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 Post subject: MBT's
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:02 am 
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About 2 months ago I bought a pair of Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes. They've got an oddly shaped sole with a soft section at the heel; it makes you walk on an "unsupported" surface, like simulating sand/soft dirt, and triggers your muscles to re-adapt to walking. It also causes you to walk more upright with better posture. I was sceptical but so far they're working, decreases in ankle, knee, hip and lower back aches and the balls and heels of my feet no longer get sore from walking long distances. One tip though, I bought 1 pair, as they're expensive, as I wanted them mostly for the walk to work (at the time 3 miles each way) so I went with a casual look shoe, bad idea! The lining, when a little sweaty, holds to socks and this caused the socks to rub the skin on the back of my heel causing a blister, so go for sports models with fabric linings! The other thing they do is to increase activity in the calves and hamstrings, so if you have trouble with tight achilles tendons, ham strings or hip flexors I can reccomend these as a way of slightly increasing flexibility at the hip, knee and ankle.

The major draw back is you look like a tool! I refer to them as my "Geek Shoes" as they look like they're some sort of corrective shoe prescribed by the Podiatrist an over protective mum takes you to 6 times a year! But they have worked wonders on my joints and my calves are looking bigger and feel stronger with no other workouts over that period of time!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:23 am 
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These????? http://www.swissmasai.co.uk/

So, really, they're like BOSU Balls (unstable surface) on your feet?

hmmmm....

KPj


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:35 am 
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Yep that's them! These are the ones I got:

http://www.milletsports.co.uk/productmore.php?pid=7498

They're on my feet right now! AS you can see I didn't pay full price for them, they are really expensive! My advice, if you’re going to get some, get them on sale!

I tried them on in a shoe shop in Stratford-Upon-Avon (Home of William Shakespeare) while my wife and I were waiting for her parent's to finish a bus tour. I just tried them on for a joke, but found them really comfortable! They've helped out with pain I was getting on the outside of my calves from old ankle injuries too! And trust me I've tried a LOT of shoes in my time, at one point I hade37 pairs of basketball boots, which from what I can tell is what caused my problems in the first place, BBall shoes are too supportive to wear 100% of the time like I did as a teenager, they make the balancing muscles of the lower body under work!

Anyway, they're good is all I can say! But as I also said, very strange looking! They do add about an inch in height though, so if you're short and want a boost! lol


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:06 am 
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I agree with what you said about BBall shoes. And I can see how shoes that encoutage more movement of the ankle can make some aches and pains go away. But I think in the long term they could potentially cause more harm than good.

Here's a good thread on unstable surfaces,

http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4102

Re programming the way your muscles work is actually the biggest problem with unstable surfaces. We don't walk on unstable surfaces, ya know? And even when walking on sand, it's not the same as wobbling about. You get less reactive force because of the loose surface but i would say it's closer to walking on the ground than walking on something as unstable as that. I guess if you spend most of your time walking on unstable surfaces then these could be handy. Wait, no, i think they would be impossible to walk on if we spend most of our time walking on unstable surfaces with unstable shoes on???

I think you need to question them purely because they seem to claim that you'll get a training effect from them. I know you said you got bigger calves but most women will tell you the same thing about High Heels and they're notoriously bad for you.

Most reputable S & C coaches recommend Nike Frees, or anything flat, flexible, with low 'tops' (below the ankles!). I wear these, too. feel like you're in your barefeet. It was cross trainers with elevated heels that made my ankles screwy.

http://www.iynm.net/itsme/images/nike_free.jpg

I actually feel guilty for criticising them but I sort of felt i had to. Really, it's just an opinion I guess. :frown:

KPj


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:17 am 
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KPj, that would make sense it you were wearing them all the time. They're not meant for that. They're designed to be a workout, then you switch to a conventional shoe.

Edit. The first thing I read said they were just for training. The MBT site says that they can be worn for daily activities so your point is valid. http://www.swissmasai.ca/SportExercise.aspx?lang=en-CA


Last edited by stuward on Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:21 am 
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I should also add that i'm not claiming Nike Frees will fix any joint problems. They just won't make it any worse.

Bad posture is a combination of tight and weak muscles. Fixing it involves stretching what's tight and strengthening whats weak. And probably most importantly, making a conscious effort to correct it during the day - walking, sitting, driving etc. No shoe can achieve that, really. Some can help, some can make it worse...

KPj


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:29 am 
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These are definitely NOTHING like the BOSU ball! The only time they have an effect is at the heel strike, the rest of the motion is a fluid one, it's a movement of millimetres, not centimetres like the BOSU ball! Not to mention the research on these particular products were done at institutes of good reputation, published in reputable journals and then other's have tried to disprove the research only to come up with similar results and actually supprot the previous research, do a google scholar search, I did before I forked out the cash! Trust me, I'm not a Teleshopper, I'm an educated person who looks into things before purchasing! Not to mention the in the EU they're a Grade 1 registered medical device and you have to have a fitting by a trained memebr of staff before you buy them, I had to book in to go pick them up!

