Thursday, April 13, 2017

I love these shoes!

I haven't done a barefoot-is-good-for-you rant in a while. We've talked about minimal shoes in general and lifting barefoot. I just found a pair of shoes that I love so much, I wanted to point you to them.

If I had my way I would be barefoot all the time, but Amy isn't too happy with me walking around in all the dirt outside and bringing it in. If I have shoes on outside, I can at least take them off before I walk on the carpet. I also don't think the folks at work would really like me walking around barefoot.

Being barefoot gives you a better connection to the ground, and I'd argue more control, especially when working with kettlebells. Outside of the gym, being barefoot has some advantages too. If you're shoes aren't supportive, your feet have to actually do work which makes them strong and healthy. If you have arch supports and ankle supports and all kinds of things holding your feet while you walk, your foot muscles turn off and atrophy - it's like walking around in a cast. It actually deforms your foot. Feet of constantly shod westerners are too narrow and stiff compared to more natural-living populations. (My kids rarely wear shoes, and they have wide caveman feet that are actually flexible.)

If you are in a cast, you also don't have very good control over your movement - if you ever broke your arm, how many times did you end up banging the cast into something? You lose all proprioception. If you spent an entire day wearing mittens, how dexterous would you be? In the winter, do you put your gloves on before you zip your coat? The same thing happens to your feet when they're in shoes: they become dead to the world. (Notice how well the cat walks in kitten mittons.)

If your feet aren't feeling the ground, they're not giving your body feedback about the ground and your stride. You walk harder (more force in your knees and hips) when you have shoes on - that causes your knees and hips to wear out. Additionally, just about every shoe on the market has a raised heel. That heel will put your knees, hips, and back out of alignment - which also causes more wear and pain.

Second to being barefoot all the time is to wear a "barefoot" shoe. Barefoot shoes have no raised heel, it's just flat like walking on the ground. They also have a very thin sole so that you can feel the ground and a wide toe box that allows your feet to move rather than being casted into place - my feet are actually wider now than they were years ago when I wore conventional shoes.

The Xero Prio shoes that I pictured above are my new favorite shoes for everything! I've had them about a month (I've also had the Xero Sandals, and even a pair of the canvas "dress" shoes for work), and I love them for lifting weights and hiking. Amy has a pair too and is equally enthusiastic.

I'm really shocked at how good they are in the gym - I got my latest PR deadlift in them, and my squat never felt more stable (I can actually grip the ground and keep my arches active).  It's just like working out barefoot, but with a bit more grip on the ground. Even for the quick lifts, they're great - though the wedge of the weightlifting shoe is better when I get closer to my maxes.

I can't recommend them enough. They company that makes them is right here in Broomfield - so they're local too!  If you're looking at getting some good shoes for the gym (and anyone who's still coming to the gym in running shoes should think about getting something like this), shop for them here. Since I love them so much, I set us up as an affiliate with them. If you visit their store from our page, they'll give us a small commission - you won't pay any more, but you will be helping out the gym.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


clean pull 5-3-2-3x2


2 windmills between strength sets

Group Workout

7 push press
7 push-ups
7 box jumps

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