I was beyond thrilled to be offered a partnership with one of my favorite barefoot brand shoes on my website. I received the Be Lenka Ranger 2.0 this week in perfect timing for the 4 inches of snow the following day. I have been wearing the Be Lenka Winter model from 2019 and had one complaint about it. The foot shape was very sloped on the lateral edge. For a more square toe box like my own foot shape, it squished my 4th and 5th digits a bit inward. I could not wear my toe spacers as a result. The depth of the shoe was not ideal either.
Enter their updated foot shape and it is PERFECT.
Functional Toe Box: YES!
They have modified the foot shape to be more accommodating for various foot types. Not only does it have less drastic of a lateral taper, but the depth is great. I was able to wear a thick sock with toe spacers.
Wide toe box is an absolute necessity if you want your foot to function properly. Tapered toe boxes on the majority of shoes push our toes inward and inhibit our windlass mechanism, tie bar mechanism, affect our gait mechanics and create stress up the chain (ankle, knee, hip, low back).
Flexible Sole: YES!
For being such a durable hiking boot, the sole is still functional and flexible. While I've only been wearing it around town and my neighborhood, it has not felt stiff at all. Mind you, my neighborhood is a rocky dirt road -- not pavement. So to be able to feel the ground here is a great test and it's just what we want.
And again while the sole is flexible, the traction is excellent. I tried demonstrating a foot drag exercise for a patient over the carpeted floor and my foot was going nowhere. I was used to my previous 2019 model slip sliding anywhere I wanted. I look forward to taking these guys out on some wet, muddy trails this spring.
Zero Drop: YES!
Of course they are zero drop which if you're new to the functional footwear world, you know this is a staple of our preferred shoes. The sole itself is 4mm, however this remains the same from toe to heel. Most shoes that I do not recommend, have a stacked heel height. This does a few things. The most obvious is that it drops more pressure onto our forefoot, which actually drops our metatarsal bones downward. This can aggravate the metatarsophalangeal joints and create hammertoes due to angling downward. This can also lead to neuromas as we are closing off the joint space.
Furthermore, the foot cannot engage properly between the 3 arch mechanisms when we are set up at an angle. The downward angle of the forefoot and upward lift of the heel change our posture all the way up to our neck! Zero drop is a must.
And in other related shoe and gait news...
Because of the durability of this leather boot, it's a bit stiff around the ankle and heel at first. However, after a few days of wearing them, they are already being broken in and becoming less rigid. Part of the problem is user error! Remember to think about whose wearing the shoe and how they're wearing the shoe instead of immediately blaming the shoe for whatever discomfort you're having.
For example, I have a chronic tight left hip with previous surgeries. I have a constant pelvic rotation which all-in-all gives me an "early heel rise" on my left foot and places more stress on my right foot (actually the whole dang limb). Because of this early heel rise, I am coming off my heel on my left sooner than I should in the gait cycle. This creates more friction and loading on the achilles instead of the glute.
If I'm constantly loading up my left achilles more than optimal that's probably going to create more friction on something that is rubbing behind it, right? So for me, it's a reminder of staying on top of my gait issues and not tossing out the shoe. *extra note: my right side was totally fine because I do not have the same issues over here and the boot is 100% comfy.
Let this serve as a reminder: anytime you try a new functional shoe and feel rubbing somewhere... try some diagnostic testing on the user vs the product before assuming the product is at fault. 9 times out of 10, when its a high quality functional shoe that physically fits your foot well, it is the wearer of the shoe :)
Check out Be Lenka Ranger 2.0 on my website! Don't see your size? Don't be shy, send me an email and we can make it happen.
Weird rubbing on your new shoes OR just want to know more about your gait pattern?
Let's book a 20 minute free consult and chat about it.