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  • Dr. Michael Mollenhauer

Topic: Footwear



Since I teased footwear in the sitting blog, I suppose I had better deliver the goods on shoes. This is a large area of interest for me because both men and women are guilty of using poor footwear (just like slouching). I am of course more concerned about the nuts and bolts of the shoe - the construction - than the looks. Looks are great too, but if the construction is flimsy then you are in for trouble.


Similar to our last topic, slouching, I like to think of this from an evolutionary basis. We are designed evolutionarily to walk on:

Grass

Dirt

Snow

Sand

All these surfaces are generally SOFT.


Compare that to what we walk on today:

Concrete/blacktop

Tile

Hardwood (it’s in the name!)

Linoleum/vinyl flooring

These are all ROCK HARD.


So why does this matter? Our feet are designed to impact materials that are soft, which provides cushioning and also disperses forces more evenly throughout the bottom of the foot. Do you recall the last time you were at the pool and saw prints of peoples wet feet along the outside of the pool? They have very small wet areas compared to the outline of a shoe, for example. Pool walkers with bare feet are contacting a very small part of their foot to the concrete. This increases the relative force per square inch on their foot as it is using a smaller area to apply the body weight to the ground. In addition, there is no natural cushioning from the ground itself.


Take a look at our photos attached for some real world evidence taken from footwear found in our clinic. The blue shoe is nice and rigid with a thick heel area to absorb shock when walking/running. Of course the other shoe is very flimsy and can be folded in half as shown. I will let you guess if this is a good thing. The blue shoe can not be bent at all, except in the front near the toes, where our foot naturally bends.



Proper shoes are designed to apply this force out to a larger area of the foot, as well as increase the cushioning that the ground no longer provides. Poor shoes will do neither of these things. Simple. But at least they look great, right?




For more information on what shoes to buy, ask me at your next visit.


Until then, keep your laces tied.





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