Readers of my book and clients of mine already know about this. My views on shoes have evolved tremendously in recent years. I have left Team Minimalist Shoes.
I am always learning, and being open to learning means allowing your thinking and views to evolve over time. That should be something we value in this world.
Staying stuck in your beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary is not the way to live.
First, what’s changed: I no longer recommend “minimalist” shoes anywhere except when traveling over natural surfaces like sand, dirt, or grass. If you’re wondering if that includes your favorite minimalist shoe brand, the answer is yes.
Next, what caused this view change: I owe it all to a clinician I worked with, Dr. James Anderson, who I sought out for help with my own issues with breathing (something I struggled with for decades).
Note, I didn’t go to him saying “teach me about footwear”.
But by teaching me particular knowledge about the human body which I’d never learned before, and which in turn helped me with the issue I came to him for, he enlightened me about how my view on footwear was missing important context. If you read my book, you’ll learn some of that knowledge that he taught me and how it plays into shoe choices, but here’s a snippet:
We walk on flat ground today in modern times. Our feet were built to walk on soft, uneven ground. In order to help your foot act like a foot, we need to create an environment that allows that. A shoe with a supportive heel counter allows the mid foot to move better, which makes the foot act more like a foot would act on soft, uneven ground. As Dr. Anderson says, “your shoe should bring the beach to your foot!”
In the photo is the shoe I wear every day. It has radically changed my experience living in my body and my ability to perform. And as I’ve put into practice what I learned about shoe choices with my clients, I’ve seen the same be true for each person that is in front of me.
This shoe was selected with two things in mind: 1) how my body relates to the shoe 2) how the shoe helps me relate to the ground
All minimalist footwear is missing key components that are necessary for me to successfully accomplish number 1 and number 2. And this is the real difference:
If a shoe lets my feet be free but tethers a ball and chain to the rest of my body, how free am I, really?
I work with my clients to help them get into the right shoes for their body and for their body’s relationship to the ground. And I teach you the basics of it in Becoming Unbreakable: How To Build A Body You Love To Live In. I’m proud to pass along the knowledge because I know what a lightbulb moment it was for me.