Your Feet Through the Years – Podcast Episode #106

Katy reads three of her favorite essays from Alignment Matters on feet and foot health, and offers a State of the Minimal Shoe Union address, with lots of tips for transitioning well to minimal shoes. Find out why she cut the feeties off her kids’ feetie pyjamas, and why she doesn’t recommend flip flops, except for by the pool.

OVERVIEW

00:04:00 –  Alignment Matters Essay #1 – If the Shoe Fits – Jump to section

00:12:31 –   Katy’s Recap of Essay #1 – Jump to section

00:14:42 –   Alignment Matters Essay #2 – Barefoot. Not Just for Adults – Jump to section

00:21:02 –  Katy’s Comments on Essay #2  – Jump to section

00:28:25 –  Alignment Matters Essay #3 – Kid Pajamas – Off With The Feet – Jump to section

00:32:12 –  Katy’s Comments on Essay #3 – Jump to section

00:33:15 –   State of the Union about Minimal Footwear – Jump to section

00:37:55 – Katy’s events in the Pacific Northwest – Jump to section

 

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW:

More about Katy Bowman

Alignment Matters Book

Audible Free Trial

Correct Toes

Katy’s Blog Post on Minimal Shoes

 

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/MoveYourDNAwithKatyBowman. There are over 180,000 titles to choose from. And you can listen to them on your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player

 

KATY: Happy summer, friends! This is the Move Your DNA podcast, with Katy Bowman. I am Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA and a bunch of other books about movement. And speaking of my other books about movement, this summer on the podcast I’m going to do something many of you have been asking me to do for years. I’m going to read Alignment Matters to you. No, not the entire thing. I am not making an audiobook,  but over the next few episodes from now until the end of August I’m going to be reading you some of my favorite essays from Alignment Matters, talk about them; the connections between them, chime in on my own writings – give you some behind the scenes as I feel like it. So, I’m for everyone doing more of their own work. But this summer, let me do the heavy lifting of this most massive of my books,and free up your arms or eyes from holding my book, leaving you free to dig in the garden, walk or move to do your errands, and however else you move and groove. All bodies are welcome. Are you ready to get moving?

 

MUSIC

 

KATY:  Guess what I am talking about today? It’s feet. And shoes. And bare feet. And I assume that you’re not entirely surprised. Way before I wrote my two books on feet which are Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief and Whole Body Barefoot, I was working out feet and shoes: how they related to issues of the toes and knees, hips and back on my blog. And these blog posts eventually became a chapter in Alignment Matters called Feet and Shoes (and what gets stacked onto them).And it’s kind of fun to read back on some of these essays because I can see myself working out various ideas on the whole barefoot/minimal shoes movement that hadn’t taken off then like it has now. It is still very counterculture, but I’d say it’s less so 10 years later. And it’s because so many people have worked out the ideas beyond the kind of very general “barefoot’s natural! Throw away your shoes!” It’s got a stronger toe-hold now. Sorry, I just punned. Sorry. Sorry.

 

Today’s three essays that I’m going to read are all about feet.  There’s one that’s a sort of an overview of why bare feet/minimal shoes. And it’s interesting. I will still when I post something on social media I have been talking about shoes and bare feet for over a decade professionally – to the masses.  And when I do a post with minimal shoes or foot exercises there will still be new people to this material who are like, “Why does shoes matter?” So, as much it seems like I’ve belabored the point, I don’t think that I actually have. When we consider how many people have feet and are trying to use their bodies to facilitate experiences that they’d like to have. So we’re gonna do feet again. So an overview that hopefully will fill in some blanks for you new listeners out there. There’s an essay on bare feet and injuries, and one on why I cut the footies of my kid’s footy pajamas.  When I’m done reading the essays, I’m also gonna share a quick state of my minimal footwear union 2018. In reading through some of the essays I was like, “Uh, I’ve just grown so much” in foot movement and minimal shoe experience and understanding that it’s kind of fun to look back on yourself 10 years later.

