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Barefoot Natural Running Specialist Online Shop

Barefoot Natural Running Specialist Online Shop

As a natural running store we are quite unique in the sense we accommodate all forms of running be it slow, medium or fast. For over 10 years we have been selling shoes which allow you to run either in a natural way or by "heel striking" ….Having researched "Natural Running" which is often referred to as "barefoot" we discovered that human movement patterns remained the same for over 300,000 years then in the 1970's along came "The Cushioned " running shoe. This in turn led to a change in human movement patterns globally as people started to run with a heel first landing.

Might not sound much but you try this: Stand with all your weight on your heels, jump straight up into the air and get both feet off the ground then land on your heels(try this barefooted). Then try this: go up onto the balls of your feet and jump continuously allowing the heel to kiss the ground gently then notice the cushioned effect you get from using both the plantar surface of your foot and the Achilles Tendon. This is the effect of "you" controlling the deceleration of a fall, same as going down stairs.

Now this is no definitive proof that landing on your heels can cause injury but it does demonstrate clearly how the plantar surface of the foot and the Achilles tendon are capable of removing in excess of 50% of the shock received at the knee. So how come the industry didn't address the issue. Mainly because there was no real evidence that this could be the primary cause of injury. So, off to work go the research scientists and after many years, in 2009, author and New York Times columnist, Chris MacDougall, writes a book called, Born To Run, and so the story begins.

Professor Daniel Lieberman proved that the human animal was actually born to run as we changed our eating habits over time. When we became meat eaters we had the hunt and the chase which is how we evolved into the species we are today, a species of runners. Faced with this type of information Footworks made a positive change to involve "natural running" as the main theme for the business. Don't be going thinking we all joined the long haired friends of Jesus and the tree huggers by taking off our shoes, far from it, we still accommodate the traditional running shoe market and the reason we do is easy. You cannot make fundamental changes to human movement patterns overnight, so this task will take many years and, if the truth be told, landing on the heel may be right for certain peoples biomechanics. So now you can see our aims and objectives. We have a duty to introduce you to the natural movement of the human which has been changed over the last 40 years. You will then have the ability to make an informed choice on the type of footwear you believe will help you to achieve you goals.

Runners can be classified into 3 groups (a)those who want to improve their quality of life through exercise, (b) Those who want to get from A to B without mechanical means and (c) those who want to win.

Some of you may find you are in more than 1 group and that's great but either way the reason you run is entirely up to you, so if you run and don't enjoy running then think about trying a change of technique or purpose, this can bring back the child like impulses that make running around aimlessly seem purposeful and, who knows, even enjoyable. Children running are always having fun, it's very rare to see a child running around of their own will without a huge grin on their face. They are also very good at barefoot running and we can learn loads from observing this natural form of motion.

Please read on through some of the other information pages to find out how easily you can make small changes which will exponentially improve the way you run.

Using The Body as a Spring

Using The Body as a Spring

Why do you need cushions and braces on your feet when you run?

This piece is written by Jim Stoxen who is an emminent Chiropractor from Chicago. It is brilliantly written.

Why does grandma need:

· Orthotics
· Orthopedic Shoes
· A cane
· A walker
· A wheelchair
· A hospital bed
The doctors said her muscles could no longer support her.

