The Healthy Feet Manifesto

The Healthy Feet Alliance recognizes that feet are sufficiently designed to support the human body without aid. The foot is equipped with 26 bones, 30 joints, 3 arches and over 100 muscles and tendons. And contrary to popular belief, the foot is solely qualified to support and move the body.

barefoot

Going barefoot is healthy and natural

We believe that caring for one’s feet, going barefoot, and wearing natural footwear should be of high priority.  Being barefoot boosts nerve health and coordinates the body’s movements. Furthermore, being barefoot outdoors has proven to have grounding effects. 

footwear for healthy feet

Shoes’ purpose is simply to protect the foot from the elements and from sharp objects. Shoes should allow the foot to move naturally and freely, as if barefoot. We recommend these footwear elements for longterm foot health:

  • A natural, foot-shaped toe box
  • A flexible sole
  • A zero drop heel (meaning no elevated heels!)
  • No arch support 
  • No toe spring
  • Securely fastened to the foot

These qualities give the foot the freedom needed to reach its full capacity.  Casting an arm leads to weakened arm muscles. And similarly, casting the foot in a rigid, supportive shoe leads to weakened foot muscles. Likewise, the more active the foot, the more robust it becomes.  

natural footwear allows for natural feet

Wearing natural footwear can help one avoid many common foot ailments, such as bunions, plantar fasciosis, hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma, and many others. Paired with exercising the foot, wearing natural footwear may also facilitate decreased pain and slow the progression of these same maladies. 

transitioning to natural footwear

If one is considering switching into natural footwear from conventional footwear, it is critical to properly transition.  It is essential to break slowly into new workouts to avoid injury. In the same fashion, it is essential to ease into natural footwear to avoid injury.  Undoubtedly, each individual’s foot health journey will look different from one another’s and is dependent on their unique starting point and lifestyle.  

medical interventions for healthy feet

Medical interventions should primarily focus on strengthening the muscles supporting the foot and restoring the natural alignment of the foot, ankle, knee, hip and spine. Orthotics and other external supports should generally only be used in short-term treatment plans. As always, there are exceptions to this rule. Surgery should only be considered in the rare cases that are not remedied by less-invasive means.

Spreading awareness

The Healthy Feet Alliance is committed to raising awareness about these truths. Additionally, our purpose is to support individuals, businesses, and medical professionals in spreading this message. Our hope is that one day the world will recognize the importance of going barefoot, wearing natural footwear and engaging in an active lifestyle for healthier feet.

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