Think again. It's facts y'all.
For most people once they begin wearing barefoot, minimal, functional, natural shoes--whatever word you wanna insert there--they notice how uncomfortable all their previous shoes are now. It's not like we did anything terrible to your feet, we just introduced them to true comfort. So now those "comfortable" Vans or Converse feel stiff and tight.
For some other people, I find the more disconnected from their bodies they are, the less impact the natural footwear has on their feet. It's unfortunate because these are the people that would benefit the most. Don't get me wrong, some disconnected people DO feel the difference and it's awesome. But when you come across that stubborn individual who has an excuse for everything, or almost enjoys being in pain because it is how they identify themselves, then we have a hard time getting through to them.
Other than that though, this "movement" as some like to call it, is going nowhere.
Have you ever sprained your finger and had to wear a splint on it? Did you eventually take it off?
Have you ever tweaked your knee, or worse, sprained your MCL or tore your ACL? Remember that brace you wore for a while? Do you still wear it all day long?
Have you ever been immobilized after surgery? How long did you stay in your immobilizer?
Is anyone catching on to where I'm going with this... We get rid of the above listed examples.
A typical shoe that is not barefoot or natural, is a brace and sometimes a full blown immobilizer like this monster:
I live in the mountains and there are a whole lotta hikers around these parts. A small part of me dies when these hikers come in with this style boot after their ankle sprain (while wearing this boot). Tell me how your foot can flex in that boot. And don't even pretend like you could begin to splay a single toe in there. You are basically wearing concrete slabs on the bottom of your foot. I digress. (but what about how high off the ground they are too!? and that heel!? okay...)
I'm telling you, it's not a movement
Have you noticed running shoes brands like On and Nike and New Balance and how they're trying to give the appearance of a wide toe box? Has anyone had fun with this lately? I mean one hand it makes me laugh, and on the other it makes me mad, and if I still had another hand, it would make me sad.
They're aware of the changes coming down the line and of the success of such brands as Altra and Topo Athletic. Not many people go back to their Brooks once they've had a taste of the good life, amirite. So, okay these changes they've made makes you thing you're getting a whole bunch of space in the toe box and they feel super roomy. Right? And they DO feel super roomy compared to the previous toe boxes. They're all mesh and they're a bit more anatomically aligned with our foot. However! Take a closer look...
Looks super spacious in that toe box!!! But train your eye to reaaaaally look at the toe box and you will see the medial side of the shoe, where your big toe is, still tapers inward. You can see it more on the sole of the shoe. And then, we could give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the last (the sole that we can't really see where your foot sits) is the same shape as the meshy wide-r toe box. But I'm gonna assume it's not. It's probably the same last that tapers in even more than that meshy upper, which means squishy toe box and little toe and big toe pushed in towards the other guys. And furthermore, of note, is the toe spring*. See the image above of the shoe straight on? We can see the toe spring which is where the bottom of the shoe wraps up the front of the shoe? It's in the middle... still... why... if we're trying to make our shoe more anatomically aligned with the human body, then we all know that we push through our big toe and not our 2nd and 3rd toes! And if you didn't know that, you better get cracking on the rest of my blog posts and YouTube Channel.
*you wanna talk about toe spring and other stupid things shoe companies do?
WHAT ABOUT THIS!?
I just can't even.
If anyone can address the purpose of any of this... Just kidding, don't. I get where they're going but boy is it stupid. It's like they're trying so hard to reinvent something that's already awesome. And that is the human body.
While I started this blog post stating that functional footwear is not JUST a movement, I'm ending on a different note. I've lost hope.
Just kidding! I am super optimistic that Nike and other companies will stop with this nonsense and start making shoes for the human foot-ed consumers and not pretend that this is just a fad we're going through.