Maybe its a good idea to learn how to condition your spring suspension system muscles of your
body for impacts instead of looking for the next brace?
So, before you get up and running, you are going to want to learn about the engineering of the
human spring and specifically what the spring suspension system muscles are and how they
assist you in springing off impacts safely.
As you know I also refer to them as the landing muscles, the pronation supination cuff or the arch
foot and ankle sling muscles, as one famous doctor from Bangkok, Thailand called them.
Most of you work on your “take off” muscles yet the “landing muscles” are hardly EVER
exercised because so few even know they exist!
Dont you think that if you put a bigger, more powerful and heavier engine on a plane that it would
fly faster? You might want to put a stronger landing gear on the plane too?
With this simple logic, why are so many of you training the take off muscles and
completely neglecting the landing muscles?
No wonder you have so many impact related injuries like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, stress
fractures, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and herniated discs!
So many people are told that impacts are bad for you in running.
That is just wrong!
Impacts are only bad for you if your human spring mechanism cannot handle the force of
the impact safely! Period!
In the book, ‘Born To Run’, written by Christopher McDougall, he tells the story about the
Tarahumara Indians and how these old indians ran for miles in the mountains for decades with
minimal footwear.
So what’s the difference between you and them?
The idea that you have to have cushioned footwear to absorb the force of the impacts doesn’t
really make sense, unless the impact resistance mechanism, the spring suspension system
muscles and mechanism cannot handle the impacts.
So if your doctor, your coach and your conscience told you that you needed a cushion between
yourself and the earth to absorb the impacts I guess what they were really saying was YOUR
spring suspension system muscles and joints are not healthy enough to take the impacts but
other peoples are.
Is the human body a lever or a spring?
The first thing we have to determine is what the human body is in the world of physics so we can
better understand the model of the object that has to collide with the earth 100,000,000 times
before our 30th birthday.
There is a fundamental difference between the way I see the human body and the way most
other doctors and scientists see the human body.
I say that the body works as a lever and a spring.
Most doctors and scientists say human body ONLY works as a lever system
I think it is because they still memorized the old text book instead of observing how it truly works
to protect us from impacts.
I also think that maybe its because the spring mechanisms of the patients that levered into their
clinic with pain already had their spring mechanism lock up before they walked into the
office. When they observed them it was while they were limping into their offices with their levers
so they could sit or lay down during the examination of their locked levers.
I haven’t seen many doctors training or observing top athletes doing double fulls, standing fulls,
or plyometric drills.
Many just recite “the body acts as a rigid lever at take off”.
You can tell when they talk like that there is no independent thinking.
Why is the body NEVER a rigid lever during running or walking?
When the body is working the way it was designed.
When the foot lands on the ground it rolls from the outside to the inside called rolling from
supination to pronation.
At the same time it is loading from the force of the landing like lowering a weight on the bench
With all that rolling and loading in a three dimensional plane across 33 movable joints it never
becomes a rigid lever! Its just impossible to think that can happen with a rolling loading bag of 26
moving bones.
For me, with my experience studying impacts in sports such as running, jumping
and plyometrics, I find it ridiculous to think that the body absorbs these incredible impacts with

