The Power of Barefoot Training


Podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal

The Power of Barefoot Training


Share it!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on linkedin

The Power of Barefoot Training With World-renowned Podiatrist, Dr. Emily Splichal

Episode 02 – The CardioCast CoolDown – Podiatrist

Why should we start exercising barefoot? Today’s guest, Dr. Emily Splichal, explains the benefits of barefoot training. Dr. Splichal is a functional podiatrist and human movement specialist. She is also the author of Barefoot Strong and the founder of Naboso Technology, a company that delivers innovative textured insoles and mats that help increase foot strength and health by increasing sensory stimulation in your feet. Her interest and experience in barefoot movement began as a competitive gymnast, a barefoot sport. Dr. Splichal has dedicated her 20-year medical career to the study of postural alignment and the science of bare feet, foot-to-core integration, and sensory integration. Her mission is to help others experience the enhanced confidence and quality of life that comes from optimizing movement.


  • Dr. Emily Splichal tells us why it’s beneficial to train barefoot.
  • How to start barefoot training.
  • The most common injuries Dr. Splichal deals with as a podiatrist, and how to prevent them.
  • What are minimalist shoes and what are the differences between them and regular shoes?
  • Why you should start filming yourself in order to find your center of gravity!
  • Learn your foot type: pronating, neutral, or supinating. 
  • Dr. Splichal’s views on the footwear industry and how the big brands have evolved in recent years.

To learn more about Dr. Emily Splichal, you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Check out CardioCast on the App Store or Play Store for the best beat-driven audio fitness classes featuring hit music from your favorite artists and expert coaches from America’s top fitness studios!


Instagram: @cardiocastapp

Facebook: @cardiocast

Twitter: @cardiocast


You can follow CardioCast on Instagram, check out our app on the App Store or Play Store, and discover all that our website has to offer!

The Power of Barefoot Training With World-renowned Podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal

Doug Lotz  00:03

Hey everyone! This is Doug Lotz, active lifestyle enthusiastic armchair futurist and founder of CardioCast an audio guided fitness app where we help people get fit and stay fit by making studio quality fitness classes more accessible and affordable than ever, in delivering the best music and coaching possible. Anytime, anywhere. You’re listening to the CardioCast CoolDown Podcast, where we explore topics, the intersection of health, fitness and personal wellness, you’re ready? Let’s go. Welcome to the CardioCast CoolDown podcast where we explore topics of the intersection between health, fitness and personal wellness.  Today we’ll be speaking with Dr. Emily Splichal, functional podiatrist and human movement specialist. She’s the founder of the Evidence Based Fitness Academy, creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist certification author of Barefoot Strong and CEO and founder of the Naboso Technology that over 20 years in the fitness industry. She’s dedicated her medical career towards studying postural alignment and human movement as it relates to barefoot science, foot decor integration and sensory integration. So, welcome to the show. Emily. We’re really thrilled to have you here today. As someone who’s more than dabbled, I would say in barefoot fitness and minimal footwear. I’m very excited.


Dr. Emily Splichal  01:17

Awesome. I’m excited to talk about feet.


Doug Lotz  01:20

So I guess I’ll kick it off with my usual question, which is why and why do you do what you do? And maybe tell us a little bit about how you got where you are in your career today?


Dr. Emily Splichal  01:29

Yeah, so my background in podiatry actually started in my background in movement with me being a competitive gymnast. So I was always into being active. Coincidentally, or ironically, gymnastics is a barefoot sport. And I didn’t know that years later, I would be really focused on barefoot science and barefoot movement from being a gymnast eventually led into me started my fitness career where I was a personal trainer, I taught fitness classes. And I stayed within the fitness industry through my entire graduate education. So getting, you know, the doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, and then I went back to school and got a master’s in human movements, and really connected and kept this appreciation for movement. that’s ultimately what I treat. And what I love is movement. And then why why feet and why bare feet is because this power of movement is really linked to our nervous system, and our brain. And being a podiatrist, obviously, I specialize in feet, but the aspect of foot health that connects to that movement, and that nervous system is really the skin in the bottom of the feet. So that’s why I’m fascinated with the Barefoot science, barefoot movement, barefoot running. And I’ve done a lot of consulting for footwear companies and orthotic companies to help them better understand how to optimize really sensory neural brain activation through the feet.


