Flat Foot Rehabilitation in 6-8 Weeks

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

My good friend Damien Tougas over at ToeSalad.com has hooked me up with new foot related gear to test. He knows that I have completely flat feet and has been instrumental in my gradual transition to barefoot running, so he thought I would be the perfect guinea pig candidate to test the new foot strengthening insole system from Barefoot Science.

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

The Barefoot Science system is said to work differently than traditional insoles that merely cushion the foot. This new system is designed to stimulate and strengthen the foot’s supporting muscles as you advance through the progressively higher insert levels. It’s a 6-week program with a new (thicker) insert level each week.

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

Due to my complete flat footedness, Patrick at Barefoot Science suggested that I start the program using no plugs/inserts. He thinks that the dome in the insole (above) will stimulate my feet enough for the first week. There are three types of systems available, I will be testing the “Active” version.

I’m excited to be testing this system out over the next several weeks, and thankful to Damien for giving me the opportunity to try the Barefoot Science system. Over the course of the next 6-8 weeks I’ll be switching out the inserts and increasing the level of arch stimulation as part of this program. I’ll also be taking bare foot footprints with paint to show the progression of the program week-to-week. According to Patrick from Barefoot Science it’s not uncommon to see up to a 36% reduction in footprint after using this system to rehabilitate your feet.

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

At the end of the program I will be posting an article on ToeSalad.com that will included full details of my progress tracking, notes from each of the weeks, comparisons of my footprint, and conclusion of the Barefoot Science system.

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

I’m just wrapping up week one right now and can already feel the difference the insole dome (with no inserts) has made on my arch. This is going to be interesting and fun. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: The author (Brian) was provided with a free sample of the Barefoot Science insoles via ToeSalad.com for testing purposes. Brian is an occasional contributor to ToeSalad and has agreed to test the inserts on their behalf and document his results for a future article.

(Visited 514 times, 1 visits today)
Be Sociable, Share!
  • Alex

    This is a really pathetic attempt to capitalize on people’s fear of going barefoot, and you should be deeply ashamed to be part of their press machine.

    If you are interested in going barefoot, you should take off your shoes and walk or run. Go slowly at first. That is all.

    • Barefoot isn’t ideal for all situations. When you aren’t barefoot, what is wrong with using minimalist shoes?

      • Alex

        Nothing at all, and in passing I note that I wear them all the time (I have work-appropriate Merrells on right now) and your site is a great resource.

        HOWEVER. As I’m sure you’re aware, lots of people equate barefoot running (or walking) with wearing five fingers, or worse the Merrell or NB equivalents. Minimalist shoes are not barefoot shoes, and wearing them is not going barefoot. All things being equal it is better to go barefoot. Despite the fact that you more or less make a living off of minimalist shoes, I’m sure you can agree with that.

        SECOND HOWEVER. You do not need any special tools to go from shoes to no shoes. Even if you have flat feet. I know this from personal experience. I used to have feet that would have kept me out of the War, as my grandfather used to say, like totally flat, and now I have beautiful arches and my toes are starting to splay. I didn’t get them from this nonsense kit, I got them by walking around (and running, gently, on even surfaces) with no shoes on.

        I am sorry if you are in a commercial relationship with the clowns who made this silly kit. I hope you prosper, but I hope they disappear quickly more.

        • Alex, there’s no commercial relationship here. I’ll be completely open and transparent about the results good or bad.

          In all my years of trying to rehabilitate my feet, some time painfully so, I have never found a solution. This will be very interesting to see if the product lives up to its claims.

          I’m pretty sure the folks at Barefoot Science would want nothing less. They’ll be no sugar coating here.

          For the record I LOVE my Merrell Trail Gloves :-)

          • Alex

            They’re a great step in the right direction but I find them too supporting. I actually usually wear Patagonia Advocates unless I’m exercising or caring what people think about my shoes (ie at work).

            I really think you should just walk around with no shoes on. It is literally what your feet are built for. It doesn’t take that long to get used to.

        • As a side note: I do not earn my living blogging about minimalist shoes. Toe Salad is a labour of love. I actually have a “day job” which pays the bills.

          • Alex

            You have a blog that is near to the ‘full commercial’ end of the spectrum. That’s fine, it’s a good blog. It’s less commercial than a magazine, for instance.

            I’d like you to reply to my post.

          • twency

            He already replied to your posts twice.  He seems rather transparent about his intentions and practices.

          • Alex

            He didn’t reply to my second post except “as a side note” and he didn’t say whether or not he has a relationship with this company.

          • I have no relationship with this company. They asked for someone to do a review of their product on Toe Salad. Since I know that Brian has issues with flat feet and PF – not to mention the fact that he is a great and objective writer – I asked him if he wanted to do it.

    • Matt in TD

      It’s nice to see your commitment to getting people out of shows but you made a lot of assumptions in your comment. 

