Educational Articles

How Minimalist Shoes Can Help Prevent Ankle Sprains

Posted By Marty Hughes, DC


The above content is for educational or informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or augment professional medical instruction, diagnosis, or treatment. Read full disclaimer here.

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April 22, 2015

I don’t understand the point about the big toe. Wouldn’t the pinky toe be the bigger factor in preventing rolling your ankles? Even the link you put talks about the big toe and pronation, but the traditional ankle sprain is supination.

April 22, 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Mike,

Thank you for your comment. All the toes (including the big toe and the little toe) are important players in ankle sprain prevention. For most people, it’s the big toe that is most deviated from its natural alignment, and so restoring it to its true anatomical position can have a tremendous stabilizing effect on the entire foot/ankle complex. You’re absolutely correct that the little toe is important in preventing that most common inversion sprain at the ankle. I’ve updated that section of the post to give more credit to the little toe in preventing ankle rolling. Thanks again for your astute comment!

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

October 23, 2016

What are the awesome looking shoes in the picture at the top of the article?

December 13, 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Brick,

Thank you for your question. The shoes pictured in this image are Be Real Shoes:

Marty Hughes, DC

December 13, 2016

Thanks for your fantastic resources! What’s your opinion on ballet flats?

December 13, 2016
Natural Footgear

Greetings, Sara,

Thank you for the positive feedback! We are happy to know when our resources are meeting people’s needs.

Regarding ballet flats, we hold true to our criteria for what constitutes a healthy shoe in general:

While nearly all ballet flats offer the flatness from heel to toe that is preferable, and most are functionally flexible, nearly none of them offer a wide enough toe box (i.e., a toe box that’s widest at the ends of the toes) to accommodate natural, healthy toe splay. As they say, two out of three ain’t bad. Unfortunately, neither is it optimal. Vivobarefoot offers the best we have seen; this model is called the Jing Jing. It hits all three criteria with high marks, though it still may not be wide enough in the toe box for some.

Thanks again for posting. I hope we can continue to prove helpful!

All best,
Sarah K. Schuetz

December 15, 2016
Mark Kamoski

What minimalist shoe do you recommend for indoor soccer on turf? How about a minimalist cross trainer? Suggestions? FYI: I am a 51-year-old indoor soccer player with glass ankles since age 13. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

December 15, 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Mark,

Thank you for your comment. And thank you for your questions!

One shoe that may be able to do double-duty and meet both of your needs is the Topo ST-2:

It’s a lightweight, zero drop, wide toe box shoe that’s great for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Removing the included (optional) liner allows you to have an improved ground feel, which is important for both indoor soccer and cross training.

I hope this info helps!

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

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