How can a lever protect two objects (earth and human) that predictably will collide over
250,000,000 times in a lifetime?
Lets see… this object will collide with the earth 250 million times so lets design it as a lever.
Are you thinking what Im thinking?
It doesn’t make sense!
Is it just me or do you think it’s hard to imagine that we can launch our 150 pound bodies against
450 pounds of impact resistance force for over 26,000 consecutive impacts with ultimate
efficiency as a lever system.
If you believe what you are saying, then you are saying that is the way you launch your body
against this 450 pounds of resistance or approximately 11,700,000 pounds of work load!
The same person can’t do 200 calf raises (working as a true lever) amounting to 30,000 pounds
of work.
Here are the exact formulas:
· 26,000 impacts/26 miles
· M x A = F (M)150 pounds x (A)3 = 450 pounds force per impact
· 450 x 26,000 = 11,700,000 pounds of impact over the course of that marathon
· 150 pounds x 200 total calf raise reps before exhaustion = 30,000 pounds of work
Why do we become exhausted at 30,000 pounds of work during calf raises (working as a true
lever) but can run 26.2 miles for 26,000 impacts of 450 pounds of force amounting to 11,700,000
pounds of work?
Its because:
1. The body works as a lever mechanism when doing calf raises.
2. The body works as a spring mechanism when running.
Its obvious which one is more efficient!
Do doctors and scientists disagree with me?
You wouldn’t think so but they still hold on to this lever model!
OK OK the body does work as a lever and a spring.
Does that make you happy?
In my opinion, the body does move at as a lever system such as when we are going up on our
toes, walking up stairs, doing raises, but it also functions as a spring mechanism when we are
walking, jogging, running, and participating in sports activities.
If we look at the body as a spring mechanism we have more effective ways of treating and
training the body than as a lever.
Also looking at the body as a spring mechanism helps us explain many mysteries that baffle
doctors and you.
Like…. CHRONIC PAIN – The body bangs and twists into the ground 10,000 steps a day
(walking) rather than springs off the ground so it cannot protect itself from the impacts resulting
on an assault on the muscles and joints.
Maybe that is why my plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and herniated
disc won’t heal!
Like… CHRONIC FATIGUE – The body bangs and twists into the ground 10,000 times a day
(walking) rather than the more efficient way of ambulation, springing the mass off the
ground. (some have estimated that 25-60 percent of the energy is recycled through this spring
The human body abides by the Hookes Law of Physics
Hookes Law applies to spring mechanics. It does not apply to lever mechanics.
When you think about impacts there is a force that impacts your body on each landing. If we
understand how this force absorbs into our body safely then we can look at those structures that
absorb the force and release them, strengthen them and supercharge them for optimum
Then we can run barefoot because we won’t need an artificial cushion to do what our human
spring is designed to do for us!
Why don’t doctors and scientists let go of the lever model for the more accurate spring
model of evaluating, treating, training and maintaining the human body?
Why do they still hang on to the lever model if it doesn’t make sense?
They can’t prove it is a spring by EMG testing because EMGs don’t measure the spring of
tendons and connective tissue complexes (the arch)
Most of the muscles that control the safe rolling of the foot from supination (outside) to pronation
(inside) and the spring action of the foot originate outside the foot on the calf. They become
tendons in the foot.
The muscles have strategic attachments at the underside of the foot where the spring action
occurs but they originate in the calf.
Scientists do gait studies to determine what muscles are used during walking or running. They
use EMG testing, which measures muscle activity. These electrodes are either on the surface of
your skin or inserted into the muscle like a needle. OUCH!
The problem with measuring the body with this method is that it doesn’t measure for the
elastic recoil of the tendons (spring) and that is a very important component of how our
body protects itself as a spring and how it recycles energy during walking and running!
This represents a huge amount of work performed by the body, which provides FREE ENERGY
to the body through this spring action.
How can you measure a tendon recoil when you are testing for electrical activity of muscle
So when they’re using the EMG to study about how muscles work during impacts such as
walking or running they think we run by using the foot as a lever to PUSH it forward when we all
know the body SPRINGS the mass forward.
This is only part of the big picture.
So what do they account for the inability to measure for arch recoil and tendon recoil?
Because they can’t accurately understand how it propels itself so many studies just model the
human foot as a solid lever unit, as if your foot that was stuck in a freezer, a solid lever
This is obviously, not an accurate way to describe the foot during its role in absorbing impacts
from running or walking.
Also when your body is functioning correctly the foot is a very wiggly, springy mechanism when
all 33 joints are moving according to way they are designed like in the children’s foot.
Unfortunately, when doctors see patients, they are injured. No one gets their feet examined
when they are pain free. If they already have had an injury then the body has already created
muscle spasms to protect it which stiffen or lock it up like a lever.
Is your foot springy when its injured or in pain? NO!
I have been a guest doctor at track and field championships examining healthy springy feet and
evaluated the springiness of the feet of every patient that comes in my office.
Coaches, trainers and managers send me athletes and entertainers to tune them up to improve
their performance. They do not have any injuries. I evaluate them head to toe nail to see what
areas we can release to increase their spring performance. I know what a springy, fully released
human foot is supposed to feel like.
I work 10 – 30 hours on stiff or locked feet to remove preloaded compression forces by deep
tissuing out every single spasm and releasing every single joint to maximize the ability of the foot
to load impact forces into a spring mechanism safely. When Im done, the feet feel a much
different than they did when they started. More springy!
Imagine how springy your feet and legs would feel if a deep tissue specialist worked 30 hours
releasing the tension and spasms on your lower body!
There is a huge difference in the springiness of the foot of a patient with a plantar fasciitis,
bunions, chronic knee pain and or herniated disc that hasn’t healed. Why do I know? Ive been
working on thousands of feet with my hands for 25 years, 6-7 days a week a minimum of 10
hours a day.
Feet that have stiff muscles around them or have locked joints function as a lever mechanism so
they cannot absorb the force of the landing as effectively .
To think any differently violates the laws of physics!
Lets see… A stiff foot or a springy foot….
Which one is going to bang on impact?
In the examination of the walk you often see the calf muscle shake on impact with a patient
who’s foot is locked.
That tells you right away there is no spring in that step!
If you have plantar fasciitis, foot or heel pain, heel spurs, calf pain or swelling, shin splints, knee
pain, hip pain or back pain, walk barefooted (shorts too) towards a camera and away from it fast.
When you look at the video watch to see if your calves shake. You might be amazed!
In order to absorb millions of impacts it must be designed as a spring mechanism.

Mid Foot Spring Landing Visual

Mid Foot Spring Landing Visual

When the Spring Mechanism Breaks Down it Becomes a Lever Mechanism
What about the studies? Are their any studies that prove what you say?
Almost every gait study done in America or anywhere except a third world country will provide
inaccurate data that will confuse you into thinking that the human body moves, protects you from
impacts and recycles energy as a lever mechanism rather than a spring mechanism.
How can I say that?

