Ever since you were young, you jammed your feet in socks and shoes, why? Well because your parents put them on and society told you to keep them on. The shoes you wore as a kid didn’t even fit your feet properly. The toe box is narrow and it jammed your toes together, the sole is cushiony, making it feel like you were walking on a pillow and the heel is much higher than your toes. None of this makes sense! Your toes should be able to move around, that’s how we find stability! Your heel isn’t higher than your toes with bare feet and you don’t walk on cushiony pillows without shoes on, so why would a shoe be so cushioned?
There are 20 different muscles in the foot and just like any other muscle, you can strengthen them! As a human being, your feet were designed to work barefoot through all terrains. It makes it very difficult to strengthen these muscles when you put that sock on, that binds the foot together then jam it in a shoe where the toes have no opportunity to be used, then be inches away from the ground! This makes your feet weak, in turn decreasing connectivity up the chain, as I talked about in a previous article.
The number one thing you can do to help mitigate this and strengthen your feet is to be barefoot as much as possible! Start at home in your house, these surfaces are smooth and stable. Once you do this, then start to walk around barefoot outside around your backyard, this surface is a little more unstable and will have more terrain for your foot to adapt to. If you really wanted to take it to the next level you could go on a hike or a trail walk with bare feet, obviously make sure there’s nothing you can get hurt on but this will strengthen your foot to the next level. You can also workout with just bare feet as well, better to be done at home, you always want to make sure you are in a safe environment when training barefoot.
Sometimes you just need to wear shoes, and you should while you are in the process of strengthening your feet! You definitely can’t jam your foot back into your old shoes though, this will get rid of all the hard work you’ve done at home strengthening your feet. These new shoes should have a wide toe box, where you can spread all your toes out. They should also have a flat sole where the heel and the toes are in a straight line and not an incline. Last but not least, there shouldn’t be too much cushion. You still need this bit of cushion as humans were never meant to walk or run on pavement or concrete. I’ve recently been wearing the Altra’s training shoe for the last week or so and have been loving what it has done while I need to be in shoes! I am still barefoot whenever possible at home!
So why should we, as golfers, even care about this? The feet are the only thing connected to the ground in everything that a human does, including a golf swing. Strengthening your feet will lead to more ground forces, more connectivity up the chain leading to more consistent golf swings with more distance than ever! If you want to find out more talk to us in the Performance Zone!!