      • Alex

        Like what? I know what I’m talking about. If you have any questions, ask them.

        For the sake of attribution, I learned everything I know about barefoot running from Barefoot Ken Bob, who has a great site that people don’t visit enough, here:
        http://therunningbarefoot.com/begin-here/
        Barefoot Ted, the Barefoot Contessa (just kidding, she sucks) and Mark Sisson.

  • Alex

    This is a really pathetic attempt to capitalize on people’s fear of going barefoot, and you should be deeply ashamed to be part of their press machine.

    If you are interested in going barefoot, you should take off your shoes and walk or run. Go slowly at first. That is all.

  • LOL!

  • Barefoot isn’t ideal for all situations. When you aren’t barefoot, what is wrong with using minimalist shoes?

  • Alex

    Nothing at all, and in passing I note that I wear them all the time (I have work-appropriate Merrells on right now) and your site is a great resource.

    HOWEVER. As I’m sure you’re aware, lots of people equate barefoot running (or walking) with wearing five fingers, or worse the Merrell or NB equivalents. Minimalist shoes are not barefoot shoes, and wearing them is not going barefoot. All things being equal it is better to go barefoot. Despite the fact that you more or less make a living off of minimalist shoes, I’m sure you can agree with that.

    SECOND HOWEVER. You do not need any special tools to go from shoes to no shoes. Even if you have flat feet. I know this from personal experience. I used to have feet that would have kept me out of the War, as my grandfather used to say, like totally flat, and now I have beautiful arches and my toes are starting to splay. I didn’t get them from this nonsense kit, I got them by walking around (and running, gently, on even surfaces) with no shoes on.

    I am sorry if you are in a commercial relationship with the clowns who made this silly kit. I hope you prosper, but I hope they disappear quickly more.

  • Alex, there’s no commercial relationship here. I’ll be completely open and transparent about the results good or bad.

    In all my years of trying to rehabilitate my feet, some time painfully so, I have never found a solution. This will be very interesting to see if the product lives up to its claims.

    I’m pretty sure the folks at Barefoot Science would want nothing less. They’ll be no sugar coating here.

    For the record I LOVE my Merrell Trail Gloves :-)

  • As a side note: I do not earn my living blogging about minimalist shoes. Toe Salad is a labour of love. I actually have a “day job” which pays the bills.

  • Alex

    You have a blog that is near to the ‘full commercial’ end of the spectrum. That’s fine, it’s a good blog. It’s less commercial than a magazine, for instance.

    I’d like you to reply to my post.

  • Alex

    They’re a great step in the right direction but I find them too supporting. I actually usually wear Patagonia Advocates unless I’m exercising or caring what people think about my shoes (ie at work).

    I really think you should just walk around with no shoes on. It is literally what your feet are built for. It doesn’t take that long to get used to.

  • I have flat feet… they were “solved” when my metatarsals fused together and bridged up.  Now insoles w/ arches hurts. :(  GL!

    • Yowsers! That sounds really painful. How did the fusing happen?

      • Just happened over time.  They were sore and painful when they were actually grinding against each other, but I did not address it, and eventually they bridged up and  solidified.  Actually they don’t really hurt now.  I suppose about as much as anyone else if u stand around for hours on a hard floor kind of thing.

        • Well I’m glad to hear that they don’t hurt now, but I doubt you’d recommend that as a solution to anyone :)

          I appreciate you sharing and hope you find this interesting, if you stick around for the results!

  • I have flat feet… they were “solved” when my metatarsals fused together and bridged up.  Now insoles w/ arches hurts. :(  GL!

  • Yowsers! That sounds really painful. How did the fusing happen?

  • Matt in TD

    It’s nice to see your commitment to getting people out of shows but you made a lot of assumptions in your comment. 

  • twency

    He already replied to your posts twice.  He seems rather transparent about his intentions and practices.

  • Just happened over time.  They were sore and painful when they were actually grinding against each other, but I did not address it, and eventually they bridged up and  solidified.  Actually they don’t really hurt now.  I suppose about as much as anyone else if u stand around for hours on a hard floor kind of thing.

  • Well I’m glad to hear that they don’t hurt now, but I doubt you’d recommend that as a solution to anyone :)

    I appreciate you sharing and hope you find this interesting, if you stick around for the results!

  • Alex

    He didn’t reply to my second post except “as a side note” and he didn’t say whether or not he has a relationship with this company.

  • Alex

    Like what? I know what I’m talking about. If you have any questions, ask them.

    For the sake of attribution, I learned everything I know about barefoot running from Barefoot Ken Bob, who has a great site that people don’t visit enough, here:
    http://therunningbarefoot.com/begin-here/
    Barefoot Ted, the Barefoot Contessa (just kidding, she sucks) and Mark Sisson.

