What are the key features of barefoot shoes?
- Anatomically shaped toe box – a toe box wider than your toes allowing them to splay out naturally. A widely spread foot gives you a natural stability and an ideal base of support.
- Zero-drop – a barefoot shoe has both flat sole and insole. It encourages a natural and correct body posture. Regular shoes with elevated heel throw off the alignment of the spine and cause bad body mechanics.
- Flexible sole – a soft and thin sole enabling natural gait including foot roll – pronation with no constraints caused by a stiff sole. The contact of the foot and the ground, just like when walking barefoot, stimulates the foot sole, ensures good blood circulation and thermoregulation and strengthens your foot arch.
Why are barefoot shoes so wide?
- It is because our toes are naturally wide, too, in order to provide our body with stability and necessary support. Regular shoes eliminate this function of your feet and push your body to use and develop other, unnatural, stabilizing mechanisms, which can lead to back pain and other health issues.
What are the benefits of a thin sole?
- A thin sole enables your feet to feel the ground even while wearing shoes. Through this sensitizing, your feet muscles are trained and strengthened. A human foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Through its anatomy the foot is meant to absorb shocks and provide balance and correct posture support. And just like any other muscle group, it needs to be well formed and strengthened.
What is a zero-drop?
- A zero-drop shoe is a flat shoe from toe to heel. Ever since we are born, our feet are naturally able to function well with no need for external support or elevated heel. A high heel or an extra cushioning under the hindfoot throw off the alignment of your spine, cause subsequent changes to your body mechanics, add extra joint pressure and alter your body posture. It also affects the shortening of the Achilles tendon.
What is a size excess? Why do barefoot shoes fit bigger?
- There should be a difference between the length of your foot and the inner length of the shoe, providing you with some extra space inside of your shoe (size excess). This free space in the toe box enables your feet to wiggle naturally in the shoe. With every step the body weight causes the foot to splay out and the shoe needs to offer adequate space for this.
What is the correct size excess?
- The minimal size excess of closed-toe shoes is 3-4 mm. Smaller size excess means your shoe is too tight with not enough space for the natural foot roll. When shopping for kids footwear, you need to keep in mind the rapid growth of the foot and choose shoes with at least 10-12 mm size excess. When choosing the first walker shoes or open toe shoes (sandals) your wiggle room can be smaller, about 5-7 mm. With shoes for adults the size excess should be 4-6 mm (with sandals it may be a little less) and with running shoes about 1 cm. When it comes to the width of the shoe, you should be fine with about 2-3 mm of extra space.
What is a dominant toe?
- We talk of a dominant toe when your first toe outgrows the second and third toe by 20-30%. This foot shape needs sufficient space in the toe box to eliminate the toe being deformed and pressed towards the other toes.
What is a fan-shaped foot?
- Shape of foot with a rather wide foot front, narrowing significantly towards the heel. When choosing your shoes, you need to look for a pair with a wide toe box and with the possibility of tightening your shoes around the heel.
When is the right time to start wearing barefoot shoes?
- Any time is the right time – regardless of whether it concerns a child, an adult or the elderly. Nevertheless, our advice is to start gradually, on soft surfaces in nature, where you can profit the most from the thin and flexible sole. The best way is to choose your first barefoot shoes with a 4-5 mm thick sole, or to keep the removable insole in your footwear. Try to avoid putting weight on your heels while walking and pay attention to how your body reacts. With time and conscious movement, you will soon be able to walk longer distances, wear shoes with thinner sole and maybe even walk on harder surfaces.
Which are the best shoes for your child’s first steps?
- No need to hurry. As long as your child is in the phase of combining walking and crawling, he or she will be fine with non-slip socks, skinners or leather baby shoes.
- First shoes should be as soft as possible, with a fully flexible sole in all directions, with a lower cut in order to enable the ankle to move freely. And even though the first shoes will not last, the size excess should be maximum of 5-8 mm.
- See if your child’s gait looks more or less the same regardless of whether wearing shoes or walking barefoot, make sure the shoe fits well the heel area and your child does not twist the toes inwards nor keeps on stumbling. Your child is all set, get ready to run!
Are the barefoot shoes suitable for everybody?
- They are suitable for everyone with healthy feet. Always consult a professional, for instance a physiotherapist, if you have any health problems, malformations, if you suffer from pain etc. Physiotherapists are usually open to barefoot shoes but might advise you to combine them with wearing insoles for instance. Due to the extra space in barefoot footwear, it is usually easier to insert the corrective aids into the barefoot shoes as opposed to regular shoes.
Which materials are barefoot shoes made of?
- All information can be found in the description of each product.
- In general, barefoot shoes manufactures are conscious and produce shoes which encourage natural mobility and a healthy life style. This comes hand in hand with sustainable fashion, eco-friendly production and recycling.
- Apart from shoes made of leather, synthetic materials and cotton, many brands offer shoes made of hemp, cork, synthetic recycled materials, vegan alternative to leather, organic cotton, organic leather etc.
Hand-me-downs: yes, or no?
- Barefoot shoes have a thin sole, so they do not tend to be worn down as much as regular shoes. Nevertheless, the shoes tend to take the shape after a particular foot what may cause deformities both to the sole of the shoe and the heel area. Therefor wearing hand-me-downs is not the best idea.
- You should always decide based on the condition of the particular pair of shoes, especially the shape of the sole and the condition of the heel area.
- You should also keep in mind how much time your child might spend wearing the particular pair of shoes. When it comes to wearing gumboots for an hour or so per month, hand-me-downs should not be a problem. However, when it comes to a child wearing used slippers for several hours a day, it might be a whole other story.
How do I measure my foot size properly?
- There is an easy and quite accurate way to figure out the size of your feet: place your foot against a wall and draw a line in front of your longest toe. When drawing the outline of your foot pay close attention to the inclination of the pen. The measuring device Plus 12 may be helpful, too.
What should I do when my foot is in-between two sizes?
- Do neither overestimate nor underestimate the correct size excess. Even for adults we recommend at least 4 mm of extra space, so if the shoe has less than that, it is too small for you. At the same time, it is not a good idea to buy shoes with more than 13 mm of wiggle room.
- Try on both sizes of the shoe and see for yourself which pair fits you better – the right fit depends also on the size around the ankle and the external size of the shoe. Ballerina flats and open toe sandals do not call for as much extra space as some other designs. Even with a lot of extra space in front of your toe, a shoe with less space in the instep, tighter around the heel and with laces or straps can bring you the right comfort.
- You might want to look into the offer of a different brand as the sizes of each brand vary.
How do I care for my barefoot shoes?
- Dry – take out the insole and leave the shoes to dry in a room temperature (do not leave them close to a source of heat, avoid using a hair dryer). This applies also in the summertime when the shoes get wet from perspiration.
- Clean – clear away sand, mud, dust and salt. A cleaning foam or lotion might come handy.
- Nourish – natural leather needs to be moisturized using cremes and conditioners, so it does not dry out.
- Protect – impregnation protects your shoes from moisture and UV rays
You can read more on the shoe care in this article.
Are there any barefoot running shoes?
- Yes, there is a wide range of barefoot sports shoes, some are suitable for indoor sports, some for running. We offer shoes suitable for running in nature and challenging terrain as well as shoes with flatter sole designed for training on regular trails.
Are there any formal barefoot shoes?
- Yes, there are! Many brands have heard their customers` call for formal shoes. Because once you experience the comfort of barefoot footwear you no longer want to sit at work and put up with your toes all squashed in your regular shoes. Check out our formal shoes offer for both women and men.