Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear, Footwear Products, Health
Generally foot odor and athlete’s foot do not come from sweat, which surrounds your feet. It comes from bacteria on the skin, which is decomposed by the sweat. The waste product of this decomposition leaves a very unpleasant smell and is an ideal breeding climate for athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
The Zederna Insole is a 100% natural product from thin cedarwood. The back consists of a stabilizing cotton layer. The sole is flexible and adapts to your foot form after a few steps. It gives you a very comfortable feeling (even if you carry orthopedic inserts). Your feet can take a deep breath nearly as liberating as walking barefoot.
Here’s how Zederna Insoles work:
- The natural suction force of Zederna cedarwood absorbs the sweat effectively
- The Zederna Insole and its antibacterial effect work where foot odor and athlete’s foot develop
- Smell and fungus creating bacteria are eliminated
Here’s my take on the insoles. I wore a pair in my work shoes for months. My old insoles were a regular stock style and I used them because they were already in the shoes. I immediately liked the Zederna Insoles. I felt my feet were cooler and more comfortable. I liked the wood feel – my feet were not stuck to a fabric synthetic insole, but could move around on the cedarwood. Between my commute and work, I had my shoes on for 12 hours straight. The insoles were pleasant. They are perfect to use in your shoes after training.
Because they are thin, I think they could easily be used in running shoes or boots. I would wear them in training, and then, depending on the feel, I’d make the decision to wear then in a race or not.
Zederna Insole Advantages:
- Foot odor disappears immediately!
- Athlete’s foot disappears after a few days.
- The new formation of athlete’s foot is permanently prevented.
- The treatment of existing nail fungus with conventional methods is accelerated by more than 50%, because of the dry and antibacterial foot climate.
- The new formation of toenail fungus is permanently prevented.
- Plug & play: Just insert the insole in your shoes and start. Annoying treatments with gels and powder belongs to the past.
- Naturopathic treatment: The effect is purely based on natural power. No chemistry.
- As a result of the polished surface and the flexibility of the Zederna Insole, pleasant feeling arises also when wearing without socks.
- The Zederna inserts provide a pleasant and dry climate in your shoes. Comparable to walking in a forest: in summer it is relatively cool and in winter it is always warmer.
- Long durability of the Zederna Insoles.
- Reliable quality – Made in Germany.
- Comfortable subscription available.
- Fast delivery within a few days.
- More than 9.500 satisfied customers.
- Money back guarantee, if you are not satisfied with our product.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zederna Insoles to try. Beyond that, I have no financial investment in Zederna.
Some of you may have heard of Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter is a crowd funding website where people pitch ideas and others pledge to fund them. I follow the ideas and have pledged on a number of ideas. Yesterday I found Lace Anchors 2.0.
Lace Anchors are a plastic strip that goes onto your shoelaces and secures them so you don’t have to tie them. No bows means no laces coming untied.
Here is some of the text from their Kickstarter project.
Are you tired of your shoelaces? It seems as if it’s a never-ending cycle of tie and untie. How about those of us that double knot, that makes for some fun challenges sometimes doesn’t it? Usually it’s my kid’s shoes. Shoelaces also have a mind of their own, coming undone at some of the most inconvenient times possible. It’s fun to know that you can cheat the system of tying your shoes and never have them come undone again. You may be thinking I can just tie a knot and slip my foot in and out without untying my shoes every time, while this is true, you won’t have the same consistent solid fitting shoe day after day that Lace Anchors 2.0 provides!
It seems to never fail. Just when you get warmed up and your going strong, it happens, your shoe comes untied! I may have put on a few pounds over the winter so far, but I’m a fairly frequent runner. I have put over 250 miles on a pair of my running shoes with Lace Anchors installed and the results are flawless. Your shoes always have the same consistent fit and your laces never come undone!
Installation is so easy! Our packets will include step-by-step instructions with pictures on the back, or to make it even EASIER just watch the video below! Make sure to install the Lace Anchors 2.0 with your foot in your shoe as shown in the video, that will allow you to find the perfect fit that your looking for. This is the type of product that you will use not even realizing how simple and comfortable they make everyday life with your shoes, until you go without them. Once you use them in one pair of shoes, you’ll be hooked!
Two questions in their FAQ section are important. First, can I run with Lace Anchors 2.0 installed? Absolutely, I ran 2-4 miles everyday for 2 months straight with my Lace Anchors 2.0 installed. For those of you that have struggled with heel slippage problems throughout your life, watch the “another option” video in the above section.
