Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD and San Francisco CrossFit just posted a great video on how to shop for your kids’ shoes. While it was geared towards kids, the philosophy is the same for all ages. We are evolved to walk with our heels making contact with the ground. As Kelly says:
You are an engineering miracle. The length of your heel cords is not an accident. Any systematic deviation away from heel flat isn’t natural (Sure oly shoes are legit, but you don’t cruze the hood in them do you? And check out the crappy ankle range of motion in some of those oly lifters eh?) You need your heel cords to be full length and functioning at full length.
He goes on to say you as adults are welcome to jam their feet into whatever they want, from high heels to blocky cushiony shoes, but not to sabotage a child’s athleticism by giving them a disadvantage from the get go. In the video, he’s helping his daughter pick out Vans or Converse sneakers, which are both affordable and stylin. He also mentions that he sees no kindergartener heel strike when running, but that habit rears its ugly head around 1st grade.
Your body adapts to what it is given. You shorten those heel cords and your body places more stress on the knees, turns your toes out, and the upward chain of events leads eventually to poor posture, injury, and [gasp] weaker lifts. The take home is the same for young and old when picking out shoes: flat, flexible, and light.
21 Kettlebell Swings
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