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How do you choose your shoes?

Most shoes are not foot shaped. They’re stiff-soled, and extremely cushioned with a squished toe box and a lift at the heel. None of these features allow the foot to behave as it’s supposed to. And is it any wonder with our habit of sitting for long hours every day and wearing very restricting shoes that we have all sorts of problems in our bodies?

What kinds of shoes are you choosing? Take a look at the shoes you wear most often. Is the toe box narrower than your toes? Is there a slight (or big) lift at the heels? Can you twist them easily? Is there a lot of cushioning underneath?

Feet are meant to move and feel the earth. There’s a reason there are nearly as many joints in our feet as our very articulate hands. And yet, the way we choose to experience the world through our feet is as if we’re afraid to allow them to feel anything at all. But the truth is, feet MUST be able to have freedom to move in all three planes for the proper function of the rest of our joints in our whole body.

‘But I have [insert foot dysfunction] and I have to wear [insert shoe type or orthotic type].’ Is that really true? If you broke your arm and they put you in a cast until the bone healed, do they keep you in a cast the rest of your life? No. You heal, they get your joints moving again and you get on with life. So why are we putting ourselves in orthotics and preventing our joints from learning how to interact with the earth, how to open and close, how to load the tissues and unload the tissues, how to manage your weight on an unstable surface? Your feet need the freedom to move.

For optimal foot health we need to choose shoes that let them move. What you want to look for are minimal amounts of padding, no heel lift (called ‘zero drop’), a toebox as wide as your toes so your toes can spread, and a flexible sole. There are lots of online suppliers such as Lems (, Vivo ( and Xero ( In addition, it’s best to spend as much time as possible barefoot to give your feet a chance to just be feet. Challenge your feet as often as possible. Walk on uneven surfaces, run, leap, squat, twist and climb. Your entire body will thank you.