Plantar Fascitis? Knee Issues? Try Changing Your Workout Shoes

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist FitnessComments: 68

By Paula Jager, CSCS

“A woman can never be too fit, too happy or have too many pairs of workout shoes” (Paula Jager – and you can quote me on that).

At our local dairy pick up a few weeks ago I noticed Sarah was wearing her pretty multi-colored Merrell’s and I asked her how she liked them.  “Love them” she said.  “Wear them all the time but I just can’t run in them”.  Really, why is that I asked?  “Just kills the back of my leg down by the Achilles”.  Yes, I knew exactly what she was talking about and silently chuckled to myself–from the sheer experience of it.

We are all so very different–biomechanically, in our fitness capacity and just overall structure.  Despite the differences I still believe that everyone should wear a barefoot or minimalist shoe for whatever the activity.  It’s the way nature intended us to be.  We’ve just gone against nature in this department for so long we’ve created issues and a cautious and gradual approach is what many of us need in order to correct the problems and imbalances we’ve created.

Sarah asked me to share my story transitioning to barefoot shoes as well as the experiences of a few of my clients.  I would say that 85% of my clients have converted over to a minimalist shoe.  Some have no trouble at all, some had to do it very gradually.

The main players in ease of transition are age and habits along with efficiency of running and conditioning.  Like anything else with bad habits, the damage is cumulative.  I got my first pair of Vibrams at age 50; I was/am a sprinter but had terrible running form for distance and was what is known as a “heel striker”.

Until that time I wore primarily Nike Shox (the worst) and other similar platform training shoes.  I ran in them, I lifted in them and had 18 pairs in various colors to match what I wore.  Being an all or nothing girl when I first learned of the barefoot idea I spun my typical 180.  First time I wore them I ran 800 m (that was taking it easy for me).  My feet and entire lower legs were so sore I could barely walk.  It took almost a full week to get back to normal.  I kept at it and eventually tore my calf.  After healing that through laying off it I was still determined that the barefoot shoes were the best thing for us.

I wore them all day all the time.  I got used to just walking and standing in them.  I then began to run 200-400 m 2-3 times a week in them being careful not to overdue it.  I allowed time for recovery.  Our box put together a team for Tough Mudder that year and I was determined to wear a minimalist shoe as they were deemed the best for the terrain.  Tough Mudder requires 11.5 miles of running, mind you I’d never run further than 4 miles in my entire life.  My Achilles and calves were so shortened from years of bad running form and the wrong shoes.

But it’s never too late to change–is it?

Using CF Endurance our training consisted of 3 runs a week (long intervals, short intervals and a long run on the weekend).  I wore my barefoot shoes for the short intervals, rowed the long intervals to allow for healing and wore a pair of Nike frees (I call them Tweeners) for the longer run until I built up some ability to handle the distances.  I included at least 20 to 30 minutes of mobility work and foam rolling after every run.  That worked well.  After a few months, I got rid of the Nike Frees and slowly began the longer runs with my barefoot shoes.  Four months later we ran the mudder and they were the best shoes I could have chosen.  I ran the entire 11.5 miles without any issues.

Could Improper Footwear Cause Knee Problems and Plantar Fascitis?

Fast forward to the present moment and I only wear barefoot shoes for everything.  I can run in them–long or short distances, jump in them and basically spend my entire day in them or the real thing–my bare feet.  Improvements?  You bet; my knee doesn’t hurt anymore when running.  I’ve had 2 meniscus surgeries and I am now convinced that improper footwear played a part in both injuries.  I have improved range of motion and overall function in lower legs and hamstrings which we all know the entire body is connected and that carries over to improvements in the entire spine.

My problem:  tight, shortened posterior legs, especially the lower.

Let’s take a look at some others. . .

Shaina/Tiffanie/Jesse:   ages 35/22/23.  All 3 are excellent and efficient runners.  They experienced minor calf soreness the first couple of weeks and after the first longer run.  With some intelligent training they adjusted very quickly and wear them exclusively now.

