2 Critical Exercises to Prepare Your Feet for Minimalist Footwear

If your feet hurt in your new minimalist shoes, lack of preparation may be to blame.



Many of us have thought about using minimalist footwear but weren't sure how to get started. Prepare for your new footwear by using these two simple excercises that will bring you more comfort and success.

Abduction Adduction

This exercise stimulates the muscles that support the arches of your foot, as well as improves the ability for your hips, knees, and ankles to work together the way they are supposed to – without pain.


  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a ninety-degree angle and your feet flat on the wall. Keep your feet parallel, spaced about three inches apart and pointed straight up toward the ceiling, throughout the exercise. Keep your upper body relaxed, with your palms up and your arms flat on the floor at about a 45-degree angle from your body.
  2. Continuously press your heels into the wall throughout the exercise.
  3. Bring your knees together slowly until they touch.
  4. Bring your knees apart slowly so your feet roll out to the sides. The bottoms of your feet will come off of the wall and the outsides of your feet will touch the wall.
  5. Return your knees to the start position to complete one repetition of the exercise.
  6. Perform 30-60 repetitions.

READ MORE: The Simple Path to Minimalist Running

Supine Foot Circles and Point Flexes

This exercise improves ankle mobility and strengthens muscles of the lower leg and hip.


  1. Lie on your back with one leg extended and the other leg bent and pulled up toward your chest.
  2. Clasp your hands behind the bent knee.
  3. Keep the foot on the floor pointed straight up toward the ceiling and your thigh muscles relaxed. Keep the knee and ankle in alignment with the hip.
  4. Circle the lifted foot one direction 20 times, then the other way 20 times. Make sure the knee stays absolutely still with movement coming from the ankle and not the knee. Move your ankle as if you are scraping out the inside of an ice cream bowl.
  5. For the point/flexes, bring the toes back toward the shin to flex, then reverse the direction to point the foot forward. Do 20 point flexes.
  6. Switch legs and repeat.

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