Footwear Basics

So, if we are going to be serious about addressing Morton's, or any other foot or toe  condition, we need to seriously look at a few pieces.  As much of the research shows, many of the cultures that have little to no foot problems are those that are barefoot or wear minimal footwear, such as thin, wide sandals.  And it makes sense - if you look at a baby's feet, the feet are wide, and the parents are usually only seeing shoes in the stores that are wide in the toe box.  Unfortunately, in our society, fashion has been winning out over health.  As we get out of our toddler years, we start putting our feet into shoes than feel comfortable, and even seem like they have science on their side.  However, if you ask any podiatrist that has been keeping up with shoe and foot issues in America or any other "modernized" culture, they will tell you what is really going on and how many shoes today are not made with foot expansion models of 15% or with toe boxes that are not stressing the inter-digital nerve areas by pre-formed toe spring.  If you've seen the movie "A Perfect Storm" you get some idea of what we're doing to our feet via our shoes.  So, with that, here's a more thorough list of what to consider:

  • The size of your foot AND toes while relaxed and standing and even running, vs the size of the shoe that you are trying to make it fit into
  • The toe spring (try to avoid shoe molds where your toes aim upward)
  • The heel height vs the toe box level (try to keep at a "zero-drop")
  • The landing or strike created when you walk or run in the shoe
  • The amount of room in the toe box (make sure it's roomy - the Altra brand is one of the best in this category that I have come across)

Here's one way to test that I read about online that seems to make a ton of sense.  If you are in the market for shoes, just take the insole out of the shoe, place the insole on the ground, and then step on top of it.  If the toe box is too narrow, you will know immediately because your toes will be falling over the sides of the insole.  When you have enough room in the toe box, the shoe's insole will be wider than your forefoot when your toes are splayed out when standing naturally.  

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