Remember being a carefree kid, kicking off your shoes and running through the wet grass with pure joy? Although we can still do this, as we get older and step out into the world the need to wear shoes increases. However, some of these shoes can lead to foot problems. Wearing stiff, rigid shoes is like putting the feet in casts day after day. This can cause the muscles of the feet to be underused, weak and potentially cause injuries. Our feet were structured to support us and carry us through our day. Our ancestors didn’t wear shoes and there are still cultures that don’t wear shoes. It is thought that this shoeless lifestyle can lead to significantly fewer foot injuries. So, while it is not possible for us to go barefoot every day, there is a solution!
Wearing barefoot shoes gives you the same feeling as going barefoot. These flexible minimalist shoes have a thin sole, little to no cushioning, a zero heel-to-toe drop and a wide toe box. So why does this matter?
Let’s have a look at the top 5 reasons that barefoot shoes are good for your feet.
- More Efficient Stride
Traditional thick-soled cushioned shoes allow for a heel strike, which can cause a jarring impact that can lead to injuries. A barefoot shoe leads to the natural action of striking with the mid or forefoot which produces a lighter step and reduces the stress put on the feet.
- Better Balance
Because of the zero-drop, your toes and heels are the same distance to the ground. This puts the body in proper alignment leading to better posture and balance which could prevent some common foot injuries. Barefoot shoes also have a wide toe box that let’s your toes spread out naturally. This also increases stability by providing a wider base; not to mention how comfortable a non-constricting shoe is! When we stuff our feet into tight shoes, it can lead to painful foot deformities.
- Strengthen Your Feet
Barefoot shoes have thin, flexible soles. This allows the foot to move through a full range of motion, which can naturally lead to stronger muscles and ligaments. A stronger foot can mean less injuries.
Feeling the ground beneath you not only feels good but also stimulates pressure points on your feet that can lead to improved energy, circulation and organ function. However, you never know what may be lurking on the ground beneath you. The thin soles of barefoot shoes still give you these benefits but will keep your feet safe. They protect the wearer from sharp objects, hot pavement, slippery conditions, harmful fungus and more.
Barefoot shoes are extremely lightweight and comfortable. This can lessen foot strain and muscle fatigue and also improve endurance.
If you are considering barefoot shoes, there is a transition period if you are not used to it. Start slowly and increase gradually as your feet strengthen.