The way we wear them, shoes are a real problem. They sever our physical connection to the earth, perturb our natural running and walking gait, and probably increase our risk of running injuries by increasing the forces acting on our joints when we land. That’s fairly basic stuff for readers of this blog, many of whom are intellectually on board with the barefoot thing and convinced of the benefits. And yet actually going barefoot is a big leap for most people. Something holds them back.
The actual ditching of the shoes isn’t the problem. Baring your feet to the world isn’t your hang up. You’re willing to get rid of your shoes and buy minimalist ones; maybe you already have. The main impediment to your complete embrace of the unshod foot is the necessarytransition from years of wearing shoes to a barefoot-dominant lifestyle.
People just don’t know how to do it safely or effectively. They’ll read a blog post or two, ditch their shoes, buy a pair of Vibrams, strap ‘em on, and resume their normal activities: CrossFit WODs, marathons, long hikes, and general ambling around town conducting daily business. If they’re blessed with incredibly resilient feet, the transition is smooth. If they’re not, they can get injured. And when the newly barefoot show up with a strained Achilles’ tendon or crippling calf cramps or even a stress fracture in their toe because the shock of the transition was too much for their shoe-soft lower limbs, everyone goes “Told ya so” and the barefoot-dominant lifestyle’s “faddishness” is confirmed for everyone involved. Recently, a ridiculous lawsuit against Vibram made national headlines, as one poor user challenged their claim that the shoes could strengthen feet and prevent injuries. So hey, don’t sue me when i suggest that transitioning to more barefoot time–safely–can help strengthen your feet! Disclaimer: Transitioning to more barefoot time frivolously can get you injured!
Yeah: the vast majority of people need to nail the transition between the shod and barefoot ways of life. And until now, there simply hasn’t been a reliable, comprehensive resource for making that transition in a safe and effective way.
It’s a comprehensive guide to safely making the transition to a barefoot-dominant lifestyle.
Because an important, but underrated Primal Law is “Avoid stupid mistakes.” Needless risk is foolish, and taking them can put you out of commission and jeopardize your quality of life. Going barefoot without doing due diligence and easing through the transition is one of the stupider mistakes a person can make.
I decided to write this because I’ve been to the other side and back. I spent a decade running hundreds of miles every week. As an endurance athlete, my choice of shoes was predicated on its ability to absorb the impact of the road and deaden my nerves enough to allow me to continue running hundreds of miles every week.
But, after years of chronic injuries, poor posture, and tissue inflammation, I realized my errors and changed my ways.
I’ve now spent the better part of a decade leading a barefoot-dominant lifestyle. I own my own business, partially so I can wear whatever the heck kind of shoe I want while working. I often work from home, so I can go entire days without even looking at a pair of shoes. I live near the beach and make it a point to feel the sand between my toes on a daily basis. Whenever possible, I’m barefoot. When it’s not, I’m in minimalist shoes that place the feet in barefoot-like conditions.
I go barefoot primarily because it feels good. I’ve always preferred being barefoot, but until about ten years ago I thought I “had” to wear protective shoes to, well, protect my feet, joints, and legs from all the running.
But there are other benefits to leading a barefoot-dominant lifestyle:
Renewed connection to the earth: In shoes, ground is ground. Whether we walk on cobblestone, lava rock, loamy earth, sand, or concrete makes no difference to our rubber soled feet. It all feels the same. Going barefoot, or wearing thin-soled minimalist shoes, allows the thousands of nerve endings lining your footbed to feel the ground and transform how we experience the simple act of walking.
Better posture: Posture starts at the feet. When you wear shoes with an elevated heel, you’re forced into a forward lean. To account for the lean, you compromise the position of at least one (but likely all) of the major joints along the kinetic chain. Maybe you tuck your pelvis, which stresses your lower back and puts it into hyperextension, which causes you to slump your shoulders, which gives you tight pecs and a sore neck, which leads to chronic headaches and anterior shoulder issues. By ditching the shoes with elevated heels, you can reclaim your natural posture.
Better balance: Giving those nerve endings in your feet access to the sensory information provided by the environment also improves something called “foot position awareness,” a fancy name for stability and balance. Thick shoes remove this proprioceptive awareness, reducing balance and stability and increasing the risk
Gentler walking: When you walk barefoot or in minimalist shoes, you know if you’re plodding along abrasively because you feel it in your bones. That’s why barefoot walking is easier on the joints and can even reduce pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee — you get instant feedback from your own body.
The benefits to going barefoot are considerable, but you really do have to get it right or you risk ending up worse than when you started. After reading Amazing Feets!, you’ll have learned:
How being barefoot made us human
Why shoes sever our connection to the natural world
Why the minimalist shoe industry has exploded in popularity — and how it’s not a temporary fad
How a barefoot-dominant lifestyle can improve your physical health, posture, and performance
How ditching protective shoes can improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries
The right way to stand, walk, and run
How to safely and effectively transition into a barefoot-dominant lifestyle using a detailed 3-tiered program
What to do, step-by-step, from the moment you remove your shoes
Specific exercises and stretches to prepare your feet, ankles, and legs for the barefoot transition
The best minimalist shoes, barefoot accessories, and additional resources to help your transition
Amazing Feets! is now available – and only available – as part of the Bodyweight Bundle 2.0, a premier collection of bodyweight strength and conditioning programs, bodyweight mobility guides, bodyweight fat loss manuals, bodyweight nutrition eBooks, and bodyweight workout videos.
For just $37, you get everything you’ll ever need to get strong, fit, fast, lean, flexible, and healthy using only your bodyweight. Purchased separately, the products in the package are worth $1033.97. So this is an insane deal.
Plus, if you hate it, you have 30 days to get your money back. No questions asked. But I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it.
$37 is worth it for the ease of a safe transition into barefoot living alone. That you also get 36 of the best bodyweight fitness and health eBooks around. This just sweetens the deal and, frankly, makes it a no-brainer in my estimation.
If you’re wondering how last year’s Bodyweight Bundle 1.0 compares to this year’s 2.0, Bodyweight Bundle 2.0 contains 20 completely new programs. So even if you were lucky enough to get in on 1.0, this year’s version has plenty of new eBooks to love.
The deal’s only good through Friday, March 27, though, so get on it. This is a huge opportunity that you don’t want to miss.
I’m extremely proud of Amazing Feets!, and if you pick up the bundle in the next few days, I think you’ll agree. Even if you’re not ready to make the barefoot transition today, taking advantage of this bundle now will secure the means to safely do it when you are.
Once you’ve read and digested the book, please let me know how it’s helped your transition to a barefoot-dominant lifestyle. It’s been very helpful to the beta-readers, and I can’t wait to hear how it works for everyone else.
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About the Author
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.