 

Anyway, here we go. First essay:

July 9, 2019. If the Shoe Fits.

Here’s another article I wrote on foot/pelvis/balance. Are you bored yet? This one is from July’s LA Yoga magazine (and this must have been in 2010). Perhaps the most important piece of the article is this 60/40 rule of weight bearing explained. Enjoy. If the Shoe Fits. By Katy Bowman.  That’s me. After you’ve twisted lunged lengthened and lined, focused, prepared, repaired and reset, you must get off the mat. The notion of bringing a yoga practice to the rest of your daily life, the part that takes place between classes, can improve personal relationships, success at work, and your shoe rack by improving your relationship with your feet. Postures that require grounding action in the feet, increased range of motion of the toes, full lengthening of the arch, are a delicious part of any practice.  These foot movements are both challenging and especially rich in sensation because of the sheer quantity of time we spend not using our feet. “The human foot, according to Leonardo Da Vinci, is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” Made up of 25% of the body’s bones and muscles and articulating around 33 joints, our feet have the potential to subtly change shape at each joint, thus sending valuable information to the body’s center of mass located in the pelvis. The tiny stretches in between every one of the foot’s 26 bones are a gold mine of proprioception that allows the pelvis to make 3-dimensional positional adjustments. Optimal foot health, however, has been compromised in a very large way due to the heavy use of footwear over a lifetime. Different characteristics of various types of footwear have unique effects on physiology and mechanics. The limitations footwear places on motion of the foot, along with motion of the ankle, knee, hip, and sacrum are not equal across all types of shoes. The healthiest footwear is one that interferes little with your natural body movements. Barefoot is best. It would be unfair to discuss footwear without clearly stating that ultimate foot health is optimally reached through full shoeless interaction between nature and foot. Foot health can become compromised, however, when you walk on unyielding man-made surfaces that may or not be speckled with broken glass and other dangerous items. Small doses of being barefoot, and wearing socks is ok too, can be done in your home. Just make sure that the jacks are picked up before you do. (And I would also say lego, right?) Minimalist footwear brands like Vibram five fingers are also great options for using your feet. Before you go baring it all, keep in mind that the supporting structures of the feet have been, for the most part, inert the bulk of your life. Loading fresh arches on long walks after removing a lifetime of support can stress and strain tissues.  It is important to think about building strength of the musculature of the feet, just like we would do any other part of your body. Start with smaller doses of barefoot walking and make sure you do lots of foot stretching in between walking sessions. Pamper your feet which will help them be happier as they cart you around. A coconut oil foot massage and non-toxic pedicure can be a mini-vacation as Southern California heats up and drys out this summer. Eliminate the heel. Not quite ready to go au naturel? Shoes that closely mimics barefoot walking such as Earth Footwear’s negative heel technology can really drive home the “weight should be in your heel” feeling. Podiatric journals have recently become riddled with articles illustrating that for every positive degree of heel (so for a point of reference, the one inch found on a man’s dress shoe creates an average angle of 12 degrees) there is a resulting angle of deformation in the lumbar spine, pelvis, knees, and or ankle. There is no footwear characteristic that jars one more out of whole body alignment faster than the positive heel. If a dress shoe creates 12 positive degrees, just think of what a stiletto can do to deform the rest of the body. Pause and consider choosing well before selecting footwear that undoes all your hard work and increases mechanical stress on a cellular level. Spread the toes. Toe abduction or a movement of the toes away from each other is a normal part of a healthy gait pattern. Years of carrying weight too far forward on the feet, wearing too small shoes as a kid (does anyone else out there live in hand me downs) and narrow toe boxes on certain shoe styles have really limited the toe spreading motion. Selecting footwear that provides ample room to splay your toes when walking is the healthiest choice. Ideally, our toes should be able to spread just as the fingers do. If tight toes have become a habit, foot alignment socks (and you can find those at my-happyfeet.com or also there are non-sock toe spacers called correct toes – I can link to those in the show notes) can work on spreading them for you. The perfect product for the hardcore alignment freak which is me, you can load muscle and fascial tissues while you sleep. Brilliant.  Be attached to your shoes. It is surprising how quickly the flip-flop has moved beyond the favorite pool accessory to the ultimate fashion staple. In California, I totally get it, although I think the New York professionals seeing may still be in shock. (I can just say to the side, as someone who has gone around and done a lot of press interviews on why bare feet and why flat shoes for the New York health magazines, it is definitely regional, I would say, the acceptance of minimal shoes. There’s just a different professional environment.) Flip flops are still usually enjoyed for their lack of restriction. Lots of fresh air and minimal friction and they’re also time friendly. You don’t have time to find matching socks and bend down and tie your shoes, flip-flop may be your guy. The only negative to this bikini of footwear is the fact that it doesn’t stay on your foot without some major muscle clenching and bony alteration. Research on gait patterns in poorly attached shoes demonstrates increased risk for hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain. I say keep your favorite flops around for water and beach activities and invest in a newer roman style sandal that offers the same open air feel but with better binding.  Weight in your feet. Where is the best place to carry the weight in your feet for optimal foot health? The oft given instruction for correct weight bearing in the foot usually sites the 60/40 rule which is wildly misinterpreted as 60% of the body’s weight back in the heel and 40% towards the front of the foot. This weigh distribution, however, is not actually correct and the reason comes down to the actual scientific definitions of commonly used terminology. So the term weight means the result of the vertical force – gravity – acting on the body’s mass. So in order to achieve a 60/40 weight distribution, your center of mass would have to shift forward removing the plumb alignment of the hips, knees, and ankles. This forward motion creates torque not only on the ankle but also on the lower spine and sacroiliac joints. The optimal place to carry one’s body weight is actually toward the center of the heel bone. Keeping the weight of the pelvis over the ankle joint is the only way to ensure a straight leg and a healthy lumbar curve. However, having 100% of your weight over your heel does not mean that the front of the foot is inactive. With the pelvis centered on a plumb line relative to the ankles, the forefoot, which is the front of the foot, but not the toes, can now actively press into the ground. So the action of backing up the hips to ground the heels while simultaneously pressing the forefoot into the ground creates an active force generating interaction with the earth. This is so much better for the body than passively thursting the hips forward. An effective yoga practice is one that improves one’s mindfulness, not only on the mat but for the countless choices one has to make every day. When you understand the impact your shoes can have not only on your feet but on your entire body, then choosing mindfully means selecting the footwear, or lack of footwear that is most appropriate for your highest goals for yourself. When I envision my highest goals, healthy feet, knees, hips, and spine are always in the picture for as long as I’m going to be using this body. That doesn’t mean you won’t catch me in flip flops when I’m down by the beach in Maui. It just means every step I take will honor the works of art that I am stepping on.

