Foot Myths + Misleading Footwear

barefoot feet foot footwear grounding health wide toe box Feb 06, 2023


Much of the population, including healthcare professionals, are misinformed and misguided on foot health, footwear, and how to care for feet. Feet are oddly neglected in relation to the important role they play in overall motor patterns.

Most shoes are damaging to your body or “bad” for you. Cushion and thick heels alter the mechanics of your entire mechanical system. Feet are meant to move, while being stable and spring-like. Being barefoot is not a fad; in fact, humans have been walking and running barefoot for millions of years. There is an apparent NEED for an educational movement on feet and footwear.


I have heard too many practice members tell me that their doctor told them to wear shoes at all times, even in the house! Too many have received steroid shots, surgery, or forced to wear expensive orthotics –all without sustainable improvement. Most of what I see prescribed is exactly what is damaging, used to mask symptoms rather than address the CAUSE. Feet do not stay dysfunctional forever, given the proper care and motivation.


The foot is an evolutionary marvel, brilliantly designed to distribute forces as it strikes the ground and to drive the body forward.   The foot contains 25% of the bones in our body, has 33 joints, and over 100 muscles and ligaments. These joints and muscles all intricately designed to act together to form arches, complex muscular patterns, and a masterpiece of structural and functional engineering for the capacity of optimal movement.



Our feet were designed to function perfectly with NOTHING on them. When you use something the way it is not designed it eventually breaks down, becoming weak and rigid. We are not designed to sit all day and we are not designed to wear shoes. These shoes are similar to a car driving on square wheels or walking with feet as solid blocks. Yes, we are designed to be barefoot but we also need some form of protection on our feet in today’s world. Footwear needs to be designed based on biology and fostering optimal function, not designed to what appeals to the misinformed or what attracts the eye. Most shoes are bad for your feet and it is currently a struggle to find affordable, functional footwear.

People are not born with flat feet, bunions, hammertoes, or heel spurs; these issues do not just “run in the family”. People are born with feet that are equipped and powerful which eventually become weak, immobile, and dysfunctional over time due to modern lifestyles and destructive footwear. Feet develop issues when they stop working properly and we lose the ability to control them.

Your feet do not fail you, you do not have “bad feet,” and you do not have to “live with it.” Thank your feet for pain; they are doing their job by warning you something needs to change. In order for the foot to function the way it is designed, it needs to remain mobile, stable, strong, and function in proper pattern with the rest of the body. Dysfunctional patterns and weakening footwear cause the foot to lose stability, strength, structure, and the ability to control them.

Not only do these dysfunctional patterns affect your feet, but everything upstream, as well. Just like a building, your feet form the foundation of your body. A crack in the foundations of a building will make the entire structure weak and not function properly. Altered foot function causes decreased mobility and stability to the ankle, knee, hip, spine, and all the muscles in between.


As the foot pronates (turns inward or flat) it causes the leg to internally rotate, knee move inward, hip internally rotate, and pelvis tilt forward—affecting how the rest of the body moves and weight is distributed, putting abnormal forces on different areas of the body all because of the subtle change in the foot.

We need to start addressing the root causes of dysfunction: focusing on footwear, mobility, stability, and gait. Reclaim your innate power by being educated and informed.



Get barefoot: Bare feet = happy feet. Going barefoot is a transition for those who wear shoes majority of the day. Slowly increase barefoot time each day. Being barefoot is a strengthening exercise for your feet and upstream. Let your feet return to being mobile and strong. Feet are not meant to be bound by constraint, systematically damaging our feet.

Walk on different surfaces: Only walking on flat surfaces does not mobilize the 33 joints in your feet and dampens its sensory network. Walk on grass, dirt, smooth rocks, and uneven surfaces.

Choose better footwear: Optimal human footwear allows your foot to work as if it was barefoot but protects the sole. Avoid: unnecessary cushion, higher heel than foot, too much structural assistance, arch support (your feet need to create your natural arch), and a narrow toe box. Optimal footwear: minimal cushion, minimal heel, and wide toe box.


Terrible for your feet and walking/running gait.


Ideal: they do not squish your feet, allow optimal movement and space for the widest part of your foot (toes), and no unnecessary heel.


Spend 2 minutes/foot/day: Use a firm lacrosse ball and roll out the sole of your foot for at least 2 minutes. Roll it front and back, side to side, and underneath your toes.

Spend 2 minutes/calf/day: Keep your calves loose to allow improved ankle and foot mobility. Massage them with a foam roll, lacrosse ball, or softball for 2 minutes. Tight calves affect ankle mobility, crushing the arch of your foot with every step.

Feel the ground underneath you, be aware of sensation: Your feet are sensory organ we tend to lose touch with when covered up with cushion. The bottom of your feet are densely packed with nerve ending, picking up subtle shifts in texture, vibration, and light touch. The signals are sent upstream, telling the rest of your body how to engage your muscles and move. Discover the rich sensory experience of feeling the ground underneath you while instantly improving your balance and movement.

Walk with your feet straight: Walking with your feet rotated in or outward cause your feet and ankles to distribute unbalanced forces, causing dysfunction and pain over time.

Orthotics are a temporary crutch: Orthotics are vastly overprescribed. They are used as a crutch, causing stiffness and weakened musculature. Just like if you use crutches for a broken ankle, as a temporary means to get by, you cannot use them forever as a band-aid solution without actually fixing the problem. Wean away from unneeded orthotics by proper foot health education.

Get out of the chair and sedentary lifestyle: Most issues people experience today are because humans are not doing what their bodies are evolved to do. Chairs and shoes cause and contribute to movement restrictions, muscular imbalance, movement dysfunctions, and tissue adaptations. Be a mover. Humans are not meant to sit for 2 or 8 hours at a time.

Mindful walking: Think about how you walk. Walking is something we take for granted until we are in pain. Many don’t realize how subtle shifts can affect the entire body and cause issues over time. Make sure your hips are extending well, using your glutes (butt muscles) to push you forward. Walking efficiently reduces stressed being sent upstream to all over joints, doing so requires a soft, quiet landing. Focus on your actual movement patterns the entire time you walk. Breathe deeply into the stomach, sides, and low back while walking. This can be a wonderful way to meditate!

Not just your feet – ankle and hip mobility: You cannot treat the feet in isolation. We are whole-beings made of connected systems. There is a deep connection between the foot, ankle, hip, and core that allows us to attain instant stability as our foot strikes the ground. In order to have stability, you must have mobility first to access proper movement. Work on ankle mobility and open up your hips. Spend less time sitting and challenge your balance.

Get your feet (and upstream) ADJUSTED: Many practice members are surprised when I adjust their feet for the first time, not every chiropractor does. Part of keeping feet mobile is ensuring each joint, all 33 in our feet, are moving well. Often times you can continuously work on your feet and still feel something not moving as well or sending a sharp pain into your foot, this may be a fixated joint that needs a specific adjustment. Having the rest of your spine adjusted is also vital to how feet and the entire body moves. It is all connected. As show in the photo above, a flat foot affects your legs, hips, and back. Restricted joints in the spine can affect the mobility of your hips and down, affecting your gait.

Understand pain: Pain is not the beginning of a problem. Pain is the END stage. When experiencing pain in the feet or anywhere else in your body, it is a warning sign that dysfunction has already been occurring for a long time. You can experience up to 60% dysfunction without pain. Pain is not something to be covered up with pain reduction, which in turn ignores the bigger picture of what is truly happening. Get to the root cause of pain by functioning better.


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