Sandy aka Spunky:  Age 59.  Long history of running and a good runner.  Said “heck no” to the Vibrams and went for the Nike Frees.  Overall smooth adjustment with some lower leg soreness initially.  Has run in them exclusively now for over 2 years and will not go back to the clunkers nor will she try anything less.  In her words “if it ain’t broke I’m not fixing it”.  And you wonder why we call her “Spunky”.

Ken:  Age 35 presented with plantar fascitis.  Good runner and fairly efficient.  We switched him to a very minimalist shoes and lots of rolling on the foot with a lacrosse ball.  Pain free now and running form improved even more.

Lucinda:  Age 37 “flat feet”. (Developed)  She first wore a shoe similar to the frees.  After adjusting to that we switched to a more minimalist shoe.   Her “flat feet” were a result of mistreating the feet by wearing improper shoes such as heels and wearing shoes with too much arch support like orthotics.  That led to weakened and atrophied muscles.  We had to strengthen her feet.  We encouraged her to spend as much time as possible barefoot.  She needed to learn to use her feet again.  We gave her exercises for toeing, pulling and grasping.  We also had her walking in the sand, pointing her toes and walking on the sides–all strengthening exercises.  She’s doing great no and guess what?  Her feet are no longer “flat”.

Greg and Denise:  Age 53 and 49.  They were overweight and sedentary.  They needed a very slow, gradual transition.  We started them with a minimalist shoe with a little bit of support and got them used to walking in them.  We encouraged going barefoot whenever they could. We implemented a consistent stretching and mobility protocol for them before and after every activity to correct imbalances.  After getting used to walking and losing some weight we started them on jog/walk routine.  They have become dedicated and disciplined people that really wanted to make health changes and were willing to do the work.  Not everyone is.

To sum it up; evaluate the reality of your situation–past and current fitness experience, any orthopedic concerns or limitations along with your goals and proceed with caution and gradual increases in volume.  There are many brands, degrees of minimalism and varieties out there.  Shop around, try them on, walk or run in them (many footwear stores have a treadmill you can use to see how they feel) and decide what is right for you at this time.  And remember the best way is usually the way nature intended.

. . .and what woman needs an excuse to go shopping?


Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar.

Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results

Comments (68)

  • MaryCay

    I used to have constant knee pain. Then I started wearing Merrill’s barefoot minimalist shoes – the pace trainer for walking and the maryjane for everyday (I believe it’s also considered a trainer, but it’s a really cute shoe). I no longer have knee pain and can wear other shoes for every day stuff. I still change to the barefoot if I’m going to be on my feet a lot or going on long walks.

    November 5th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
    • Tanya Caporaletti

      The exact same thing happened to me. After cheering for 12 years, my knees were shot. I started running two years ago and decided to try the Merrill Pace Glove. They are all I wear now, and I have no knee pain whatsoever!. :)

      November 2nd, 2013 6:47 am Reply
  • Karen Henshaw via Facebook

    I changed my shoes and started taking omega-3 supplements. It cleared up quickly.

    November 5th, 2012 11:29 am Reply
  • Larissa Lee via Facebook

    Also, look into Alexander Technique. You might have the best shoes in the world but if you mis-use your body the shoes won’t help you much.

    November 5th, 2012 11:31 am Reply
  • Carol G.

    I learned that lesson years ago when I walked a 12 mile mail route daily for my job. I also ran in the evenings and worked out so I learned really fast the benefit to having the proper shoes for each of my various activities. That is also when I tossed out the high heeled shoes I used to wear. LOL!

    November 5th, 2012 11:40 am Reply
    • Janet

      Yeah, I wish I had tossed out my high heels much sooner – ruined my feet and back!