Second, are Lace Anchors 2.0 adjustable? Yes, they allow you to find the sweet spot when installing. This means you will be able to find the fit you desire and how tight or loose you decide to make your slip-ons. For my regular everyday use, I like my shoes to slip on and off extremely easy, for my running shoes I prefer a snug fit.
Whether for you or your children, check out this Lace Anchor Kickstarter project.
I spotted a small ad in one of my magazines that looked interesting. The product was IceSpike. They are a system of patented composite-material, cold-rolled tool quality steel, heat hardened ice spikes, which provide superior grip and long lasting durability. Their tagline is, “The ultimate non-slip shoe system, for all outdoor activities.” Of course, since it relates to footwear, I had to check it out.
IceSpikes are rated to last 10 times longer than commonly used sheet metal screws. Average runners will get 500 miles out of a set of IceSpikes. The terrain and conditions will affect the life of the spikes. Unlike other traction products, these are low profile under the shoe. The thread design is fine and sharp. The design has a wider and deeper slot to promote self-cleaning of ice and debris. Extra wide washers offer better stability on the sole of the shoe and their locking serrations that firmly anchor them to the rubber of the sole to prevent loosening of the spikes. They will not break or crack with intense cold or use.
The suggested installation is three on each side of the heel and three on the inside ball of the foot side of the shoe or boot. A tool is available to make installation easy or use a ¼ inch hex bit in your drill.
A package includes 32-patented IceSpikes. The deluxe package includes the installation tool. With each shoe getting 12 spikes, you’ll have eight extra spikes for replacements. Heel spikes tend to wear faster.
You’ll find that IceSpikes are a semi-permanent traction system that can be mounted on any running or walking shoe, hiking or work boot.
In case you are wondering why not just use sheet metal screws, think about this. Sheet metal screws are made of a softer material and will wear out many times faster and decrease their traction ability. The slots in sheet metal screws fill with ice and debris faster and are not self-cleaning, which affects traction. Sheet metal screws have a rough thread design.
This is the kind of product that makes me want to find snow and ice for a run. Unfortunately, California’s central valley gets neither. If you live in a region where they make sense, I encourage you to give them a try.
Whether you are a runner, ultrarunner, adventure racer, thru-hiker, casual walker, or something in-between, you are probably always on the lookout for the right shoe. Maybe one of the magazines you subscribe to has a shoe issue, or occasional shoe reviews. Or maybe you scour the Internet reading reviews or pay close attention to what is written in email forums to which you subscribe. It’s the elusive search for the perfect shoe.
Can there be more than one shoe that is right for your feet? Are there perfect shoes? Christopher Willett went through four pairs of shoes on his 2003 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike (2600+ miles) and bought them as he went. Wearing size 15 running shoes, he didn’t really have the option of buying from an outfitter along the trail. He would call or use the Internet from various towns along the way and have new shoes and socks sent up trail. He started in Brooks Adrenaline GTS and liked them in the hot 563-mile Southern California section. He wished the next shoe, the Asics Eagle Trail, had a more protective sole but liked the tread. While the New Balance 806s were structurally good, he felt they had a poor tread design and they are the only shoe that he would not wear again. He finished the last 670 miles in the Asics Gel Trabuco V and liked their durability and tread. Would one of the shoes have worked for his whole thru-hike? If they had been the NB 806s, the answer would be no. Probably any of the other three would have worked the whole way, but Chris might have had problems sticking with one shoe given the varying weather and terrain of the trail. Even the most perfect shoe can have small issues: breathability, tread design, cushioning, sole protection, and so on. Each of these issues can make them perfect for one set of conditions and wrong for another.
In reality, there is more than one shoe that is right for your feet. What’s important, regardless of which shoe you choose, is that the shoe fits.
Note: The photo shows part of the display of shoes at Zombierunner, Palo Alto. They have a great store.
Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear Products
What better time of the year to pamper your feet than Christmas. Our feet are encased in heavy socks and footwear. We take them for granted. Here’s a look at my favorite things for your feet this year. My suggestion is to check out these items at Zombierunner.com. Don and Gillian support athletes with great service. You can click on their link and at their website, click on Foot Care or any other items. Zombierunner has everyone of these items, except a callus file.
Engo Footwear Patches – these slick patches go in your shoes to reduce friction. A must for any foot care first aid kit.
Drymax Socks – my favorite socks that hate moisture. Their micro-fiber technology is a sweat removal system to keep your feet dry.
