Healthy Feet

Shoes can make a huge difference in your overall health,  your movement, and your longterm quality of life as you age. 

Articles on Feet and Shoes by Karin

  • Minimalism: Put Your Shoes to the Test  4-page article published in the Rolf Journal of Structural Integration, March 2018. Aimed at practitioners, yet easy to read. It includes some anatomy terms.
  • Healthy Shoe Choices: 2 page simplified article, published in WalkAbout Portland magazine, October 2010. 

Videos on Foot Health, Running Technique, and More

  • Correct Toes Video Library: Free, short videos on many foot conditions, exercises, shoes, etc.
  • Minimalist Mondays: Free videos on warm-ups and techniques for safe running. Focuses on minimal shoes, or barefoot, but helpful for all runners.

Books on Foot Health

  • Anatomy for Runners: Book by Jay Dicharry PT. Scientific yet easy-to-understand explanations of foot health, shoe performance, and holistic strengthening to make running safe and healthy. Great color pictures yet not expensive. 
  • Born to Run: Book by Christopher McDougall. An engaging story of tribe in Mexico who are ultrarunners, using nothing but a handmade sandle for 3-day races. Compelling argument against modern running shoes.  Very complimentary to the material I teach in the Shoe Clinic.

Local Resources for Healthy Feet and Shoes

  • Pie Footwear (NE Alberta): My favorite store for minimalist shoes (wide toe, flexible flat soles).
  • Northwest Foot & Ankle: Podiatrist Ray McClanahan is my primary source for holistic advice about choosing shoes and treating foot problems, especially for runners, walkers, and hikers.  They have a small shoe store in their lobby and they give free advice. (NW 27th & Vaughn) 

Favorite Shoe Brands

  • Lems: This classic minimalist shoe offers the widest toebox, and soft, flexible, flat soles. Try their new mesh athletic shoe.
  • Vivobarefoot: Minimalist shoe with a great toebox and many cute styles. Good for "low volume" feet (feet that are not very tall top-to-bottom in the middle of the foot). Some of their soles can be slippery on wet surfaces.  
  • Merrell Barefoot: Please choose only the "Barefoot" line, which has a pretty-good toebox and has a lightweight but high-traction sole that I prefer for running over the other brands. 
  • Altra: Great toebox. This is not a minimalist shoe, as it has a thick sole, which interrupts the foot's ability to sense the ground - please choose only the thinner sole models. Altra is best for for someone with a foot injury that can't tolerate the flexibility of the above brands.

Shoes for Children

This list is a work in progress, and I appreciate feedback from parents as you try these brands.
The priorities for kids' shoes are:
  1. Abundant toe space, to allow the big toe to be aligned with the inside of the foot. That means the shoe should not narrow between the ball of the foot and the end of the toes
  2. Flexibility to allow a child's foot to be able to bend it.
  3. A thin sole so they can feel the ground through the shoe, to develop the foot muscles for the arches, ankle strength, and balance control.

Scientific Studies About Minimalist Footwear

  • New Running Study: Shows that running in highly cushioned shoes amplifies impact loading (which is associated with the risk of osteoarthritis). 
  • Barefoot Walking Study: Shows that barefoot walking results in less weight load into the knee, (and therefore a decreased risk of osteoarthritis).  Danskos and motion-controlling athletic shoes performed badly, while minimalistic shoes performed almost as well as bare feet.
  • Barefoot Running Study: Compared running in bare feet vs. athletic shoes.  Synopsis and video. 

Class: The Shoe Clinic

Rolfing Shoe Clinic
Learn how you can treat and prevent foot problems by choosing shoes that promote foot health. We will take a look at the natural motion of the foot,  discuss what to look for in shoes (and why!), and check your shoes to see how they measure up. (Please bring 4-6 pairs.)
You'll learn ways to modify your own shoes to improve foot health, and you'll leave with enough knowledge to confidently choose healthy shoes for future purchases. Featuring Pie Footwear's mobile version of their store, so we can have a variety of examples of minimalist shoes (no pressure to purchase).
$20 paid in advance, sliding scale options. To be scheduled - typically 2x/year

Check out my other upcoming classes!
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