Infinity Spine Center Blog

Your Best Shoe Options: Sneaker Edition

Cornerman just trying to ground on some concrete. All that hair keeps me warm.
If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, turf toe, Morton’s Neuroma, painful bunions, you’ll realize the importance of having well-oiled feet. Jacked up feet such as having any of the conditions above or any foot pain, will likely lead to a train wreck upstream like rusty knees, clanky hips, and Tin Man lower back.

And don’t come at me with “my second cousin’s husband’s great Aunt Mildred had bad feet, so my doctor told me that’s why my feet are twisted and mangled like they’ve been in some vortex energy field for the past 60 years.”

Before you fly out your door to get those $500 orthotics, chill out–we have news for you on those concrete molds too.
Side note: things upstream, like your hips, can cause feet issues. Have you ever seen someone in Phoenix wearing flip-flops and their big toe is in a zip code 3 counties east of Phoenix? That’s called a bunion and the effectiveness of their Yoga Toes are equivalent to replacing a hubcap on a car with a flat tire. Look, I’m not hatin’ on Yoga Toes–they good but you got more parts to assess. Chicken or the egg? 
Dude’s trying to leave the party without being noticed.
Your feet are one of the most magical parts of your body. They are the first part of your body to contact the ground when you walk, stand, run, sit so if your feet aren’t well-oiled and functioning primo, they’ll change the way everything upstream works.

Your feet are loaded with many bones that make up joints. These joints are begging for you to stimulate them by allowing them to move. One of the things you’ll want to do to take care of the joints in your feet is to wear shoes that allow your feet to move, stretch, morph, plant, pivot, and drive on the ground. All these movements send signals to your brain and serve as little hugs for the neurons in your brain.

Do you remember when you were 7 years old always seeing that old rusty farm tractor chillin’ in the weeds of a cornfield on your way to Grandma Mildred’s? Don’t let your feet become that old rusty tractor.
3 things to look for when sneaker shoe shopping
1. Heel height or drop
Quick and dirty: the higher the heel the worse it is for your feet.

Why lower heel is better: it allows normal dorsiflexion (bending) of the ankle.

2. Flexible sole
Quick and dirty: if you can’t fold it like a soft taco shell hot off the tortilla press then it’s too rigid.

Why flexible sole is better: it allows for the muscles on the bottom of your foot to lengthen which allows the muscles opportunity to work in a lengthened position. Orthotics, whether they are superduper custom or you snagged a box from CVS for $7.99 on the clearance rack, are the epitome of not allowing your joints and muscles in your feet to work.

3. Wide toe box
Wide toe box like your boy Ronald.
Quick and dirty: when you look down at your shoes they will look like swimming flippers that you use to swim the Sea of Galilee if they have a wide toe box.

Why wide toe box is dope: although they may not be sexy, they allow your toes to splay and have a good time at the party.

Foot binding.
Modern-day foot binding.
Best pair of shoes: no shoes (barefoot)
Advantages: grounded (if the surface is conductive), no arch support–yes this is a good thing. Barefoot forces you to use the 3 pounds of goo in your skull. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it. Arch support acts as a crutch for the muscles in your feet, not allowing them to lengthen and contract fully on their own.

Disadvantages: man-made surfaces like concrete and blacktop make going barefoot risky. Avoid potential trauma.

2nd (5-way tie): XeroVivoSoftstarTadeevoVibram (those weird ass looking shoes that you shouldn’t wear on the first date)
Advantages: zero heel pitch and flexible sole forcing feet muscles and your brain to work.

Disadvantages: Unlike barefoot, since these shoes have a sole that’s made of non-conductive material, you’ll be disconnected from earth’s electrical charge. We already spend too much time disconnected.

Honorable mention: Merrell. Not all their shoes are zero heel pitch, but some models are such as these men’s and these women’s.

A women’s model. To see women’s and men’s selection click: Xero.
A men’s model Vivo. To see men’s and women’s selection click: Vivo.
A Softstar model. See their collection: Softstar.
A women’s Tadeevo model. See their collection: Tadeevo. They have a vegan selection too.
A men’s Vibram model. See all their swag: Vibram.


Advantages: Minimal sole stiffness.

Disadvantages: Even though they may look like they are zero heel drop, they do have a slight drop.

A New Balance Minimus for women. See their women’s and men’s goods: New Balance Minimus.
9th: Nike Free X Metcon

If you can’t get over the hideous look of some of the more minimalist shoes and you’re endorsed by Nike, try the Nike Free X Metcon. I wear these treads sometimes but I take out the insole for more sensory stimulation for my brain–allows me to better feel the surface I’m standing on. The insole does two things: mutes sensations from the ground and creates a greater heel pitch. (Taking the insole out of your shoe could be DANGEROUS and we are not advising you to do so. Talk to your doctor to see if insole removal may benefit you.)

Advantages: they fly lookin.

These have a more flexible sole relative to many other Nike and athletic shoes.

Disadvantages: heel drop is higher compared to more minimalist options. There’s quite a bit of cushion on these which doesn’t allow you to feel the ground well.

Men’s Nike Free X Metcon. Enter the Nike empire.
Take care of your wheels!

Have an awesome weekend!

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma

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