Injinji Socks – the original toesocks that are perfect for many sports, and a must for those who are prone to toe blisters.
Sportslick Lubricant - Prevents blisters, chafing and skin rash during sporting activities. This skin care product also cures jock itch, athlete’s foot, and other skin conditions.
Stuffitts Portable Drying Solutions – for shoes, gloves, helmets to defeat wet and stinky gear. Their soft, lightweight forms combat moisture and kills odor in personal wearable gear.
BlisterShield Powder – a great powder, especially for those who prefer powder over a lubricant.
Kinesio Tex Tape – a great tape that breathes and conforms to the shape of any part of your feet. 1, 2, and 3 inch widths.
Leukotape – one of the stickiest tapes available. 1 ½ inches wide.
Superfeet Insoles – one of the best insoles for support. They are available in a number of options.
Toenail Clippers – everyone needs a good clipper to tame their toenails.
Callus File – a callus build-up can lead to problems that can result in blisters underneath this hard layer of skin.
Natural Running – this is a great book that teaches you to run the way nature intended, mimicking the healthy, efficient barefoot style you were born with, while keeping feet safe from rough modern surfaces.
Fixing Your Feet, 5th edition – my best-selling book that covers all aspects of footwear and foot care.
Here’s the Amazon link for the Fixing Your Feet print edition.
Here’s the Amazon link for a Fixing Your Feet Kindle edition.
I hope you’ll consider one or more of these as gifts either to yourself or a friend.
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Zombierunner and make a few pennies when you buy through my link.
In choosing footwear, fit is everything. You may buy a new pair of shoes, not get a good fit, and use them for short runs or races without much problem. But the longer you’ll be wearing them at a time, the more important the fit.
Here’s a trick to help get ensure a good fit.
Rich Schick, a physician’s assistant and ultrarunner, shared that he believes the key to getting the proper size shoe is the insert – often called insoles. “If the foot does not fit the insert, then the shoe will have to stretch to accommodate the difference or there may be excessive room in the shoe, which can lead to blisters and other foot problems.” He thinks there is too much confusion about straight lasts, curved lasts, semicurved lasts, and so on.
Rick suggests, and I agree, that you don’t need to know any of this if you use the insert to fit your shoes. The same holds true for the proper width of shoe. Simply remove the insert from the shoe and place your heel in the depression made for the heel (in the insert). There should be an inch to an inch and a half from the tip of your longest toe to the tip of the insert. None of your toes or any part of the foot should lap over the sides of the insert. If they do, is it because the insert is too narrow or is it because of a curved foot and straight insert or vice versa? The foot should not be more than about a quarter inch from the edges of the insert either. This includes the area around the heel, or the shoe may be too loose. Check to see if the arch of the insert fits in the arch of your foot. Finally, if all the above criteria are met, then try on the shoe. The only remaining pitfalls are tight toeboxes and seams or uppers that rub.
Remember to take into a account the type and thickness of socks you’ll be wearing. If you are going to replace the stock inserts that come with the shoes, make sure to follow this tip.
I suspect some of my readers will love this and others won’t.
The actual title is: Free Your Feet – Why Running Shoes Do More Harm Than Good
It starts out like this.
Since you were a baby, you’ve worn shoes. You might remember your first Nikes or Adidas, too: a nice thick sole with padding up to the base of the ankle. In a few remote parts of the world, though, nobody ever wears shoes, and evidence shows they’re in much better shape because of it.
I received an email from one of the creators of this work and was intrigued. It’s done by people at XRayTechnician Schools.net. Melanie wrote me and said,
I work with a team of designers and researchers who have put together a graphic that talks about how running shoes do more harm than good.
The image below is taken from the start of their work.
Here’s the link to see the full screen. You have to go to the Free Your Feet webpage on their website because the image is long and cannot be easily embedded inside a blog post.
They make some good points: 9 out of 10 runners sustain injuries while training for marathons; Achilles tendon blowouts have increased 10% since the 1970s; and then states facts about common injuries caused by traditional running shoes.
Are they right?
Again, here’s the link: Free Your Feet webpage. Go to the link and read it through. Then come back here and comment on what you think.
I think they have made a great graphic that draws attention to a problem that some people want to ignore. Importantly, they also draw the conclusion that many runners are interested in transitioning to minimalist shoes and even barefoot running – and need to do so gradually.