      November 5th, 2012 12:36 pm Reply
  • Cathleen

    About 14 yrs ago I developed plantars fasciatis to the point my podiatrist said my only solution was surgery, unless I took a year to heal them, which I did. Yet I could still barely walk, let alone run, for years, and forget standing at a party or in a long line. And even with orthotics I had a lot of trouble with pain. Then another health situation arose in my life and I started going to an acupunturist for that and lo and behold my plantars fasciatis disappeared! When I asked her why she said that in Chinese medicine plantars fasciatis is actually an indication of weak kidneys and when you strengthen the 5 major internal organs according to Chinese medicine ways that many things go away. I no longer go to the acupunturist, and for several years now I have been able to walk barefoot again, to wear any shoe without trying to cram my orthotics into them, to stand for hours if need be, without any pain or discomfort of any kind. In fact I no longer need my orthotics! So while getting a new pair of running shoes can be really helpful, why not also try to find ways to strengthen your kidney meridians as well.

    November 5th, 2012 11:51 am Reply
    • Paula

      Great story Cathleen! Everything in the body is so interrelated.

      November 6th, 2012 7:01 am Reply
  • Julia Hansen via Facebook

    I was totally floored this past weekend when I found out that my viola student’s father is the author of “Born to Run”!

    November 5th, 2012 11:53 am Reply
    • Tanya Caporaletti

      That is awesome! I loved that book :)

      November 2nd, 2013 6:49 am Reply
  • aari

    I’m confused about brands, options, which are minimalist, “barefoot” which to use for what. Is there an online resource? I tried to order a few from zappos and got poor fit.

    (REALLY important to stress gradual transition. I know a podiatrist who says his whole business could consist of people who just up & went running in the 5-fingers and broke a foot bone.)

    November 5th, 2012 11:56 am Reply
    • Janet

      I too am confused about what I should get and hate to buy and make a mistake.
      I have a bad lower back started from a skating fall in my late 20’s, but then agravated over many years from all kinds of sports. I still love sports and exercise but must be very careful about the back and go to my Chiro regularly. Any recommendations to get started?

      November 5th, 2012 12:38 pm Reply
    • Crystie

      I don’t have a recommendation for a particular brand. But has a 1 year return policy, and free shipping/returns. They also have a broader selection than you’ll find at most stores.

      November 5th, 2012 1:13 pm Reply
    • Paula

      As usual when something “new” and effective hits the market every manufacturer jumps on the bandwagon. Unless you have successfully used the brand I would not order online but visit a store that carries various brands of athletic minimalist shoes. You can talk with the salesperson as well as try on several brands. Some stores even have a treadmill which will allow you to get a feel for them.

      “Minimalist” is a more general term referring to the graduated degrees of support to those that are similar to being barefoot.

      November 6th, 2012 7:05 am Reply
  • JMR

    Thank you for the useful information. I used to run before autoimmune conditions made me bedridden. As I heal, I’ve started exercising again, although I haven’t progressed to running. After a period of not even being able to sit up for more than a few minutes a day, I’m pretty excited to have mastered the brisk walk. I had a dozen pairs of running shoes (Nike’s etc.), but now I’m interested in trying something better. I did have plantar fasciitis and knee pain, but thyroid hormones eliminated those like magic.

    There’s a Crossfit studio nearby. What is Crossfit?

    November 5th, 2012 12:10 pm Reply
    • Teresa

      My husband has terrible plantar fasciitis. I never considered thyroid hormones but his hands and feet are always cold and thyroid trouble runs in his family. Of course, when the dr checks his thyroid function they say it normal. How in the world would we proceed with getting hormones for this to see if it helps his foot pain. Also has tendonitisis in elbow .

      November 5th, 2012 5:24 pm Reply
    • Paula

      CrossFit is functional exercise, randomly varied and performed at high intensities. The “intensity” can be scaled appropriately relative to the individual’s fitness level. I would check it out–make sure you let the owner/coach know of your existing health challenges. If you are new to it I would suggest private sessions to learn the movements and progress at a level that would support healing for your particular situations.

      Paramount to your success will be strict adherence to an autoimmune protocol diet.

      November 6th, 2012 7:09 am Reply
      • MaryCay

        Paula- you recommend strict adherence to an autoimmune protocol diet. I also have autoimmune disease, been paleo for over 3 years – would you recommend the paleo autoimmune protocol ( paleo minus eggs, nuts and nightshades) or is there another that one should look into? Thx

        November 6th, 2012 10:05 am Reply
        • Paula

          That’s it MaryCay! Some people have been able to add back in some of the “good” foods such as eggs, nuts, nightshades and raw dairy (which is not Paleo but Primal) after being off for awhile and then adding back in one at a time over at least a 3 day period and observe symptoms/reactions. Depends on individual intolerances, health of the gut and many other factors.

