Walking barefoot is the most natural form of movement. When you are barefoot, your toes spread out, your feet have full range of motion and you can feel the ground beneath you. There is nothing better than the freedom to move naturally! However, being barefoot is not always practical. There are times when you are required to wear footwear (such as a restaurant) or where it is not safe to be barefoot (on hot pavement or a rocky trail). Luckily, it is possible to get that same barefoot feeling in shoe. They are called barefoot shoes! These shoes are designed to closely mimic the same movements and feelings of walking or running in bare feet. You may also hear them described as minimalist shoes.
So, what makes a shoe a barefoot shoe?
1. Wide Toe Box
A traditional running shoe tends to squish the toes together. A barefoot shoe allows the toes to spread out as they naturally would when barefoot. This not only feels fantastic but can lead to better balance and stability.
2. Thin, Flexible Sole
The sole of a barefoot shoe should be extremely flexible. It should not hold back the natural movement of the foot. All of the muscles and tendons in the feet are engaged, strengthening weak feet. The thin sole allows for better interaction and feedback from the ground. This proprioception sends signals to the brain that can improve balance, help with a more efficient stride and overall better performance.
3. No Added Support
A barefoot shoe has no artificial arch or ankle support and no cushioning. The foot is required to do all the work! This leads to stronger, more powerful feet.
4. Zero Heel to Toe Drop
Most traditional shoes have extra cushioning, especially in the heel. This raises the heel above the toes and puts the body at an unnatural angle. This can lead to poor posture and possible injuries. A barefoot shoe has a zero heel to toe drop, meaning your entire foot is on the same level to the ground, just as you are when you are barefoot. This keeps the body in proper alignment and can lead to less stress on the joints and fewer injuries.
Barefoot shoes should weigh as little as possible. They won’t weigh you down like a traditional running shoe. You’ll use less energy with each step!
If you are in the market for a true barefoot shoe, check out Leguano Barefoot Shoes. Their zero-drop sole and comfortable, flexible upper gives you the closest feeling to being barefoot while wearing a shoe. Weighing in at 4 to 5 ounces, they are one of the lightest shoes you will find. Hand-crafted in Germany, they are a premium barefoot shoe. Most styles are unisex and are great for casual or athletic wear. Check out all their styles at https://leguanoshoes.com/.