Rocker-bottom shoes are popular and a growing trend with fitness enthusiasts for men and women. There are several fundamental issues with these shoes in individuals with poor stability, balance, and strength. Even in individuals with good stability, they can alter normal, optimal mechanics and set the wearer up for potential foot, ankle, and knee injuries. If you got a pair of these shoes from a well-meaning friend or family member this holiday season, return them for a refund from online running shoes store in Australia or simply throw them away – the health of your feet, ankles, and knees aren’t worth the risk of injury. If things sound too good to be true, they probably are. Use caution, common sense, and look to well-qualified professionals to obtain your information rather than relying on mass media marketing hype.
Rocker shoe companies and makers claim that walking in these shoes improves balance and posture while taking pressure off the joints and back. In fact their website in best running shoes in Australia claims, “when walking in these shoes, the ground no longer feels flat and stable, so the body has to compensate and create stability.” Sites selling these shoes even claim that wearing these shoes can help the individual burn more calories, tone legs, tighten buttocks, strengthen the stomach, and even reduce cellulite. Talk to many wearers of these shoes and they will tell you how much they love them and how they feel so many more muscles ‘working’ when they are wearing them. However, despite all these claims, hype, and rhetoric, these shoes are potentially more dangerous than they are useful for many and I have seen many patients in my office with injuries related to wearing these shoes.
Our foot has a natural rocker built into it. Placing it into a rocker-type shoe disrupts the function of its’ inherent natural rockers creating alterations in walking and movement that can increase stress muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments of the legs, knees, and feet.
The soft, unstable heel of these rocker shoes makes walking unstable, which is a true statement. Everyone has walked on uneven and unstable and sloping roads. Many people have. However, have anyone ever paid attention to the natural reaction while walking on these types of surfaces? People walking on uneven surface walk with long stride lengths, regular pace, and great posture or do they walk more guarded, slower, and with more caution. Unless he or she is an extreme athlete or have incredible stability, they choose the latter strategy. When someone uses these shoes, especially someone that lacks stability the body has one response, protection. The body will limit normal mechanics and range of motion to help protect overstretching of the vulnerable ligaments, tendons, and joints of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Just watch someone walking in these shoes and you will see a very un-natural walking pattern. And it is rarely seen anyone that have an improved gait pattern with these shoes despite the designers claims.
Because of the rocker bottom design of the shoe as well as the softness of the heel, the heel of the wearer’s foot will be positioned lower than the rest of the foot as the individual stands or walks. This creates hyperextension of the knees while standing and walking as well as increased tendency toward a knock-kneed (inside of knees coming together) position as the person walks. This is a leading cause of knee pain in individuals that wear normal shoes and this stress on the knees is only exacerbated by wearing rocker bottom shoes.