          November 6th, 2012 4:35 pm Reply
  • Mindy, The Homespun ARTisan

    I’m not a runner or anything, first of all. But I totally think we’re onto something when we try to transition OUT of “shoes” and into more natural “footwear” or going barefoot.

    I joined the barefoot movement this past March 2012. After doing lots of research and comparisons, I decided Five Fingers weren’t the best choice for me, and I latched onto Invisible Shoes (which I believe are getting a name change soon). You can find them now at invisibleshoe . com (no “s” at the end). [I don’t work for them or know anyone who does…]

    The transition has been LONG and slow. The exercises suggested on Vibram’s site are definitely helpful. I did experience some pain, but I probably pushed too hard. Once I began wearing my invisible shoes, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear ANY of my other shoes… ever again. Now it’s November and cold in Ohio. Still wearing them, but now with wool socks. Not sure what I’m going to do once it snows. But there’s no way I can wear “shoes” again. The feet change, and wearing “shoes” is now oh so awkward. 😀

    November 5th, 2012 12:37 pm Reply
  • Tammy

    What do you suggest for us that get snow to wear? Those shoes are very cold to wear in the winter and snow.

    November 5th, 2012 12:48 pm Reply
    • Paula

      Move to Florida. Just kidding–both Merrill and New Balance have released cold weather versions of the minimalist shoes, I would check them out.

      November 6th, 2012 7:12 am Reply
  • Lori Viox Hensley via Facebook

    MSM is a sure fire fix for plantar fascitis, or you could just eat lots of onions I guess.

    November 5th, 2012 2:00 pm Reply
  • Mary

    What about shoes for work? I can get away with fairly casual clogs/loafers/flats, but not Vibrams. Hate heels and have never worn them. I’ve been trying on shoes for close to a month and can’t find any that are truly comfortable. Anyone have any suggestions?

    November 5th, 2012 4:15 pm Reply
    • Katrina

      Anything that has a flexible sole so you can bend it and twist it any which way should be good… no arch supports though!

      November 5th, 2012 4:18 pm Reply
      • Mary

        So, no Danskos? I don’t find them comfortable anyway. Any brands/models that anyone can recommend?

        November 5th, 2012 4:28 pm Reply
  • Katrina

    Amen sister! It is wonderful to hear you explain this so well! Not surprising though since you hit everything pretty dead on. I am an anatomist and Pilates teacher trainer and this is exactly what I teach. The mainstream teaching of needing more arch support simply sells more shoes and makes the feet worse! There are actually exercises and apparatus in the Pilates repertoire that lift and restore the arches so that this transition to bare feet is easier for those with problems. We treat tons of plantar fascitis, IT syndrome (which causes the bad knees), low back pain and much more with great success by working the muscles in the feet.

    November 5th, 2012 4:16 pm Reply
  • Laura

    I spent my late elementary/jr high living in keds. About the time I started growing, my feet began to hurt. If I stood still very long my feet would be uncomfortable and my knees felt stiff. I cheered in for 6 years and I had issues standing on the hardwood floors. It seemed like during the second game my knees would ache. I didn’t have this problem during football season, only basketball. I was wearing cowboy boots otherwise.
    I continued to wear boots through college and quite cheering, I blamed my foot problems on walking on concrete sidewalks. I’d always lived on a farm, so most of my time was spent on turf up until then. I describe the feeling as being heavy on my feet, although I’m a small person.
    Now I’m 34 and farm and work for a public utility. I wear Doc Martin work boots or Muck Boots and I avoid standing if I’m not actively moving around. I wear socks in the house, but if I’m going to be on my feet (cooking or canning) I wear tennis shoes. Any suggestions? I need a rugged shoe that will stand up to manure, briars, water, and look conventional. I don’t think the guys would let the 5 finger toe shoes go without giving me a hard time! Thanks.

