Running Sandals Effect on Biomechanics

Curtis HallView post →

The human body is a complex system comprised of many integrated sub systems, that when working properly, flow together and facilitate one another precisely. How the body functions in relation to it’s movement or structure is called biomechanics.

Our body has developed over millennia to function most efficiently and resiliently under specific conditions--one of those key conditions is being barefoot. Narrow shoes with excessive cushion and raised heels are a recent input on the range of human development. Widespread adoption of over-engineered, restrictive footwear has occurred around the world in recent centuries, especially the last 40 years. However this type of shoe has hindered the function of our feet in much the same way the roots of a potted plant conform to its container. Our feet essentially adapt to their environment becoming the same shape as our shoes. This adaptation often causes long term biomechanical dysfunction leading to a reliance on our shoe-containers that ultimately causes imbalance and dis-ease.

feet conform to your shoes

Restricting the natural function of our feet compromises the first biomechanical link in a long chain of systems radiating up into the ankle, knees, hips and lower back. I am going to focus on how transitioning to minimalist running sandals can help the whole-body reclaim proper function, with an emphasis on the foot, ankle and lower leg.

There are 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and a whole slew of tendons & ligaments in each foot and ankle--all that to say this is a very complex appendage and, for most, underdeveloped and out of whack. Wearing unnaturally constraining footwear with muted soles and raised heels allows the muscles in your feet to atrophy due to under-use and dysregulation. In turn, your tendons tighten to pick up the slack, pulling joints out of alignment, creating a very fragile and dysfunctional foot and ankle. Conditions like plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and unstable ankles are common results.

Transitioning to flat soled, minimally cushioned running sandals along with stretching and other foot rehabilitation, will help rebuild muscles, loosen tendons and realign joints to create healthy resilient feet and by extension a healthy body.

Two specific ways running sandals improve the biomechanics of the foot and ankle:

  • Closed toed footwear with a narrow toe box crams all your forefoot bones together like a can of sardines, creating the running equivalent of trying to play the piano while wearing mittens. All of your forefoot and toe joints should be able to move independently, gripping, stabilizing and adapting to the earth, functioning much like your hands. Running sandals allow the forefoot to spread out to it’s naturally intended state, giving your toes room to breathe and articulate. This not only increases balance, grip and stability, it reduces the risk of foot cramps, plantar fasciitis and other foot injuries.
  • Minimal running sandals re-train the foot, ankle and lower leg to move properly, efficiently, and sustainably through increased proprioceptive feedback--from the ground. Most modern shoes, especially running shoes, are overdesigned to cradle your foot, stunting your natural biomechanics and keeping your feet from interacting with the terrain as they should. This encourages a longer less efficient stride and a joint battering heel strike. Minimal running sandals allow your foot to move naturally through a shorter more efficient stride, ending in a forefoot/midfoot strike that builds strong joint protecting, shock absorbing foot and lower leg muscles.running sandals vs shoes
    Given the complex integration of our body’s biomechanics--foot health and proper function will radiate up and improve the function of your whole body in these key ways:
  • Lower leg muscles are now absorbing the shock that once went to your knees, creating both short and long term benefits. Joint inflammation is reduced, increasing joint mobility and allowing your connective tissue to function well reducing patellar tendonitis and other overuse injuries. In the long term this will reduce your chances of arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
  • Zero drop soles help your hips to regain proper alignment. Because your heels are no longer artificially raised, your pelvis no longer has to compensate. The hips are the center of the body, and that when aligned create a healthy back and effective upper leg muscles.

    running sandals vs shoes

All this builds to make you more durable, more capable, more efficient, and beyond all else, more human!

 Author: Curtis Hall (@capt.curtis) is the Co-Founder and Head Creative at BAREfit Adventure Training, a fitness company based out of Louisville, Ky. BAREfit uses all upcycled and handmade equipment to train people to Make the World Their Playground.

Follow them at:

Paleo Minds Interview: Minimalist Sandals, Earthing & More

Michael DallyView post →

In this two part interview I am interviewed about minimalist sandals, earthing, rewilding, morning rituals and much more. 