 

So just to recap kind of the big takeaway of the 60/40. It’s kind of confusing when I read my own terrible writing.

 If you take your body weight and distribute it between the front of your foot – it’s like a passive distribution. If I let my hips go way out in front of me I can say that I can read on a pressure sensor underneath my foot that I’ve got a certain amount of pressure in the back of my heel and a certain amount of pressure in the front or I’m carrying my weight distributed over both feet. So again, what you’re reading is the ground. You’re reading the ground’s response to what’s on top of it. But if I back my heels up, I’ve got all my weight over my heels now which means I’ve got this, I’m using more musculature to hold me up actively in this case, the front of my foot is still pressing down into the ground. Which means I can have pressure in the front and the back of my foot. Meaning even with my weight entirely over my heel I still have pressure in the front of my foot but that pressure is active, meaning I am plantar flexing. That’s the motion of pointing your toes. I’m pointing my toes into the ground which means the front of my foot is active in the ground. So if I’m reading the sensor beneath my feet, there is still pressure in the front of my foot when my hips are all the way backed up. It’s just that I had to get that actively via using my calves. So when my weight’s back in my heels the front of my foot is actively pressing down so I’ve got a lot of work in my glutes and my hamstrings and my calves, versus that same distribution of weight between the front and the back of my leg gotten simply by shifting my weight all the way forward to the front of my foot. So sometimes there’s different ways of getting the same measure.  You want more weight in the back of your foot than the front but I can get that through action versus getting it passively. I’m not sure if that makes it any more clear, but I’m glad we had this conversation.

 

Ok. Essay two

Barefoot. Not just for adults. This is from July 11, 2011.

Yesterday my niece stepped on her first nail. She survived. And I know she survived because I got this text from my sister: “Survived Rae’s first nail through foot. She is doing fine.” And then I texted: “Yay, just like mama.  Only I have an iphone so it corrected it to “just like mana” because everybody knows that the word mana is more popular than the word mama. And then she texted back: “Dada”. And I’m not sure why. Did her husband step on a nail too as a kid? Did one of her 47 kids have her phone? Had she forgotten when she stepped on her first nail?  So I texted: “No, you did that too. I remember the very moment.” And I did too. She was about nine and on the phone, probably talking to a boy when she shifted her weight forward onto a piece of wood with a nail in it. Just reading this I’m like eh, man. And here’s the funny thing. She didn’t hang up the phone. No. I remember she was trying to keep the conversation going with stuff about how she had a nail in her foot. She really liked talking on the phone. And she remembered too because then she texted: “Yes.” And then she wrote: “Barefoot in the apple hut.” Only here’s the thing. She wasn’t barefoot. She was wearing black keds and I remember because when they pulled the nail out of the foot/shoe, the shoe filled up with blood. It was cool. Probably because it wasn’t my foot. So then I texted back: “No you weren’t barefoot. It went through your shoe and you were on the phone.” And when I read my text I can see why my little sister thinks I was bossy as a kid. Only as a kid, right sis?  Plus, texting always makes me sound like I’m twelve. And then she texted back: “Hurt like a mother.” And then I texted: “I bet.” And then we stopped texting because 1) I have a new baby and a whole bunch of other stuff I should be doing, 2) she has 67 kids and a whole bunch of other things she should be doing. 3) we are over 35 now and why are we even texting in the first place. So, let’s talk for a second about the barefoot movement. In a nutshell, feet weren’t designed to be in shoes any more than hands were designed to be in mittens. Our cultural habit of wearing shoes has left us with affluent ailments – osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, knee/hip/back pain, bunions – at much higher percentages than unshod populations. And you don’t have to be a genius but you might be to go yeah, I get it. With kids, it’s even more important that they get abundant barefoot time because the proper development of natural gait patterns and deep body stabilization depends on the super sophisticated feedback systems that come from the nerve sensing the ground and the brain.  This happens in two ways. One, there are nerves that interpret the shape of the ground by how the bones in the feet bend at 33 different points or joints. This creates a mental imagine in the brain, similar to how a dolphin uses sonar to avoid obstacles. Wearing shoes prevents any motion of these joints except at the ankle and leaves the shoe wearer kind of blind to the environment. This is what makes stiff shoes worse when it comes to natural development. And P.S., this goes for adults too. Two, There are nerves that are sensing other things about the environment. Things like temperature and terrain. And these nerves, designed to convey abundant information are stuck just reading the inside of your shoes. And what is that environment like? Damp and smooth. Eew. The more you expose these nerves to the same input over and over, the more their information gets put on autopilot into a part of your nervous system called an interneuron. And here’s more about the interneuron. You know how you walk into a room with freshly baked pie and it smells delicious but after a few minutes, you don’t smell it anymore?  Your brain moves the information that is constant into a different part of your brain to free it up for other things so that the more similar your environment, the less your nerves work to perceive. And the less they work, the less healthy they are. This is why it’s important for everyone, not just kids, to walk on different terrain, on a different path, in different weather, carrying different weights wearing different shoes, eating different food. Habits are not great for biology. Anyhow, this is why everyone, kids too, need lots of time to feel with their feet. Make the house a no shoes zone and encourage exploration of different areas sans footwear. I brought up the nail in the foot conversation because, yes, accidents happen. But in the case of my sister and her little girl, they were wearing shoes. Wearing shoes doesn’t prevent the few foot catastrophes that happen. And wearing shoes only teaches kids how to pay less attention to what’s going on beneath their feet. Not that’s not to say there aren’t going to be places where kids need shoes. And when they do, here are a few suggestions: 1) Select super flexible shoes with no heels. My favorite company for better kids footwear is SoftStar Shoes. Keep in mind shoes get expensive and it’s important not to let kids wear shoes that are too small. This is where toe curling habits get started. So before you run out to the store right now, don’t buy fancy shoes in the summer. Kids will grow a lot this season and will probably not fit into their shoes at the end of the season. Summer is also the best time to be barefoot so maximize barefoot time right now.  The best footwear is actually, and I’m not kidding a swim shoe. They’re lightweight and flexible and breathable and super inexpensive. Get your kids a pair at the beginning of the summer to supplement their barefoot time and donate the ones that are too short. Maybe even get the next size up if they’re available for fall if you live in a tempered climate. Swim shoes are much better than flip flops for the gait changes that we do to keep flip flops on and they really mess with the natural gait pattern. And here’s an interesting note. Some neurologists will often recommend wearing swim shoes year round for kids with any sort of neurological delay as it improves the neurological function of the feet for better gait which is the walking pattern development. So why only improve the gait of some kids? Let’s do it all, shall we? 3) Play foot detective games. Having your kids in their bare feet? Try having them guess various objects by using their feet only. The more the textures vary, wet, smooth, sandpaper, yoga mat, carpet, wood, the more the game will challenge their sensory nerves. 4) Have a little foot massage time before going to bed. Just like book reading, add a five minute rub into the bed time tasks. Skin on skin touch will help stimulate the movement of each foot joint increasing circulation of the foot’s issues. P.S. touch is just so great.