    November 5th, 2012 5:31 pm Reply
  • Wendi Wilkins via Facebook

    Going barefoot as much as possible is like a miracle cure for all kinds of feet, knee, hip, back, and core problems. Check out Daniel Howell’s book called simply The Barefoot Book.

    November 5th, 2012 6:11 pm Reply
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  • Deb Holter via Facebook

    decent orthodicts cured me

    November 5th, 2012 8:10 pm Reply
    • Paula

      They most likely took care of the “symptoms”

      November 6th, 2012 7:18 am Reply
  • Rebecca Handlon-Miller via Facebook

    These shoes are fantastic for children with sensory processing disorder as well. It provides sensory input that they need.

    November 5th, 2012 8:47 pm Reply
  • HeatherH

    What if you have high arches? Is there a way to cure plantar fasciitis without wearing orthotics?

    November 5th, 2012 10:08 pm Reply
  • Lara

    Hi Paula

    thanks for the great article

    I am wondering , I have an 8 year old who a few years ago after reading about barefoot benefits switched his shoes to nike frees. He plays and runs alot and lately been complaining of sore ankles. I took him to a podiatrist who said he is VERY flat footed and needs a shoe to support him or I will damage him permanently. My eldest daughter is also quite flatfooted. My question is if you are naturally flat footed are you better with a supporting shoe as I went with the nikes frees however they did not seem to work for him however his new supporting shoes seem to help him.

    Thanks again

    November 5th, 2012 11:51 pm Reply
    • Paula

      Well, I am certainly not a podiatrist but I don’t think that the support shoes are the right answer. It may be he just needs to strengthen the feet and ankles. How is he barefoot–running around in the yard and around the house? Check out this excellent article from Mark’s Daily Apple, he discusses both hereditary and developed flat feet.

      November 6th, 2012 7:23 am Reply
  • ( : David’sKate : )

    I was curious to hear how flip-flops play into the whole minimalist shoe ideology.
    My husband was born and raised on a tropical island and wears flip-flops 99.9% of the time. He teases that his feet are “claustrophobic”. He is miserable if he’s in closed shoes for more than a couple of hours. Are flip-flops healthy for your feet? Should we look for totally flat ones or would some with a little arch “support” be good?

    November 6th, 2012 1:44 am Reply
    • Paula

      I wear flip flops a lot in the summer. Personally I prefer the totally flat ones–unless I just want to be “cute” for an hour or two when going out:)

      November 6th, 2012 7:25 am Reply
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  • Paula

    You nailed the key word Trish–your feet are much “stronger” now!

    November 6th, 2012 7:13 am Reply
  • Helen T

    I know someone who does tradefairs – she changes her shoes everyday.

    My husband’s a runner and throws out his shoes about every thousand miles.

    November 6th, 2012 7:50 am Reply
  • Megan

    I found these type at Target for babes just starting to walk and up. When my now 5 m old reaches age to walk and is doing so outside, I will go get the ones that fit her and start her out right.

    November 6th, 2012 8:41 am Reply
  • Megan

    the nike free is about what i got for preo shoes but they were at walmart by that exerise comp that they sell stuff for, for $10. I love those and choose them over my standard sneaks often. and i love flip flops. so wonder if i would have much trouble adjusting to bear?

    November 6th, 2012 8:46 am Reply
  • Rachel

    But I go barefoot all the time and I have Plantar Fascitis!!! I have had 4 babies, 3 of them very close together. I was on my feet practically all day every day for the last couple of pregnancies. I experienced foot swelling, very sore back, and foot pain. After I had my 4th, I started having heel pain in my left foot that has escalated over the past 4 months. It’s getting very painful. I exercise barefoot 6x/week (started exercising after the pain started). I’m not sure what will help at this point. I’ve been told to start wearing shoes indoors with insoles in them…

    November 6th, 2012 1:03 pm Reply
  • Janie P

    I’ve never even thought about switching to a minimalist shoe. I’ve always ran in Nike or Adidas shoes and haven’t had a problem.

