By Molly Mast-Koss
I know what you’re thinking.
There’s an insole that claims to cure everything these days. From plantar fasciitis to depression, you name it, there’s an insole for it. I’m one of the biggest insole-skeptics out there. The Mast Shoes buying team has turned down many offers to carry many lines of insoles, some of them very well known. Why? Because the collection of insoles we currently carry effectively addresses the problems that insoles can realistically address. Period. That has been our stance for at least a decade. And then…
Last summer I attended a two-day class titled The Aging Athlete’s Foot. I returned to the place I received my original intensive training in pedorthics in 2005, the Eneslow Pedorthic Institute in NYC. I maintain my certification in pedorthics because it brings value to Mast Shoes in the areas of training, selecting shoes to carry in our collections and health care provider communication. It’s worth noting here that I am not a clinical pedorthist. I use my pedorthic knowledge to better serve the Mast Shoes team and our customers through education and product selection.
The two-day class was packed with interesting, informative presenters including podiatrists, running shoe specialists, footwear manufacturers, a chiropractor who studied his own running abilities as he aged, a physical therapist, several pedorthists, a shoe store owner and the Grandfather of Pedorthics, Robert Schwartz (I’m pictured with him below). Like me the other 27 attendees were mostly people who work in specialty shoe stores whose daily work is to connect the dots between footwear and foot health to benefit our customer’s unique needs. Someone tallied up the amount of shoe-fitting experience in our classroom and it was 1500 years. My internal foot-and-shoe-nerdery-meter (yes, I have one of those) registered off the charts! I was in great company and felt very much at home. On the final day a classmate handed out No Tight Shoes pins to everyone in the room. In case you don’t believe me, here’s proof.
Common Biomechanical Injuries by Dr. Emily Splichal, a human movement specialist and NYC podiatrist, was a lecture I was looking forward to. For me, learning about foot biomechanics and how types of footwear can address injuries and optimize foot and body function never gets old. There’s always something new to learn! Dr. Splichal delivered her information with precision, clarity and enthusiasm. It became abundantly clear she’s the real deal, knows her stuff, has scientific studies she cites (but doesn’t read verbatim, thank goodness). I learned new things on a topic I’ve studied for 20 years. Her presentation brought high value. I just re-confirmed that by reading through the seven pages of notes I took!
Dr. Splichal’s second lecture of the day was titled Beyond Biomechanics. Optimizing Movement with Sensory Stimulation. What I learned in this second lecture is what my mind has repeatedly gone back to thinking about over the past six months. It was clear from her first lecture that Dr. Splichal is an expert on foot ailments and traditional methods of treatment. Her second lecture added something new and promising to the conversation of foot health. She shifted the focus from solely (ha) treating foot ailments from the outside in to looking at a complementary way of treating foot ailments from the inside out as well.
In a nutshell, here’s the idea: The intrinsic muscles in our feet are strengthened by being stimulated. Therefore, stimulating the many nerves in the bottoms of our feet helps feet stay healthy and strong or if injured, recover more effectively. 70% of the nerves in the bottom of the human foot read vibration. The ability for the nerves in our feet to feel vibration directly effects balance. As we age, we need more stimulation for optimal proprioception (something the Mast Shoes team has been exploring lately). The more we can keep the nerves in our feet stimulated, the stronger our feet become. The stronger our feet become, the more stable our body’s foundation becomes and the easier it is to move.
And here we are kicking off 2020 with a new line of insoles. Dr. Splichal invented Naboso Technology. Taken from their website, Naboso® (meaning “barefoot” in Czech) is the first-ever small nerve proprioceptive material commercially available and designed for the purpose of improving posture and enhancing movement. Through our innovative products we are dedicated to helping impact lives in the categories of neuro rehabilitation, human performance and wellness. The technology is available on insoles and on exercise mats. Naboso Insoles are based purely on sensory stimulation. By stimulating our foot’s natural support system we are able to have an effect on foot activation and foot strength. Mast Shoes carries the Neuro Insole in a full range of sizes. After meeting Dr. Splichal, testing the insoles on ourselves (with stimulating results!), reading the studies and watching the [research videos], the Mast Shoes team is excited to be offering this new insole that we believe will benefit many of our customers.
As always, correct fit inside your shoes is essential for success with an insole. Visit Mast Shoes to try a pair and our team of fit-experts will ensure you have the correct fit.
Join us at Mast Shoes on February 8th from 10AM – 1PM to try a pair of Naboso Neuro Insoles! A representative of Naboso will be working with our team to introduce Ann Arbor’s feet to this new innovation!
So, who will benefit from Naboso Insoles?
-People who stand long hours
-People who want to strengthen their feet
-People who have foot pain
-People with peripheral neuropathy
-People with multiple sclerosis (more info here: https://nabosotechnology.com/neurorehabilitation)
-People with Parkinson’s disease (more into here: https://nabosotechnology.com/neurorehabilitation)
Frequently asked questions:
How much does a pair cost?
Can I wear them in any shoe?
As long as the insoles fit inside the shoe without making it too tight. Mast Shoes fit experts will help you determine correct fit.
Can I wear them with socks?
Yes. Mast Shoes carries the Neuro Insole which is made to be worn with a thin sock.
Can I wear them with my custom orthotics?
Yes. Naboso Insoles are thin and can be worn on top of customer orthotics as long as they do not make your shoes too tight. Mast Shoes fit experts will help you determine correct fit.