  • I have no relationship with this company. They asked for someone to do a review of their product on Toe Salad. Since I know that Brian has issues with flat feet and PF – not to mention the fact that he is a great and objective writer – I asked him if he wanted to do it.

  • I’ll say this once: I have a “be nice” comment policy on my blog. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I do not want to have to censor or delete any comments unless they are SPAM or offensive, but I will. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from leaving future ones.

    • Alex

      Sorry to have offended anyone.

  • I’ll say this once: I have a “be nice” comment policy on my blog. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I do not want to have to censor or delete any comments unless they are SPAM or offensive, but I will. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from leaving future ones.

  • Alex

    Sorry to have offended anyone.

  • Snctool

    I can understand frustration over sore feet as mine hurt for 2 years and then all of a sudden they quit hurting. The pain will cause you to try just about any fix as I did. I am just now learning about the going barefoot approach.

  • Snctool

    I can understand frustration over sore feet as mine hurt for 2 years and then all of a sudden they quit hurting. The pain will cause you to try just about any fix as I did. I am just now learning about the going barefoot approach.

  • LNTCamper

    Brian, I’ve used the Barefoot Science insoles for a few years now. I have to say they eased my plantar fasciitis emormously. Highly recommended. Happy trails.

    • That’s great to know, thanks. Have you been using just the regular insoles or any of their rehabilitation kits?

      • LNTCamper

        Hey, Brian. I bought a set of full and 3/4 length online a few years ago. The ones with the 5 graduated size “knobbies”. Every couple of weeks I moved up a size so about two months in I was at the max. Kept them in ever since with no complaints. The full size are in my Merrell Day Hikers (my go-to outdoor shoe) and the 3/4 can be easily switched to whatever else I might choose to wear. Works well for me.

  • LNTCamper

    Brian, I’ve used the Barefoot Science insoles for a few years now. I have to say they eased my plantar fasciitis emormously. Highly recommended. Happy trails.

  • That’s great to know, thanks. Have you been using just the regular insoles or any of their rehabilitation kits?

  • kat

    My husband follows your blog and sent me this post. I have completely flat feet and I work as a teacher, which means I am on my feet for hours at a time. When I go home my feet are often numb and in pain, despite having insoles and “good shoes”. Obviously, I cannot go to work in bare feet, so I, for one, am excited to hear how this product works. If it works even a little, it would be worth it for me! Can’t wait to hear the results!
    Thanks for investigating a product that probably doesn’t cost as much as the years of rehabilitation that some doctors recommend and for those of us that MUST wear shoes.

    • Hi Kat, I can completely sympathize with your flat feet and foot ache. I’ve suffered he same issues my entire adult life, somehow it never bothered me or I just didn’t notice as a kid.

      The most drastic change for me was with running. I had NEVER been able to work through the shin splint problem I had been having. Despite years of trying different techniques, getting fitted for correct (expensive) fitted running shoes, and trying many different inserts I could not get rid of the pain that was often excruciating!

      On the advice of Damien (ToeSalad.com) I took the plunge and switched to a minimalist/barefoot style running shoe – basically a show with zero drop from heel to toe) – and started slowly. The first day I was able to run 2 miles with no shin splint pain! BAM! How could that be?

      My calf muscle began to scream and hate me because I was using them much more than I ever had, but with the aid of compression socks and a slow training regimen I was able to completely deal with that in time. Now, for the first time in my life, I am able to run over 7 miles without doubling up with pain during or after my run – that’s a life changer.

      I now run in Merrell Trail Gloves, walk around the house and other casual settings in Kigo Drives and have just started wearing a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, but the whole look of monkey feet is driving me nuts.

      The purpose of me testing the Barefoot Science kit is not to learn how to wear no shoes, it’s to see how/if I can improve the structure of my arches enough to allow barefoot style shoes to help me continue to strengthen my feet. Barefoot shoes alone are helping, but I need something to kickstart the process.

      Damien knew about my flat feet and PF and thought I’d be a good (no BS) candidate to test them, which I am :-) I’m hoping these work and if they do, I hope that they can help you too. It would be great if either Damien or I could get a discount code for our blogs to let our readers buy these insoles for themselves – if they work!

      • rcMike

        Hi Brian.  I have a similar story here.  My daughter, who runs XC and track in high school was getting flat feet and had recurring shin splints all of last season.  After trying everything else (various running shoes, socks, ice, heat, more stretching), I switched her to the women’s Pace Glove in June.  We slowly ramped up her mileage over the summer and this past season, she ran pain free (besides muscle soreness from all the practice) AND has her arches back.  I’m watching the progress with cautious optimism because I don’t want to introduce a new problem possibly caused by the shoes.  It does look like high-mileage days might be more comfortable (for the bottoms of our feet) in shoes with a bit more cushion than the Merrells we are wearing but that’s an easy adjustment.  I won’t say that minimalist (or zero-drop) shoes are the answer for everyone, but it has worked so far for me and my daughter.  I’m glad to hear you are having the same success. –mike

      • kat

        I’ve had similar problems with running! Sometimes shin splits, but more often a sort of burning pain in my feet, because I was landing on them so funny.

