Let’s begin with an image. A body, upright and strong. The souls of both feet firmly on the ground. Spine straight, lungs open and large. Energy is able to flow freely from the earth, to the top of the head, down the legs and out again. Sound good? That is how a healthy body looks and feels when it is properly supported on the ground.
Now take that body and add a pair of traditional high heels. Move all the weight forward, throw the spine out of line and squash up the diaphragm. How does that sound now? Poorly fitting and poorly designed shoes can change the entire balance of the body.
Balance is a bit like breathing. Seems kind of dumb to even talk about breathing. Everyone knows how to do it, right? You just breathe in, then you breathe out. Nothing to it. Except that now, most people agree that breathing is the basis of our whole wellbeing. It is one of the most fundamental building blocks to our health.
Balance is the same because, everyone assumes that as long as you are not falling down all the time, you have your balance sorted. If you can stand upright, you must be balanced.
Except there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the way you are positioned on the earth can affect everything about your body, from your breathing to your bones.
Our feet are precision instruments, with each one made up of 52 bones, 66 joints, 19 muscles and a complex network of ligaments, muscles and nerves. Conventional science has identified that the hands, feet and lips have more nerve endings than the rest of the whole body put together.
Many eastern traditions have long acknowledged the power of posture to improve health and wellbeing. Disciplines like Yoga and chi gong regularly focus on centering and grounding exercises designed to reconnect the body with the earth’s energy flow.
And yet every day, people buy – sometimes at enormous cost- shoes that are literally making them unhealthy. Some studies indicate that more almost 9 out of 10 women wear shoes that don’t fit. Fashion can be a culprit as can be buying a pair you love even though they aren’t really your size. But often it comes down to a lack of knowledge about feet, how they are different and how looking after them can be one of the most powerful things you can do for your health.
As a podiatrist of more than fifteen years, I saw the effect of poorly designed and poorly fitted footwear on hundreds of clients. I saw corns, calluses, structural damage and other disabling foot problems. But I also started to notice that poorly designed and poorly fitted shoes can also affect overall health and happiness..
Next time you are in bare feet walk, out onto the grass, close your eyes for a moment and think about how you feel. We are creatures of the earth and from the earth comes much our energy.
Over the last fifteen years, the health movement has undergone enormous growth and change. No longer is it good enough for us to get sick and then wait for the system to fix it.
And increasingly it is no longer good enough to ignore our connection with the ground and imagine it doesn’t matter.
And if you are reading this thinking “yes, but, I don’t want to look like someone’s Nana…..” think again. The days where you could have comfort or style but not both have long gone.
The companies we stock know how important shoes are to your overall wellbeing. They know a person has more nerve endings in their hands, feet and lips than in the rest of the body combined. And they knew that shoes that are designed right and fit right, can help your posture, your breathing, your balance and even your sense of grounding.
And they look fantastic.
In stillness, be like the pine
In movement be like clouds and water
Now I’d like to see anyone doing that in dodgy high heels!