Working with the Ipswich Town football players over the last 10 weeks has been a real eye opener as to what feet look like, even at a young ages, when you live in boots with a tight toe box. Toes squished together, metatarsal phalangeal joint enlargement (evening causing bunions) and toes which don't want to move as they should. The video above was filmed and shows Adam webster, Tom Adeyemi and Tommy Smith all playing with lifting the big toe and keeping the others on the floor and then web lifting the 3 middle toes and keeping the big one down. Great exercises to bring some of that neuro-plasticity back and remind those feet what they are capable of. Using th tennis balls to roll your feet on is also a great way to re-awaken the tissues in the nerves in the feet without beating the crap out of them like you would do if you used a golf ball...you aren't trying to "break down" any tissues or anything but just remind your feet what it is like to be awake, to be alive.
So if you are looking for shoes to wear there are a growing number of them on the market that make barefoot stuff shoes, the main two I've used and can vouch for are Vibram (they make the "crazy" 5 finger style glove shoes which you need to be happy with your self and not care about being seen as even weirder than being barefoot) and Vivobarefoot who make some pretty stylish nice shoes. like i say there are many brands these days and they are all trying to make the idea of wearing a shoe as close to being barefoot as possible. They have A wide toe box, a thin sole and a neutral heel rise. Traditional shoes pretty much constantly have a raised heel, and no i don't just mean girls and your high heels (or guys if you like). Your running shoe has a raised and padded heel to "take out the impact" that running causes through heel plant running. Go for a run barefoot and your body will not allow that style of running cos it bloody hurts so you shift to a mid foot running technique without even trying, your body just knows how it should run in nature. i wont go into the depths of running shod/barefoot and actually your body is great at adapting either way but if you are struggling with pain and injuries maybe its something you should think about.
So to conclude, Whilst i am at the extreme end of the whole barefoot thing and i wouldn't expect, though i would love, people to suddenly start walking everywhere barefoot, i do hope that maybe you might look at the ideas behind being barefoot and trying to do it more often. The reason i do it is to find a greater understanding and comfort in my own body. One of the reasons for this could be so that tescos don't kick up a stink when ever i walk in there (apparently its unhygienic being in there barefoot...even more so than the shoes that have never been washed) There are said to be calming benefits to walking on grass barefoot so maybe even just start there and slowly try to build up walking on your pea shingle drive, i shouldn't use these words as tescos quite often try to kick me out, but every little helps. You won't end up with super hard feet the whole soul of the foot adapts and just becomes harder wearing. If you have any questions about such things, feel free to drop me a line, this has already been WAY to long, but i will leave you with a clip of what your feet can be capable of if you used them like they can be used everyday