        I agree, that it never was a problem when I was a kid either! Go figure. But it causes so many problems now, that it is terrible running, something I used to love to do! I have thought about trying these barefoot style shoes before and I think you’re selling me on them. But I would like to fix my feet to work in regular and dress shoes. I have to dress up for work and I cannot wear barefoot shoes or even running shoes there.

        So I guess we all have our own reasons for attempting to fix our arches! I look forward to hearing the results. 

    • rcMike

      You may also want to look at Vivobarefoot shoes from Terra Plana.  http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/ladies.html  They have “street” shoes in addition to running shoes.

  • kat

    My husband follows your blog and sent me this post. I have completely flat feet and I work as a teacher, which means I am on my feet for hours at a time. When I go home my feet are often numb and in pain, despite having insoles and “good shoes”. Obviously, I cannot go to work in bare feet, so I, for one, am excited to hear how this product works. If it works even a little, it would be worth it for me! Can’t wait to hear the results!
    Thanks for investigating a product that probably doesn’t cost as much as the years of rehabilitation that some doctors recommend and for those of us that MUST wear shoes.

  • David Brodsky

    what are you currently hiking in? I work out/run in vibrams and wear the merrell trail glove for casual wear. I got out my hiking boots and wore them around the other day and just couldnt do it. It felt very uncomfortable after wearing minimalist shoes for many months now. 

    BUT what do I hike in? 

    vibrams? I have been looking at the vivobarefoot off road hi but cant find my size anywhere on the internet! 

    Just wandering what you are hiking in now that you are transitioning to barefoot?
    thanks 

    • David, it’s been years since I’ve worn a hiking “boot” of any kind, in fact I no longer own any. My transition is still a work in progress, but here’s a summary of the shoes I’ve moved through recently (in order):

      Keen Targhee II
      Inov-8 Roclite 320
      Scarpa Epic
      Altra Lone Peak – Currently in testing…

      I’m not at a point where I am comfortable wearing VFFs or my Merrell Trail Gloves for hiking. My feet are not yet strong enough to go fully barefoot. So my current hiking show is the Altra Lone Peak. I’ll be writing a review of them soon.

      I wear Merrell Trail Gloves for running and plan to eventually wear these for hiking too. I am in the process of breaking in my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSOs and hope to be able to transition to these for running too.

      Casually, off trail, I am wearing Kigo Drives and Altra Adams, both are very minimalist shoes and close to barefoot. When I’m not wearing any of these I’m completely barefoot. My kids and I are more than happy, weather permitting, to be barefoot all day.

      I’ve never had so many shoes “in testing” in my entire life, but hope that by documenting and sharing my experiences here I can help others (like Kat) who are looking for answers or ideas.

      Be patient about the Vivobarefoot shoes, they’ve become extremely popular so are hard to find, but they’ll be in more plentiful supply soon I’m sure.

    • Alex

      If you’re used to wearing Vibrams, you can hike in them. I’ve done a four-day hike in Sprints, and that was in Virginia in April, so relatively cold and muddy. I think if you have toes you don’t really need treads. They will slow you down on rocky descents, relative to lugged soles and ankle support, but that’s the only downside I’ve experienced.

      If you’re going somewhere that’s cold enough that you really need socks, I don’t have a solution for you, although the Altra Adams look good.

      • Thanks Alex, I’m working up to wearing the VFFs for hiking, just not there yet. There are fingered/toe socks made by Injinji and others that let you wear socks with your VFFs. The fit might be a bit tight though, haven’t tried them yet myself.

  • David Brodsky

    what are you currently hiking in? I work out/run in vibrams and wear the merrell trail glove for casual wear. I got out my hiking boots and wore them around the other day and just couldnt do it. It felt very uncomfortable after wearing minimalist shoes for many months now. 

    BUT what do I hike in? 

    vibrams? I have been looking at the vivobarefoot off road hi but cant find my size anywhere on the internet! 

    Just wandering what you are hiking in now that you are transitioning to barefoot?
    thanks 

  • Hi Kat, I can completely sympathize with your flat feet and foot ache. I’ve suffered he same issues my entire adult life, somehow it never bothered me or I just didn’t notice as a kid.

    The most drastic change for me was with running. I had NEVER been able to work through the shin splint problem I had been having. Despite years of trying different techniques, getting fitted for correct (expensive) fitted running shoes, and trying many different inserts I could not get rid of the pain that was often excruciating!