 

What I like about this one is again, we talk about sedentary culture. I do think that there’s a strong relationship between sedentary culture and safety. Where we’ve kind of gotten rid of lots of movement for our health, ironically, and that comes from a model where we only see the consequences of accidents and not really the benefits of movement. They haven’t been spelled out.

So it’s not always easy to make a very strong pro/con list about, like, going barefoot. Like, if (that’s a lot of likes. Sorry, I’m from California). If your only item on a list of should I go barefoot or not are the injuries or the dangers and you’re not super clear on the, I guess the chances of those dangers then it’s easy to perceive being barefoot as something that’s very dangerous, risky, has no benefit whatsoever. But when you add the pros to the barefoot list, which involve movement and it’s not just movement of the feet itself but really the ability to engage in more complex environments just moving. That’s not even to say all of the other benefits that have come out about barefoot and nature and that exchange. There’s more and more I would say coming all of the time to pay attention to. So just – I include that one specifically because there is a relationship between what you do to protect yourself and sometimes a loss of skill. So when everyone has worn shoes for a very very long time and has never been taught to pay attention to their feet or what they walk on, it kind of creates a culture where there’s a certain disconnect between… I mean there’s a loss of the skill, frankly, for barefoot, but then there’s just kind of a lack of awareness overall and therefore you’re more likely, perhaps, to not be as invested in keeping an area clean or garbage free or you won’t be as mindful as where you let your animal go to the bathroom because it hadn’t occurred to you that you are sharing space with other people that might want to be using their body in a different way than what you’ve chosen. I’ve been reading a lot and watching a lot of work about bureaucratic land management, BLMs, ways of managing multi-use spaces when there’s different animals and different needs shared by a particular space. So as someone who likes to go barefoot a lot, I would say I’m super mindful about how I use my space when I’m not barefoot. So, I don’t know. I included that because I think that there’s the idea that if you just keep your shoes on everything’s gonna be all right. And I don’t know if that’s the case.