    November 6th, 2012 2:00 pm Reply
  • michelle

    one word…… birkenstock…. I no longer have planter fasciitis <3 and I can walk :)

    November 6th, 2012 3:17 pm Reply
  • Michelle Nihiser via Facebook


    November 6th, 2012 3:18 pm Reply
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  • mandi

    My husband transitioned very successfully to the NB minimus (4mm drop) two years ago. Within weeks of wearing five fingers (0mm drop), he developed plantar fascitis. What gives?

    November 8th, 2012 9:56 am Reply
  • Audrey Smith

    I have been wanting to “get into” running for a while. I have always had painful experiences with running, side stitches, shin splints, ext simply from being out of shape and overweight. I lost about 75 lbs through diet and exercise and since I was now under 200 I thought I could give running a shot again. I loved the idea of the freedom of running, no gym, just you, some music, and a road/trail. I bought some expensive running shoes and got HORRIBLE shin splints. I am talking about if you touched them for 2 days after a 45 minute run/walk I would literally cry. Since they were so bad a friend suggested I may even have a stress fracture so I visited my Dr. who said that the shin splints were from running on surfaces other than a treadmill. There went my dreams of the open road…. Then I started researching and thought I could give barefoot running a try. Shin splints gone THE VERY FIRST RUN. I will admit that I didn’t ease myself into them too slowly…I essentially started the Couch to 5K program over again in my new Vibrams. I now feel that running is totally in my grasp and love zipping around my gym in my weird “toe shoes” and getting funny looks from co-workers as I make my way out to my lunch time run.

    November 10th, 2012 1:07 am Reply
  • Christina

    I am in my first weeks of pregnancy, what do you think about these for pregnant women? I was actually planning to get five fingers, because I have knee problems and hip alignment problems. I’ve worn new balance shoe 1225 for the last 6 years.

    April 5th, 2013 10:06 am Reply
  • Kerri

    2 Questions for all of you!

    1. Noisy Knees.
    I have always been barefoot at home and wear supportive running shoes to run. (Only 10-15 miles per week). A couple years ago I jumped on the barefoot bandwagon and started running in the equivalent of moccasins when I ran the steps at the stadium. Then my knees started making crunching noises when I go up stairs. No pain involved, but worrisome none the less. Six or more months ago my routine changed and I have been running on pavement with traditional running shoes. Knees are just as noisy. ???

    2. Broken Feet
    My “flat footed” daughters and son wear orthotics in their shoes. If they don’t they all have an ugly roll in and knee pain. My middle daughter has broken toe bones in the same region three times in the past 8 years. First time due to a fall onto a hard object. The second two “stress fractures” just from walking around, with her prescription orthotics during most times. She is normally barefoot at home. The third “fracture”, mystery pain, started while she was very active (ice skating, plus ballet and gym class at school). Too much stress on poorly aligned foot?

    A year later (4 doctors, physical therapy, xray, MRI, wearing a Cam boot 4 weeks, and lots of frustration) she is STILL experiencing random and regular pain in the same area as the first break. We are back to square one: a recommendation to get new orthotics and continue physical therapy.

    Does anyone have a similar story or ideas to contribute?

    November 1st, 2013 11:04 pm Reply

    Anyone else notice the 2 A&W Papa burger ads on this page :/

    November 1st, 2013 11:20 pm Reply
  • Lisa Cullum Canavan via Facebook

    Read that book 3 years ago. Bought Merrill barefoot runners and ended up wearing them *all* the time. They are wonderful shoes once you relearn how to walk. 😉

    September 29th, 2014 7:21 am Reply
  • Kristy Yoder Schemrich via Facebook

    My super light shoes caused me metatarsal issues big time!

    September 29th, 2014 8:03 am Reply
  • Billie Sirmeyer via Facebook

    Love the contributions from Paula:)

    September 29th, 2014 8:28 am Reply
  • Beth McIntyre Humphrey via Facebook

    I have PF and from all that I’ve read, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no “one size fits all” cure. (Pun intended!

    September 29th, 2014 9:01 am Reply
  • Michelle Kosciuk VerBurg via Facebook

    Flip flops gave me mine.