    On the advice of Damien (ToeSalad.com) I took the plunge and switched to a minimalist/barefoot style running shoe – basically a show with zero drop from heel to toe) – and started slowly. The first day I was able to run 2 miles with no shin splint pain! BAM! How could that be?

    My calf muscle began to scream and hate me because I was using them much more than I ever had, but with the aid of compression socks and a slow training regimen I was able to completely deal with that in time. Now, for the first time in my life, I am able to run over 7 miles without doubling up with pain during or after my run – that’s a life changer.

    I now run in Merrell Trail Gloves, walk around the house and other casual settings in Kigo Drives and have just started wearing a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, but the whole look of monkey feet is driving me nuts.

    The purpose of me testing the Barefoot Science kit is not to learn how to wear no shoes, it’s to see how/if I can improve the structure of my arches enough to allow barefoot style shoes to help me continue to strengthen my feet. Barefoot shoes alone are helping, but I need something to kickstart the process.

    Damien knew about my flat feet and PF and thought I’d be a good (no BS) candidate to test them, which I am :-) I’m hoping these work and if they do, I hope that they can help you too. It would be great if either Damien or I could get a discount code for our blogs to let our readers buy these insoles for themselves – if they work!

  • David, it’s been years since I’ve worn a hiking “boot” of any kind, in fact I no longer own any. My transition is still a work in progress, but here’s a summary of the shoes I’ve moved through recently (in order):

    Keen Targhee II
    Inov-8 Roclite 320
    Scarpa Epic
    Altra Lone Peak – Currently in testing…

    I’m not at a point where I am comfortable wearing VFFs or my Merrell Trail Gloves for hiking. My feet are not yet strong enough to go fully barefoot. So my current hiking show is the Altra Lone Peak. I’ll be writing a review of them soon.

    I wear Merrell Trail Gloves for running and plan to eventually wear these for hiking too. I am in the process of breaking in my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSOs and hope to be able to transition to these for running too.

    Casually, off trail, I am wearing Kigo Drives and Altra Adams, both are very minimalist shoes and close to barefoot. When I’m not wearing any of these I’m completely barefoot. My kids and I are more than happy, weather permitting, to be barefoot all day.

    I’ve never had so many shoes “in testing” in my entire life, but hope that by documenting and sharing my experiences here I can help others (like Kat) who are looking for answers or ideas.

    Be patient about the Vivobarefoot shoes, they’ve become extremely popular so are hard to find, but they’ll be in more plentiful supply soon I’m sure.

  • LNTCamper

    Hey, Brian. I bought a set of full and 3/4 length online a few years ago. The ones with the 5 graduated size “knobbies”. Every couple of weeks I moved up a size so about two months in I was at the max. Kept them in ever since with no complaints. The full size are in my Merrell Day Hikers (my go-to outdoor shoe) and the 3/4 can be easily switched to whatever else I might choose to wear. Works well for me.

  • James Conley

    I presume you are getting free stuff in exchange for reviewing it on your website and another very popular website. I presume that’s the relationship that Alex is talking about.

    For what it’s worth I personally don’t care and I’m not passing judgement on you regarding this; it’s a pretty common industry practice.

    • I guess that’s what Alex was getting at, but he wasn’t entirely clear. I had not added a disclosure at the bottom of the blog post, which is my normal practice, so I have added that to the post. Free sample for testing, yes, but under no obligation to promote it one way or the other.

  • James Conley

    I presume you are getting free stuff in exchange for reviewing it on your website and another very popular website. I presume that’s the relationship that Alex is talking about.

    For what it’s worth I personally don’t care and I’m not passing judgement on you regarding this; it’s a pretty common industry practice.

  • Alex

    If you’re used to wearing Vibrams, you can hike in them. I’ve done a four-day hike in Sprints, and that was in Virginia in April, so relatively cold and muddy. I think if you have toes you don’t really need treads. They will slow you down on rocky descents, relative to lugged soles and ankle support, but that’s the only downside I’ve experienced.

    If you’re going somewhere that’s cold enough that you really need socks, I don’t have a solution for you, although the Altra Adams look good.

  • I guess that’s what Alex was getting at, but he wasn’t entirely clear. I had not added a disclosure at the bottom of the blog post, which is my normal practice, so I have added that to the post. Free sample for testing, yes, but under no obligation to promote it one way or the other.

  • Thanks Alex, I’m working up to wearing the VFFs for hiking, just not there yet. There are fingered/toe socks made by Injini and others that let you wear socks with your VFFs. The fit might be a bit tight though, haven’t tried them yet myself.

  • rcMike

    You may also want to look at Vivobarefoot shoes from Terra Plana.  http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/ladies.html  They have “street” shoes in addition to running shoes.

