Myth: You need arch support.
Truth: Healthy feet create their own arches that respond to loads we make as we walk and move. You can create healthier feet by strengthening them with exercises. The shape of the foot, be it flat or high arched does not correlate with how function or responsive the feet are to changing loads and movement.
Myth: It's unsafe to go barefoot.
Truth: Life is inherently unsafe. Going barefoot at home and around the yard is a great place to start. Humans were barefoot for hundreds of thousands of years before the shoe industry. Feet eventually build up tolerance and resistance to rough textures on the ground.
Myth: Foot pain is a normal part of aging.
Truth: Pain is a complex human experience. It is more often related to built up stiffness and weakness over a long time, which may or may not correlate with age. Restoring strength and function can help at any age.
Myth: Bunions are genetic.
Truth: Many factors lead to bunions and your family DNA is only one of them. Conventional and pointed shoes are likely the biggest cause since they squish our toes together and impede normal function.
Myth: If you have foot pain, don't switch to minimal style footware.
Truth: Carefully switching to barefoot and minimal style footwear is exactly what can help with a lot of foot pain because it helps to strengthen and heal the feet.
Myth: You need orthotics if you have foot pain.
Truth: I'll say it louder for people in the back. ORTHOTICS WEAKEN YOUR FEET. They have a role in some foot issues however their best viewed as TEMPORARY support with healing. If you stand on hard surfaces all day for work, sometimes I will recommend a cushioned insole, which is different from an orthotic. However, strengthening your feet is still the best defense.
Myth: You need a raised heal in your shoe.
Truth: Raised heal force our whole body to compensate
with movement. Walking with a raised heal is like giving your neck a mico-whiplash with every step. How many steps do you take a day? Raised heal shoes directly contribute to bunions, hammertoes, forefoot pain, plantar fasciitis, knee issues, low back pain, etc.
Myth: You need ankle support when hiking.
Truth: When you feet, ankles, and hips are able to work together, you have much better balance on uneven terrain. Anecdotal evidence: My friend used to hike in worn out sneakers and decided that she was going to be a more avid hiker and needed hiking boots. She wore those boots only a few times because they made everything from her low back down ache. She switched back to her worn out sneaks.
Myth: Children need supportive shoes.
Truth: This one is arguably the most harmful. This x-ray is of a normal foot of a 2 year old. Conventional shoes weaken and can deform growing feet. Spending as much time as possible barefoot is imperative for proper foot development for kids.
Here are some of my favorite minimal footwear companies:
Xero Shoes Bonus! These guys are local to Broomfield, Colorado.
You can find resources like books and gadgets here