Is one of your goals this year to improve your foot health? Maybe your feet ache from standing all day at work. Or maybe you have a running injury that will just not go away. Perhaps you found yourself with a persistent case of plantar fasciitis. Whatever it may be, we want to help you on your foot health journey!
Whether you are just getting started or have been on the beaten path for a while now, here are some items we at the Healthy Feet Alliance consider to be the most helpful!
1. EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
WHOLE BODY BAREFOOT BY KATY BOWMAN - $13
Our go-to resource for anyone just getting started is Whole Body Barefoot by Katy Bowman. This book is a wealth of knowledge on transitioning to a barefoot lifestyle, complete with exercises and stretches. Katy does a fantastic job of explaining complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand manner, while still making it a very entertaining read. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s time to jump on the Katy train!
There are several other books we recommend as you begin your healthy-feet journey. You can find them here.
FOOT FUNCTION MEMBERSHIP from GAIT HAPPENS - $25/MONTH
If you are looking to take it to the next step, Gait Happens is a gold mine of information. Dr’s Conley & Perez have developed a Foot Health 101 Online Course to get you started, as well as an ongoing Foot Function Membership. This membership is full of online resources, videos, and a monthly live class.
2. MASSAGE BALLS
Healthy foot function is dependent on foot mobility. A great way to increase that mobility is rolling a simple ball under your feet. For something so small and easy to store or tote around, therapy balls offer enormous benefits to the fascia in your feet. Here are a few we love.
THE FOOT COLLECTIVE'S CORK BALL OR LACROSSE BALL - $7
YOGA TUNE-UP BALLS - $13/PAIR
These Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls come in a set of two, along with a mesh bag so you can use both balls at once! Tune-Up balls can be used all over your body (not just your feet) and only get squishier and more effective over time.
3. RESISTANCE BANDS
For some great strengthening exercises, try resistance bands. They add resistance to your foot exercises and can act as a guide to hold your body stable. Both Whole Body Barefoot and Gait Happens’ foot courses use resistance bands in many exercises!
TheraBand Resistance Bands provide both positive and negative force on muscles and joints, and are designed to tone and condition all major muscle groups.
These bands are great tools for strengthening your foot muscles and can be used with several of the workouts and programs we recommend.
4. PROPIOCEPTIVE MATs
KONE-X ACTIVE MAT by Active Life - $70
This amazing Kone-X Active Mat was designed by one of our own, Dr. Stephen Bui, to enhance proprioception. The mat has small rubberized nubs that stimulate and re-energize your feet. It is great for anyone who stands all day at work, or who wants to increase their proprioception and balance.
Standing Mat by Naboso - $55
Wake up your feet, and wake up your body. This textured Standing Mat is the perfect option for keeping the feet strong and stimulated when at a standing desk or working from home. Use in the bathroom or next to bed to start your day by waking up your feet.
XERO ROX MAT $25
The Rox Mat is designed to activate your intrinsic foot muscles, and is a great way to add variety to the texture your feet are exposed to. Stick it at the kitchen sink for a good foot massage while doing the dishes or at your standing desk for some texture while working.
5. BALANCE BOOSTERS
TFC BEAM - STARTING AT $67
The Foot Collective Beams come in different sizes and materials depending on your needs. They make a beautiful and functional living room installment for incorporating daily movement and strengthening!
MOBO BOARD - $85
This balance board is an excellent rehab tool for people with chronic ankle sprains and other foot issues. The cut-out under toes 2-5 prevents incorrect toe gripping movements and enhances stability through the big toe. The MOBO board is the perfect way to isolate and strengthen the big toe’s connection to the ground.
6. TOE SPREADERS
Toe spreaders are a powerful tool to help you restore your feet. They hold the toes in the proper alignment while you are active so the muscles can grow properly and restore strong healthy feet. This speeds up the foot restoration process—and you’ll love the way your feet feel while wearing them.
Correct Toes - $65
The Correct Toes are the only toe spacers on the market designed by a podiatrist with foot alignment in mind. They are anatomical, modifiable, and can be worn inside shoes while you are active. These are an important tool if you have chronic foot issues such as bunions or plantar fasciitis.
Not to be confused with foot orthotics, these insoles stimulate the foot instead of support the foot. Of course, we always recommend going barefoot outdoors for the ultimate sensory experience, but we know that shoes often need to be worn in our modern day world. These insoles stimulate the nervous system with texture when being barefoot isn’t practical.
NABOSO Proprioceptive INSOLES - STARTING AT $50
These textured Naboso Insoles slip into your shoes for an extra sensory boost! They are designed to stimulate the nervous system and enhance movement by increasing awareness of the foot (just like being barefoot!).
BAREFOOT SCIENCE Insoles - STARTING AT $85
These Barefoot Science insoles, worn inside natural footwear, can provide your feet a similar experience to walking barefoot in the sand. The different sized plugs that are placed in the middle of the insole stimulate the mid-arch during movement. This helps to strengthen the feet and enhance movement!