Does Walking in Minimalist Shoes Strengthen Foot Muscles?

 Does Walking in Minimalist Shoes Strengthen Foot Muscles?

Do minimalist shoes strengthen foot muscles? Can a change from traditional shoe designs to

minimalist shoes make us stronger and more balanced? It would certainly appear so when you

do the research.

Did you know that human feet are not as strong as they should be? We do not give them the

chance to grow, strengthen and reach their full potential. And this has much to do with the

footwear that has been marketed to us over the decades. And also is partly due to our ‘modern’

mentality. So, what is the deal with traditional shoe designs, and how can walking in minimalist

shoes strengthen foot muscles?

Understanding the Weakness of Foot Muscles

If your foot muscles are weak, it can contribute to a mass of loading-related issues and injuries.

Many people in the barefoot shoe movement believe that traditional shoes actually harm our

feet. And there is a lot of evidence that backs up their sentiment that minimalist shoes

strengthen foot muscles.

Wearing traditional footwear and shoes could be a massive contributing factor for intrinsic

muscle weakness. Especially when we discuss supportive footwear with unnatural foot arch and

heel support. Because of this support from traditional shoes, it stunts the development of foot

muscles, which then has a knock-on effect on the mechanics of your body. We were taught to

believe that foot arch and heel support technology with traditional shoes was important for

healthy feet. It looks like they have the opposite effect. Unnatural foot support makes our feet

weaker and stops our feet from evolving along their natural path.

Minimalist Shoes Strengthen Foot Muscles Research

Many studies show how walking in minimalist shoes strengthen foot muscles. And it’s

definitely not barefoot shoe propaganda or conspiracy theories. It’s a real thing. If you need to

find out more details on the numerous case studies and research on this topic, please click here

for several references that back up this way of thinking.

Numerous studies have taken place to determine the effect of walking and exercising in

minimalist shoes daily to see if they increase foot muscle size and strength.

Researchers randomly assigned 57 runners wearing minimalist shoes into three separate

groups. These three groups were Minimal Shoe Walking (MSW), Foot Strengthening (FS), and

Control (C). Each group maintained their usual running mileage, although the MSW group

walked instead of jogged in their minimalist shoes. The MSW group increased the number of

steps they walked daily over 8 weeks. The FS group did several progressive resistance exercises

at least 5 days per week. The C group remained on their usual daily runs. Before the exercise

started, each group was tested for their foot muscle strength (custom dynamometers) and size

(ultrasound). These measurements were taken at Week-0 and again at Week-4. The final

measurements were collated at the end of the research on Week-8.

Results of Foot Muscle Strength and Size Research

Once the 8 weeks had passed, the results of the research were very interesting, to say the least.

The results showed that walking in minimalist shoes strengthened foot muscles. In fact, there

was a significant rise in muscle size and strength across the MSW and FS groups across 8 weeks.

Some muscles were already showing good growth and strength after just 4 weeks. However,

there was very little change in the C group.

Did Walking and Running in Minimalist Shoes Strengthen Foot Muscles?

The research showed that doing certain exercises in minimalist shoes did strengthen foot

muscles and their size. But because the results of the C-group didn’t change so much, it shows

that minimalist shoes do work to strengthen foot muscles when doing specific exercises or

tasks. Daily walking with increased steps over an 8-week period does work.

There are already many benefits of wearing minimalist shoes. They are lightweight and flexible,

and they help to strengthen the feet, which gives your body more balanced and improves

reflexes. Because minimalist shoes offer no heel or arch support, the foot strengthens itself,

which results in stronger and healthier feet. It would appear that traditional shoes have kick-

started a devolution process in regards to our feet. It’s time to get back on the proper

evolutionary path with minimalist shoes.


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