When I started yoga my toes were all squished up and lifeless. Now, my toes are all individuated and can perform circus tricks of moving on their own, lifting, and relaxing on command. I’m not sure I’m on a path where I’ll be playing piano sonatas with them, but I see this as progress! Healthy feet are so important to the health of everything above (and, of course, essential for the barefoot practice of yoga) but are frequently bound up in ridiculous pointy, stiff, unresponsive, sometimes gravity-defying heeled, shoes. These shoes rob our feet of their natural ability to work as they are meant to and provide proper support for our entire skeleton. Toes get squished, arches collapse, muscular and soft tissue becomes nearly atrophied from lack of use.
So, please, wear shoes that have some regard for the movement and freedom of your feet! Feet have an insane amount of bones and joints in them compared to the rest of the body and demand space to move.
The solution I’ve found for me are VivoBarefoot shoes. I’ve been wearing them for years and have sandals, and trainers, and shoes I’ve worn to business meetings, and shoes that have helped me recently walk miles during a tube strike.
What’s important to me is that I feel the ground underneath my feet! I feel the pebbles and the stones and the cobbles and the changes of texture. I feel alive! The shoes protect my feet from urban yuckiness but still allow me to engage with the change of terrain and force me to use my arches and the toes and carry on the work I do in my yoga practice
Really, if we work our feet for an hour or so barefoot in yoga class and then put on suits of immovable full armour around them for the remaining time of the day, we are fighting a losing battle to regain healthy function.
So, find the solution that works for you and gives you whatever support you need – but let your feet move and feel!