In marching, especially long marches, the hygiene* of the foot has great importance. It can be summed up with the following: wear wide shoes, which conform to the shape of the foot and not forcing the foot to conform to the shape of the shoe. The sole needs to be supple and larger than the foot, the heel low and wide. A heel too high reduces the length of the stipend contributes to poor posture. A long sole with low heel helps increase the length of the step and allows a complete roll-out of the foot. (Georges Hébert)
* The term ‘hygiene’ is derived from the name ‘Hygea’, the Greek goddess of health. In the 1900s it was used to describe the scientific practice of preventative medicine and the maintenance of health.
My name is Philippe Til and the quote above is from Georges Hébert, a former French Naval officer who developed the Natural Method (méthode naturelle) in the early 1900s, whose works I have adopted and adapted over the past few years as part of my 15 year journey in the pursuit of better mobility, better function and injury free movement for myself and my clientele.
Foot health is crucial in all categories of training within the ‘Natural Method’, which are walking, marching, running, lifting, throwing, climbing, jumping, fighting (ground or stand-up) and swimming.
The foot is usually our first point of contact with the ground whilst moving and its inherent stability and the feedback it transmits to our brain determines our fitness to perform the activity. For instance, jumping and landing on a hard surface and instantly adjusting to maintain postural stability and attenuate and absorb ‘shock’.
The foot is literally the foundation of functional human movement and yet, the role of the foot and the importance of foot function is still underappreciated within the functional, natural movement coaching fraternity.
I’m all for going barefoot when appropriate but realistically, we can’t always go barefoot for safety reasons and I personally am not interested in being a tough guy; stepping on some sharp object, which then ruins my training session for days. The ground, be it dirt, rocks, sand, concrete, asphalt or the sharp bark of a palm tree, can be pretty scorching, shrapnel-like, or cold, and I am happy to have a functional shoe that is responsive yet protective, with the flexibility and grip to climb posts or beams (without sweaty feet)!
I know there are a variety of minimalist footwear brands out there. None compare to the benefits, design and science behind the Joe Nimble® shoes, because Joe Nimble® shoes are health-driven, science-backed and human movement-targeted rather than fashion-driven. I think Georges Hebert would have approved. :)
Philippe Til is a personal trainer whose pursuit of mobility has led him to creating the ProBar, a portable “Swiss army knife” of fitness and mobility system. He successfully adapted Georges Hébert’s books on The Natural Method into English. Philippe is based in Los Angeles, CA where he lives with his family and enjoys surfing when not training or to escape the zoo-lifestyle necessary to bring you this information.
Are you inspired byPhilippe's experience with Functional Fottwear? Try our nimbleToes yourself:
* Unfortunately the red nimbleToes is no longer available, because it is a limited version. Nevertheless the shoe is available in many other great colors.
Learn more about Philippe Til: