The shoe that should be part of your shoe collection, but most likely is not.
Shown above is the WHITIN Barefoot and Minimalist shoe that I purchased almost 4 months ago. My buddy, Mike Lenox, came into the gym wearing them a few weeks before I ended up purchasing them. Due to various foot issues that Mike experiences, he had done research into finding a shoe that better suited his feet.
I immediately took note of the foot issues I endured through a lifetime of athletics. Running track and cross-country, soccer, tennis, basketball, and the list goes on. How many of those sports are played with specific footwear? Depending on the surface? Weather? Skill level? Physical characteristics? Position? Through the years I noticed common themes about my body. For example, tight calves, pain in the feet, knees, and hips (especially if I was running frequently). I noticed calluses forming on certain toes as I could feel them being mushed together in my shoes. My lower back and hips had a limited range of motion due to extreme tightness. Not to mention the sleepless nights as I can remember writhing in pain. Through all the self rehabilitation that ensued, I never thought it possible that my shoes were the cause.
Mike educated me on the wider toe box and the zero heel to toe drop characteristics of these bare minimalist shoes. Basically, when you buy shoes, depending on brand or type they may offer a “W” option or WIDE. This is to incorporate those of us with wider feet. The interesting aspect to the bare minimalist shoe, being designed with the wider toe box, it already provides your feet and toes the necessary room to do what the foot is meant to do. Which is to adapt to any surface and provide stability and foundation for the rest of the body. I’ve met several people wearing these shoes since purchasing my own pair, and I get this question every time, “Did your feet get bigger?” Yes! Essentially, being provided the room to relax and spread, our toes will naturally begin to space out and the foot will widen. The zero heel to toe drop is to incorporate our natural stance without shoes. The heel and ball of the foot are level, allowing the entire foot to work as we perform any type of movement. More importantly, bare minimalist shoes allow for the “tripod concept” to take place. The tripod concept is derived through achieving balance through three points of the foot, center of the calcaneus (heel), head of the 5th metatarsal, and head of the 1st metatarsal. As seen below.
“When you walk in shoes, your feet are pressing against a stiff substitute for the ground that makes the muscles in the feet have to work less than if you were barefoot,” says Daniel Lieberman, chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Depending on your lifestyle, “working less” could actually hurt more than help.
If we are to look at the anatomy of the foot, with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles - that’s a ¼ of all your body’s bones in your feet! They were not designed to be in a narrow fitting shoe! The human body is built from the ground up, do you really want the foundation of your physical being to be working less, as it is the only aspect making connection with surfaces?
Before you buy another pair of shoes, I invite you to consider the bare minimalist shoe.