If a scientist selects a study group from people who have worn shoes for 20-30 years then the
human spring mechanism has been tampered with extensively and therefore the results and
interpretations and conclusions from these studies are not as helpful to prove the body is a
spring vs a lever when it is working right!
Imagine if we were doing a study of elbow movement and decided to use a student who had a
brace on his elbow for 20 years and another who did not have any braces on the elbow his whole
Are they going to have different elbows with different movement patterns and strengths? Of
course they are! Logic!
One would have to study how normal healthy children walk who have never worn shoes or
habitually barefoot subjects from some third world country would have to be selected.
The other problem with the way gait is studied is, the subjects are commonly selected who are
pain free. That doesn’t mean there isn’t already substantial plastic deformities and locking of the
spring mechanism represented by a locking of any one or many of the 33 joints of your 26 bones
of your foot.
People have advanced bunion deformities that are painless that obviously effect impact
resistance. The reason why these deformities happen without frank pain is because we take
about 50,000,000 impacts into each foot by our 30th birthday. Even subtle abnormal loading
position of the foot can cause a lot of deformity in that many impacts.
Did someone qualified to evaluate for the joint motion of all 33 joints check these subjects before
they were included in the research?
You rarely see a doctor do motion palpation of each individual joint of the foot to make sure they
are all moving according to the way they were designed even when the patient has a condition
like plantar fasciitis, Mortons neuroma, heel pain, bunions, calf cramps and the list of spring
compressive conditions goes on up the floors of the human spring.
In fact I once had a doctor question me when I suggested that the most commonly locked
joint of the foot was the second and third metatarsal cuneiform joint.
He suggested it wasn’t supposed to move because it was a saddle joint.
If it is a joint then it is supposed to move! What are you talking about?
Why would the joint be there if there was no movement needed there?
Why do we have joints?
To protect us from impacts!
How do we check for joint play in a joint?
I was not taught how to evaluate for loss of joint play in a joint and for abnormal movements in
the spine for all my years in chiropractic college. I had one (2 credit) class on examining and
adjusting the extremities such as the foot and ankle but there was not so much emphasis on it as
I put on it now.
I make sure there is no restriction on any joint from the tip of the head to the toe nails on
every patient.
I learned how to evaluate for restrictions on the joint play affecting the ability of the body to load
the forces of the impact into the spring mechanism by absolute necessity.
My first patient started off the education process of human spring!
My very first patient was powerlifter, Ed Coan, as described as “the greatest powerlifter in the
history of the sport“…
He was attempting to break world records in powerlifting by lifting close to 1000 pounds.
Out of necessity it was imperative that I remove every single restrictive spasm from his spring
mechanism to ensure that he could load the maximum amount of force of lift load into his human
If the doctor doesn’t even have the skill set to be able to evaluate the joint play in all 33 joints of
the human foot and after that if he cannot manipulate these joints then he can’t understand how
the locked joints behave differently when it is in fact released. He has nothing to compare.
I can tell you that when you release the mid foot locking and the metatarsal cunieform joints of
the foot, there is a loud cracking noise from the release of the fixation.
Watch the video below of me resetting the talus in the ankle mortise. The sound of the release of
the locking of this joint may startle you!
Many patients say afterwards it feels more bouncy or springy when I walk.
It just makes sense!
Whenever the foot rolls out of the safe range into a over pronation position, the ankle joint is
affected. This over rolling stresses the ankle joint and many times the talus bone which is like a
ball bearing of the foot, jams into the joint above called the ankle mortise formed by the extension
of the tibia and fibula.
Why use a brace like an orthotic or motion control shoe when you can train your body to correct
its own alignment?
How can you treat a patient with a knee cap misalignment in the trochlear groove which is
essentially a pulley mechanism without addressing the ability of the foot to plant without torquing
the tibia and fibula out of alignment with the knee cap? Think logic!
When you look at it, it looks like a saddle on a horse’s back. When I make adjustments of the
talus that is jammed in the medial aspect of the ankle mortise, the release of this joint makes a
very loud audible crack or release.
If muscles pull against the joints they must be moving for the muscle to get full contraction and
full development.
This is obvious!
Just think of how much development you’d get from your bicep during a curl if your elbow was
completely locked.
The lever system model claims that the body becomes a rigid lever as if it’s some kind of
stiff unit when it pushes off.
If that was true, then the forces of the impacts of between 300 – 800 pounds would literally
destroy the cartilages in a short time and end plates of your bones if it became a solid unit.
I contend that during running for sure that the foot is never an 180 lb solid unit unless it’s locked
or frozen.
But if it’s working right it’s in a constant elastic deformation process, constantly moving the load
across the ever-changing deforming structure that protects you from these impact forces and
stores energy only to release it for maximum efficiency.
