One day I was walking down our stairs and felt a strange pain in the top of my foot that I hadn’t ever felt before. Being the owner of a minimal footwear company and someone who has been wearing said footwear for eight years now, I felt rather self-conscious about the fact that I was experiencing foot pain. I don’t know how many people I have helped over the years. I can’t tell you how many times I have assured other people that they don’t need arch support, padded shoes, etc. Suddenly, one little pain in my foot caused a flood of doubt to come into my mind about everything I’ve built my career on. What if I was wrong and have been misleading people all this time?
I do occasionally ask myself these types of hard questions like, “what if I’m wrong?”. I think it’s important to be open to being wrong. However, this was just a devil on my shoulder trying to bring me down. I know better than to listen to that voice. I know that if I persist and keep moving (literally and figuratively) then the answer will become clear to me eventually.
I’ve been following Katy Bowman and other movement experts over the years and have learned a lot. I have improved my own movement and alignment, but I still find myself with some poor movement habits that persist from previous years of bad movement. I sometimes forget that just because I have improved, it doesn’t mean that I am perfect.
Besides movement and anatomy, I have also had to study lean manufacturing principles so that we can continue to produce our footwear in house. Lean manufacturing is also known as the Toyota Method and was a simple method of production developed by Toyota during a time of financial difficulty in a climate where it was difficult to compete with other car manufacturers. These methods have been instrumental in our ability to stay in business. One of the big principles that I learned was from a Japanese parable about lowering water in a lake. They say if you are sailing in a lake that has large rocks (problems) under the surface of the lake, you want to lower the water levels so that you can see the rocks and navigate around them. In other words, you want a production method that doesn’t hide problems. I’ve found that this is very true when it comes to our bodies!
The fact of the matter is that as you improve anything in your life, you will find that improvement only reveals other problems. This is something that people generally don’t understand and don’t have patience with. I get it, you are supposed to be improving! You don’t want to see new problems surface as you improve! However, you should look at this as a good sign.
The human body is a master at adaptation and sometimes when there is a weakness or imbalance in some area of the body, it will automatically make up for it in some other area of the body. Things like padded footwear really allow those problems to lurk just under the surface! When you work on removing the things that hide the problems including more movement and better alignment, it lowers the water level and reveals problems that your body has been hiding for who knows how long! This is a good thing! It means that now you can address the issue and get it solved rather than just letting it lurk under the water ready to strike when you least expect it!
I was eventually able to figure out what was going on with my foot. My whole point here is to let you know that if you feel that you’ve fully transitioned into minimal footwear and foot pain strikes, rest assured that you’re still on the right path. Anything worth doing will come with some adversity. Don’t give up! If you’re just getting started on the path to transitioning into minimal footwear, don’t be afraid, you will experience changes and some may be a little pain or discomfort, but the results are well worth it! I promise!
Do you have a similar experience with pain after you’ve supposedly transitioned into minimal footwear? If so, please share your experience with others in the comments below!
If you feel that you are ready to jump in and transition to minimal footwear to start improving your overall health then you can check out our footwear here.