Doug Lotz  02:52

There’s a lot more going on there than I guess. I was. And I started doing the whole barefoot thing, mainly because just muscular wise, running for me was always a challenge in traditional shoes. I would get shin splints. And, you know, I was I started my fitness journey as somebody who is, you know, a little on the heavier side and just trying to figure out how do I you know, how do I run efficiently. And that was probably back when this whole thing was kind of, I don’t know, it was still kind of nascent. Now I feel like you hear a lot more about minimal issues and things but you know, I went online and tried to figure it out myself. And I started totally barefoot, which seemed to be the recommendation because then feel a lot more but ultimately moved to minimalist footwear first, you know, the five fingers and then ultimately, some barreled trail gloves, which I still kind of worn iterations of that to this day. So yeah, for me, it was all about just running and figuring out how to run without breaking myself. But it sounds like it’s a bigger thing. And I’m curious to hear from from you, you know, what are the what are the benefits from, you know, being either more minimally clad in your feet, or, or barefoot all together, if you could explore that a little more than be really interesting.


Dr. Emily Splichal  04:06

Yeah, so you could think of shoes as this barrier between the feet and the ground and the nervous system in the ground. So there’s a lot of really powerful sensory information that is coming from this interaction of foot to ground every step that we take, we experience ground reaction forces, and that whole perception is a sensory process. As soon as you put a cushion in shoes, or a barrier of midsole and orthotics and socks and everything between the skin and the bottom of the feet and the ground, you now take away a lot of that sensory information and we need that sensory information to shape the coordination of our movement. So a lot of people will switch to barefoot running or minimal shoe running and such as yourself, and they will feel that the the subtlety and the smooth And the grace that is the sensory environment is so much more heightened, and they’re connected and they feel things and their body seems to move more efficiently. All of that is essentially saying that you’re tuning into your nervous system in your brain. Now, outside of just that really powerful sensory way, there’s still a mechanical way. So a lot of shoes that have a heel toe drop in them, they might have a stiffness in the Mitch midsole, which means that you can’t really twist or move the shoe. Because it’s so structured, those two features really restrict the natural movement, or the natural range of motion of the foot and the ankle. So when you take that away, you get to this more natural range of motion that the foot really was designed to have. And then that translates up the rest of the kinetic chain, where you know, your foot bone is connected to your leg bone, which is connect to your hip bone, and, you know, the whole way, it’s all connected. So if your feet cannot move, your feet are restricted, it will transfer up the rest of the chain. So those are two really powerful ways of why I encourage people to look at minimal shoes or barefoot movements, such as how you did and how you experienced yourself.


Doug Lotz  06:10

Yeah, I have to say it wasn’t without its challenges, for sure. It’s always hard running, building up to, you know, to the mileage, and I wouldn’t categorize myself as a as like, the perfect running body or anything. So he’s had challenges. But yeah, I would definitely for those giving it a try. I think easing into it is definitely necessary. You know, I don’t know if there’s any advice you can give to people who are looking to, you know, to explore, you know, what, barefoot? Or what minimal could do for them. But, you know, where do you start? I mean, I know, I just kind of googled it and sort of went in there and at it, but if somebody is interested in exploring it, what’s the what’s the right place to start?


Dr. Emily Splichal  06:48

Yes, you definitely don’t want to go from you know, totally supported to barefoot or from zero to 100, you know, right away, you do want to be progressive. And the reason is that when you’re in traditional shoes, supportive shoes for a majority of your life, and you’ve never done this minimal barefoot environment, you are disconnected from your feet in a way that you might not realize. And then the muscles in the feet are very weak or slower to contract. And what we need to do is retrain our connection, or I call it tuning in. So we have to tune into our feet. And that is done progressively through slowly taking away the structure or the cushion of the shoe. And then simultaneously, you want to start strengthening the foot roots, specific foot exercises, and then you want to be recovering the foot. So there’s kind of three things is how you transition out of your supportive, what weren’t more minimal one, how do you start to uptick, the actual strength of your foot muscles through exercises? And then at the same time, how do you incorporate recovery and releasing of the foot muscles, because now they’re going to be taking so much more stress in a minimal environment, because there’s no cushion to take away that impact, the foot has to take it. So that’s where you’ll actually see a lot of injuries is people will uptick, the stress too fast, and the foot can’t tolerate it. And then they get a stress fracture, or something like,


Doug Lotz  08:17

I feel like I got the first two parts of that, right. But you know, and I was doing, especially for like just getting calf exercises and stuff like you know, sort of heel lifts or whatever you want to call it where you’re sort of just building that, you know, the muscle musculature of the back of your leg. But the whole recovery piece, I think I missed you know, stretching things out. And you know, eventually somebody kind of introduced me to like tennis balls and like, and like lacrosse balls and stuff, and you know, sort of that felt good, still kind of hurts you, you know, get in the right place on your bottom of your foot with a lacrosse ball. It’s gonna hurt. Yeah, I don’t know, there are good resources out there for like, you know, the exercise in the stretching routine that one would want to go through to sort of pick this up.


