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Nike Free 1.0 First Look | The Future of Barefoot: How the shoe giant is now jumping on board with minimalist shoes. 

Nike is taking the Free a step further by introducing the Nike Free 1.0. For those familiar with the Nike Free line up, the higher numbers correspond to the higher heel height and lower number meaning less of a heel height. This heel height of course in the shoe industry is now referred to as heel drop. Five years ago or so this term was rarely discussed and not listed on many shoes. In fact, many podiatrists did not even know the term. As barefoot running became popular and with the introduction of Vibram FiveFIngers, we realized that our feet do not need cushioned heels to run in.  The heels put our feet in an angled or plantar flexed position which is not anatomical (in other words abnormal).  When we function in shoes like this the abnormal foot position can effect our feet, ankles, knees and back.  In my practice I have helped countless numbers of patients with plantar fasciitis by having them stop wearing orthotics and transition them into flat shoes that are flexible. It doesn’t happen over night and in some cases can take months. Some may ask why would I attempt this? The literature is not clear on treatment standards for plantar fasciitis.  While algorithms and studies exist, the results are mixed and hap-hazardous. The trend I would see were patients bringing in bags of shoes and orthotics that have failed the patient over months and sometimes years of treatment.  In our profession we place a lot of emphasis on treating a condition known as equinus.  Equinus describes a condition where the ankle joint lacks range of motion and there is a decreased ability to dorsiflex or move the foot upward at the ankle joint.  When excessive heel heights are placed on the shoe the foot assumes a position of equinus.  Read this post for more information on equinus.  For years we have been creating this pathology by placing people into thick cushioned heeled running shoes after preaching to them to stretch their calf muscles in efforts to help the equinus. 

Wearing less of a shoe makes the foot stronger(click to read more on this).  In a few weeks our study from Kent State Univeristy College of Podiatric Medicine will be published demonstrating the findings which will support this statement. 

It’s great to see Nike introduce this shoe.  My practice will continue helping runners daily who suffer from running injuries and now having the backing from a large shoe company  on this philopshy will without a doubt help to educate our society on what we should be wearing. 
Source: Nike Free 1.0 First Look | The Future of Barefoot – NikeBlog.com

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