    September 29th, 2014 9:39 am Reply
  • Jennifer Budek-Meyer via Facebook

    I’m on my way to the drs b/c of foot problems I think are related to my shoes. My foot is hurting on TOP and all across the top. :/

    September 29th, 2014 9:41 am Reply
  • Kelly Burns Lieber via Facebook

    Acupuncture clears up plantar fasciitis. :)

    September 29th, 2014 9:47 am Reply
  • Basil F Butcher via Facebook

    Plantar fascitis may be caused by several things such as poor foot mobility, poor jaw mobility so one needs to find out the source before the problem could be solved. Many people have weak feet so they would have to be transitioned appropriately to minimalist shoes. There are methods to determine if specific shoes work for the individual, however too detailed to go into here.

    September 29th, 2014 9:48 am Reply
  • Nicole Mathews via Facebook

    Barefoot shoes cause IT ban and metatarsal and hip issue in both my husband and I, experienced athletes. They are not for everyone, even if you know how to “walk correctly”, especially not recommended for running.

    September 29th, 2014 10:04 am Reply
  • Karen Kitchen via Facebook

    I cured a really bad case of planetary fasciitis by walking up pretty steep hills a few times a week. Cured in about 2 weeks and haven’t looked back! I think you could do it on an incline treadmill. Think steep though… about 45° for 20 minutes and then a flat cool down for 10 more.

    September 29th, 2014 10:33 am Reply
  • Roxanne Rieske via Facebook

    Many ppl do not get fitted properly for shoes to begin with, and that is the most common cause for PF.
    Minimalist shoes are not appropriate options for most ppl. Women should really stop wearing heels as well. The cute factor of heels is not worth the major foot problems they cause.

    September 29th, 2014 12:34 pm Reply
  • Jen Fisher via Facebook

    If you are going to transition to barefoot shoes you must go VERY SLOWLY! If you have been in a shoe that has a high rocker, like 10 or 12 mm, and you drop to s totally flat shoe you risk all sorts of injuries including torn Achilles’ tendon, torn gastroc or soleus and plantar fasciitis. It can and should take up to 2 years to lengthen your calf and foot muscles through s slow transition from a high rocker/drop to a low or flat soled shoe. This should be done under the guidance of someone who specializes in this type of thing, PT, coach or trainer. Severe injury can be caused by jumping right into a barefoot shoe. I know. I tore my calf muscle. Also if you wear everyday shoes with lift, Dansko clogs, high heels, etc. that can make the transition harder, too.

    September 30th, 2014 9:17 am Reply
  • Joanna

    As this post is quite old now, I don’t know if it’s valid or if I’ll get a response, but here goes. I have a pair of Merrill, but haven’t worn them much. The past year I’ve been getting lower left back pain, then the last few months a burning pain in my left arch. I do have flat feet and bunions. My chiropractor sent me to a podiatrist who said it’s all caused by a slight bow in my left tibia, nothing can be done about that, and I need orthotics. What CAN I do about that? I’d love to get into barefoot but she says it’s not going to happen.

    October 5th, 2014 10:49 pm Reply
  • Susan Dent

    I hate this. I try to research shoes that will help with plantar fasciitis and knees – and every time, there are people saying. “No! You have to transition to barefoot shoes!” and saying research supports it – and just as many others saying “No, you must wear arch support!” I’m so confused. One or the other is wrong and will cause a mistake to be made, and there is no way to know who is right or telling the truth.

    I transitioned from classic shoes to an Asics ‘free’ style and liked it, years ago. Then I fractured my patella in a fall and couldn’t exercise much for a long time. It was after that that my PF began – probably because I’d unconciously favoured my bad leg? I got flat feet and pronation. I didn’t use to have those before!
    The only thing that has eased the pain was starting to wear a really good walking shoe from a ‘health shoe’ brand, it does have arch support. The pain isn’t just gone when in that shoe, either. So I am still confused, and very wary of trying to transition, specially with quite a bunch of experts who maintain that support is necessary.

    June 8th, 2015 7:36 pm Reply

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