Dr. Emily Splichal  09:00

Yeah, so I actually have a lot of resources on my website, and I wrote a book called barefoot strong, which is about reading that we’re speaking about. And in barefoot strong, I really focus on this programming this transition or this lifestyle, if you want to call it and some of the best foot strengthening exercises I go into in this book also on my website and my YouTube channel. And then the best way to release the feet and how it can be done in a realistic lifestyle way. An example of the releasing is that every morning every evening when you’re brushing your teeth, stand on a lacrosse ball or a golf ball or something on the bottom of the foot. So that you get call it three to five minutes twice a day of this release. A cumulatively day after day is going to give a much better response than if you’re like Oh right. Let me do that today. I try to make these things very realistic. And then I have a program that’s called run injury free and I have a five minute, warm up movement prep foot two core activation, essentially priming the nervous system from the ground up with the feet. And just five minutes before you run, and it’s getting the the nervous system and the muscles ready and activated. And that’s a great way to also reduce running related injuries, or training injuries, because you’re doing this small, little five minutes is super easy to fit into the start of it, and then do your session or your run or whatever it is that you’re doing is the stress. And then what are you doing after could be, again, some myofascial release and mobility work, all of that is built into what I said is on my sites, and in my book,


Doug Lotz  10:41

we’re talking a lot about, you know, running or like active activities and stuff, I kind of, you know, I’m wondering about the just day to day, well, I switched over to wearing when I was doing this, I started wearing just really unstructured loafers everywhere, which was great. I mean, my toes went from like, you know, like this to splaying out like that, just like normal day to day walking around was a totally different experience. But I’m still wondering, because you know, the heel, sort of heel, mid foot toe strike for walking just to seem so normal and natural to everybody who’s grown up with a pretty strong heel cushion, or just the heel in their shoe. So what do you have to say about the day to day thing? What should people be? Should I be trying to like land mid foot when I walk? It feels weird, especially when on like pavement or something? How does all this translate from exercise to like day to day?


Dr. Emily Splichal  11:28

Yeah, so that’s a great question. And a lot of people do have it because they will read about running techniques, and that the running technique should be more on the front part of the foot versus the keel, especially if you’re switching into barefoot or mid minimal shoes. So then they think that they’re supposed to transfer that to walking. But a walking pattern is very different than a running pattern. And we actually don’t want to try to cross them, or make one be the same as the other because they’re different. So we should be striking our heel on the ground, when we walk, it’s the first point of contact. Now what you can modify is the angle of the ankle when you strike the ground. And I hope this will make sense. But you can strike the ground with your foot really dorsi flexed, like the toe up, right, you’re kind of like toes to the nose as high as you can and then strike your heel on the ground and take a step. That’s one way. Or you could have your foot a little bit flatter to the ground. And you’re almost like, not totally how a monk would walk but a little bit more, right, so the foot is flatter, and you’re kind of rolling through the foot a little bit more flat foot, that’s the direction that you can think about it. Because the more that the toes go to the nose, when you strike the ground, the sharper the impact when you strike the ground. And then that’s where you can see certain injuries. But being in more minimal shoes, when you walk and you tune in, like you still have to pay attention to your feet, you will start to notice the patterns and the fluidity that happens when you’re just a little bit softer with your pattern. So I would encourage the listeners to just really tune in and pay attention. And you know, do you hear yourself pounding the pavement, if you hear yourself, you’re striking the ground too hard, try to be more graceful in the pattern or rhythmic in the pattern. And then that’s going to be more efficient as well.


Doug Lotz  13:25

This fits in well with the whole mindful walking thing too. If you ever, you know if you’ve heard of that, or done sort of a walking meditation, I kind of pick up the both of the things at the same time, the whole meditation thing and sort of the minimalist footwear thing and found that when I was going on, you know, walks with my dogs in the morning. I was Yeah, I mean, I hadn’t been thinking about it, obviously. But then I just transitioned my footwear. And suddenly I was like, Oh yeah, I’m combining that with like, be mindful of what you know how I was moving my body was a pretty interesting experience. I transitioned into like hiking and like trying to figure out like, but winter is kind of hard. Like, you know, winter footwear is not really ever that minimalist. So I don’t know, if you have any recommendations outside of like Native American, like looking moccasin type deals. Are there any sort of solutions for folks who are kind of like, you know, it’s currently there’s snow on the ground here, but I want to get some, you know, minimal time in. Any any thoughts there?