I know the obvious thing is to criticise them, I did it too, but after experiencing them they have improved my posture, gait and joints so that now I can use regular shoes and still feel the benefits! I've been touring Europe a lot and previously after a day of site seeing I was sore for the next few days, limiting what else I could see, but now it take 3 days before my feet are wrecked, by which time I'm on my way to the airport to go home!

Not to mention that I did actually have joint issues, it's not like I was buying them as a training product to increase my vertical jump or anything!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:31 am 
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Stu, think about an office workers day, get to work, sit down, maybe walk a few times in the next 8 hours, go home! I get 2 workouts in the day!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:59 am 
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I'm not questioning your education or anything. I'm questioning the product.

They look much more like BOSU balls than sand. Although i'm not sure why walking on sand is relevant.

With the workout side - I guess it depends what you class as a work out.

Out of interest, I did do a search on Pubmed. The first result was done on OA Knee subjects. It did indicate that they might reduce pain in people who suffer from that. It wasn't exactly convincing, though, since some of the other measurements showed no difference. Regardless, this doesn't go deep enough to suggest when or how they should be used. And I have always said that unstable surface training has it's place in training, but more so in a rehab setting.

The other one showed in increase in pressure towards the front of the foot. All that does is encourage existing imbalances, since most people are quad dominant. But even then, it's just one study.

I didn't look much further than that, though. (i know i didn't link them, but they were the first 2 results, the others didn't seem relevant).

I mean, a shoe that fixes posture must be one the most sophisticated inventions to date? I do apologise for my tone, but the shoes do use exactly the same advertising talk as BOSU balls, stability balls and powerplates/vibrating platforms. Things that CAN be useful, but get far too over sold - correcting posture, losing fat, increasing flexiblity etc.

I don't criticise things for no reason. I genuinely don't see why these are any different from any other unstable surface tool. I also find it bizarre that a shoe (no matter what the shoe is) can claim to correct posture. I also question the whole theory behind the unstable surface being more natural. How is it natural? And even if sand is a good comparison, who is lucky enough to walk in over beaches all the time?

But, each to their own. I've had joint problems too, and I've fixed my very screwy posture. It took a hell of a lot of though, and work. A combination of stretching, mobilising, strengthening, and consiously correcting it when I wasn't working on it. So you need to forgive me for thinking that a shoe that can do all that is unrealistic.

KPj


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:06 pm 
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Try them, then tear them down! I've had success so far so sorry if I don't go for your take on it! I think you're looking at them with an already gilted view so I'm sorry if I trust my experience of something over your opinion! And unless you have a log in for PubMed you won't exactly get much, that's why I suggested google scholar. I have also searched PubMed and found a lot of positive research under my wife's log in subscription to non-free publications.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that as I feel that my actual experience with something is being torn down by someone comparing it to something completely different!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:35 pm 
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I'm not interested in enhanced glute activation while walking around... I'll save squats days for that


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:51 am 
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jeffrerr wrote:
Try them, then tear them down! I've had success so far so sorry if I don't go for your take on it! I think you're looking at them with an already gilted view


I would be happy to try them if I seen any reason to. My 'gilted view',I guess, is because I don't see why they are any different from any other unstable surface tool.

jeffrerr wrote:
Anyway, I'll leave it at that as I feel that my actual experience with something is being torn down by someone comparing it to something completely different!


Posting things like this makes them open to scrutiny. I think that's the nature of sharing information.

It's ok to 'agree to disagree', ya know?

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:25 am 
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I think you're reading far too much into it, they don't corrct posture to 100% perfect, they just help you to straighten at the hips whislt walking, one of the biggest posture problems and the first part most physio's look at. They also make you less quad dominant if you walk in them correctly, when you straighten up it changes the stride slightly so you don't stride out as far but your trailing leg pushes you further.

I just find that coupling them with BOSU Balls is unfair and creates a bias to them! BOSU Balls have dramatic movement in their unstable surface, MBT's have a soft heel that creates small imbalances. It also provides a better landing suface that stops jarring, I can walk down hill at full pace again which I've not done in about 10 years.

Also, are you telling me that we are born in shoes? That roads were here before people? So why would walking barefoot in soft surfaces be unnatural? If you wear MBT's then you do get the benefit of walking around in a sand like substance all day!

I'm not going to try to convince you anymore, you obviously have good reason for disagreeing and up until this point I've been pretty rude in my defence of them I know, I apologise for the rudeness, but I did feel that I was sharing something that had helped me only to have it torn down and disbelieved immediately. It's a bit of a bummer when you've had success with something but someone else's opinion of it is in disagreement straight away. I just hope that other's have the chance to at least go to a store and put some on before they automatically damn them becasue someone with a better reputation for assistance than myself put them down on here!

