World of Barefoot

2 November 2019



Our feet are amazing bits of kit – and ever since our primate ancestor climbed down from the treetops the human foot as evolved from being great for hanging of branches to become perfect base of support for upright walking and endurance running.

The mighty Big Toe is BIG for a reason, its four times thicker and denser than our other toes, and it literally has a pivotal role as the anchor and pivot for healthy movement and balance. Think of how Bruce Lee’s big toes works the floor while he is eyeing up his next move?

It is one of 3 joints known as ‘the rockers’ (not to be confused with a noisy band) these rockers (The heel rocker, the ankle rocker and the forefoot (big toe) rocker) are quietly doing their things when you’re moving. So if you want to be a smooth walker then the flexibility and strength of this little BIG guy is pretty important stuff.  

So how does all this work? When you’re walking your foot lands on your heel, flexes at the ankle and pushes off from the ball and big toe knows as the axis of leverage. A chimp’s foot the direction of travel happens entirely along the outside of the foot. When you add overly supportive shoes without enough room for mr big toe it can result in unstable feet where the walking pattern becomes very similar to that of the chimp, where particularly noticeable in a ‘waddling’ and ‘swaying’ walk from side to side.

So what does this all mean for us? Normal shoes compromise the Big Toe: they’re narrow, pushing Big Toe off its straight axis, as well as stiff, preventing it from being able to flex and move. And even the smallest toe spring puts the Big Toe out of the game and overtime it becomes ‘lazy’ and unable to play its role to keep the body on course from the ground up.

So if you don’t want to be a waddler and you think your big toe is starting to look a little bent out if shape then don’t worry help is at hand Toe; 

Start by taking your shoes off as much as possible and be mindful of your big toe leading the way when you stand and walk around the house

Gravity (without foot or toe restriction) is key so spend more time standing by ideally getting a standing desk at work or at least getting up ever 45mins to try some of the simple toga move.

What the hell is Toe-ga?? It’s yoga for your feet, basically feet exercises that focus around your big to that you can use to kick start your day or throughout your day:

  1. Push / lift / reverse. It might sound like a military drill, but it’s pretty simple, we promise. Push Big Toe into the ground, like you’re trying to plug a hole, while lifting the other toes as high as possible. Reverse, rest and repeat. Work up to holding these for 30 seconds.
  2. Toe Fan. Lift and spread your toes into a fan shape. Hold for 3 seconds, release and repeat 10 times. Then take turns tapping Big Toe into the ground ten times, then the pinkie, and finally, try tapping Big Toe and pinkie while holding up the middle three toes.
  3. Elasto-Toe. Sounds like a superhero gone wrong. Wrap a snug elastic band around the toes and then move Big Toe up, sideways and down, away from the other toes. The resistance of the band gets those teeny little muscles flexing like a mirror athlete in the gym.
  4. Roller-Toes. For flexibility; preferably on a rug or mat, roll over the toes and squash the front of the foot into the ground and hold, before pulling up onto an imaginary pair of sky-high heels and holding again. Repeat up to ten times, gradually increasing time spent in each position.
  5. Toe Scrunch. Nothing to do with nineties hair accessories. Pull toes up into the fan position, before placing them on the ground, nicely spread. Now scrunch your toes up, trying to make a cup under your toes. Feel your arches pull into a strong dome. Hold for 3 seconds, repeat ten times.

With these toe-ga exercises and living as barefoot as possible, your Big Toe Movement will grow with strength and flexibility, bringing added benefits to your whole body (and mind!).

And for when you need to wear shoes, the whole Vivobarefoot range is now on a latest toe shape that has been re-engineered to give even more big toe space. So stand up, let gravity do its thing and unleash the power of your Big Toe!