Having worked in a number of hospital settings, including emergency rooms and trauma centers, I have a great deal of respect foe X-Ray technicians. They know their stuff. My bet is they decided to take on this controversial subject and see what they could show. They work in a setting where they see X-rays of feet, knees, and hips, and take X-rays of many people where they see things we don’t get to see. I think they have done a fine job.
Thank you Melanie and your fellow X-Ray technicians. The full graphic is credited to the XRayTechnicianSchools.net.
Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear Products, Health, Sports
Back in January I had a guest post on the AFX – Ankle Foot maXimizer – Part I. This is part II where ankle sprains are discussed. This is a guest post by Timberly George, a Sport Physiotherapist (bio at the end of the article). Here’s Timberly’s post. The photos demonstrate the Ankle Foot maXimizer.
Slippery roots. Rocks. Deep puddles. Steep slopes. Momentary lack of attention to the trail and suddenly – pop! There goes your ankle. Uneven terrain, speed, fatigue, previous ankle injury, poor balance, weak foot and ankle muscles – they can all be to blame for the ankle sprain that plagues many an outdoor adventurer. In a study of 300 adventure racers 73% of them reported an injury over an 18-month period.i Ankle sprains were the most commonly reported injury.
Most of us are aware of the immediate treatment protocol for an ankle sprain, following the old acronym R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Do this! It definitely helps in the initial phase of injury management. But, recovering from an ankle sprain doesn’t end there. Just because the swelling has gone down, and the pain has diminished, that doesn’t mean your ankle is ready for the trails again. Research and clinical experience shows us that a person needs to go beyond R.I.C.E. to focus on the instability of the ankle caused by the sprain, in order to prevent another sprain from occurring.ii
So what exactly is an ankle sprain?
In order to understand why you need to go beyond R.I.C.E, you need to understand what exactly happens when an ankle is sprained.
The term “sprain” refers to an injury that involves damaging a ligament. Ligaments are passive structures that connect bones to bones and help stabilize the joints. A ligament sprain can be as simple as a minor stretch or as complex as a complete disruption or tearing of the ligament fibers that give stability to a joint.
There are 3 main types of ankle sprains:iii
Inversion (lateral) ankle sprain - Over 90% of ankle sprains are inversion, making it the most common type of ankle sprain. It occurs when the foot is inverted too much, affecting the lateral side (i.e. outside) of the foot.
Eversion (medial) ankle sprain – far less common due to the strength of the medial ligaments and the mechanics of the joint. Affects the medial side (i.e. inside) of the foot.
High Ankle Sprain - An injury to the large ligaments above the ankle that join together the two long bones of the lower leg, called the tibia and fibula.
Ankle sprains can be classified in to 3 categories: iv
Grade 1: minor damage to a ligament or ligaments without instability of the affected joint. Mild swelling may be apparent but you can usually walk without too much discomfort;
Grade 2: partial tear to one or more ligaments, in which they are stretched to the point of becoming loose. Moderate swelling and some bruising are likely apparent; and,
Grade 3: complete tears of one or more ligaments, causing instability in the affected joint.Moderate to severe swelling and bruising will occur around the ankle and most people will be quite hesitant to immediately bear weight on their foot.
Once ligaments have been damaged, the ankle is left with a loss of range of motion and a mild to severe level of instability. As a result, it is more susceptible to further injury and recurrent ankle sprains are very common. Unfortunately, a ligament does not regain its ability to stabilize the joint and therefore, we are left to rely on the muscles and tendons surrounding the ankle to provide the active stability. A solid rehabilitation program guided by a physiotherapist to regain full mobility, proprioception, and a proper strengthening program is crucial to getting you back on the trails and running again with confidence.
What do you do to recover from and/or prevent an ankle injury?
To begin with, do your own R.I.C.E protocol and get some help from a physiotherapist as soon as possible.v Many people choose to “wait and see” how the ankle repairs itself with time. The trouble with that approach is most Grade 2 and 3 ankle sprains will never regain full mobility and strength on their own without assistance. Even a simple Grade 1 ankle sprain, left untreated, will likely result in another ankle sprain down the road.
Rehabilitation following an ankle sprain cannot be overemphasized. Restoring the normal mechanics and improving the stability of the ankle will allow for a return to safe activity and will decrease the risk for another sprain.ii Your physiotherapist will also be able to determine whether you may have caused other damage, outside of just ligament damage, such as a fracture or cartilage damage which may require further investigations such as x-rays or other imaging.
