Aches, ingrowns and plantar fasciitis, oh my. Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash.
Our feet quite literally take us everywhere. Whether we’re running to grab a quick snack from the kitchen or going on a 25 mile hike, we rely on our feet to get us from point A to point B.
What we may not realize is that we’ve lost touch with what our feet truly need. Modern footwear advertises both comfort and style, but sometimes the symptoms aren’t avoidable. The back aches begin, a sharp twinge in your arch stops you in your tracks, and even that finicky ingrown toenail seems to resurface a little too often.
What could be causing these annoying issues? The answer is most likely what you have laced around your foot. And it could be any type of shoe, from your most lived-in sandals to those expensive dress shoes that the salesperson swore up and down would improve your posture while remaining stylish.
What is Modern Footwear?
Before we get into the telltale symptoms, let’s talk about the shoes in your closet that are causing these issues. There are some major buzzwords surrounding modern footwear that can cause a false sense of reassurance when it comes to your foot health. Australian physiotherapist Grant Frost points them out:
- Thick sole
- Thick heel
- Arch support
- Narrow in the ball of the foot
- Strong yet rigid structure
While arch support and a thick sole sound like perfectly fine aids for our feet, the reality is that our feet really don’t need the help at all. They should function as they have for the last tens of thousands of years. In fact, Frost also states that our bare feet have all the arch and heel support they need.
Take a minute to notice how your feet interact with your current footwear. Are the shoes too tight? Do you tend to get repetitive ingrown toenails or even bunions? Use the following symptoms as a guide to see if your modern footwear is actually harming your feet.
5 Signs Of Poor Foot Health from Modern Footwear
Traditional or modern footwear styles seem to change overnight, but what never loses style is taking care of your body. If you’re experiencing any of the following five symptoms, it’s time to ditch your current kicks and upgrade to barefoot footwear.
Are you noticing aches from your feet all the way up your legs? You may be experiencing poor blood circulation from a narrow toe box and high arch. The combination of these two limits the range of motion in your feet, relying on your hips and knees for more repetitive motion. Having an unrestricted arch and a wide toe box opens your feet up to a fuller range of motion. This places less stress on your hips and knees when walking.
2. Ingrown Toenails
If you’ve ever experienced even one single ingrown toenail, you’ll know that can fully ruin your week. Ingrown toenails and “hammertoes” can also be created from having a crowded shoe. If you have any pointed-toe shoes sitting in your closet, these are the top suspected culprits when it comes to repeated ingrown toenails.
3. Poor Posture
Many of us are guilty of falling into a slump when working at our computer. We can’t afford to allow the shoes on our feet to also deter us from good posture. Footwear with rigid designs can affect our posture and the way in which we walk. Having a more open, flexible shoe allows us to move more freely as we are meant to.
4. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common yet painful heel issue that can feel like a stabbing pain between your heel and your toes. This pain can be caused by a variety of issues such as age, obesity and general foot exercise, but it has also been linked to footwear. Harvard evolutionary biologist Daniel E. Lieberman conducted a recent experiment around modern footwear’s upward curvature at the front of the shoe. The study was to determine whether a curved toe spring truly did limit the power a foot has to push off from the ground while walking. He found that “habitually wearing shoes with toe springs could inhibit or de-condition the force-generating capacity of intrinsic foot muscles".
Notice the curved toe spring on this modern shoe. Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash.
Neuropathy is a serious sign of poor foot health and has been linked to ill-fitting shoes. This painful condition creates a pins-and-needles feeling and can be heightened when wearing shoes that are too tight. It’s important that not only are your shoes built to work well with your feet but that you’re also wearing the correct sizing.
Upgrade Your Foot Health with Groundz
If you’re ready to update your closet with barefoot shoes that keep your feet happy, we’re ready to help. At Groundz, we believe your shoe should fit your foot’s anatomy (not the other way around like most other modern footwear). Our footwear has been engineered to feature zero-drop and no toe spring with a wide toe box and flexible design. Check out our large inventory of grounding shoes, and feel free to shoot us a question at any time. We are here to assist with your foot health journey.