Again I apologise for the way in which I defended them, hope it doesn't taint further discusisons in which we take part!

John


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:33 am 
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jeffrerr wrote:
I think you're reading far too much into it


Hey, that wouldn't be unlike me :smile:

jeffrerr wrote:
They also make you less quad dominant if you walk in them correctly, when you straighten up it changes the stride slightly so you don't stride out as far but your trailing leg pushes you further.


This confuses me. Natural stride length is one of many indicators of someones imbalances. A short stride length indicates a lack of hip extension during walking.

But that's just an 'indication'.

jeffrerr wrote:
I just find that coupling them with BOSU Balls is unfair and creates a bias to them! BOSU Balls have dramatic movement in their unstable surface, MBT's have a soft heel that creates small imbalances. It also provides a better landing suface that stops jarring, I can walk down hill at full pace again which I've not done in about 10 years.


It's because of the shape of the sole that I compare them to other unstable surface tools. If the soles are soft then it would make more sense in that context.

The soft heel makes sense for someone that does a lot of walking.

jeffrerr wrote:
Also, are you telling me that we are born in shoes?


Erm, no. Which is exactly why I don't like MBT's. I like shoes that are light, flexible, and enhance your contact with the ground, like Frees. But if you do a lot of walking, shoes like Frees will just fall apart - you DO need something with a little more protection.

jeffrerr wrote:
That roads were here before people?


Well, roads were here before I was.

jeffrerr wrote:
So why would walking barefoot in soft surfaces be unnatural?


Because most places have solid ground now?

jeffrerr wrote:
If you wear MBT's then you do get the benefit of walking around in a sand like substance all day!


That's great. If that's what you want.

jeffrerr wrote:
It's a bit of a bummer when you've had success with something but someone else's opinion of it is in disagreement straight away. I just hope that other's have the chance to at least go to a store and put some on before they automatically damn them becasue someone with a better reputation for assistance than myself put them down on here!


Not much can argue with results. You've had results from them.

I can't try every health product I come across. I questioned the value of these and stated my reasons, that's all. It's not like I just said "ach, they look crap!". But you can be assured that if I happen to be in a shop that has them, then I will try them on and post back.

You need to understand that I believe in doing a lot of your training bare foot. And it's not even because it's 'more natural', it's because it helps us recruit the right muscles, at the right times. Through wearing shoes all our lifes we lose sensitivity in our feet, and that can effects way up the rest of the body. I do most of my warm ups bare foot, I sometimes deadlift bare foot. I always wear Nike Frees because they're the closest thing to bare foot without actually being barefoot.

I'm not trying to convince you that Nike Frees are better. Just trying to show what perspective i'm coming from so you can maybe understand why the MBT's seem a little backwards to me with how they sell them. I struggle to see how such a big shoe can be deemed natural, too.

jeffrerr wrote:
Again I apologise for the way in which I defended them, hope it doesn't taint further discusisons in which we take part!

John


No need to apologise. I understand you believe in them and therefore you're passionate about them - there's nothing wrong with that at all! I was just saying what I think, and I would expect the same from you if I ever posted anything that you didn't agree with or understand. That's what a good forum is all about.

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:35 am 
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I won't quote but i will respons in the order you posted:

Yeah trust me I do the same! Hence my tone in my replies!

They don't alter the overall lenght of the stride, but the percentage of lead foot to trailing foot change making you stretch out the hip flexor a bit further and use the glute's and hamstring mor for forward propulsion.

I walk a munimum of 5 miles per day, so in my case of previous sedentary-ness it's a lot! I used to avoid walking due to achilles tendon issues and heel soreness, but not now!

I too prefer something like the Nike shoe in the gym, but yeah walking you need supportive cushioning, which everywhere but the heel these have!

Basically the idea is that the physics of the human body work best when barefoot and the use of hard roads, paths and shoes are relatively new in the process of human evolution, so these shoes were designed to help city buond people mimmic the way people who live in more natural settings walk without changing their surroundings. They're called Masai because of the tribe in Africa that was used for research.

I guess the way in which they simulate being barefoot is the application of pressure over the whole foot and they are actually a lot lighter than they look, the soles are made from similar material as Nike Zoom Air soles so they are qutie light, they weight less than the 2 pairs of basketball boots I have here in the UK, I have lighter ones back home but they're no good there!

I too wish I had not let my feet become so desensitised to being barefoot, but these have made it easier to be barefoot as they've made a slight correction to the way I walk, I don't 'bounce' off of my heels anymore and gradually walk along the full surface of my foot.

That all being said they won't be everyone's cup of tea no matter how much benefit they give, I just found them good for making basic changes for me to build on with other work.

Glad to see you're not a discussion Nazi like I've encountered in other forums (on far different topics mind you!) and like I was being at the start of this topic! Reading back I was a total tool, I balme low cafeine levels!

Cheers,

John


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