Dr. Emily Splichal  14:22

Yeah, so there’s actually some shoe brands so what’s really interesting is the minimal shoe market or industry started with athletic footwear, like running footwear, and that’s where you were introduced to it, you know, 2009 10 barefoot running boom. And that’s where you saw this huge uptick in athletic footwear or running footwear that was minimal. Now we have this state that people have have adopted this lifestyle and they say exactly what you’re saying, Well what happens when it’s colder or in my work shoes or, you know, all these other environments that I don’t want to wear athletic shoes, you now have lifestyle, minimal brands that are on the market, or some of the companies such as zero shoes, vivo barefoot, they actually design lifestyle shoes, hiking boots, regular boots for like winter months, and you can actually see the footwear now deviate into many more applications versus just athletic shoes, running shoes,


Doug Lotz  15:19

if you do go down the path of having minimal footwear on the trail, it can be very literally eye opening, to look out wherever you’re going, actually one of my mishaps in this whole thing is that I ended up going on to on the trail run with some friends back when I first started doing this, and I you know, I’m good for about like four or five miles, but like miles six and up, and I just get it band issues like crazy, and I’m not sure I haven’t really quite breached that barrier yet. I guess that’s kind of interesting segue to talk about, you know, injuries that you might see either related to bad sort of, or traditional foot, you know, striking and form and sports and, you know, I’m kind of curious, there’s something like an IT band, does that sound foot related? Is that like other musculature? Like what are the common injuries that you deal with and see as a podiatrist, and have you addressed them?


Dr. Emily Splichal  16:11

Yeah, so definitely, some of the big ones in the four are going to be plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, those are probably be the biggest ones, post hip tendinitis, ankle sprains, but then a little bit higher, yes, anything related to the knee. So it band issues, patellofemoral tendonitis, collateral stress, sometimes you can get on the inside where the peasant serene is, this is kind of where some muscles attach into the inside of the knee, and then it will pass entering, and then higher up is you can start to get deep hip stress, you can get SI joint pain, low back pain, piriformis, sciatica, things like that. And really, what I want to emphasize is that if our foot is not strong and stable, it doesn’t just impact the foot, it can definitely impact things higher up. So if you have a knee that’s been bothering you or IT band syndrome, you always want to look at the foot and look at the foot structure, the foot strength, how sensitive is the foot, what is the coordination, all of that stuff. And then similarly, higher up is, you know, low back pelvis, hip issues, same thing, you have to look down the chain and see what’s going on with the foot. But what’s interesting is you actually want to do the opposite as well, that if I have someone with plantar fasciitis, I don’t look just at the foot, I have to go all the way up into the hip, and their glutes and their deep core and see if those are strong. Because it can be a bottom up issue or it could be a top down issue.


Doug Lotz  17:41

Yeah, so I’m not sure what my issue is for, say, the ID meds up I think I saw you do with like, you know, a hip levelness and like weakness of the hip flexors or something like that. And I feel like that’s probably just an area where I’ve got to do some more like side leg extensions or something. I’m definitely king of the, let’s Google it and figure it out. Sort of Gray’s but might do me well, to see a professional at some point. So let’s let’s talk about but strike in not just in minimal footwear, but in shoes in general, I have definitely. So your cardio cast, we definitely give recommendations to people as you know, what might be the best, safest foot strike for the most number of people. And typically we sort of, say, mid foot strike, advise against the heel strike, we advise against toe strike, I still get coaches who are convinced one way or another, if I’m jogging, I should be heel striking. And from doing this, I should be, you know, printing closer to the toes or whatever, we just try to keep it pretty basic and say like, generally, most people’s anatomy, a mid foot strike is going to make the most sense and keep you know, injury free for the most amount of time. Is that true? Is that good advice? Is there? You know, are there specific session, you know, addressing with people is rigor as relates to their anatomy? And I’m kind of curious.


