"Once you start Tai Chi, you begin a lifelong search for the perfect pair of shoes."
The post received a great deal of replies from the tai chi community - and rightly so. The feet are fundamental in the Tai Chi dynamic of rooting to the floor, and are pushed against the ground to create a "rebounding" force that travels up the body for release of energy for martial purposes.
Your toes should slightly grip the ground, and the heels should be in contact with the floor. This makes the foot substantial at the front and back, but hollow in the middle. The arch works as a spring, so it should not be pushed to the floor. This is achieved by keeping the foot relaxed, and not straightened.
Your foot should also remain upright, and should not roll, rock or twist. So before practicing, ensure your ankles are loose and warmed up.
To support the unique Tai Chi requirements, making sure you have the perfect pair of tai chi shoes is really important. They should:
- Support the foot, without constriction or padding the arch too much.
- Allow you to feel the ground.
- Improve the grip on your chosen practice ground.
- Cushion the sole without losing feeling of the ground.