It’s ridiculous to think that it’s okay to have joints locked up and that it won’t affect the
development of the muscles control the landing and absorption of impact forces. If you don’t
check for the joint play in these important joints then you may be missing something very crucial
in the treatment of the patient!
As I said many times the primary landing muscles, the spring suspension system muscles that
load the force of the impact into the spring mechanism and release the energy or unload the
forced back into the mechanism I refer to as the spring suspension system muscles.
You won’t find that word or concept in any book or taught at any school because I coined the
muscle group to fit the human spring model because it was not possible to explain what was
available in the human lever model.
The muscles that absorb the forces of the impact are the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior,
peroneus longus and peroneus brevis and a few others up the floors 1-7.
The impacts are also absorbed from other muscles such as the soleus however we are always
developing those muscles. Exercise is needed to supplement what we are NOT exercising in our
daily lives.
From my clinical experience, the majority of the people who have injuries from running such as
plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel pain, torn cartilage in the knees, hip pain and herniated discs
are because the spring mechanism can’t effectively absorb the impact into the spring.
Because the human spring is preloaded with compressive force from muscle spasms and locking
of joint lay there is no room to load all the impact force.
Because of that, the impact is absorbed into the tissues as chronic stress and strain, wear and
tear inflammation and pain called degenerative joint disease during running or simple walking.
Then you have the acute injury resulting from an acute overload of the force of impact into the
compression spring, the vertebral disc, which is really a plastic deformity.
In the knee we call it torn cartilage. In the foot or shin or tibia bone we call it stress
fractures. When the preload compression force overloads the compression spring of the lower
back it causes a plastic deformity of the disc or a herniated disc. If the overload is severe acute
with no room to absorb the forces into the mechanism you can have a fracture or fractures.
Damage to ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones or discs occurs when the force of the impact
exceeds a spring mechanism’s capacity to store the impacts either over time as a plantar fascitis
shin splint, heel spur or cartilage wear or instantly as a herniated or bulging disc.
The spring suspension system muscles help absorb impacts.
All joints that are involved in absorbing these impacts must be moving.
If the joints don’t move where the tendons attach then the tendons cannot pull against these
joints. That makes it impossible to get full impact force into these joints and it’s also impossible
to get full positive adaptation leading to maximum development of the muscles, tendons and
connective tissue of joints.
The body does not only use muscles to propel. The arch would spring back impacts even
without the muscles just by its very design.
The arch configuration is 26 joints wrapped by ligaments and this connective tissue that forms a
springy bow or leaf spring, that adds impact resistance and free energy to impact activities such
as walking, running and the performance of sports. Footwear alters movement patterns in the
foot and most footwear either binds, deforms or reverses the human spring mechanism.
A few doctors and academics have argued with me that there is no scientific proof that
shoes binds or restrict movement in the foot.
I agree that assumptions must be based on peer review literature, however I do not need peer
review studies to tell me that a shoe that I wrap around the foot and lace tightly does not alter the
movement in any way in the foot or the joints above.
People who talk like this either work as consultants for footwear companies or will wait for 30
years for 10 studies to say it does while thousands of patients have rapidly deteriorating health
because they are treated the opposite of what is best for them in the long run. Meanwhile they
wait for someone to do a study that tells them what they already know.
It is obvious that footwear binds the foot and alters the natural movement of the foot to some
degree. Each style of footwear and the size of the shoe etc. determines how much it binds the
foot. If it did not bind in some way it could not stay on your foot. Do you think you can attain full
range of motion in adduction, abduction, inversion and eversion of the foot with a shoe on? No
How can a body part attain full range of motion in abduction, abduction, inversion, eversion,
supination and pronation when there is a piece of leather wrapped tightly around it? This is
where they contradict themselves! On one hand, footwear companies and doctors say that you
have to wear shoes to support the foot which means that it’s applying a pressure to the foot to
provide the support. So just by saying that it supports a foot you are admitting it affects the
movement of the foot, period! I’ve had arguments with other doctors in forums where they say
show me the proof that the shoe inhibits the movement of the foot. Then in another forum topic
they will say that the shoe supports the foot and therefore it’s an important item to wear when
you’re running because your body can’t absorb the force of the impact as a lever. They contradict
themselves! If shoes give an athlete a competitive advantage then isn’t that a form of cheating?
No athletes train with wraps or braces if they KNOW they give them a lift or advantage because
they KNOW this takes away from the positive adaptation they need to get stronger.
Even if you don’t want to throw out your running shoes don’t you do want to condition your
human spring mechanism to absorb impacts more effectively, more safely and at greater forces