  • rcMike

    Hi Brian.  I have a similar story here.  My daughter, who runs XC and track in high school was getting flat feet and had recurring shin splints all of last season.  After trying everything else (various running shoes, socks, ice, heat, more stretching), I switched her to the women’s Pace Glove in June.  We slowly ramped up her mileage over the summer and this past season, she ran pain free (besides muscle soreness from all the practice) AND has her arches back.  I’m watching the progress with cautious optimism because I don’t want to introduce a new problem possibly caused by the shoes.  It does look like high-mileage days might be more comfortable (for the bottoms of our feet) in shoes with a bit more cushion than the Merrells we are wearing but that’s an easy adjustment.  I won’t say that minimalist (or zero-drop) shoes are the answer for everyone, but it has worked so far for me and my daughter.  I’m glad to hear you are having the same success. –mike

  • kat

    I’ve had similar problems with running! Sometimes shin splits, but more often a sort of burning pain in my feet, because I was landing on them so funny.

    I agree, that it never was a problem when I was a kid either! Go figure. But it causes so many problems now, that it is terrible running, something I used to love to do! I have thought about trying these barefoot style shoes before and I think you’re selling me on them. But I would like to fix my feet to work in regular and dress shoes. I have to dress up for work and I cannot wear barefoot shoes or even running shoes there.

    So I guess we all have our own reasons for attempting to fix our arches! I look forward to hearing the results. 

  • haichel

    just to add my two bob worth – I grew up hiking the tracks of PNG barefoot – never wore shoes at all until I was 14, so my preference is barefoot and I have good feet.  However, in Australia there is too much danger to feet to go barefoot so I had to adapt – ouch !  Boots were not pleasant for me until I got my podiatrist to make me some inserts which support my arch properly – about 2 inches higher than the ‘arch support’ in my boots !  Looks rather similar to this concept you are trialling.   Now I have no troubles with boots.  Having said that, wherever possible I prefer to hike in my Keen sandals or, when back in PNG – in my barefeet :)   

  • haichel

    just to add my two bob worth – I grew up hiking the tracks of PNG barefoot – never wore shoes at all until I was 14, so my preference is barefoot and I have good feet.  However, in Australia there is too much danger to feet to go barefoot so I had to adapt – ouch !  Boots were not pleasant for me until I got my podiatrist to make me some inserts which support my arch properly – about 2 inches higher than the ‘arch support’ in my boots !  Looks rather similar to this concept you are trialling.   Now I have no troubles with boots.  Having said that, wherever possible I prefer to hike in my Keen sandals or, when back in PNG – in my barefeet :)   

  • W7cjd

    I don’t think barefoot is appropriate for unnatural flat surfaces.
    I am looking to hear your results.
    I use Good Feet MAX. My metatarsal arch and long arch are very healthy, now. I especially value the relief from sciatica pain and other back pain.
    I use them every day, and enjoy backpacking again.

  • W7cjd

    I don’t think barefoot is appropriate for unnatural flat surfaces.
    I am looking to hear your results.
    I use Good Feet MAX. My metatarsal arch and long arch are very healthy, now. I especially value the relief from sciatica pain and other back pain.
    I use them every day, and enjoy backpacking again.

  • DD Longlegs

    I had good arches until this summer when I “felt” my left arch sort of slide flat (hard to explain) while training for a mountain 1/2 marathon. I checked with a specialty running/hiking store and they said this is fairly common but was permanent.

    I have hiked all my life, mostly in light to moderate hiking boots. I live in northern Canada (7 months of winter more or less) and the mountain scrambles and trails are rough and rocky. (Any of you folks hike that stuff barefoot??) I used to go barefoot for 6 months of summer as a kid but that was in southern Canada in fields, on gravel and sand, but always wore shoes when hiking, again because of the roughness of the terrain and cactus. Since I have been doing it for 5 decades I would hate to have to cut back or give up the  hiking habit for something that is fixable.

    This idea is intriguing and I am very much looking forward to the results. Thanks for finding all this cool stuff to test, Brian. Your reviews are really useful and I don’t feel I am being “sold to” like so many other sites. If I can rehab that arch and protect the other one…Yahoo!
    Best regards from the frozen north (it is -40 degrees here tonight so, no, I am not hiking at the moment!)

    • Yowsers, that’s cold! I once had to spend a long weekend in Calgary during late December and remember it being the coldest I have ever experienced!

      I’ve heard similar stories from other people about their arches gradually giving way or flattening, I’m pretty sure mine were always this flat and both my children (ages 5 & 7) have flat feet despite being extremely active and into all sorts of sports.

      I’m exited to see what these inserts can do for me, if anything. It’s a few weeks into the program and I can see and feel the difference. However, I can see more improvement in one arch than the other and I’ve yet to determine how long the improvements will last – maybe I have to wear these for the rest of my life?

      I’ll give a 100% honest account of what I experience, there’s no other way to do it as far as I’m concerned. If it is successful, I’d love to try and work with Barefoot Science to see if I can get a discount code for my readers – that would be cool.

