Our feet are probably the most abused and unloved parts of the human body. And yet… we are sooo dependent on them for practically everything we do. Giving your feet a little love and a healthy environment is a strategy that will pay you back a thousand-fold.

COOL TIP: Increasing the range and variety of what your feet feel and experience actually increases their ability to function well. In neuro-speak, sensory input drives motor output. What that means is: giving your feet more to feel helps them work better!

One of the best cheap dates you can have with your feet is just to walk barefoot on different surfaces. Here’s a short list to try:

– grass
– wood flooring
– sand
– concrete
– garden mulch
– dirt
– different types of carpet
– ceramic tile
– linoleum
– any kind of textured and/or irregular surface

Get creative with this!

And when you’re ready to make more of a commitment to your feet, you just might want to take a good, hard look at the shoes you’re making your feet wear.

Most feet spend their days in what one of my mentors calls “foot coffins” – shoes that are designed from the outside in, rather than the inside out. And, of course, women’s shoes are the worst examples.

The sad truth is that fashion trends and the reality of functional health are a long, long way apart. You may have heard the old adage: “handsome is as handsome does”. Stiletto heels and pointed toes are crippling to feet, and pretty disastrous for everything upstream from there.

Don’t think your athletic shoes are a safe alternative. Massive padding under the heel is actually not good for your low back, and many athletic brands have a tight toe box that will squeeze your poor tootsies without shame, and at a hefty price tag.

Need some good news? There are shoe companies out there making foot-shaped shoes that actually look like something you’d be willing to wear in public. Some will fail the glamour test, but they won’t fail your feet.

Here’s a selection of companies that you can browse (click the name to go to their website):

Altra

Be Lenka

Carets

DaVinci Barefoot

Feelgrounds

Joe Nimble

Lems

Mukishoes

Softstar Shoes

Splay Athletics

Topo Athletic

Unshoes

Vivobarefoot

Wildling Shoes

Xero Shoes

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