or speeds? Of course you do!
How to strengthen your spring suspension system muscle group.
What I recommend is that you train the foot with drills in directions that stimulate the
development of these spring suspension system muscles.
This requires you to:
RESISTANCE TRAINING – Train with resistance exercises adding cuffs strapped to the foot
moving it in a variety of directions such as eversion, inversion, abduction, adduction, pronation
and supination.
IMPACT TRAINING – run barefoot in zigzag patterns, circular patterns, shuffle patterns as well
as doing multi direction plyometric drills.
Then when you’re in the competition you can cheat by putting shoes on that allow for additional
recoil of the elastic of the shoe!
Resistance Exercises to Strengthen the Spring Suspension System Muscles as Levers
Exercises for the development of the spring suspension system muscles must be done
barefoot. I guarantee you if you tried to do exercises with cables which I’m suggesting in this
article that you are not going to be able to do them with shoes on.
It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that it’s possible to get full range of motion in these directions
that are essential to development of the spring suspension system muscles with shoes on.
It’s amazing for me to think that runners think that their bodies follow some other principle of
training that allows them to only move their body in one direction to fully develop the human foot
which is a three dimensional object that moves in multiple directions.
A healthy foot has to be developed in all directions just as much as the upper body has to be
trained in all directions such as back, biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, arms and wrists.
So when you take off down the trail in that straight path remember that’s the first exercise that
you have to do that really doesn’t take up as much of those spring suspension system muscles
that move the foot in these other directions that demand you move or run in zigzag patterns side
shuffle circular patterns and other patterns.
Kids Should Run Barefoot and have Fun and So Should YOU!
It’s interesting that kids seldom have chronic injuries, their spring suspension system muscles
are fully developed as they’re running around in free play in the backyard with no shoes on.
This goes on very successfully until mom screams out,
“Put your shoes on and stop running around like a crazy kid!”
We don’t realize what we’re doing to our children when we tell them that they should behave and
act like us. What we are doing is we are taking them away from the developmental plyometric
exercises of leaps, bounds, hops and skips in multiple directions and making them conform to
our boring straight path routine that causes us to have an imbalance in the spring suspension
system muscles of our body.
As kids we run around in the woods chasing animals, animals that run in multiple directions and
as adults we run down the path to try to get to first base then stand around for a few minutes, run
to second base on a straight path in then of course there is this matter of having shoes on to
protect us from these impacts in different directions that will make us stronger.
The moral of the story is that the spring suspension system muscles must be developed in
relation to the amount of impact forces that you are planning on absorbing or springing back
These are the fundamental causes of weakness in the spring suspension system muscles.
1. The spring suspension system muscles are not completely developed by running straight ahead.
You must move the foot in all ranges of motion against resistance.
2. You must develop the foot in these ranges of motion with impact forces that are equal to the
amount of impact forces you plan on absorbing. That means if you are planning on running you
must run drills in all ranges of motion so that the spring suspension system muscles are able to
move and develop.
3. Footwear inhibits the development of these muscle. So training must be done with bare feet.
Shoes only inhibit the movement of the bones so the muscles can’t fully develop.
4. Start with slower speeds and work your way up adding an increment of speed every two weeks.
Impact Drills and Plyometrics
Your spring suspension system must be completely released during these impact drills. If you
have a locking or more stiffening of any of the joints by either joint stiffness or muscle stiffness
surrounding the joints the suspension system that represents a preload force on or a
compression of the spring suspension system.
That means that the total capacity to load the force of the impact into the spring mechanism is
reduced because it’s preloaded already with some force. If you try to load maximum force into
this preloaded spring mechanism there is no room for the force to go.
That is when it has no other choice but to cause injury when the force plastically deforms the
disc. This is what we call a herniated or bulged disc.
If the force is overloading the spring mechanism of the knee then you can get a a
meniscus tear or anterior cruciate tear. If it’s in the foot then it can become a heel spur,
plantar fasciitis or a shin splint.
These muscles are essential for absorbing impacts so if you’re having impact injuries such as
shin splints plantar fasciitis, herniated discs, heel spurs, then you can suspect that your spring
suspension system of the arch of your foot is locked.
The most likely area for the spring mechanism to lock is at the metatarsal cunieform joint number
two and three. (mid-arch) Also the talus can lock in the ankle mortise medially. When I release
these joints they make a loud crack and the patient feels an instant release of the joint stiffness.
If your spring suspension system muscles are stiff the most likely ones are the medial intrinsic
muscles of the foot, the tibialis posterior, tensor fascia and gluteus medius.
- Copy and paste this into your browser to see more at:

