In this weeks microdose we cover the fourth F of natural footwear: Feel.
One of the main functions of our feet is to sense the world around us. Each foot is loaded with sensory nerves which sense the ground under our feet and relay detailed information to our brain about the environment so we can move about efficiently and without getting injured.
Our eyes are another example of an important sensor. They visually sense the world around us and relay information about the environment to our brain so we can avoid running into things.
It's wise to protect important sensors and this is a primary reason why we wear shoes - to protect our foot sensors from cuts, scrapes, puncture or temperature extremes.
When using a chainsaw, it's wise to cover our eyes with protective eyewear in order to protect our precious visual sensors from potential damage by rogue wood chips. We use a clear covering so we can continue to see what we're doing while creating a physical barrier to incoming objects. We wouldn't wear a blindfold because while it would protect our eyes from incoming objects, we would no longer be able to see what we're doing and that would be dangerous.
The same principle applies to our feet. It's wise to protect them with a covering that protects the skin and nerves from damage but anything beyond a thin sole prevents us from being able to feel the ground underneath which can negatively affect our movement quality.
The fourth F of natural footwear is Feel. Natural footwear maximizes feel by incorporating a thin sole that protects our feet from the environment while allowing as much sensory input to reach our feet so they can sense the world around us and enable efficient movement.
Unnatural footwear companies sell a thick, cushioned sole as a benefit. They tell us that a cushioned sole is "comfortable" and protects us from impact when walking or running but what if the opposite was true?
What if cushioning manipulates the sensory input from the ground and prevents optimal movement?
What if cushioned shoes actually make us more likely to get injured by disabling the primary function of our foot as a sensor?
I'm going to cover cushioning in a separate microdose because the topic deserves a more nuanced discussion but for now, just know what the further we get from the ground, the less we're able to feel, the poorer our movement patterns and the more likely we are to get injured.
- Our feet are sensors designed to feel the world around us so we can use that information to move efficiently
- Natural footwear has a thin sole in order to protect our feet from damage while preserving the sensory input required for us to move well
- Unnatural footwear has a thick sole (often filled with foam or air) which prevents our feet from feeling the ground and this distortion leads to inefficient movement patterns which can lead to injury
Making the switch to natural footwear is about more than just restoring foot health and optimal movement patterns, it's about getting closer to the world around us and reconnecting with the environment.
Thanks for reading and thanks for taking care of yourself.
Share this with someone wearing unnatural shoes with thick soles that are disconnecting them from their environment.
Help them understand why natural footwear is the path to healthier feet, better movement and a deeper connection to the natural world.