Dr. Emily Splichal  19:00

Yeah, I think that the recommendation of generally for most people, you have a more efficient, safer lower injury rate around a mid foot strike pattern, you could absolutely make that statement by the one. The one con to that is that you do need to make sure you’re at a certain pace. So if the individual is running slower, then it’s going to be very difficult to hit the right timing of it and it could actually be more stressful to the body. By doing that, because of the the ballistics or the rubberband effect is what I will tell patients that it’s kind of a rubber band, the way that you load tissue and recoil needs you to be at this certain pace. Now, if you have someone who’s a heel striker, and they just aren’t getting the coordination or the technique because it’s a technique that you have to make sure you’re doing it the right way. If they have an improper technique and they’re doing a heel strike if they Have improper mid foot so they choose to do a heel strike, not a heel striker will get injured. A lot of people can run heel strike and be totally fine. Sometimes it depends on the foot type, if they will be at risk of a potential injury. But this is where the issues with heel striking is that it’s easier to overstride. And it’s heel strikers, that overstride that are typically the ones that get injured, versus it being heel striking in itself. So that’s something that I would encourage all the listeners if they are taking it seriously, to have your gait assessed, find a running coach and just have them video you and see your technique. And if you’re a heel striker, but you’re not over striking, great, right, if they want to transition to a mid foot or they’re new to mid foot, then have your gait assessed, because there are little subtle things that you might be working harder than you need to. And every time we work harder than we need to or we should, that’s where injury happens.


Doug Lotz  20:59

So I tend to say I’m jogging or running and I go slow down to the jog. Sometimes I feel like, you know, my stride might go kind of quick. And it might be kind of short. And that’s kind of how I ended up staying sort of in the mid foot. I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it or not. But at some point, yeah, I slow down to a walk. And then at that point, I’m transitioning to my heel, but I guess it’s sort of like that middle ground where I’m not kind of I’m kind of jogging. But jogging a mid foot strike is kind of it’s it’s an almost an unnaturally or feels unnatural at first, to me, naturally fast leg speed that I’m maintaining for how slow I’m actually moving that sound, right?


Dr. Emily Splichal  21:38

Yes. And what you’re trying to do is you’re you’re probably trying to just build that pattern of having your feet directly under your center of gravity. And that’s really the biggest thing. So if someone is trying to do a mid foot strike and their foot is in front of them, then the technique is off. The other thing that I do want to mention because I see it a lot, and it might be of benefit to the listeners is I will actually see people do two different strike patterns. So one foot, they’re doing heel, the other foot, they’re doing mid foot, they can’t perceive it, but I see it when I do the assessments. So you do want to be really mindful of that, that that could be something or some of the listeners might think that they’re doing mid foot, but they’re doing heel, they just can’t catch that Millis


Doug Lotz  22:24

sort of automatic, even when you’re trying to adjust it, I feel like, you know, I’m not really mindful of exactly where I need to put my foot, I’m kind of making body adjustments to try to get my feet in just where I am weight wise and everything. And it’s very hard to control exactly where your foots gonna land every time if you don’t get everything else sort of lined up. So yeah, I could definitely see, I probably need somebody to look at me to, maybe I’ll solve that Id event issue.


Dr. Emily Splichal  22:51

You know, you could record yourself also. So I do a lot of training, like body awareness training. And just with my background in gymnastics, there has to be a high level of body awareness. So if I can’t perceive my body and space just because of not training that skill set, and then I go running, I don’t know if my foot is under my center of gravity or not like, I just don’t know what that feels like. So if you video yourself, and you can see what you think feels like under your center of gravity, but it’s actually in front. Now you have set that parameter and you say, okay, when that feels like that, it’s actually in front of me. So if I move it back now, that is what center feels like. So definitely film yourself.


Doug Lotz  23:34

You mentioned a little ways back something about foot types. And I don’t know if I know of different foot types. So I’m curious to hear more about that. And, you know, can someone diagnose their foot type? What or where does that go in terms of thinking about all these things that we’ve been talking about?