 

VOICEOVER: If you’re into podcasts it’s likely you love the audio format.  If you like listening to Katy read from her book Alignment Matters, you should know she has three audiobooks, and she’s willing to read them to you anytime you want. All you need is an Audible account, a device with speakers, and a willing ear.

 

Here’s a little from Katy’s foot-health focused book, Whole Body Barefoot:

 

[Katy reads excerpt from Whole Body Barefoot]

 

And it’s not just Katy’s trademark humor, compassion, and straightforward approach to movement science that you’ll get with each audiobook. You’ll also get…

 

[Katy’s bloopers from Whole Body Barefoot]

 

That’s right. Each of Katy’s audiobooks include several glorious minutes of her bloopers. And you can find the Whole Body Barefoot audiobook on Audible. This audiobook comes with a downloadable exercise PDF so you will get the full experience. Hear this! Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. You can download any audiobook of your choosing by going to audibletrial.com/MoveYourDNAwithKatyBowman To download your free audiobook today remember,  go to audibletrial.com/MoveYourDNAwithKatyBowman . Again, that’s audibletrial.com MoveYourDNAwithKatyBowman for your free audiobook. … and now back to your regularly scheduled programming with Katy Bowman.

 

KATY: Kid Pajamas. Off with the feet. That’s from December 14, 2011.

 

This morning I cut all the feet of the boy’s pajamas.  I couldn’t’ take it anymore. He was already shoe and sock free most of the time but every morning I had to watch him lose traction on the linoleum or falter when walking because the grip between the floor and his feetie pajamas was too much. I’m not a big crafty lady but give me some scissors and a math equation and I’m there. Feetie pajamas minus feetie equal pajamas.  If you have a kid you’ve probably witnessed the way each of their fingers move in a slow, yet definite manner when the child is trying to pick up an object big or small. Kids are working hard to wire their muscles to their brain and to do this they need full use of their sensory and motor nerves. Footie pajamas allow foot movement but they completely minimize the ability for the foot skin to read the environment and this data, when collected, helps establish a relationship between the foot and every other body part that can last a lifetime. The feet have the same amount of motor potential as the hands,  yet we don’t think much about slapping on a big fuzzy slipper when babies are learning their first movements. This is why we all have the foot problems we do and this is why my footwriting is distinctively less impressive than my handwriting. And to be fair, my handwriting is not great. In children, motor programs are being set every day and it is very very hard to undo the deepest, read earliest, motor programs we acquire. If kids take their first steps in socks on a slippery floor, they’ll tense a bunch of extra muscles and that gets put into their walking mental file. And if you want to try it, put on some fuzzy socks while on hardwood or check out how you tense various parts of your body when negotiating an icy part of your sidewalk. Bracing against slipping is a reflex. And what you don’t want a child to do is to learn bracing and put it into their walking file. This kind of overrides their natural reflex for gait development. Even if your kids isn’t slipping about the place, putting a wrapper around one of the most sensitive parts of the body has a nerve deadening and muscle atrophying affect. Would you put mittens on someone trying to learn the piano? Or force a baby to wear gloves when they’re trying to pick a tiny pea up off the floor? Of course not. These seem ridiculous. Yet we cover up a child’s foot without thinking about it. Isn’t that weird? At our house, we don’t have a lot of clothing with feet, obviously, but I kept putting the boy in pajamas with feet to keep him warmer. Boo. Off with my head. I mean my feet. His little tootsies are perfectly warm under the covers and we go barefoot in the house, as does he. And plus it’s kind of fun to cut up stuff. Aversion to cutting up perfectly good clothing for the sake of a child’s brain development is strange. We’re a weird breed.

