Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My transition to barefoot shoes

Xero Shoes

Full Disclosure: I love these shoes so much, we became an affiliate (so if you do buy them, use our links here, we get a very small commission), and we invested in the company. I only did that, though, because these are the best barefoot shoes I've ever worn.

I started wearing barefoot sandals about 3 years ago. I would only wear them on the weekends because I wore normal shoes to work and to work out. My "normal" shoes were driving shoes, so they were still very thin-soled, but they still had a narrow toe box and a bit of a heel. Then Xero Shoes came out with a reasonably-priced casual shoe that I could wear to work.

A few days after wearing the shoes all day at work I would wake up in the middle of the night with terrible pain in my feet. It would be difficult to even walk for a day and then it would suddenly disappear and my feet were noticeably wider.  This happened every couple of months the first year I had the shoes. I now attribute it to my feet adjusting to the more natural environment. Regular shoes confine your feet so they grow weird, and the added support means your feet never do any work themselves. So now with the wider toe box and the more natural stance my feet had to start working - and just like when you start a new exercise program there are periods of soreness as unused muscles start to wake up.

But I still wore regular shoes to the gym because I didn't have a good pair of barefoot shoes I could comfortably work out in. Now with the Prio I have a sporty shoe the I can wear for working out and I'm 100% barefoot. Guess what's happening now? I'm getting weird pain every couple of weeks and then it goes away and my feet are suddenly working better.

I remember listening to an interview with Chris Sommer from Gymnastics Bodies about training elite young gymnasts to do an iron cross.


He said that a strong guy (but not gymnast-strong) can do an "almost" iron cross with their elbows bent very slightly. But that's not an iron cross. He doesn't have his students even attempt a full iron cross for years because the difference in forces between a real iron cross and an almost iron cross is a ridiculous amount and it takes years of training just to get the tendons strong enough to handle it.

The physicist in me imagines that there's a division of a sin θ in there and as θ approaches 180° the divide-by-zero makes the forces explode.

I think the same thing happened to me with the barefoot shoes. I was "almost" 100% barefoot-shoe-wearing, but until I went actually 100% I didn't really get the benefits. Now that I am 100% either actually bare foot or wearing barefoot shoes, there are some great things happening with my feet, my knees, my hips, my back, my shoulders, and really all of my posterior chain.

I'm really sold that wearing regular shoes is really bad for you. I encourage everyone to get some barefoot shoes. You don't have to get Xero Shoes - there are some even fancier ones out there for people who have more dressy jobs. Just check them out, it will do your body good.



Warm-up

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

Strength

press 5-3-2-3x2

Accessory/Skill

5 Bulgarian split squats between strength sets

Group Workout

rowing and swings
actual workout depends on how full class is
expect 15-20 minutes of work



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