April 28, 2009

Why I Barefoot

First, a little bit about my life before barefooting. I severely injured my back six years ago and have suffered from back and sacroiliac (SI) joint pain ever since to varying degrees. I tried everything I could think of to relieve the pain.

Last April, I read an article online called 'You Walk Wrong' by Adam Sternbergh. The premise of the article is:
"It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we're wrecking it with every step we take."
Basically, with our shoes. This article has profound revelations in it (at least for me). So I thought I'd try one of the barefoot alternative shoes mentioned in the article: the Vibram FiveFingers (VFFs).

I drove down to my nearest retailer and tried them on. It's hard to describe the feeling of putting them on and walking for the first time. It was a completely eye-opening experience. I didn't realize until that moment that every step I took in shoes with a positive heel (a shoe with a heel higher than the forefoot) causes pressure pain in my SI joints. You'd think I would have realized this when just taking off my shoes but I never did until my first steps in the VFFs.

I wear my VFFs as often as I can. I own six pairs now. I still feel those same pressure pains whenever I have to wear regular shoes, which I do reluctantly and mostly because of winter weather conditions.

So, why I barefoot? Because it's healthy, comfortable, freeing, natural, pain-free, gives me a greater connection with the ground I walk on, and it's the way my feet evolved to be used.