Perhaps you have been hearing more about minimalist and barefoot shoes recently and are curious if they might be right for you. First you must understand what a minimalist shoe is. Well, it is basically what it sounds like. A minimalist shoe has little to no cushioning, no arch support, a wide toe box and no stability devices. It is footwear that has little interference with the natural movement of the foot. These shoes are extremely lightweight, have a very flexible sole and have a zero heel to toe drop. You may be wondering what the benefits of wearing this type of shoe would be. Let’s have a look.
1. Better Shock Absorption Throughout The Body
Wearing a minimalist shoe encourages you to land more on your midfoot and toes. This can create a lower impact landing and less shock that is sent throughout the body.
2. More Efficient Stride
You naturally take shorter, quicker steps in minimalist shoes. This can lead to a smoother and more efficient stride.
3. Strengthen Your Feet
Wearing over-protective footwear can weaken the muscles in your feet. Wearing a minimalist shoe can help strengthen the muscles in your feet. The shoe allows for the feet to move more freely and engage the muscles more. This can lead to fewer injuries in the long run.
4. Improve Balance and Posture
When you wear a shoe that has a raised heel (even a slight raise) this imbalance causes the body to lean forward and the spine to compensate for this unnatural position. A minimalist shoe puts the body in a more natural alignment. Because the heel and toe are at the same level your posture is improved, creating less strain on your joints. The toe box of a minimalist shoe is wider, allowing your toes to spread out and give you better balance.
5. Better Ground Feel
Minimalist shoes have thin flexible soles that provide a lot of ground feel. Having a better connection to the terrain below your feet allows you to adjust whatever surface you are walking on to prevents slips, trips, and falls. There are also reflexology benefits to wearing these thin-soled shoes. Walking on objects such as rocks and sticks stimulate pressure points in the feet that can lead to improved energy, better circulation, better organ function and more.
There are many benefits to switching to a minimalist shoe but there are also risks. Things like gait, posture, foot movement and other biomechanics will be altered. It is very important to not jump fully into making this footwear change all at once. Do so gradually to allow the feet and body to adjust to prevent injuries. It is common to experience minor aches and pains throughout the transition period, but you’ll love having stronger, healthier feet in the end.
My favorite minimalist shoes are Leguano Barefoot Shoes. They have a wide variety of styles that you can wear for all activities. I wear mine walking, hiking, to the gym, to the office and just running errands. They even have winter boots! Check out their styles at https://leguanoshoes.com
If you have any questions regarding which style might be best suited for you, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you out!