Dr. Emily Splichal  23:50

Yeah, so there’s three main foot types. And I actually go into this in my book, but then on my website, which is barefoot, strong, calm, and you can set a camera up and stand behind it or actually put it on video. So you’re just doing this and then you can screenshot it. And you want to be standing directly in front of the camera but facing away so you can see your heels. And then based off of that you’re looking at the alignment of the heel and your Achilles tendon. And that’s giving you the understanding of are you protonating, neutral or supinating. And those might be terms that some of the listeners have heard. Another one would be high arch, neutral courts, and then flat feet. But those really don’t mean anything when you dive into the feet and foot types a little bit more. But let’s just say for the sake of this if you have a flatter foot, which really means pronation or collapsing in, that makes your foot a little bit unstable or slower, weaker, but I’m loosely using that word weaker. And you might be susceptible to certain injuries. Neutral is what we’re trying to achieve right everything’s in alignment and then Higher arch is actually supinated or more rolling to the outside of the foot, you typically have this rigidity in the foot, that type of foot is typically stiffer, it doesn’t unlock well, so they get stress fractures easily they get it band issues easily, they might sprain their ankle, and there are certain injuries that go to each of them. And then this is where the footwear industry is used to guide individuals. And say, if you have a pronated, for a flat foot, you need motion controlled shoe. Or if you have a high arch foot, you need a cushioned shoe. And then that’s how they would navigate it. I use foot types to guide people into programming. So you need to do more foot strengthening, you need to do more foot mobilization. And that’s how I use it


Doug Lotz  25:47

when we’re talking about, you know, these different types and pronation supranet is a lot of that is that your foot anatomy is it your leg and muscle anatomy, like what what drives is it just a imbalance in muscles is that a combination of all the above what


Dr. Emily Splichal  26:01

makes you have one or another, it depends on the individual. So it could be functional, which means it’s muscular strength or lack of strength. Or it could be structural, where some people actually have ligament laxity. So sometimes people will say double jointed, so they’re very mobile. So that would be something in your ligaments are not supporting the foot sufficiently that’s more structural Fox functional is something that you can train the foot, the muscles, the coordination. So honestly, it depends on that we’re


Doug Lotz  26:31

getting an assessment is important. So back to the industry. So remembering back in 2009 2010, when everybody was getting all crazy about this stuff, and you know, rebelling against the the shoes that were currently on the market, and people were releasing new things that were you know, Vibram Five Fingers and whatnot, has the it seems to me like just looking at it from the outside not really getting into it that the foot wear industry has responded a little bit and at least created Nikes Nike for you without you know, there’s there’s a lot of there’s at least paying lip service or awareness to the fact that more padding is not necessarily always the best way to go. how, you know, as somebody kind of more in into it in the industry or in consulting rooms, how have they been? Have they evolved? Or are they still kind of just set in their old ways of more technology, more stuff is better?


Dr. Emily Splichal  27:23

Yes. So the footwear industry, I’ll just give us a statistic statistic to help listeners. So the footwear industry is a $300 billion market. So $300 billion of that about 15 billion is minimal shoes. So that’s like what 5%. So just to kind of give a perspective on how large it may or may not be, but where it comes into play is companies like Nike, so I’ve done consulting for Nike for years. And this was, you know, 2010 1112. So kind of off of the offshoot of this barefoot running boom. And it was with their minimal shoe division, the innovation kitchen for minimal shoes. And you could see that the latter part of the years that I was consulting for them that they started to kind of be like, wow, where we kind of did that minimal thing, let’s get to this sexy design of the shoe. And all they wanted was like the exterior and like what other tech Can we put in because it’s it’s their business model. And they’re one of the largest players. And they at the end of the day, say that if there’s a shoe that has more structure, and aesthetically, it looks a certain way, and it sells we’re going to make what sells, they’re not in the business to change the industry, where like vivo barefoot and zero shoes, and ultra and any of these other minimal shoe companies, their mission is to try to change the industry, any of these major players, Nike, Adidas new balance, they’re not trying to change the industry, they have too much revenue, there is a very powerful pocket of people who understand and that pocket is growing. It’s not growing, you know, maybe at the rate that sometimes people think it should or could, but it’s there. It’s a constant and it’s a category in 2008. Nine, it was not a category, the fact that it is that’s huge. And that gives me believe that that will continue to be a trend and an impact in the footwear industry. Yeah,


Doug Lotz  29:30

yeah. Not it’s it’s the fact that, you know, if they’re guided by sales, and they’ve made it a category that they’re actually paying attention to, I think that gives credence to the idea that that it’s, you know, growing in awareness. So that’s good to hear. So let’s just get get back to the let’s get back to me for a second. Let’s talk about sensory stimulation for the feet and why that’s important. Again, I just started the whole minimal thing just to run better, but it sounds like there’s A whole lot more to it down to this nabasa technology. Let’s talk a little bit about that. Let’s talk a bit about, you know, that sensory input to the feet and how this technology interplays. With that,


