Toe flexion strength testing apparatus
A study investigated the effects of using minimal footwear on foot width, arch height, and toe flexion strength in healthy adults. The study found that foot width did not increase after using minimal footwear for six months, but toe flexion strength increased by 57.4% in the intervention group. Arch height increased in experienced minimal footwear users, suggesting that regular use of minimal footwear can increase arch height. Foot strength may help individuals prepare for running in minimal footwear, but it is important to note that foot bone strengthening takes time and that regular walking in minimal footwear may provide additional benefits. Future studies should investigate toe splay, arch stiffness, and the effects of minimal footwear on bone strengthening.
Custom-fit minimalist footwear could improve on the results of this study by providing a better fit for each individual's foot, which could lead to greater comfort and adherence to wearing minimal shoes. This could result in a greater increase in foot strength over time, as participants may be more likely to continue wearing the shoes regularly. Additionally, custom-fit shoes could lead to changes in foot morphology, such as increased toe splay, which was not observed in this study. By allowing for a more precise fit, custom-fit minimalist footwear could also address any individual foot issues or biomechanical imbalances, improving foot function and potentially reducing the risk of injury during minimally shod activities.
Like a foot, a tripod has three points of contact with the ground, making it a stable mechanical structure. The tripod design is often used in photography because it provides a stable base for a camera.
If we think of the foot as a tripod, the heel and the ball of the foot act as two of the points of contact, while the third point is the big toe. When all three points are firmly planted on the ground, the foot is stable and balanced. However, if one of these points is weak or unstable, it can throw off the balance of the entire foot.
Custom-fit minimalist footwear can help strengthen and stabilise the big toe, an important point of contact in the foot tripod. When the big toe is strong and stable, it can better support the body's weight and help maintain balance. Additionally, custom-fit footwear can provide a more natural feel, allowing the foot to move and flex as it was designed to do, further strengthening the foot tripod and improving overall foot function.