Proprioception: How to counteract the curse of cushioned shoes

It’s interesting that one of the most famous movie quotes of all time is about feet. Here’s a reminder of the iconic scene of Forrest Gump commenting on a nurse’s shoes at the bus stop.

It feels nice to have our feet cushioned and supported by modern shoes. In the same way as having our bodies cushioned and supported by modern chairs and sofas. The downside is, we lose direct connection to the world around us, and we lose the awareness, strength, and mobility that this connection gives us. The irony here is that Forrest himself is wearing Nike Cortez – the first running shoes to have the type of modern cushioning that we see in most sports footwear today. They were the ultimate ‘comfortable shoes’ at the time.

Alongside time spent in sedentary, seated positions, wearing heavily cushioned shoes may be one of the most serious threats to our musculoskeletal health. A primary cause of the aches, pains, and injuries that are now so prevalent.

Think about it. The most important adaption of human movement is bipedalism – walking on two legs. Your two feet are the interface between body movement and movement surface. Highly complex machines, each with 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Proper movement requires properly functioning feet. Connected, strong, and mobile feet.

Cushioned shoes disconnect, weaken, and immobilise your feet.

Regaining free and functional movement in your feet is one of the first steps you can take to address or prevent musculoskeletal problems. Wearing no shoes, or flat, minimally cushioned shoes is a good start. But you can also help to retrain your feet with some simple exercises.

Check out this video demonstrating how to improve your movement from the bottom up.

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