Dr. Emily Splichal  30:11

yeah, absolutely. I love to talk about sensory, because sensory really is what feeds your movement. And what I will tell patients or when I do trainings and things like that, is that we want to remember and appreciate that sensory information has to come in first, and then there’s a movement, you don’t move without information coming in first, because I don’t know how to move right, I need to know, what is the surface that I’m standing on? How fast am I moving? What is the weight, there’s so many variables that are sensory based. So the sensory of the foot on the ground, and the surface hardness, the vibration, the texture, all of that stuff is necessary to coordinate how we move and stand upright. Without without it, we lose our balance, we don’t have as good of posture, we move less efficiently. So if we take a deep dive at the foot, the bottom of the foot, the skin has special nerves. And it’s actually the same nerves as our hands the bottom of the palm of our hand. And those nerves are called tactile or touch nerves, or McCann receptors. And they’re just responsive to certain stimulation, the four main stimulation that comes through the feet are pressure, vibration, which is ground reaction forces, skin stretch, and texture. And then the more information of those four that comes in, the better the movement. Output number also is a product line that I started three years ago. And it is a textured insole, mat, flooring company, all of our products are based off of texture. So one of the nerves in the bottom of the feet, or one of the type of nerves in the bottom of the feet is what Nebo so targets. Now, if any of the listeners have ever heard of vibration platforms, power plate is one of them. And you’ll stand on this platform and it vibrates at a certain frequency and it wakes up the nervous system and it strengthens the muscles you can think very similar to that, that the negosyo insoles or mats and flooring when you wear them or you train on them. The sensory through texture, strengthens the muscles, trains the brain and creates better balanced posture and movement. That’s that’s kind of why starting a Bosu. That’s why it’s so powerful. And that’s where I encourage listeners to explore that side because it’s it’s really so powerful and it hasn’t been explored by many.


Doug Lotz  32:38

Yeah, as somebody who’s sort of obviously explored this a little bit I do feel different when I’m, you know, I have now I have like there’s a pair of boots that I wear all the time that is definitely not minimal. And I definitely feel very different when I happen to those versus any of these other, you know, even just a pair of loafers that I used to wear, like all the time, and I just, you know, just a lot more going on under my feet. And I feel very different and very differently connected with what where I am and what I’m doing. But it sounds like this is kind of another level Do you wear so these inserts you wear socks still with them? Or is it like a barefoot thing? Or like what’s the relationship of the you know, put to the numbers or insert your shoes?


Dr. Emily Splichal  33:18

Yeah, so you could wear them barefoot, or you could wear thin socks. And so the thicker the sock the more barrier you create between any sensory information. So we will tell people, no socks or thin socks, and then the more you wear them, let’s say throughout your entire day, then you get that continuous stimulation and strengthening and talking to the nervous system. We do get asked a lot that if you’re wearing minimal shoes, and the whole point of minimal shoes is to be minimal right to take away everything. Then why are you putting something back in what we often say is that one, our insoles are two millimeters thick, so they’re very thin, we’re not adding a big bulky orthotic to the shoe. But all minimal shoes, even the most minimal ones still create a barrier between the ground and the nervous system. It’s still taking away some sensory stimulation. So we’re bringing in sensory stimulation into the shoe to help offset the fact that you just put your shoes on and a lot of people will report that they feel the ground faster. We have runners who wear them and they say that they stabilize faster, they don’t strike the ground as hard they don’t get fatigued. They no longer have plantar fasciitis. So there’s a lot of really great benefits to it.


Doug Lotz  34:38

That’s a neat trick. Sounds like a pretty good hack. I’m gonna I’m definitely gonna check it out. It’s really interesting. And I think he said is are like mats and flooring, like like yoga mats or like kind of stuff.


Dr. Emily Splichal  34:51

So yoga mat size, but there’s a lot of people that will now lift barefoot, so maybe they’re kettlebells or their squat. So then any of that training if you’re training mean barefoot squats, kettlebells, whatever it is, and you are standing on a surface, you really want to be thinking about surface you’re standing on and could you get more neural feedback from the surface that you’re standing on. Hence, if you stand on a Bosu mat and you bring in texture, you get more activation of the brain and the nervous system that is a more effective way to work out. So you could call them hacks if you want to me I call it kind of more efficient. Like, if you know how to get more out of your body. Why would you not get more out of your body? That’s biohackers


Doug Lotz  35:37

Yeah, exactly. Yes, sir. Just real quick on the whole weightlifting thing. I mean, I remember when I first decided that I was not gonna wear shoes, or I was gonna wear minimal shoes, weightlifting, because family or somebody with cars, you’re gonna drop a weight on your foot and like break something I’m like, if I dropped the weight on my foot with a full on shoe, it would still crush, like so. I think there’s sort of this notion that footwear is like supremely protective and special, but like, you know, I don’t know, I was just gonna sort of put my two cents out there that it’s probably doing more harm than good to the kind of boxing yourself up and not really giving yourself all the balancing sort of flexibility you need, especially when you’re lifting heavy weight.


