! The new Nike Free running shoes also do this well. Converse One Stars will also pass this test along with others--see review site for more specifics.

Here's the review section. Look for more and more major brands coming out with more healthy shoes, but if in doubt, just apply the rules above to any shoe you might want to purchase. True--not all of my shoes will break and flex in the middle, but more and more my feet know the difference and say NO when I put on the shoes that do not meet the criteria above. Think of Ground Forces Math--the better your feet hit the ground, the better you will walk, and the healthier you will be.
In Foot Fitness! Coach RJ