 

So I get a lot of emails after posting some of this and I know you like to read some of my emails that make their way into my inbox. And these are slightly exaggerated but trust me, I get a lot of stuff like this.  Dear Katy, I just read your blog post on letting babies go without socks or covered feet. It’s very cold where we live. We live in an igloo actually. There is no floor, just snow and I really want to make sure that my child’s feet develop properly. So do you think that he should be barefoot even though, as I said, the floor is below freezing? I would appreciate any help in figuring this one out. And I really love your blog.  Dear Katy, I love your blog. Thanks for writing such helpful information. I just read your post on letting babies go without socks or covered feet and I’m sure what to do at our house, though, and I’m hoping you can help me figure it out. I am a mosaic artist and my husband is a carpenter and we live in a hardware store that has nails instead of regular flooring and in between those nails are huge shards of glass from my pieces and I really want to make sure my child’s feet develop properly. So do you think that they should be barefoot even though our house is very dangerous for bare feet? What would you suggest? Thanks again. I know you’re very busy. I just can’t figure this one out.  

 

So here’s where I’m jump in as Katy in 2018.

I don’t write this sarcastically anymore which does not mean that I don’t get these emails still that are actually not that different from this. My point with adding this is I have been deemed an expert. Maybe even by you doing the listening because you’re interested in what I say. But you also have common sense. I know you do. And obviously, anything that puts someone at risk greatly needs to be dealt with. At the same time, hopefully, you’ve been armed through listening or reading with tools that help you categorize things more nuanced than risky or not risky. So anyway. I’m just gonna jump back in to my blog post which just ends with:

 

I suggest any concerned ones out there: Use your common sense. If your feet can be bare, so can your kids’. Now if I could only figure out what to do with all these pajama feet.

 

Ok. I promised you a current state of the union about my minimal footwear explorations.

So in reading through a lot of my posts, I wore Vibram Five Fingers early on and they were great. There’s a couple articles where I really explore the effect that going barefoot on very very textured terrain slate for a long long distance. That was the last time I ever experienced menstrual cramping. It was a huge shift for me.  But I haven’t worn Vibrams since I moved from California where it’s very dry to the Pacific Northwest where it’s very wet because that type of shoe doesn’t work well for me here. I just had a couple of questions saying “Oh I never see you in Vibrams anymore.” And it really is 1) it’s too wet here to wear them comfortably, and 2) if it’s dry enough to be in them, I’m just happier usually in bare feet. But I’m on natural terrain quite a bit. So I guess that’s the overall theme to understand. I don’t do a ton of cement walking. I always have the option of the grass to the side. I live in a pretty rural area and I’ve answered on the podcast many times before, if you work all day on cement and 100% of your moving experience is on cement then you have to use that common sense to say, “ok, I still want flat. I still want a wide toe box. But I’m going to need a cushion because I am on terrain that is harder” than kind of that natural relationship between the foot and nature. It’s just kind of like one monotonous load over and over again. So again that’s a common sense thing. What I wear now, primarily, is two pairs of sandals; Earthrunners and UnShoes.  Those are the shoes that I’ve worn – any fair weather. And that can be, you know, as all through fall as well. And I can pair it with a pair of socks. I’ll just wear their sandals miles and miles and miles. I have a pair of Vivo Barefoot shoes that I wear, as I’ve noted before in some of my other blog posts on long distance walking. I wear those because they’re waterproof, they’re flat, they’re flexible. When I do long, long distance it’s usually on the harder, paved trail. So I like the little bit of extra cushion as I just noted. This summer I wore Soft Star Phoenix boots for the snow and my favorite kind of like fall, I want to be warm but it’s not super super wet, I will wear my Minnetonka Moccasin boots. And for the last 2 years? Three years? I have been able to just treat those – I just make kind of a beeswax water repellent, pair them with really thick wool socks and do a lot of my hiking even in the wet. Even in the snow in those. I’ll still use my Soft Star boots similarly. The Soft Star boots – they’re not as fluid for longer distance walking. I find them to be kind of heavier on my foot so I’ll grab my Minnetonkas. And they will be soaked by the end of a four or five hour excursion. But my feet are warm. It’s kind of like a wetsuit effect. Where the water has come in and it’s in my wool sock but everything is warm so I don’t mind it being wet for that period of time. So that’s the current state of of the union around here. My kids wear MyMayu. Kind of weather resistant. That’s their rain boots, but they’re not a rain boot in the sense of a thick plastic. They’re just great, superflexible outside. They’ve worn Soft Stars this fall. And Vivobarefoot has a really great summer shoe. It’s very porous. It’s almost like a net or a web and those have been really great for travel and for when it’s warm enough to be barefoot but they don’t want to be barefoot. They are free to choose barefoot or shod. And I’m always surprised how they choose and their choices really have nothing to do with their parents’ choice. They just get whims based on when and where they want to wear shoes. So that’s how things are going right now. I’d love to hear about your footwear choices. But I am on social media break. By the time this comes out I will not be back until September my friends. So, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, please do that because I still send something out weekly. We have new exercise challenges going out and kind of an image based email. And I have my #vitamin community monthly that just went out for the first time.

