We spend most of our lives awake wearing shoes. We put on shoes in the morning to go to work and then we change them for shoes to exercise in the gym. It is so much the time we spend wearing shoes that we end up expecting not only style but also comfort.
Nowhere is this search for comfort, together with that of good performance, more important than in the athletic shoe industry. Since the introduction of modern athletic footwear in 1972, manufacturers have spent countless time and effort to improve their design. Terms like "damping systems", "torsion control", "balanced support" and "pronation correction" are common, and even the idea of a microprocessor inserted into the arc hardly surprises anyone.
However, now some are wondering if perhaps this demand for more cushioning, more support and more functionalities - together with the goal of manufacturers to create products that the public wants - has not given rise to footwear that provides too many goodness with its dense cushioning and thick soles.
Effectively, the footwear provides stability, comfort and support. But, at the same time, immobilize your feet and ankles. The footwear restricts the natural movement, which allows certain muscles to weaken. In addition, it increases the energy cost of the exercise along with the risk of injuries.
The analysis has also shown that the mechanics of running are effectively altered when wearing shoes, since runners hit the ground with their heels instead of making the hit, more efficiently, with the front of the foot. In fact, the impact with the heel causes a force of three times the muscle weight, which is repeated with each stride. This force is distributed throughout the body and can cause pain and injuries anywhere in the body's kinetic chain (the muscular system, the nervous system and the skeletal system).
Steve Maxwell, a strength specialist with MaxwellSC. com, agrees: "I think (footwear manufacturers) realize they may have taken the wrong direction with intense cushioning and thick heels."
A barefoot or minimal footwear workout gives the feet more information subtle about the surface, which optimizes the effectiveness of the movement.
Erwan Le Corre, founder of the MovNat natural training movement
Better performance through the natural movement
"A barefoot or minimal footwear training provides at the feet more subtle information about the surface, which optimizes the effectiveness of the movement, "says Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat, a movement in favor of natural training."It also keeps them strong and healthy. "
Over the last few years the fitness industry has taken the most cautious terrain, with more stable footwear and high support at the ankles. But this may be doing more harm than good. The stiffness and protection that support and inflexible footwear provide in fact prevents the feet and ankles from doing what they were designed for: moving, adjusting, compensating and, above all, providing information about how the body should respond to surfaces that the feet find.
This may be the reason why the rate of ankle sprains and knee injuries has increased rather than decreased among athletes in various sports, despite the abundant options in athletic footwear. An article by Laura Miler in "Becker's National Orthopedic and Spine Review" notes that "foot and ankle injuries linked to sports are increasing among athletes." In fact, numerous studies have shown that those who use the most expensive high-performance athletic shoes have in fact greater chances of suffering an injury.
Developing the strength of your feet and ankles will improve your overall dexterity and sensitivity. Your balance, self-perception and quality of movement are also improved, which benefits daily activities, as well as gym training and sports performance.
Integration is the key
Should you choose your surfaces carefully?
Many runners prefer to train on natural surfaces, as they believe that these surfaces reduce the impact on their joints and allow them to run longer distances. But are surfaces or footwear what affects a runner?
When a runner trains using shoes, he will usually run using inefficient heel kick mechanics. This creates an impact that the runner absorbs with each stride. Those who run barefoot or with minimalist footwear, however, tend to have a medium foot kick, in which the heel and metatarsal are supported simultaneously, or a blow of the front foot, on which the metatarsal rests first. These steps are more natural and can result in such a way that almost no collision force is generated, making the surface on which it runs unimportant.