      Thanks for your feedback, I know you’re a very active participant in my blog and have enjoyed many of your comments. You are what make this enjoyable ! Thanks :)

  • DD Longlegs

    I had good arches until this summer when I “felt” my left arch sort of slide flat (hard to explain) while training for a mountain 1/2 marathon. I checked with a specialty running/hiking store and they said this is fairly common but was permanent.

    I have hiked all my life, mostly in light to moderate hiking boots. I live in northern Canada (7 months of winter more or less) and the mountain scrambles and trails are rough and rocky. (Any of you folks hike that stuff barefoot??) I used to go barefoot for 6 months of summer as a kid but that was in southern Canada in fields, on gravel and sand, but always wore shoes when hiking, again because of the roughness of the terrain and cactus. Since I have been doing it for 5 decades I would hate to have to cut back or give up the  hiking habit for something that is fixable.

    This idea is intriguing and I am very much looking forward to the results. Thanks for finding all this cool stuff to test, Brian. Your reviews are really useful and I don’t feel I am being “sold to” like so many other sites. If I can rehab that arch and protect the other one…Yahoo!
    Best regards from the frozen north (it is -40 degrees here tonight so, no, I am not hiking at the moment!)

  • Yowsers, that’s cold! I once had to spend a long weekend in Calgary during late December and remember it being the coldest I have ever experienced!

    I’ve heard similar stories from other people about their arches gradually giving way or flattening, I’m pretty sure mine were always this flat and both my children (ages 5 & 7) have flat feet despite being extremely active and into all sorts of sports.

    I’m exited to see what these inserts can do for me, if anything. It’s a few weeks into the program and I can see and feel the difference. However, I can see more improvement in one arch than the other and I’ve yet to determine how long the improvements will last – maybe I have to wear these for the rest of my life?

    I’ll give a 100% honest account of what I experience, there’s no other way to do it as far as I’m concerned. If it is successful, I’d love to try and work with Barefoot Science to see if I can get a discount code for my readers – that would be cool.

    Thanks for your feedback, I know you’re a very active participant in my blog and have enjoyed many of your comments. You are what make this enjoyable ! Thanks :)

  • W7cjd

    @DD Longlegs, I had a third metatarsal in my right foot “slip” out of place due to a fall. The podiatrist put it in place, painfully, and put a cast up to my knee so nothing relevant would move for 5-weeks. I have full recovery: get a “second opinion”.

  • W7cjd

    @DD Longlegs, I had a third metatarsal in my right foot “slip” out of place due to a fall. The podiatrist put it in place, painfully, and put a cast up to my knee so nothing relevant would move for 5-weeks. I have full recovery: get a “second opinion”.

  • W7cjd

    I suppose I could explain: Dr. Roberts referral and Dr. Valmassey, at the podiatry hospital in San Francisco resulted in “trials” with inserts, starting with cork and firm foam (hated it) and graduating to a special plastic (loved it). This dealt with flattening of the metatarsal arch, as well as “heel strike” which alleviated sciatic pain, which was a disabling injury from a car wreck. Dr. Valmassey said I didn’t need to replace what he made, referring me to Good Feet, where they put me on Good Feet MAX (special plastic) inserts that had the identical effect. In fact, the long arch and the metatarsal arch are, at last exam, “near perfect”.

    • DD Longlegs

       Thanks for this info. Our towns are small and far between and I’m not sure there is a podiatrist up here but I will check. Sometimes we are referred to Edmonton, Alberta (it’s only a 9 hour drive!! LOL)

      I cracked 2 metatarsals in one foot and 1 in another (2 different holidays and from having WAY too much fun running and jumping on beach logs! :-D) and was put in plastic/velcro “daytime” casts so that might have started the whole process too. Those were over 10 years ago now so…we’ll see. I really appreciate the input.

      PS. Although normally in January we would be about -30 with 5 feet of snow, now it is +3 with only about 8 inches of snow. Usually our spring doesn’t start until April but people have seen bears out already. If “winter” comes back they will have a hard time surviving until the “real” spring. Weird year!

  • W7cjd

    I suppose I could explain: Dr. Roberts referral and Dr. Valmassey, at the podiatry hospital in San Francisco resulted in “trials” with inserts, starting with cork and firm foam (hated it) and graduating to a special plastic (loved it). This dealt with flattening of the metatarsal arch, as well as “heel strike” which alleviated sciatic pain, which was a disabling injury from a car wreck. Dr. Valmassey said I didn’t need to replace what he made, referring me to Good Feet, where they put me on Good Feet MAX (special plastic) inserts that had the identical effect. In fact, the long arch and the metatarsal arch are, at last exam, “near perfect”.

