I am so excited about Feet Freex - the grassroots movement started by Jessi Stensland to liberate our feet and persuade the footwear industry to provide smarter shoes for our feet. People everywhere like Jessi are waking up to the reality that shoes, especially as they are designed today, are actually harming our feet and bodies.
Did you know that roughly 1/3 of America’s foot doctors are educated by the Dr. Scholl’s School of Podiatry? Dr. Scholl’s is a medical institution with a clear financial interest in orthotics and maladapted footwear. To be clear, I am not implying that shoemakers are intentionally producing harmful shoes or that there’s a conspiracy between doctors and cobblers. I am saying that podiatrists and shoemakers share a worldview that is flawed. In their worldview, the bare foot by itself is insufficient to perform its intended functions – standing, walking, running, and jumping. In their view, our feet need the aid of man-made, artificial devices, i.e., shoes and orthotics. I believe they are wrong. Unfortunately, the public relies on them – the foot experts – to tell us how to care for our feet, yet 70% of runners are injured every year and millions of people seek relief from shoe-induced ailments never realizing the shoe is the problem and simply taking it off is the answer.
Despite a growing barefoot community, most podiatrists still insist that shoes are modern necessities and do not advocate walking or running barefoot. With the exception of Vibram® and a few smaller companies, shoe manufacturers still refuse to make shoes that conform to the anatomy of the human foot or truly augment the biomechanics of ambulation (see Jessi's video on her cycle shoe surgery). Rather than embracing truth and knowledge to forge a new path to smart shoes and healthy feet, large shoe manufactures have “dug in their heels” and refuse to change their habits. They do so at their own peril.
Going barefoot is natural and healthy. Our feet are designed for it. We wear shoes primarily for cultural reasons and the shoes we wear are built for fashion not function. If you’ve been wearing shoes for years, you may need to rehabilitate your feet but liberating them from shoes will make you stronger and healthier. To learn more about your feet and shoes, please join the Tribe. Also, get a copy of my book, The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes. Share what you learn with your friends and family. Together, we can tear down the cultural barriers that keep us in shoes that tear up our feet!
Go to FeetFreeX.com and join the movement!