One of my amazing golf fitness clients asked me, “Jason, what do you think of me starting to wear minimalist shoes?”
Personally I am a big advocate for “Minimalist Type Shoes” as long as you are PHYSICALLY READY for them.
Orthotic inserts definitely do have their place with a certain population, but not everyone. I am a big proponent of our clients being able to “feel the ground” which does amazing things to help activate the core stabilizers, gluteal muscles and intrinsic foot stabilizers.
Here’s a test for you: (1) Try a single leg balance or single leg squat with your current stability based shoe or orthotic. (2) Try the same thing barefoot.
I’m assuming barefoot is a lot harder and your foot, knee and trunk are wobbling side to side.
Obviously, having the orthotic provides support… but in a sense…. it is a FALSE SENSE OF STABILITY.
There are two ways you can tackle this: (1) Rely on these shoes to keep you upright all the time or (2) Make the effort to target these physical deficiencies and see if you can overcome them.
Like I said, orthotics do have their place with certain people and situations. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never suggested orthotics to some of my clients because I have.
All I’m saying is that if you have the motivation and guidance to work on these things… you should give it a shot.
Going back to my golf fitness client, we went through most of our last session barefoot. He was able to find his center of gravity and engage his glutes in a way he hadn’t before. His axis of rotation was a lot more precise with less sways and slides with his swing. He was able to generate a lot more power with less incidences of early extension.
Will this necessarily improve his performance? All I know is that I’m excited to find out as he makes it out to the course later today!
~ Dr. Jason Han