  • Can’t see this thing help in me… lol I like to go barefoot but have stepped on so many articles in my life with so many infections.. loving the fila 5 toes and looking to get me the vibrams this year…

  • Can’t see this thing help in me… lol I like to go barefoot but have stepped on so many articles in my life with so many infections.. loving the fila 5 toes and looking to get me the vibrams this year…

  • DD Longlegs

     Thanks for this info. Our towns are small and far between and I’m not sure there is a podiatrist up here but I will check. Sometimes we are referred to Edmonton, Alberta (it’s only a 9 hour drive!! LOL)

    I cracked 2 metatarsals in one foot and 1 in another (2 different holidays and from having WAY too much fun running and jumping on beach logs! :-D) and was put in plastic/velcro “daytime” casts so that might have started the whole process too. Those were over 10 years ago now so…we’ll see. I really appreciate the input.

    PS. Although normally in January we would be about -30 with 5 feet of snow, now it is +3 with only about 8 inches of snow. Usually our spring doesn’t start until April but people have seen bears out already. If “winter” comes back they will have a hard time surviving until the “real” spring. Weird year!

  • W7cjd

    I am in Montana. If I want specialized care, I go to San Francisco, CA. For this problem and the resulting cast I did find a competant podiatrist, however, in my college town, Bellingham, WA.
    I would call ahead, and ask if that is the kind of things they do there or if they have a referral: say you are willing to travel. I combine purposes for a long trip like that.
    I hike and I love the outdoors: “take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you” isn’t only for having and extra pair of clean dry socks to prevent blisters.
    It is a wierd winter, here. 40 F most days, very little snow, so far.

  • W7cjd

    I am in Montana. If I want specialized care, I go to San Francisco, CA. For this problem and the resulting cast I did find a competant podiatrist, however, in my college town, Bellingham, WA.
    I would call ahead, and ask if that is the kind of things they do there or if they have a referral: say you are willing to travel. I combine purposes for a long trip like that.
    I hike and I love the outdoors: “take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you” isn’t only for having and extra pair of clean dry socks to prevent blisters.
    It is a wierd winter, here. 40 F most days, very little snow, so far.

  • matthew moore

    I am interested on how this is going do you have a link to where you are progressing and how it works. I have PF and wondering if barefoot helps.

    • Hey Matt. I’ve been keeping my progress notes locally over the past weeks and will write up my results (probably early March) for a post on ToeSalad.com.

      I have been working directly with the creator of this system to provide feedback on my status and get advice on some of the issues I’ve encountered – I don’t want to hurt myself by going too fast.

      As soon as my post is written and published on ToeSalad, I’ll share a link to it here so that you can all find it.

      In short; it’s taken me longer than expected to progress through this system, I’ve had some mild discomfort along the way (I am VERY flat footed), but I am seeing some improvements. It should be interesting to read and learn about my experience.

  • matthew moore

    I am interested on how this is going do you have a link to where you are progressing and how it works. I have PF and wondering if barefoot helps.

  • Hey Matt. I’ve been keeping my progress notes locally over the past weeks and will write up my results (probably early March) for a post on ToeSalad.com.

    I have been working directly with the creator of this system to provide feedback on my status and get advice on some of the issues I’ve encountered – I don’t want to hurt myself by going too fast.

    As soon as my post is written and published on ToeSalad, I’ll share a link to it here so that you can all find it.

    In short; it’s taken me longer than expected to progress through this system, I’ve had some mild discomfort along the way (I am VERY flat footed), but I am seeing some improvements. It should be interesting to read and learn about my experience.

  • I have been getting
    a lot of useful and informative material in your website.
    detroit

  • Jordan

    Hi, I see that this discussion has been inactive for several months… I’m wondering about the sustainability of the positive effects of these insoles. Do they strengthen the feet such that I won’t need to keep buying them to feel good? Are they training my feet to feel strong only when barefoot?
    I will probably give them a shot, because I am not moving toward 100%-barefoot lifestyle, so I do need a good therapeutic insole for the many times when I DO wear shoes/sneakers.
    Thanks for all the insights!

  • Brian, I just ordered these! Before I saw your feet I thought that I had the flattest feet in the world. Do you wear these when you are working out too?

    • Hey Forrest, I have not been wearing them during my workouts, in truth it didn’t even cross my mind until you asked the question.

      I do get pain/cramp in the arch of my feet during some crossfit exercises such as box jumps, DUs, and some heavy lifts – maybe the inserts would help there too? Man, gonna need these in my nanos and my oly shoes :)

      Just note that these are not a quick fix, but that they really do work. Definitely let me know how it goes, and see if you can take before and after footprints. I’d love to share your story too.

      • Geck Hiang Tang

        Hi Brian, my almost 4years old boy has serious flat feet. Just visited a podiatrict and custom made insole for him but is really costly. Just wonder if barefoot science has the insole for kids as well? My Dr said need to wear the insole for 5 years whenever he walks to rectify the problem. Thanks for yr sharing.