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Why Barefoot Shoes? The Best Comfort Shoe

bottom of barefoot shoe

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I found a pair of in-expensive barefoot shoes (compared to my runners) online and thought I would try them out.  After wearing them around the streets of Buenos Aires I was surprised how good they felt.  I also recently wore them hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and was happy to have worn them.  I thought about the differences between ‘normal’ shoes and barefoot shoes and how they feel different and wanted to share my findings. Find out why barefoot shoes are better for your health. Learn why wearing barefoot shoes can improve foot strength, balance, and overall well-being.

 

me wearing barefoot shoes - why barefoot shoes?

What and Why Barefoot Shoes?

Barefoot shoes are designed to feel like the natural shape and function of the foot. Unlike normal shoes, which usually have thick soles and feel rigid, barefoot shoes provide a minimal amount of cushioning but maximum flexibility. In fact, they are made to allow your feet to move naturally, as if you were walking barefoot.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The most straightforward benefit to barefoot walking is that in theory, walking barefoot more closely restores our ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as our gait,” explains Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon with Hoag Orthopaedic Institute [1].

 

Health Benefits of Barefoot Shoes

1. Improved Foot Strength

Normal shoes can make your foot muscles weak over time due to the amount of support they have. In contrast, barefoot shoes help your feet to improve its muscle and tendon strength as you support yourself, as you would when walking without shoes.

 

2. Enhanced Balance

Barefoot shoes help improve balance and body stability as your feet are able to better feel the ground beneath. This provides sensory feedback helping to improve balance and coordination, particularly with uneven terrain.

 

3. Better Posture

Your posture can improve from wearing barefoot shoes. For instance, normal shows have a higher heal that can affect your natural alignment.  Barefoot shoes provide a more natural stance which can reduce back and neck pain and improve posture.  In addition, I have found from wearing barefoot shoes that I am able to much more naturally stand straight with shoulders back and chest out, where this is more difficult to do with normal shoes.

 

4. Reduced Risk of Foot Injuries

By wearing normal athletic shoes my feet have become sore, my toes scrunched up and I have had plantar fasciitis.   Since using my barefoot shoes, having walked hundreds of miles in them, my feet feel much better.  These shoes promote  a more natural unrestrictive foot movement.

 

5. Natural Foot Function

The best thing about barefoot shoes is they allow your feet to function and move as they were naturally intended to. This means better movement, flexibility, and overall foot motion.  As a result, it improves your gait and reduces your chances of injury.

 

barefoot shoe from the front

How Barefoot Shoes Differ from Normal Shoes

1. Design and Structure

Barefoot shoes have a different look, feel and design than normal shoes.  They are usually lightweight and have a flexible base and structure. Normal shoes, by comparison, are more rigid, more narrow at the toes and restrict or confine foot movement.

 

2. Sole Thickness and Flexibility

The bottom soles of barefoot shoes are a lot thinner than those of normal shoes. This thin, flexible sole allows your feet to feel the ground, allowing better sensory feedback and natural foot movements.

 

3. Toe Box Shape

A normal or traditional shoe tends to crunch your toes as they restrict how your toes spread out or splay as you walk.  This may cause issues with your toes and feet over time.  Barefoot shoes have a wide toe box as part of their design, which improves balance and stability due to the ability of your toes to adjust to each step.

 

4. Heel-to-Toe Drop

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between barefoot shoes and normal shoes are the drop from heel to toe.  With normal shoes this tends to be large, especially with athletic shoes with large cushioned heels.  In contrast, barefoot shoes have a zero-drop design meaning there is no difference in the height between the heal and toe. This provides for a more natural gait.

 

Barefoot minimalist shoe

Adjusting to Wearing Barefoot Shoes

1. Start Slowly

Switching to barefoot shoes should be done slowly over time.  Begin wearing them for short period and slowly increase the time you wear them to allow your feet to adjust.  Keep in mind, normal shoes have changed the way your foot works, adjusted the muscles you use and the position of your foot as you walk.  It will take time to change this back to how your foot was intended to work.  Yes, you may feel some pain as you switch to barefoot shoes but a gradual approach will help prevent injuries and allow your muscles to adapt.

 

2. Exercises to Strengthen Feet

To help the transition to barefoot shoes you may want to try exercises to strengthen your feet. Do toe curls and arch lifts as well as balance exercises to prepare your feet for barefoot shoes. Over the years I’ve found my toes have become less flexible and less responsive as they haven’t functioned properly in normal shoes for a long time. Thus, I am constantly stretching them.

 

3. Listening to Your Body

It is important to pay attention to how your body feels when wearing barefoot shoes. For instance, they can have some impact on your muscles, tendons, ankles, knee joints and spine as you get use to them. Most importantly, don’t overdo it – take a break to avoid becoming injured.

 

4. Finding the Right Fit

Make sure the barefoot shoes you choose are the right fit, that they have enough room in the toe box for your toes to splay and that they fit well around the heel and middle of your foot. Try on a few pairs to be sure.

 

QUOTE

As for the complex ways of living, I love them not, however much I practice them. In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth. 

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

Conclusion: Why Barefoot Shoes? Because Your Feet Will Love Them!

Barefoot shoes will definitely feel different when you wear them.  You will notice more room for your toes, and will feel the ground beneath you.  You may also need some time to adjust to how they feel, however, they will improve your foot strength, balance and posture, while also improving the way you walk. However, if you do consider switching to barefoot minimalist shoes, start slowly and pay attention to how you feel.  In summary, I hope you experience the same benefits I have as you step into a more comfortable and healthier future.  

Check out The Fastest Way to Lose 10 Pounds in a Month.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Therefore always seek the support and guidance of your physician when you are unsure about any health issues.

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Alcohol? Red Wine is the Better Choice

Pouring a glass of red wineChoose red wine when drinking alcohol for a number of health benefits. First, it contains antioxidants like resveratrol, which support heart health by improving cholesterol levels and blood flow. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that boost overall health. Plus, moderate consumption of it may help improve gut health and support longevity. With these benefits, it stands out as a healthier option compared to other alcoholic beverages. So, next time you want to drink alcohol, choose red wine for its health benefits.

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