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The first time I saw a pair of crocs shoes on someones feet I thought to myself, what in the great mother earth are those horrendous so called ‘shoes’ that this individual is wearing. Not to judge, but they are some of the oddest, most unattractive, plastic and foam made shoes on the planet. As far as the appeal in the fashion department, it seems these shoes have none.

Ever since they hit the market though, they have been embraced by many people as an alternative to sandals, flip flops. Some people even wear crocs as shoes around their neighborhood and town. Poor souls. I’m only kidding, but seriously? Crocs? Crocs? C’mon! You can do better for your feet!

They aren’t just unappealing to look at in my humble opinion, they aren’t designed well at all. Not just the material itself (plastic/foam) but the ability of your feet and ankles to express it’s ergometry properly. 

My interest in shoes and shoe design for foot health began in high school. I worked at a shoe store in my local hometown and sold shoes and shoe insoles that were supposed to help improve your foot posture and balance.

In a later job I worked for the electric company reading meters. I would walk sometimes 5+ miles in a day. I wore the insoles that I had gotten at the shoe store along with a pair of Nike shoes each day on the job. Within less than 6 months my knees started hurting (both of them) and within less than a year I was in pain each day with each step on my job. It was a horrible experience and one day in the middle of winter I stopped walking, went back to my car, drove to the office and left all my equipment and said i’m done. I never went back.

Since then my choice in footwear and foot-related health products has been very conscious. It wasn’t the 5 miles of walking each day that was causing my knee pain. It was my insoles and Nike shoes that put my foot and ankle at an angle that slowly broke down my knee strength.

As I discovered this I decided to do some research into feet, shoes and health and link up the missing dots that I hadn’t yet.

I learned that Walking Barefoot is one of the best things you can do for your foot, knee and leg health. Read more about that here. 

I learned from my own personal experience that the shoes you wear can cause you leg, knee or even back pain. Read more on that here. 

I learned that 3rd world countries children who were raised without shoes actually have stronger feet and ankles. Their toes are spread apart further (known as unshod feet) while here in the west are toes are close together. Our toes and feet look completely different than the feet of people who are raised to walk on the earth with their natural born shoes, aka: their feet!

What is Ergometry? How Do Crocs Compare?

Ergometry is aimed at the performance of specific muscles or muscle groups and also includes a measure of power.

Shoes that are designed with ergometry in mind are created to support the muscular and functional strength of your body. Shoes are more of an important decision than you would think for your life. It’s not like a t-shirt or jacket. How it looks and feels is just one portion of the equation. The wrong shoes can cause you foot, ankle, knee or back pain short or long term.

How? By not fitting your foot and ankle in a way that supports balanced muscular strength and overall integrity.

In my example, my insoles and Nike shoes were lifting the inner part of my legs slightly higher than the outside. This put the axis of my knees at a slight tilt which as I was walking 5+ miles per day was slowly wearing, literally grinding down my knee tissue. As you can imagine this eventually led to a consistent daily dose of pain each time I walked.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered my shoe and insole setup (along with an unhealthy diet) supported my own pain each day.

How Do Crocs Shoes Compare?

They simply don’t work to do the intended job as well as bare feet or a better brand of shoes will do. Believe it or not there have been studies that prove this.

According to Dr. Meagan Leahy, a podiatrist, Crocs are not a suitable replacement for proper footwear.

“Unfortunately, Crocs are not suitable for all-day use,” Leahy says. “These shoes do not adequately secure the heel. When the heel is unstable, toes tend to grip which can lead to tendinitis, worsening of toe deformities, nail problems, corns and calluses.” (1)

One of the most common forms of tendonitis seen that affects the foot is plantar fasciitis. This is when the plantar fascia, the tendon which connects your heel bone to your toes, becomes weak and inflamed. This can cause very bad pain and can also disable movement (2). Watch this to learn more:

Furthermore, in serious cases, plantar fasciitis can actually result in a bone spur as well. A bone spur occurs when the build up of calcium on the heel creates a round-like bone on the spot where your tendon connects to the your ankle. This can cause even more pain. It also requires incredibly invasive surgery to correct (3).

Crocs Are Made From Carcinogenic (Cancer-Causing) Chemicals?

Not only are crocs not created without human movement, ergometry and health in mind. They are also created with a combination of chemicals that are found to be Carcinogenic. These are cancer-causing chemicals. Sure, you aren’t going to take your croc off your foot and bite into it like a loaf of bread if you’re hungry… But, your skin slowly absorbs and soaks these chemicals up over years of use.

A lab analysis conducted in Germany found that rubber cogs similar to Crocs as well as knock-offs of Crocs contain highly cancerous substances that can actually be absorbed through contact with skin. This means that the crocs brand itself or any similar style shoe made from the same materials could potentially contain cancer causing chemicals.

The German broadcasting institution Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) sent in 10 different types of plastic cogs to a lab in Germany for analysis. According to the test, six out of the 10 shoes provided contained cancerous chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) (4).

According to the 13th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), a public health document published by the National Toxicology Program, exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has been linked to an increased risk of developing lung, liver and skin cancers.

The American brand Crocs did not contain any polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the tests still found that it contained substances that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions (4).

Another idea to keep in mind is to smell the crocs/clogs before buying them. If they have a strong or sweet smell being emitted from them, this could mean that the shoes are releasing possibly harmful solvents (4). This could apply to any purchase of shoes or clothing. If it has a strong, potent smell, there’s a good chance that the product was created using chemicals that may not be beneficial for your health.

I always wash new products that I receive to wash off any chemicals or chemical residue from shipping just to ensure I have less chemical off-gassing in my home.

Crocs and similar shoes such as clogs are bad for your foot posture and can lead to unnecessary pain. If you’re looking for a better shoe purchase check out the brand Lem’s shoes by clicking here. That’s the brand I wear. Vivo barefoot on amazon is also a great brand designed with ergometry and human health and function in mind!

Recommended Video: How To Improve Toe Posture For Strength, Stability And Reduce Pain 

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