Raise your hand if you are an “active couch potato”. Sadly, I’m closer to being one than I like. This is why I am continuing my mission to sit less and move more. I don’t want to just move; rather I want that movement to be the best possible for my body. I’ve shared before that my work requires me to wear a suit and tie each day. Let’s be honest, Vibram Five Fingers don’t go well with a suit. Taking it further, if we are really honest most barefoot/zero-drop footwear is geared towards the causal. Plus, the “dressier” options aren’t very stylish. I don’t need to be GQ cover trendy, but I also don’t want function to completely trump style. Enter the Vivobarefoot Lisbon.
“Your foot has all the technology you need
Our shoes let your feet do their thing” – Vivobarefoot
Vivobarefoot Lisbon Shoe
I finally broken down and got myself an early Christmas present. I kept putting off ordering a pair of barefoot dress shoes because the price is up there and I was having a hard time convincing myself to spend that kind of money on something that was *mentally* a lower priority.
As I kept thinking about it, I really needed a dress shoe that would help my movement be beneficial. The more I thought about the high cost the more I realized my health is worth it. I would spend money on other specialized shoes (i.e. lifting shoes, cycling shoes, running shoes, climbing shoes, etc.) and this is a specialized work shoe…that I spend most of my day wearing.
I didn’t approach the Vivobarefoot Lisbon shoe from a trendy perspective…yes, it is closer to function than style. Instead, I picked the Lisbon because it met the overall goal of providing as close to barefoot in a shoe that looked good and that went with a suit as possible. Plus, the shoes actually look decent.
I have now been wearing the Lisbon several days per week for the last month and I’m pleased with the shoes. I got a black pair and am planning on getting a brown pair for a little variety.
Do you worry about your footwear?
You should be concerned with your footwear. I don’t need you to believe me, when you can learn from an expert biomechanist such as Katy Bowman.
I’ve been a fan/follower of Katy back when she was just blogging on Katysays.com. Her knowledge of human movement and ability to teach that knowledge to both the lay person and expert has gained her quite the following. Katy’s virtual home NutritiousMovement.com is the best place to find her, but she has a number of great books (which are in my library and I started with Alignment Matters), and she has an entertaining podcast.
In fact, the idea to further my minimalist shoe wearing into the workplace came from a podcast of Katy’s from back in April of 2015. You are correct, it took me eight months to finally upgrade my work footwear. Yes, I wish I was an early adopter…
Hopefully it won’t take you eight months to make the right decision.
Here is an excerpt from a speech given by Katy’s podcast co-host, Dani (the bolded and italicized sentence is my emphasis)
“DANI: So let’s ask ourselves: are our joints so defective that these machines that we’ve been given are bound to fail before our life force has left them? Well, perhaps we are the dysfunction and not our bodies. Perhaps it is faulty design – not faulty design but operator error. Perhaps we’ve strayed too far from natural, biological movement and this is the price. Our daily movements are damaging. We’re hunching over smartphones, computer use, texting. Sitting 8-16 hours a day, driving too much and not walking at all. I know it can overwhelm to think about changing those every day, all-day long habits that we have. Our adaptation to modern convenience can limit our biological function in the long term, but there’s one thing that would make a tremendous difference in your overall, immediate and long-term wellness and it rhymes with booze. Shoes! You could change your shoes. Whether men’s or women’s, high heels or running shoes, any shoe with a positive heel, even 1-2” causes your joint alignment to be displaced 20-40 degrees. That causes your body to pitch forward, and in order to remain upright with your eyes on the horizon; you have to deform the natural alignment of your ankles, knees, pelvic tilt, and spinal curvature. Now, what other machines that we expect long-term use from, could function at a 20 degree displacement off its normal axis? A car? Washing machine? How long would they last? It’s too much to expect from a machine, and that’s what your body is. It’s designed to be used, but not abused. Think about it: you misalign your joints and then you move that way, you run, you walk that way. It’s like driving a car on 2 flat tires. Things are going to wear down, and that’s not rocket science: it’s 10th grade geometry. From orthotics to fitness shoes, our solutions are getting sillier. Footwear was conceived pre-penicillin to save us from punctures and infection, but this Pandora’s box of our own creation is tearing us apart one joint at a time. If you make this change, please nurture your shortened and weakened muscles, and give them time to function properly. We are adapting toward our demise, but you can begin to reverse these troubles, and all you have to do is remove your soles. Thank you for your time and attention. (Applause.)”
Or go as close to barefoot as possible. We complain about back pain, hip pain, knee pain, etc…but we don’t usually look at the feet. Remember, it’s all about the base (hum the tune in your head to reinforce the learning).
Seriously, start from the ground up and that means fixing the way you interact with the ground. Since wearing my Lisbon’s regularly I’ve noticed my gait changing from my other dress shoes. At first I was making a terrible racket while I walked, feet smacking, and just landing poorly. It did surprise me, but even that one-inch heel on my dress shoes was affecting my stride.
I have a wonky right ankle that has given me grief for years, like throwing out my back to IT Band Syndrome, to I really should always follow my own advice. Adding Lisbon’s to my wardrobe has made a positive change in my chronic knee pain.
I don’t want you to think that just making the switch to a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes will fix your problems. You will still need to do some corrective exercises/rehab work. However, Lisbon’s will be a step in the right direction.
Question: Do you currently wear minimalist shoes? If so, what is your favorite?