Once the swelling and range of motion have improved, the next step is strengthening and regaining the control, or proprioception, of the joint. Proprioception refers to our ability to sense where our joints are in space, and to be able to control them without necessarily looking. This is essential when hiking and running in trails when your ankle is constantly adjusting to the terrain of the earth beneath your feet. Proprioception is controlled by nerve receptors in the ligaments around a joint. When the ligaments are damaged in an ankle sprain, so too are the proprioceptive nerve endings. Some simple balance exercises are a good way to start. See the Balance Standing photo at the start of this post.
In order to build the active stability system around the ankle, strengthening the muscles that cross the joint is critical. There are 4 main motions that should be focused on. Your physiotherapist will assess the strength of each muscle group to determine which muscles need the most work, and to ensure balanced strength across the joint.
Strengthening can be done using resistance bands and tubes, or more preferably for many therapists recently, using the AFX-Ankle Foot maXimizer TM foot and ankle strengthening system (www.afx-online.com). The AFX allows for far more controlled and specific strengthening in more variety of planes of movement than the typical bands and tubes, as well as for more balanced strengthening across the ankle joint. The photographs shown here demonstrate the motions.
Plantar Flexion – The motion you do when going up onto your toes, or pointing your foot like a ballerina. Primarily uses your big calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), but also gains assistance from some deeper calf muscles helping to control the position of the foot.
Dorsiflexion – the opposite of plantarflexion. Required for lifting the toes off the ground as you swing your leg through in running and hiking. Necessary for clearing the ground and not tripping on rocks and roots. The muscles involved cross the front of your ankle joint.
Eversion – Movement of the sole of your foot away from the midline of your body. Requires strength of the peroneal muscles running along the lateral or outside border of your calf. Strong peroneii are crucial to help prevent the ankle from rolling over, into inversion, and spraining the ankle.
Inversion – Movement of the sole of your foot towards the midline of your body, similar to the direction you would move into as your sprain your ankle in an inversion sprain. Although one might think this would be counterintuitive to strengthen, it is an important motion as the muscles that cause it to occur are crucial for the strength and stability of the arch of your foot.
A thorough ankle rehabilitation program is essential for protecting ourselves from further injury. An ankle that does not re-gain full range of motion, strength, and proprioception will learn to adapt to its new, less than ideal, way of functioning. This in turn leads to overcompensation of other muscles and an imbalance of strength and flexibility around the joint. This imbalance can not only be the cause of further ankle sprains, but potentially also the cause of overuse injuries in the feet, knees, hips and back. In addition, because we rely on our feet and ankles to take between 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day (and endurance athletes much more!) even minor strength and stability issues can lead to major problems.
But it is not all doom and gloom. The good news is that with a little bit of effort and a good rehab program you can get back on your feet, hiking and running the trails, perhaps even stronger than before.
- Fordham S, Garbutt G, Lopes P. Br J Sports Med. 2004 Jun; 38(3):300-3.
- Barr, K, Harrast, M. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2005 (779-799)
- Brukner, P & Khan, K. Clinical Sports Medicine. 3rd edition 2007
- Brotzman, SB, & Manske RC. Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation. 3rd ed 2011
- Levin, S Early mobilization speeds recovery. Physician Sportsmed 1993; 21:70-4
Timberly George’s Bio
Timberly is a Sport Physiotherapist holding a post-graduate Diploma from Sport Physiotherapy Canada and is a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia. She is very active in the sport physiotherapy community at the regional, national, and international levels. She was Venue Medical Manager for the Richmond Olympic Oval during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and is a therapist for Rugby Canada. Timberly is one of the Vancouver Sun Run’s “Ask an Expert” panel members and provides injury prevention advice to runners through the Vancouver Sun newspaper and at local running clinics throughout Vancouver. In her spare time, Timberly can often be found running the trails or riding one of her bicycles around the mountains of the North Shore and Sea to Sky corridor. Her primary areas of interest are treating sport related injuries, injury prevention and pre and post-surgical rehabilitation. *Timberly has no financial interest in AFX.
I just had to share this photo. A few weeks ago I worked at the 21-mile aid station at the Oakland Marathon, which was also the eight-mile aid station for the half-marathon.
Back in the 80’s I ran the old Oakland Marathon and after a few years the event died. Then three years ago, Coorigan Sports took resurrected the run.
So on a Sunday morning, we set up the medical tent. It was me and six nurses from the Alameda County Medical Center. We stood outside the tent and watched the runners and walkers coming by.