Plyometric Training Increases Springyness

Short video from a Dr Jim Stoxen lecture making a very valid point.

Lose Your Shoes

Lose Your Shoes

April 16, 2012 by Sock Doc (

I recently wrote an article called “Healthy People = Barefoot People” which discusses
why barefoot people tend to be healthier than often-shod people and how/why being
barefoot can improve your health. It’s a good read – but hey, I wrote it, so of course I’m
going to say that. Part of the reason for the article was also to discuss three important
topics/questions that I get a lot. One – “If I’m not injured should I still get out of my oversupportive shoes?” (Answer = yes.) Two & Three – “How do I properly transition out of
my current shoes without getting injured?” & “I started running barefoot and now I have
pain, why?” (Answer = you’re doing it wrong.) Since I posted that article about one
month ago I’m still getting these questions so I think that I should have broken up that
article and put the last two sections separately. So here it is along with some additional
info regarding my shoe suggestions.

If you’ve read “Healthy People = Barefoot People”
and are doing well, then most of this is deja-vu, and you can skip to the end where I
discuss those recommendations. If you’re reading this first, great – but read “Healthy
People = Barefoot People” next to really understand the concept behind why I think
everybody should strive more the most minimal footwear.

Should You Venture Into Minimalism if You’re Not Injured or Having
Any Problems?

If you’re not injured and could care less about performance should you get out of your
traditional footwear or running shoes? Though many advise just to keep doing what
you’re doing I don’t support that position. You will only truly be sure if your feet and other
areas of your body are strong and healthy if you venture out of your footwear. If you
have trouble doing so it’s an indication that there is a problem you’ve been supporting
just as if you were not having elbow pain every time you played tennis because you
wore a brace, for example. Just because you don’t have pain, weakness, or discomfort
doesn’t mean a problem is not there. Ask yourself WHY you can’t be without your
supportive shoes or supportive foot braces. This doesn’t mean you go barefoot right
away, but you should enter the realm of minimalism just to get an idea of where you’re
at. Stronger feet and lower legs and more body awareness are definitely possible the
more you are barefoot.
A healthy individual can be barefoot, (baring some injury to the foot), and they can
further improve their health, fitness and overall well-being. If you have a health problem
or an injury, investigating the minimalist and barefoot approach may be an essential step
in your recovery, and further prevention of that or another problem. Barefoot isn’t going
to cure a disease you may have – but it most likely will have a noticeable effect on your
health and well-being. If you don’t think it can have such a powerful effect, how do you
really know unless you’ve tried it?

Ready to Make the Change? Transition to Minimalism and Barefoot

Yes, too many people are getting injured by switching from their current footwear to
minimalist footwear or even barefoot. This gives the traditional medical doctor, podiatrist,
or therapist reason to believe that humans today are not meant to be barefoot and we
need to protect our feet with more supportive shoes. I get a fair share of hate mail from
these people who think that because we don’t live in wild jungles we need support on
our feet to get through the day on our “unnatural” surfaces. Though of course I don’t
agree with this, the typical unhealthy person and/or person who has always worn
supportive footwear or orthotics can’t just make the shift so drastically. Many of them do,
and they get injured, so these doctors and therapists see them in their office and rather
than educate the patient on overall health (diet, lifestyle, and foot care), they convince
them that barefoot is evil and humans need shoes all the time. This is pretty sad in my
opinion, but it’s the standard of our health care system.
You must transition to barefoot slowly and carefully, so you do not become injured.
There is no rush! Start just by walking barefoot inside your house as much as you
comfortably can. If that’s painful then you can start with a minimalist-type “transitional”
shoe and eventually work out of those to barefoot. It’s okay and often advised to
alternate between your current traditional shoes and a minimalist shoe/barefoot if you
have pain or discomfort. It’s very common actually to feel tightness and some discomfort
in the Achilles Tendon as it has shortened from years of wearing shoes with a high heel.
So if you feel an ache in your Achilles then just be sure to rest it well and even go back
to your current shoes as needed and not barefoot or in low-drop shoes until the
discomfort subsides. If you’re wearing orthotics, talk to your prescribing doctor about
getting out of them so you can walk naturally again and not support your dysfunction. If
that doctor doesn’t think that’s possible for you to rehab your feet in such a way then
personally I’d find another doc, unless your situation truly warrants a supportive device
(very rare). If you’ve been wearing supportive shoes with orthotics for years the
transition is going to take time.
Once you can comfortably walk barefoot then work on balancing (one leg at a time)
barefoot too for several seconds and then a minute or so at a time. Hard surfaces (tile,
hardwood) are okay and advised!
Once you’re walking barefoot and balancing well inside comfortably then venture outside
onto hard, smooth surfaces such as your driveway. Slowly build up time as you
comfortably can. Eventually make your way to other surfaces such as grass and gavel.
Of course make sure these areas are safe to walk on. If barefoot is bothersome to you
outside then use a minimalist shoe at first.* Remember that different shoes work for
different people!
Once you’re walking barefoot outside comfortably then try a bit of barefoot running on a
flat, hard surface – not too much at first or you’re likely to develop sore feet and calves
very quickly! If you’re not a runner then a minimalist shoe will be more appropriate at first
or you should just stick to walking. If you don’t want to or don’t like to run outside
barefoot then that is perfectly fine. But do your best to get into a minimalist shoe or
“barefoot style” shoe. Continuing to walk barefoot outside, and especially inside, as
much as you can, is advised.

