If you’ve been reading this weekly blog up until now, you should have a good understanding about WHY switching from unnatural footwear to natural footwear is important. Now it’s time to discuss the HOW.
How do you successfully transition to less shoe?
While everyone is different and there is no cookie cutter approach that can apply perfectly to all, I want to discuss principles that everyone can apply in their individual process.
It's important to note that moving away from artificial support, stiffness and cushioning is a process, not an event. It requires our body to adapt and gradually develop more strength, mobility and better movement patterns. If we rush it and do too much too soon, issues can arise like soreness and even pain.
My aim with this article is to arm you with some general principles to keep in mind so you have a better chance of smoothly navigating the transition to less shoe.
1. Listen to your body
Our bodies are constantly sending us signals. When something hurts, that's a signal. When something feels good, that's a signal. Listen to the signals and your body becomes the ultimate teacher to guide your transition process to less shoe.
Tune into the signals with curiosity. Take notes about how your feet feel and how that feeling relates to the activities you have been doing. If your feet are sore, take that as a signal to do a bit less and focus on applying recovery tools like tissue release and low intensity movement.
Self regulation is the ability to keep yourself within the goldilocks zone (not too much, not too little) throughout the adaption process.
2. Start with daily drivers
Start with a pair of everyday natural shoes - what I call daily drivers. Spend a few weeks in them walking before you consider trying more intense activities like running, jumping or court sports.
Remember that the shoes you wear most frequently have the biggest impact on your foot health. Every step you take in natural shoes is allowing your feet to recalibrate themselves to default settings. It's a major health upgrade for your body so be patient and trust the process with a few weeks in daily drivers before progressing to more intense activities.
3. Begin a daily practice to accelerate the process
A daily practice is a movement routine done everyday that can be as little as 5 minutes. By working on a combination of foot mobility, strength and balance everyday, you allow yourself to accelerate the process of adaptation. A 5 minute SoleMate session (no equipment needed) done everyday can offer immense benefits for your feet and the entire body above them.
A few other little lessons I've picked up along my journey:
- Overdoing it is sometimes part of the process. It's an opportunity to learn.
- A 20 minute daily practice done for several months can transform your lower body health and function.
- The more supportive and rigid your shoes are right now, the longer it takes for your feet to build capacity. Be patient.
- Gradually phasing out unnatural shoes from your wardrobe is a really good plan.
Understanding the WHY for switching from unnatural shoes to natural shoes is important but applying that understanding is equally important. The HOW will be different for everyone and keeping simple principles in mind can help make the transition process smoother and more enjoyable.
By listening to our bodies, starting with a pair of daily drivers, and beginning a daily practice of as little as 5 minutes, we set ourselves up for success. Connecting with other like minded people who are also making the switch from unnatural shoes to natural shoes can also be super helpful. I believe health is a team sport and connecting with a community of like minded people who can help you navigate the journey makes it more fun and enjoyable. Join TFCs digital community. There’s some really cool humans in there who are happy to guide you with resources and by sharing their experience.
Remember: Consistency is key, be patient, a 5 minute daily practice can yield powerful results, and a daily prompt to remind you about your practice can be super helpful.
I believe in my soul that making the switch to natural footwear is the single most powerful foot health upgrade you can make. I hope this blog offered you clarity and tools for the process of developing healthier feet by switching to less shoe.
Thanks for reading. We hope this article helps make your transition to natural footwear smooth and enjoyable. If you know someone who can benefit from reading this, please share it with them.
Next weeks Microdose for the Sole topic: Making health fashionable.
Thanks for taking care of yourself
Wishing you lots of Love and great week