  • [01:30] Interview start
  • [06:30] Strength and flexibility
  • [16:40] Michael’s fitness journey and the start of Earth Runners
  • [29:00] An introduction to earthing
  • [32:35] Financing Earth Runners
  • [36:46] Vibram’s involvement
  • [38:50] Earth Runners range of minimalist sandals
  • [43:49] The benefits of barefoot/minimalist sandals
  • [53:10] When not to wear minimalist sandals
  • [56:15] Earthrunners range of socks
  • [01:00:48] Pricing


  • [00:55] Minimalism & Rewilding
  • [03:20] Fitness routine
  • [12:45] Office work and minimising a sedentary lifestyle
  • [29:55] Morning rituals
  • [36:05] Non-fiction books and podcast recommendations
  • [49:30] Product recommendations
  • [56:42] New products

Earthing Shoes Resource page
How to Make You Own Earthing Sheet (Video)
Minimalist Sandals Resource page
Running Sandals Resource page.
Dave Asprey – Bulletproof Executive
Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan (UK)
Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan (US)
The Joe Rogan Experience #601 Katy Bowman
ReWild Yourself! Podcast
The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss (UK)
The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss (US)


The Best Minimalist Running Shoe

Michael DallyView post →
born to run

Since the book Born to Run hit shelves in 2009 runners around the world have been on a mission to reconnect with their roots. This has stimulated a resurgence in minimalist footwear that continues to grow to this day. Many variations on the minimalist theme are available, but the objective of minimalist running footwear is to offer an experience that closely resembles moving barefoot. Thus, the end goal is thinner zero drop soles that maximize propreception while offering a wide toe area that allows the toes to splay out naturally. As runners around the world have liberated their feet of conventional “foot-coffins,” they have developed superior lower body strength with an increased resilience to fatigue and injury. These consistent results have stimulated a quest for the best minimalist running shoe. There are many excellent options available, but outside of mimicking the physical aspect of running barefoot, little attention has been given to the electrical experience of going unshod upon the Earth.

When barefoot on the earth’s surface we share the same electric potential of zero volts. This is earthing umbrella effectachieved by absorbing free electrons from the earth through the soles of our feet. We essentially become an extension of the earth’s surface by sharing the same neutral charge. By practicing earthing we tap into our planets storehouse of free electrons, our body is able maintain homeostasis, and therefore superior biological function. This interaction with the local environmental bio rhythm, causes us to sync up our circadian clock and achieve natural resonance.





barefoot connection

When considering the physiology of the human foot it is important to understand it's capacity to interface as a link between our body and the Earth. The sophisticated mechanics of our foot combined with its complex neurology make for a sensory base capable of more than most people think. Awareness of the electrical aspect of going barefoot is of fundamental importance to our health, and is overlooked in the minimalist footwear equation at our peril. Up until the advent of modern rubber in the 19th century, the soles of shoes were made nearly exclusively of leather. It is interesting to note that leather is measurably conductive when wet as opposed the insulating effects of rubber. North American Indian tribes were conscious of this fact to a degree and were known to dip their leather moccasins into water before dance ceremonies to enhance their connection with mother earth. The Huarache running sandals of the Tarahumara as featured in the book Born to Run, are an ancient design that

has proven itself for centuries. Simplicity in the design makes for the ultimate minimalist footwear experience. The lacing system allows for maximum breathability while offering adequate security for nearly any application. The thong harness not only allows for full range of motion of the toes and splaying of the forefoot, but also stimulates our liver meridian, located between the 1st and 2nd toes. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. Therefore, by stimulating the liver channel we encourage better blood flow to the extremities of the body resulting indirectly in more fluid and efficient locomotion.

earth runners reflexologyWhat distinguishes Earth Runners from other minimalist footwear is our original design that allows you to absorb the ever-present subtle electrical energies of the earth: this provides the closest experience we know to going barefoot, while still enjoying a measure of safety from varied terrains or street hazards. Typical modern footwear blocks the incoming flow of vital bio-input present on the earth, and thus impacts our health and how accurately our body is able to track time. This is real time known as Solar time not the made up time we call civil time. Earth Runner’s barefoot technology offers energy flow between the foot and earth. Both our copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet – direct to your body.leather earthing shoes

Our mission is to reconnect people with the natural world. Literally. Our current modern society has insulated people from their inherent connection with Earth while causing a neurological deficiency of epidemic proportions. We feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to help the manifestation of this reemerging concept. Reconnect, Sync up, and get Outside!