You can check out my live events page on my website because for those of you who are in the Pacific Northwest, Washington specifically or if you don’t mind coming over from Victoria Canada or up from Portland, a hiking awareness outside kind of dynamic lecture where we’re going to be moving through some wilderness and I’ll be showing some modifications, adjustments of moving, and carrying, and gait.

And I’ll be with Doniga Markegard, who wrote Dawn Again. I interviewed her on my podcast earlier this year. She’s going to be talking about using your senses differently than maybe you’re used to using them. So we talked before about that idea of when you’re barefoot, when you’re unshod, you pay more attention because you have to. And I’m all very much about movement permaculture, this idea of stacked movement. My husband and I play this game. It might be kind of weird. We go out hiking and we will take turns – there’s a couple loops that we hike – and we will take turns hiding from the other one. Like one will run ahead and do the loop so you’ll come through and you win if the person walks past you and didn’t see you. When I play that game I have to take off my shoes. If I have jackets tied around my waist or hats on my head, even if it’s cold, I have to take a lot of that stuff off to really see with more than my eyes. Which I find through doing more and more outside time. And that’s not because I’m not going out to hunt or track. I am safer outside when I am aware. But not everything is about safety.  I am more engaged with my surroundings when I am more aware, but sometimes in order to become more aware reflexively, I have to strip off a lot of these protections that I’ve put on. They are protections in some way and can be sensory deprivation in other ways. So, kind of the things I was talking about a little bit today we will be embodying. Family friendly event. Various ability event. If you want to participate but you’re not sure if it will be accessible, please reach out to us. We make as many adjustments to our events as possible. So, for example, we have someone coming to a retreat that includes a walk, they’re not able to do the walking portion, so we’ve just set it up so that they can ride a bike through the walking portion. So always feel free to reach out if you’d like to attend something and you’re not sure if we can adjust it. We make any possible adjustments.

 

Ok, and with that, I just want to say thanks, everyone. For more information, you can visit NutritiousMovement.com and sign up for my newsletter. If you have a question or if there’s something you’d like to know, email podcast@nutritiousmovement.com. If you enjoy listening to Move Your DNA, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Your review helps other listeners decide whether they should take a chance on this podcast. And on behalf of everyone at Move Your DNA and Nutritious Movement, thank you for listening.  We appreciate your support. Have a good time out there friends.

 

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VOICEOVER: This has been Move Your DNA with Katy Bowman, a podcast about movement. Hopefully, you find the general information in this podcast informative and helpful, but it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.

 

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