Are Your Shoes Causing More Harm Than Good?

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Barefoot Is Best

So… I’m not particularly into shoes.


Seeing the beautiful results of Earthing on my patients (and in my own life) has me opting for going barefoot whenever possible, and sleeping grounded at night too.


So I found it very interesting when the latest medical reports showed that the new trend towards maximalist shoes (thick soles, thick padded heels) completely failed to cushion the foot on impact and in fact increases the risk for injury…. the exact opposite of manufacturers’ claims.


Turns out, cushioning does more harm than good for the dynamics of your foot, luring you into thinking that you can pound your foot down onto any surface and be supported.



  • Presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 62nd Annual Meeting on May 28, 2015, researchers looked at runners who ran 10+ miles a week (average age 32 years old) and evaluated their heel impact and ground reaction forces on a treadmill in both traditional and maximalist shoes.
  • After normalizing for body weight, the vertical impact was significantly greater with the maximalist shoes than with less padded running shoes.
  • The higher the vertical impact load, the higher the risk of injury.


Bottom line? Those highly padded shoes actually increase your risk of foot trauma.



jumping in bare feet
This comes on the heels (sorry, couldn’t resist) of findings presented three years earlier at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine…

…which found that running barefoot actually allows runners to run faster…

…and run with less effort!


  • Competitive runners shaved off about 20 seconds per mile on their run by taking off their shoes.
  • Runners consumed significantly less oxygen when barefoot as well, suggesting that there is less effort required to exert the same speed of running when shoeless as compared to wearing shoes.
  • Pulmonary ventilation was significantly lowered, strides were shorter and more frequent… the entire motion became more efficient when the shoes came off because instead of blindly striking the heel down when it is cushioned in the shoe, runners naturally land more on the forefoot when running barefoot.


And as the first study showed,

more cushion does NOT equal more foot protection.


So switching back to the natural, more efficient stride of running barefoot might not only get you where you want to go faster, but might also decrease your risk of injury.

The key is to transition to barefoot running slowly, switching to more minimalist shoes before tossing them all together.

What is even more exciting is that running barefoot… or heck, simply *walking* barefoot… gives you the opportunity to have physical contact with the earth, and get grounded.


Grounding your body by going barefoot often is, I truly believe, one of the very best things you can ever do for your long term health… counteracting stress, wear & tear, pain, inflammation and free radical damage over your entire body, increasing restorative sleep at night AND (as if that was not enough) helping to maintain your optimal body weight.


For a full review on the health benefits of Earthing and what the medical literature has to say about it’s impact on the body, hop over to my blog post here where I cover the past 20 years of medical literature for you!



(Want to get started on grounding for your own health?

Download my free Earthing Idea Book here.)



As I talked about on the blog last week… walking is an amazing healing tool in and of itself — able to positively impact cancer recovery better than any chemotheraputic agent we have today. So combining both — removing the shoes, getting grounded, and walking/jogging/running outside is just win win and WIN.


Want to test if you are giving your own precious feet enough barefoot time?



Here is a simple 20 second test that you can do right now to check on the health and alignment of your feet. It’s so fun and easy I made a video about it to walk you through it right here, right now. Just get out a sheet of paper, a pen, and click Play to watch the video below.

(Newsletter readers — simply click here to see the video on my website)





xoxoxo, Laura