The Barefoot Shoe Movement – How Grounding Footwear Fits In

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Before the modern running shoe was introduced, civilizations before us lived either barefoot or using thin-soled shoes, allowing for a natural gait and foot strengthening. Most recently, the footwear industry has reverted back to this practice – creating a category of shoes for the barefoot and/or minimalist style that has grown popular, according to the http://www.juil.com website.

Juil - Grounding Sandals

Juil - Grounding Sandals

Anything you can do to return to a ‘barefoot existence’ is important in an effort to get your bones and muscles in line with the natural surfaces that we walk on.

This idea of walking and/or running barefoot has long been studied by the medical community but not until recently have the potential benefits been exposed. Doctors and other medical professionals have studied the barefoot movement and helped us understand where it fits in to the modern shoe world.

Most importantly, we must remember that the benefit of a bare foot on the earth is two-fold – one is biomechanical and the other is molecular.

From a biomechanics standpoint, our feet were meant to be bare. The added cushion and complexity that modern footwear has created may have benefited us in the form of increased comfort, but it didn’t necessarily help our feet from a biomechanical standpoint.

Bill Meanwell, CPed and founder of the International School of Pedorthics (ISP), has worked with pedorthic labs across the nation and has over thirty years of practice in this field. In a recent interview, Mr. Meanwell explains that, “Anything you can do to return to a ‘barefoot existence’ is important in an effort to get your bones and muscles in line with the natural surfaces that we walk on.” “This biomechanical positioning,” Mr. Meanwell goes on to say, “Is crucial to the health and strengthening of our feet.”

On the other hand, there is an aspect to barefoot movement and contact that has long been neglected. The newfound trend of “earthing” or grounding has entered our nation’s spas and footwear retailers. Earthing or grounding shoes are designed to help our bodies regain natural balance and stability on a molecular level.

As Dr. Roy Lidke, Podiatrist and Physicist, explains, “The greatest benefits [of going barefoot] lay in the potential for free electrons. Atoms and molecules do not like to be unbalanced (having a single electron in the outer shell of their structure). When this happens we call them ‘free radicals.’” When we are in direct contact with the earth, supplying these free radicals an ample supply of electrons, we allow them to convert to more innocuous structures. “Free radicals are involved in inflammation, cancer, aging and cell death,” explains Lidke.

The benefits of barefoot movement, therefore, are shown to be both external and internal. Aside from the natural movement and strengthening seen in minimalist shoes, recent study and dedication to the grounding and earthing trend has shown that the ample electrons in the earth are immensely valuable in stabilizing our bodies’ natural frequencies.

Grounding and earthing shoes have recently entered the forefront of both footwear production research and medical study. Juil is one of the brands to recently enter this realm, designing grounding footwear by placing copper conductors within the toes and heel of their footwear. By offering this direct connection, the wearer releases stress and toxins from his/her body in the form of free radicals and oxidative stress. To learn more about Juil and grounding shoes, visit http://www.juil.com.

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David Gelfand
Juil
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