Spread your toes to support your arches July 06 2016, 0 Comments

Many running shoes add strain to the foot and particularly the arch by tapering the toe box so that the toes are squeezed together.  To illustrate, try this...

With your bare foot on the ground, move your big toe in towards the others as far as you can and then see if you can rotate the arch of the foot towards the floor. You will probably find that this is quite easy - you are over-pronating and this puts a strain on the arch, and also the structures higher up such as the knees and hips which can be misaligned by this movement.

Being able to spread the toes while running or walking is important to ensure arch support, ankle alignment and correct movement during these activities and to avoid planar fasciitis and other painful conditions. As with all things, prevention is better than cure - if you can see that your arch is sagging now, consider changing to shoes that allow better natural support.
Now, still with your foot on the floor, spread your big toe as widely away from the other toes as you can and try to pronate the foot again. It's much more difficult - the big toe acts as a support and keeps the arch in the flexed position, which also keeps the ankles and knees properly aligned. Here is a good anatomical explanation of what is happening.

ZEMgear shoes allow for good toe spread, either through a wide toe box as we have in our 360 series, or with a separated big toe which can move independently from the rest, found in our Terra, Hero, Apex and Oxygen 2 series.