Sarah met him when she was in trouble with a flat on her trailer and both Fari and Morris in the trailer on the main street of a local town.........
Whilst Sarah was dithering about, wondering how to change her tyre Mike popped up out of nowhere and offered his help. Imagine the look on Sarah’s face when she looked down at his feet and saw he was barefoot. For a moment she thought it was either a dream or she was still drunk from attending a wedding the night before.
Mike explained that he had not worn shoes for 15 years after a serious heart attack had left him with a compromised circulatory system. He gave up shoes because each time he wore them his feet swelled. Going barefoot helped his circulation and thus the swelling. But this was not the only benefit, barefoot had also helped get rid of problems in his knees and hips.
Mike’s feet were quite amazing. The callous he has developed on his sole is thick and tough in the areas where his foot receives the most stimulus. His arch is very developed and his feet look tough and strong. He was most surprised to learn that the horses were barefoot too!
Thanks to Mike Sarah was on her way again quite quickly but it got her thinking! If horses feet and bodies can be helped by them walking barefoot could it help her with back ache? Could she develop her feet to be strong enough to carry her as well as Mike’s feet carried him. There was only one way to find out ....... go barefoot!
July 2009 I tried taking my shoes off today. I am fine on all soft surfaces and smooth hard surfaces but if I walk on anything remotely stony I find it very painful. The pain limits where I can walk so it will take sometime to develop my feet so they are tough and strong enough to walk on all types of surfaces. However I have now started to think about when my back ache is triggered. It seems to worst when I wear very rigid thick soled boots.
August 2009 I gave up being barefoot quite quickly and went back to shoes as I just couldn’t do enough barefoot. Then I found Vibram Five Fingers! These are effectively a rubber coating across the bottom of your foot and as the picture shows each toe has its own little compartment. The significance of this becomes obvious once you are wearing them as your toes curl around uneven ground aiding traction. I have to say that I was totally unprepared for the feeling that you get when your bare foot works on uneven ground.
Vibram Five Fingers enable you to go barefoot comfortably over all surfaces forming an instant callous on your sole but allowing your foot to flex and work as nature intended. I have always gone barefoot in the house but I now realise the surfaces in a house are unchallenging and the amount a foot works limited. The first time I wore the Vibrams I wore them for about an hour around the horse tracks. When I sat down I noticed my feet felt hot and then they started to ache particularly around my arch and the outside edge of my foot up to the little toe. As I have increased the time I wear them, going shopping, out to the pub, for short walks with the dog I have noticed more aching. My ankles ache, my calves and my arches feel as if they have done far too much at the gym. BUT ...... my back is much, much better and this has to be to do with the way my foot is now working. I feel like my gait has changed. I have taken some photos of my bare feet because I now realise that my feet are poorly developed. For years I have had dropped arches and have worn arch supports and a heel lift
as a remedial way of helping my bad back. A light bulb moment is now suggesting to me that my problems stem from poor posture and gait affected by shoes. Take the shoes away, improve the posture and gait, develop my feet and will my back problems reduce? Its worth an experiment! Thanks Mike!
Is it the shoes .......?
It’s gotta be the shoes!
September 2009 The experiment continues! My back continues to get better. Is it coincidence? I don’t think so! A number of times I have gone back to wearing shoes for the day. Each time I end up with back ache either sooner or later. If I get up and keep barefoot then my back is fine. If I get up and wear shoes it is most definitely not. The video above is interesting not only because of the position of the runners legs and feet but look at her back and the way her posture is changed by running in trainers. If you have back ache try going barefoot it might solve your problems!
June 2010 Barefoot rules! My back is now 95% OK as long as I go barefoot as much as possible. Thanks goodness because there is no way I could be riding the mileage on Morris neaded to qualify him up the ranks of the endurance ladder. My top tip ......if you have a bad back get some Vibrams!