Dr. Emily Splichal  36:20

Yeah, from from the same way that I referenced it earlier that you could see a sensory benefit of taking your shoes off. And you could see a mechanical or the range of motion, right? So do you get more more ankle range of motion when you’re barefoot or foot mobility? And you can spread the toes? Yes. And then how does that also affect the sensory information that’s coming in. So I am a huge proponent of training barefoot, and if people are opposed to training barefoot, then I say at least do your warm up barefoot, and then put your shoes back on. And then really, I would put in a bow so insole in the shoes, as well, you stay as connected as you can.


Doug Lotz  36:58

So what about your day to day footwear? I’m thinking you know, like, I’m not a diehard person, myself, but I don’t see, you know, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t necessarily see you as the kind of person walking around, you know, barefoot the social event. So what’s your take on on the, you know, the active urban person or not even around just anybody going out to normal, your normal business functions, social events and everything, you know, how do you how do you sort of work that into the whole you know, barefoot lifestyle as well?


Dr. Emily Splichal  37:32

Yeah, what what I would say I am barefoot right now, because I’m in my office under my desk is minimal shoe with an elbow insole in it, the minimal shoe company is called Lisa Li SS Om. And it’s kind of a women’s dressy f leisure shoe. So that’s what I have. Now for, you know, going out social, let’s say if I was going to a wedding, or you know, I’ve many patients that this would kind of mimic is I will wear the anti barefoot shoe of probably probably a stiletto if I have an actual event. But the reality around this of what I tell patients when I was practicing in New York City for years, is that if you do that, very sporadically, and intermittently, you understand it stressing the feet, what are you doing when you get out of those shoes to reset the body and reset the feet. And that’s I think the reality and the realistic side of it. So let’s say I did that and I wore a pair of heels, my feet probably would be killing me that night. And the next day I would be releasing my feet, I would be rolling my calves, I’d be opening up my hips and then I wouldn’t wear them the next day. Because I don’t want repetitive stress on my body or on my feet. But yeah, no, I definitely have a shoe collection that is the minimal shoes that that I love to wear during the day. I think the nice thing of having the minimal shoes or being barefoot is you could just kind of zip around so quickly. And some of the less convenient shoes just slow you down. And where I am in my life. I just need to me be moving fast. I need to feel the ground and go


Doug Lotz  39:10

I imagine a lot of people since you know COVID started have probably Wow. When they are getting back in into their uncomfortable dress shoes that they’re gonna be wearing to the office. They’re gonna be like what the hell? I’ve been in stocks or therapy for, you know, months at a time and really kind of for the first time probably experiencing that. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s maybe more of a push towards the movement once everybody’s only back and out again. So


Dr. Emily Splichal  39:37

I just will be busy when everyone


Doug Lotz  39:39

Yeah, exactly. Like this never used to happen to me before but now I feel like Yeah, yeah, no, you’re fit isn’t supposed to fit in that tiny little triangle. It’s been really great speaking with you. I know you mentioned a couple times your website your book, but you know, just in summary where where can people find out more about you and Universal and what else you have going on?



Yeah, so my practice so for my podiatry is my name so And then my book is Barefoot Strong. The website is the same. You can buy it on Amazon and iTunes or Barnes and Noble. And then Naboso It’s also on Amazon. And then I’m on Instagram, which is my name Dr.Emilydpm. And I’m sure you could Google if you don’t remember any of those.



Well, thank you very much again, and thanks to all the listeners out there. Remember, you can follow cardiac cast on Instagram at cardio cast app. Please also subscribe to this podcast and leave us a review. And thank you again one more time. Dr. Emily Splichal. Thanks so much for joining us.


Dr. Emily Splichal  40:45

Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.



Hey, everyone, if you like the CardioCast CoolDown, please don’t forget to leave us a review wherever you’re listening. You can also connect with us on Instagram at cardio cast app, and check out our website, cardio cast dot app and check out our app on the App Store or Play Store. See you next week.