Footwear is always a hot topic and with it the other additions such as insoles or orthotics - are they needed or are they not?
What I have found over the years is that much of the problems in the body be it pain management, movement restriction or poor movement in general can be all brought back to how the feet behave and then how that behaviour translates through the body.
So often I see coaches focusing on the apparent point of injury, I say apparent because unless it's an obvious serious tear or rupture it's rarely the root cause - rather, it's just the weak link in the chain with the REAL culprit at one end of it.
Always begin at the point of contact with the ground - the feet - how they behave, how they distribute and disperse load and then how this load then translates up the body. If the feet aren't doing their job properly, you can all but guarantee that the rest of the joints in the chain - ankle, knee, hip etc won't be doing theirs as efficiently or effectively either.
Where you can, and where it's safe and practical to do so - train barefoot! Sure, for those of you who've never tried this before it's going to seem really left of field, but trust me - once you try it and feel the changes in your bodies behaviour, you'll never want to train in shoes again!
If you must wear shoes to train in, especially if you're squatting or deadlifting you need to leave the fancy running shoes at home. Not only will you destroy them completely in a very short time, the over corrected nature of some of these shoes will hamper your mechanics. After all, they are designed for running, not lifting. The good old, flat soled converse are an awesome choice of footwear if necessary. Hard soled and flat so your foot needs to actually do some work rather than become lazy because of all the assisting bolstering that come in running shoes.
One caveat to that is, getting your feet to behave properly takes time and effort. You can't magically make them behave properly so persist at it. That being said, I've had a great many people see significant improvements in single leg strength and balance in the same workout by just taking their shoes off! Everyone is different.
Overall, your feet are one of the most important parts of the body to get functioning correctly. Train barefoot where possible - that goes for lifting and cardio - feel your feet begin to behave better and then you'll notice the rest of your body begin to do the same.
Put your best foot forward!
Arj P - Head Coach