Chicago Tribune: “Naked Feel Is In Works For Shoes”, Dr Stoxen Predicts and Recommends Minimalist Shoes To Converse Japan, In 2007


Chicago Tribune, “Naked Feel Is In Works For Shoes”, Dr Stoxen Predicts and Recommends Minimalist Shoes To Converse Japan, In 2007

Humans have been running barefoot, walking barefoot or in minimal footwear (moccasins and sandals) since the beginning of time. And like all children you ran barefoot.

Minimalist footwear” such as five finger shoes or barefoot running sandals  have become popular of late, particularly in the barefoot running community. Research conducted on barefoot running training have spawned the success of many different shoes, their common marketing theme touting their close approximation to training barefoot. minimalist shoe companies start to standardize. If they don’t use similar language to describe their new products, you won’t buy. Make sure there is  a Zero Drop (sometimes “zero differential”) What “zero drop” refers to is the difference in height between the heel and the ball of the foot.  Just because it’s “zero drop”  doesn’t mean it’s a barefoot running shoe, or even a minimalist shoe. The first thing you’ll notice is that many of these “barefoot” style shoes still have a HUGE amount of padding between your foot and the ground.

Working out in shoes that are overly “protective” immobilizes the foot and weakens it over time.”Highly cushioned shoes actually weaken your feet because they bind them and don’t allow them to move,” Stoxen explained.  Having a brace on the body only inhibits natural motion that reduces positive adaptation.  That is why doctors are quick to take the cast off your arm after its healed from a fracture.” Strong evidence shows that thickly cushioned running shoes have done nothing to prevent running injuries in the last 30-odd years since they were invented. Earlier studies suggest that running in highly cushioned shoes may increase the risk of ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and other running injuries as well as increase the risk of overpronation and over supination.  This can lead to chronic knee painchronic hip pain or extreme back pain.” Weather you have heel spurssciatic nerve problems, a tight iliotibial band (ITB) or even cracking knees, it will not be cured with a pair of shoes.


Dr. James Stoxen DC

Naked Feel is in Works for Shoes 
By Leslie Mann
Sunday, December 30, 2007 

View the original article, click here

Athletic shoes are so comfy, they must be good for your feet, right?

“Not necessarily”,  said Dr. James Stoxen DC, a chiropractic physician at Team Doctors Treatment and Training Center in Chicago.

“Highly cushioned shoes actually weaken your feet because they bind them and don’t allow them to move,” Stoxen explained. “This can lead to common running injuries such as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (runners knee),  Shin Splints, Tibia Stress Fracture and Chondromalacia Patella which can lead to  chronic foot pain, shooting foot pain, cracking of the knee and even hip pain.”

Ideally, he said, we should be barefoot all day long. But we do need shoes to protect our feet. So the next best thing, according to Stoxen, is a shoe that allows our feet to move as much as possible.

To this end, Stoxen is working with Converse Footwear Co. in Japan to develop a shoe that allows the feet to flex. The company plans to launch it in Japan next spring. We may never see it here, but who knows how much that “naked” feel could catch on?

“The new shoe [not yet named] will be light and simple,” said Dan Weiss, director of marketing for the Converse Performance Team in Japan. “It won’t have any gels, springs or other gimmicks.”

Although the Nike Free is designed for running, tennis, track and football, the new Converse will be designed for playing basketball.

Not everyone is sold on the barefoot-like shoes, though.

“They aren’t for everyone,” said Chicago podiatrist Dr. Lisa Schoene, spokeswoman for the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association. “Someone whose feet pronate, or roll inward as they walk, for example, would have very sore feet at the end of the day if they wore them.”

No shoe is universal, Schoene saids. “Just like you buy different equipment for different sports, you need different shoes for different activities,” she said. “And what works for one person doesn’t work for the next.”

“People have been running barefoot for millions of years and it has only been since 1972 that people have been wearing shoes with thick, synthetic heels,” said Daniel Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.

With thick heels, people lengthen their strides, landing heel-first and letting the shoe absorb the impact of each footfall. You can’t do that barefoot running or training barefoot (try it sometime), so your body naturally falls into a shorter stride, landing first on the outside middle or ball of your foot. As you advance your foot rolls inward; the arch flattens and helps absorb the impact; it then springs back up as you lift your foot and push off the ground. In a sense the arch is acting like a leaf spring.

Dr. Stoxen is sure that running barefoot or with running with minimal footwear is one way to avoid injuries. After all, we evolved without shoes.

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