I brought my foot care kit in case a runner needed help. I actually got quite a bit of business. The usual hot spot and blister care.
Then a young lady stopped. She wanted a blister patched.
She was wearing two pairs of socks. She took off her socks and I made the necessary blister repairs.
Then I helped put on her socks. Look closely at this picture and you’ll see the the threadbare sock under the ball of the foot. The rest of the bottom of the sock is so thin you can almost see through the fabric.
I told her she needed to toss the socks and gave her a few tips on socks.
It bothers me to see runners and walkers spend money on a race, wear good shoes and the right running clothes, and forget something so simple as a good pair of socks.
Please, take a minute and check your socks. If you have any like this, toss them.
You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Taken from an article, Less shoe for the money, more bang for your buck? by David Kumagai
From Monday’s Globe and Mail - Published Sunday, Feb. 05, 2012
For runners, the trend away from tricked-out, uber-supportive shoes and toward minimal footwear has taken off in the past few years, turning a fringe product into a roughly $2-billion annual cash cow. The New Balance Minimus, Nike Free, Reebok RealFlex and Vibram FiveFingers are among the slew of stripped-down shoes – flexible enough to be rolled, scrunched and squeezed at will – praised for triggering small, neglected foot muscles.
Now shoe companies are targeting the gym, hoping the success of minimalist running shoes, Footwear readers’ 2011 trend of the year, will translate to the workout crowd.
But as the buzz builds and the industry pitches the shoes as a muscle-building fix for many foot and ankle injuries, there is some debate as to whether it’s a biomechanical paradigm shift in shoe design or a cleverly engineered cash grab.
Proponents of the footwear often compare ultra-supportive shoes with wearing a cast that prohibits muscle growth, while skeptics say there hasn’t been enough research.
Mark Verstegen, who trains some of the world’s top athletes as the president of Phoenix-based Athletes’ Performance, helped design Adidas’s Adipure Trainer, billed as the first minimalist shoe designed for working out. It’s the latest entry into the booming market for footwear with a less-is-more kick. “The shoe offers an almost sock-like environment that gives great mobility so you can turn on all the muscles and joints in the legs,” he said.
Mr. Verstegen holds a master’s degree in sport sciences and said he’s long believed in barefoot workouts. He credits the 2009 book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall for pushing the barefoot-minimalist movement into the mainstream.
The research has been playing catch-up ever since.
Scott Landry, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia who has studied minimalist footwear, has published articles that generally laud the shoes’ ability to strengthen smaller foot muscles.
Shoes with a lot of stability were first designed in the 1970s to reduce injury, but the belief is that injuries haven’t decreased, Dr. Landry said.
He wears minimalist shoes in the gym and explained how students in his anatomy and biomechanics class constantly ask him about the new footwear. “I always caution them, don’t make the sudden jump, introduce exercise gradually, “Dr. Landry said. “… If you’ve got a deformity in the foot, you might need an orthotic.”
Dr. Landry, Mr. Verstegen and Brad Gibbs, president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada, all stressed the need to take it slow.
“My immediate concern would be the lack of stability if you’re doing lateral or side-to-side motion – I think that’s where a minimalist shoe could be a danger,” Mr. Gibbs said. He suggested testing the shoes for “10 to 20 per cent” of your workouts initially.
“If you are starting to develop a small discomfort … go back to your old or conventional footwear.” he said, adding, “Don’t try to work through an injury.”
Mr. Verstegen adamantly opposes a full-throttle switch. “You wouldn’t do any other aspect of your life that way – you need the progressions.”
But even a measured approach has its doubters. Michael Mesic, a doctor of podiatric medicine at the Canadian Foot Clinic & Orthotic Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., is skeptical of the shift away from supportive footwear.
“Most of the hype is generated by shoe companies – they’re creating a new market,” Dr. Mesic said. “… There is that subset of the population with great mechanics who don’t need that extra support, but the average person needs support.”
And yet John Shier, a 36-year-old software engineer from Burlington, Ont., said that after years of suffering from plantar fasciitis, shin splints and knee pain, and throwing hundreds of dollars at orthotics, he hasn’t had “a single physical problem” since buying Vibram FiveFingers four years ago.
When he works out, whether doing squats or dead-lifts, Mr. Shier dons the shoes or opts to go unshod. “I found that wearing cross-trainers, with the amount of cushioning and height off the ground, I didn’t feel that stable.”
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that echoes Mr. Shier’s experience, Dr. Landry said.
What’s your anecdotal story?