Monday, June 7, 2010


My grammer and punctuation are off but here it is...


Shoes, boots high heels and bullshit.

The foot is extremely well designed for walking, running, jumping and doing all this on different types of terrain. On the other hand shoes are well designed to hold a door open. Shoes are good for a few things:

  1. Aesthetics, they look good in a suit or when a woman wants to look grrrrr.
  2. Protecting our feet from urban hazards, glass, needles, waste, and overall grossness
  3. Protecting our bodies from the elements meaning too hot or to cold and big prickly things.

That’s it. They restrict our efficiency in everyday life and actually teach our bodies to behave differently than they would normally. Shoes actually shut down feet receptors, keeping some of our leg and pelvic floor muscles from firing. This is not good for our overall health.

Shoes continue to get more sophisticated but the rate of injuries has not changed. Why, because they don’t work.

With all of that said I am going to show you some shoe companies that I think are wonderful because they are minimalistic and I will show you my least favorite with an explanation of why.

Great shoes

  1. Inov-8
  2. Vivo barefoot
  3. Russell moccasin Thula Thula and the Russell tracker
  4. Mizuno wave universe
  5. Steger Mukluks

Good Shoes

  1. Earth
  2. Newton
  3. Nike Free
  4. La Sportiva Skyline
  5. Vibram five fingers

Horrible shoes

  1. MBT
  2. The Toning shoe craze
  3. Anything with a heel
  4. Nike Shox

Inov8 makes an AWESOME fitness shoe. They do a really good job at making the shoe move like your foot would move. The shoe is there to protect your foot from being damaged, not change the way it moves. Most shoes do both protect it and stop it from moving naturally. Inov8 is by far my favorite shoe on the planet.

Vivo barefoot/Terraplana does a good job in making a minimalist shoe that you can wear out in town. The men’s line is a good kind of funky and interesting that can be worn with a bunch of different looks. It also allows for good foot movement without much restriction.

Russell Moccasin makes a great boot for difficult places. Hunting way in the middle of nowhere kind of stuff. However I only like their thula thula and stalking boots.

Mizuno Wave Universe is like the Inov8 but not quite as wonderful.

Steger Mukluks are for really cold weather and snow. They are super comfy and last FOREVER. Ok not forever but you will spend $200 and use them for 10 years, easily. Except the moccasins they are crap

Good Shoes

These are shoes that I won’t complain about but would never recommend anyone to buy or use unless they find them really cheap. I don’t like them because they are either the same price as the Great shoes and don’t perform as well or they are uglier.

I won’t actually post any links to these because I don’t think they are worth their money. I will do a little talk about why I don’t recommend them.

Earth Shoes because they are ugly.

Newtons are too expensive and still have too much cushioning.

Nike Free are too unstable and get stuff stuck in their sole.

La Sportiva skyline are fine but they have the same price point as inov-8 and I feel inov-8 is a better shoe.

Vibram five fingers is a great concept. I will probably get myself a pair. I actually bought a pair to check out. My problems were:

  • What happens if I break a toe in the middle of wherever I am? They were difficult enough to get on with normal toes but broken would SUCK! I also have really good toe dexterity so people with barney rubble feet will have a problem.
  • In some places you will need socks and socks have to be toed socks, injini makes good socks for them.
  • The pair I had ripped in one of the seams within 2 hours of wearing them.
  • Lastly they look really goofy.

Horrible, Nasty, Disgusting, Damaging, shoes that suck!


MBT is a shoe that has a curved sole. The movement moves the hips in a more natural way, which is great except the fact that as soon as take them off your body has been trained to move really inappropriately. This sets up the need to wear them all the time. The body will only move naturally…ish while wearing them. This will set up horrible movement patterns when you don’t wear them. Also, they do not get the foot on the ground so you can use it when you decide to do any training. They are expensive, they are ugly and they facilitate detraining of the body and will cause an injury later!

Toning Shoes

A slew of shoe companies are beginning to put small instability pads on the sole of the shoe that force the body to readjust constantly. The concept is interesting. They have proven that the calf, hamstring and the glute max actually recruit more muscle tissue while wearing them. Sounds good. The problem is that they don’t teach the body how to move under everyday usage. Inov8 for example requires the body to move the same whether you are barefoot, or in shoes, whether you are running, lifting, walking, standing etc. The toning shoes do not train the body how to move. The next problem I have is that the cushioning shuts done major receptors in the foot. This shut down actually keeps some of them small stabilizers from working/firing. This in turn makes major muscles try to compensate. When a big muscle gets stronger and small muscles get weaker injuries are inevitable. Having small stabilizers strong and big weak is safer than then inverse. The only place these could possibly have is 20 minutes of rehab after a surgery and then it would be stupid because you can buy an instability disc or airex pad for cheaper than this shoe and everyone could use it. Plus the pad/disc could be done barefoot creating a better platform for recovery.

The heel

Heels are sexy. Rules to wearing heels:

  1. Can you run in them and look graceful
  2. Can you straighten your legs

If the answer to either one of those is no then you should not wear them, or the heel is too high.

Now, that said the heel is horrible.

  1. They squish the metatarsals together causing damage to the fat pads, nerves and tendons of the foot
  2. They shorten the Achilles tendon and cause some Achilles swelling
  3. They change the angle of the pelvis and neck and how they work in the system
  4. They cause low back damage.

BE SELECTIVE while wearing heels and ensure they fit if you are going to wear them! None of that foot seeping out of the side stuff or the lets squish the toes together so they look thinner.

Nike Shox

The problem with these are the fact they have a

  1. High heel
  2. They are not stable, I have seen so many people damage themselves wearing them
  3. They shut of the stabilizer receptors.

This is really any current running shoe but in my experience I have seen more injuries with clients wearing these than anything else.

Shoes are really here to keep us from hurting ourselves. The image that goes along with shoes is secondary. Luckily now there are companies that are trying to blend beauty and function. Support those companies and your body will move better and last longer.


  1. Great post. There's a reason that stilettoes and taxi cabs (and cocktails) go together. Having one kind of requires the other. It also really sucks getting your Manolo Blahnik heel caught in NYC street grates and cobblestones. There's an industry of chiropractic around that injury alone.

    You didn't mention the Asics Tiger Tai Chi shoe - the ultimate "no sole" shoe on the planet. They have them at Sporty LA on Melrose. I guess Uma Thurman wore yellow ones in Kill Bill, or so they said.

  2. Legit question: so do you think it's better to run with INNOV8 or go for a run "almost barefoot" with a shoe like Asics Tiger I described? I'm not sure I totally understand - the barefoot running movement going on right now suggests having almost no shoe is better. I know for the sacrum/skeletal alignment we are fans of no shoe - if so why do shoes like Innov8 (which I love love) exist?

  3. YO adam, cool blog i just spotted it... I'm pretty sure it was my shoes that messed up my ankle yesterday, they are way too narrow for me (i have wide retard feet...) any suggestions on a good pair?

  4. for playing in california I would suggest inov8 roclites when your feet get stronger the mudclaws. Have fun with that hairline fractures

  5. Adam, do you have any advice on footwear while carrying a rucksack across several miles of forest and hills? I live in western Washington. Would shoes with gaiters be fine? Or would the pack weight and rough terrain require something more akin to hiking boots? I have Morton's Toe and often get Black Toenail from humping. Thank you for any help, sir.

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