Your Foot Is A Tripod: The Truth About Standing Up
If you've shopped for KEEN shoes, or your kid wears KEEN shoes (or you've just heard about KEEN from an enthusiastic friend), you probably know we're a teeny, tiny bit obsessed — not just with hiking boots and water shoes, but with the feet that go inside them. We’re not foot doctors, we’re just big fans of letting feet be themselves. And we’ve learned a thing or two about how they do it.
Your feet find balance and stability through three distinct spots.
Most humans have two feet. But there’s something you might not know about standing on two feet. Yoga instructors, weightlifters, and physical therapists all understand one crucial thing about the art of standing up:
Each of your feet is actually a tripod that supports your weight through three anchoring points.
Yep, just like a bar stool (or one of those mortar and pestle things you use to make guacamole), your feet find balance and stability through three distinct spots. In medical terms (warning: gibberish ahead), your “foot tripod” is formed by the center of the calcaneus, the head of the first metatarsal and the head of the fifth metatarsal. In plain English, these are your heel, the base of your big toe, and the base of your pinky toe.
This triangle, along with the arch in your midfoot, is what distributes pressure evenly, helping you with well-aligned posture, the flexibility of your joints, and the strength of your leg muscles. Have you ever struggled to avoid slouching as you walk, or lost your balance during Mountain Pose in yoga class? That may be a sign that your foot tripod could use a little attention.
To get the fit just right, we use an anatomically shaped last:
So you may have both feet on the ground, but you’re not really making a solid connection to the earth unless you are engaging all three contact points on each foot.
No clue what we’re talking about? Get a sense of your own foot tripod with this little experiment:
1. Take your shoes off and stand barefoot or in socks on a hard surface (like a wood or linoleum floor).
2. Stand up straight with your feet on the ground about hip-width apart.
3. Lift all of your toes up off the floor, but keep the rest of your foot on the ground. Feel the three points on each foot (heel, ball of foot near big toe, ball of foot near pinky toe)?
4. Now let your toes lower back down to the floor. Try to keep your weight equally divided between all six points.
The importance of the foot tripod is just one reason why KEEN makes all kinds of footwear (from water sandals and beach shoes to hiking boots and casual shoes) with arch support and a roomy, toe-wiggling fit. Giving your foot enough space to spread out means all your tripod points can be level, anchoring your leg to the insole (and, by extension, to the ground). When feet are cramped or tilted in their shoes, your tripod doesn’t get to do its tripod-y thing.
EVERY KEEN STARTS WITH A SECURE HEEL FIT
So stand tall on your own two feet (and their six little mini-feet) in shoes that give them the space they deserve. Here are a few of our most popular products that offer KEEN’s signature “original fit” (nice and generous, with room for your 1st and 5th metatarsals):
WOMEN’S NEWPORT H2 SANDAL
These hybrid water sandals and outdoor shoes also happen to be KEEN’s all-time bestseller.
MEN’S TARGHEE CASUAL SHOE
These men’s casual shoes have the iconic Targhee fit of our bestselling hiking boot, but in an everyday shoe.
LITTLE KIDS’ STINGRAY SANDALS
These kids’ sandals will let their feet spread out and protect their little toes from getting stubbed.