Proper Shoes For A Healthy, Fit Body

If you’re a runner or avid walker then while introducing this barefoot program into your
daily routine you should also be transitioning out of your current “necessary” footwear
into minimalist-type shoes. Think flat, firm, flexible, and wide. This means that the
shoe should not have a significant, or any, heel to toe drop, (if you’re coming from a
thick heel you will not want to go to a zero-drop shoe immediately), there should be little
to no cushion or padding in the sole, and the shoe should not be rigid anywhere – it
should bend throughout the shoe and in any direction. The shoe should also be wide at
the toe box allowing the toes to naturally splay apart.
Finally, don’t go back to your old shoes! The only unfortunate nuisance of being barefoot
and wearing minimalist/barefoot-style shoes over time is that the typical shoes you were
wearing will soon be very uncomfortable on your feet and you’ll need new footwear.
Even a 4mm drop may be uncomfortable to an often-barefoot individual. It is for me.

Lose Your Shoes Shoe Suggestions

Lose Your Shoes Shoe Suggestions

Some Transitional and Barefoot-Style Shoe Suggestions by Colin
McPhail of footworks / Barefootworks
As of Spring 2014, these are the most common recommendations I give to customers for
footwear, and where I see the most success.

“Transitional Shoes”

· Brooks Pure Grit Trail shoe with a 4mm drop and stack height of roughly 20-16
has enough flexibility to be considered natural with a grip that will work both on
tarmac and wet grass & mud. It’s a hybrid of the other Pure Project shoes that all
work very well in moving you forward on the landing. Pure Project Flow &
Cadence are great transitional shoes.

· Asics have a new shoe called the Gel Lyte 33 V3 which even with a 6mm drop
and a stack height of 20 – 14mm has the most amount of flexibility found in a
cushioned traditional styled shoe. This shoe has Fluid Axis technology which
stabilizes the sub talor joint once landed. Without a doubt the best shoe ever
from Asics…….worth a punt.

· Saucony Kinvara. This is a great borderline minimalist shoe and many folks get a
great deal of success with it. Only a 4mm drop, but big stack (23-19). Its a shoe
for someone who is being coached into dropping their heel height as its huge
stack allows the odd mistake to be gently forgiven. It is however very lightweight
and has been used by quite a lot of good runners as a race shoe for big

· Mizuno have a lightweight shoe called the Sayonara and although this shoe has
a 10mm drop its stack height is relatively low and when used by a forefoot striker
it performs very well. I have also put heel strikers into this shoe and it works well
if they have difficulty in getting the heel to the ground. Not classified as
minimalist but a very useful shoe for transition with the right coaching.

· Inov-8. I’ve recently tried running in the F/light 195 and like them a lot. Very
similar to the Asics Gel Lyte 33 V3 but with less of a sole and half the stack
height as well as half the drop 3mm. I have also been wearing the Road X 233
model; what a great shoe. At only 6mm drop & 13 - 7mm stack height, they’re
much more minimalist than the Saucony Kinvara and Brooks Pure Project. I
favour this shoe for committed people transitioning.

“Minimalist and Barefoot-Style Shoes” BY COLIN MCPHAIL

· Mizuno Wave Universe 5 weighing in at just under 78 gms 8UK is almost as
much fun as running in a Luna Sandal. The 8-6mm of stack height makes the
blown rubber midsole so sensitive you would think you had forgotten your shoes.
In my opinion (Colin McPhail) this is one of the best shoes ever to be put on the
market. If I am not in my Luna’s or Vibrams then this is my shoe of choice.

· Merrell Road (and Trail) Glove. With an 11mm and 10mm stack respectively
(zero-drop), the Merrells are a popular barefoot-style shoe. A lot of people,
including myself, feel they are too narrow and unstable; but many like them.
Worth a try.

· Vivobarefoot Shoes. Can’t get much more minimalist than Vivobarefoot. I run in
the the One and the Stealth on the road, but haven’t run in their trail shoes too
much anymore as they are very rigid soled. I like (love) the Evo2 for walking and
the Ra and Oak dress shoes for work. My GrandKids wear their boots and shoes
too when they’re not barefoot
· Vibram Five Fingers. These are the toe shoes everyone knows about. I
personally recommend them to my customers as there are so many other zerodrop
“barefoot” type shoes now available the fivefingers are noticeably different
and make a great talking point when folks see you wearing them. They are a
great way to help the awareness of the natural running cause. Personally I love
the way feel and the lack of support they provide.

“Other Shoes/Sandals”

· Altra: Roomy and comfy zero-drop shoes good for a wide foot.
· Vivobarefoot: Zero-drop trendy casual walking and everyday shoes.
· Sandals: Hey, you don’t always need a covered foot. Luna Sandals and Invisible
Shoes are what we wear and I recommend. there is hardly a day goes by when I am not running in my Lunas......