Man was made to walk barefoot -- not on even, hard concrete, but on surfaces that allow for full functioning of the foot and engagement of its many parts. Shoes, like some surfaces, can also negate the functioning of the foot. By binding the foot or elevating the heel, natural gait is restricted, contraction & springing of the arch is reduced, and the toe-off (the last part of your step) is “toe-tally” eliminated.
With the exception of such brands as Birkenstock, Mephisto, Think! and others with ergonomically-designed footbeds that help promote natural foot functions, many shoes need the addition of orthotics to correct what the shoes "un-do" regarding the functioning of the foot. When an orthotic is placed in the shoe, the heel is cupped and the entire foot is better aligned. An arch can also help properly guide and support the foot through its gait.
You may ask: "But what about 'barefoot'/minimalist footwear like Vibram FiveFingers and Terra Plana?" These types of shoes begin with a design that allows for full range movement for the foot. They do not restrict, but instead encourage, the way we were made to walk -- barefoot. These shoes are designed to center & align the heel, guide the arch, and absorb shock -- all elements you’ll find in an orthotic. That said, there still may be individuals who need orthotics in minimalist shoes (perhaps due to a significant drop in their navicular bone). For these individuals simply adding a minimal insole like the Superfeet Dress orthotic to a "barefoot" shoe, can help achieve a more positive influence for full foot function.
So, to wear an orthotic or not? My personal experience is that when I’m standing or walking all day on man-made surfaces, my feet tire much more quickly without the benefits of an orthotically-integrated footbed or shoe. So for me: absolutely yes, to wear. With them I move better, faster, more efficiently...from the ground up.
This entry was posted in Insoles, Orthotics and tagged superfeet, orthotics, insoles, mephisto, birkenstock on February 22, 2011 by admin.
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