Why barefoot shoes?
Do you love the feeling when you walk with your bare feet on a sandy beach or a grassy lawn? Why is it so satisfying? Because our feet can indulge in unlimited freedom. In the barefoot shoes, the feeling provided is the closest possible feeling of going barefoot while wearing shoes.
What does Barefoot mean
The concept of barefoot shoes comes from the English words bare and foot, and its goal is to restrict the healthy natural movement of the foot as little as possible.
It is easy and logical. A human foot has developed to serve as a base and an absorber of the human musculoskeletal system. This feature is achieved without any kind of footwear. The principle of shoes is the protection of the foot against injuries, frostbites, or burns. The shoe development gradually succumbed to fashion trends to the extent that it suppressed the functional properties of our feet. They, the shoes, just became absorbers, which aren’t beneficial to our bodies. Style is the prize of health. The functions are moving from foot to shoe. It is, for this reason, why feet are losing all their natural skills. Fortunately, there are barefoot shoes, which fulfil all the properties of protection and aesthetics. These shoes don’t take away the natural qualities of our feet.
Being shoeless is not a way
Nowadays, walking without shoes is not so practical. That is why it is essential which shoes we put on. Properties of barefoot shoes offer our feet the freedom needed for a natural healthy walk and the correct functioning of the whole body. Sometimes minimalist shoes have a sticker of an alternative non-fashionable form of footwear, but this has changed over the last years. With growing interest in healthy footwear, the design moved forward. The offer reflects needs for appearance and usage.
Look closely at your foot how it goes well together with barefoot shoes.
Foot is a masterpiece
The human foot is a perfect and complex system. It is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments which cooperate in every step. Your feet are support and even a source of perception and a stimulus, which is sent to every part of the body. During a walk, we involve not only parts of our legs like ankles, knees, and hip bones but we also significantly engage abdominal muscles, midriff, inner stabilizing muscles, and of course our brain.
Thanks to the transverse and longitudinal arch and due to mobile and “perceptive” toes the foot functions as a stable base, which is sufficiently elastic and incredibly flexible. In addition, it fills the function of an absorber of impacts during walking, running, or jumping. That is why we can walk on harsh surfaces without suffering of other body parts. It is even easier for us to walk on a reinforced surface than on a soft one (compare a walk on a road and sand).
The foot contains a big amount of sensitive sensory nerves endings and it is very perceptive to temperature, structure, hardiness. The movement adapts to these aspects so it's more considerable to the body. Try to walk on sharp stones - the brain in cooperation with the feet automatically softens your step, changes the rebound, bends the knees, and doesn’t allow the body to hurt itself.
If we allow our feet to perceive, they will automatically adapt to the terrain and we will start to walk more healthily, and more gently to our bodies. How a healthy foot looks like?
- developed transverse and longitudinal arch
- wide spread toes
- the big toe doesn’t have a bunion and serves as a support
- flexible and „perceptive“ toes
Why the feet suffer
Our anatomy with the transverse and longitudinal arch supports the stability of the whole body. When we indulge our feet into a sufficient space and freedom, meant inside a shoe, they start working intensively by themself, on the other hand, when the foot is enclosed into a shoe for many hours, it starts to weaken. Imagine that you would wear an arm brace all day and every day. After few weeks, originally healthy muscles and tendons would weaken, in desperate need of rehabilitation and some kind of regaining of strength. Wearing conventional footwear has the same impact on our feet…
Nowadays, everyday shoes fulfil two functions - protection and design. The negative impact on the right functioning of a foot isn’t being solved by any shoe manufacturers. What are the current problems of everyday footwear?
- the shape of the toe box doesn’t match the foot
- too thick sole
- raised toe box and elevated heel
- added arch support and an extra cushioning and lining
What about the barefoot shoes
The principle of barefoot shoes is minimal movement restriction. It accomplishes protective and fashionable features but at the same time supports natural foot development and functionality. And thereby of the whole musculoskeletal system.
Key features of barefoot shoes are
- anatomically shaped toe box (respecting the foot shape) - offers sufficient space for toe movement
- thin and flexible shoe sole in every direction - thanks to this the foot, more precisely toes, can experience a full range of movement during a walk and the whole foot can perceive a surface on which we walk on
- without an elevated heel and raised toe (zero drop) - doesn’t weaken transverse and longitudinal arch and doesn’t deviate the centre of gravity
- without extra arch support - the arch can gain force and work by itself
So why to choose the barefoot shoes
We described how the feet work and what can barefoot shoes offer to us and it all clicks together
- Sufficient space in the toe box and thin flexible sole allows the toes to actively work. It strengthens the arch during the walk. Like any other muscle group in the body, muscles in our feet need active engagement, exercising, stretching, so they could properly fulfill their function - being a base of all musculoskeletal system
- The anatomically shaped toe box gives ample space for your big toes - so it is not pushed in the direction of the other toes, on the contrary, it can splay away naturally. So it serves as stabilising element, and secondly with its active engagement during the walk it strengthens the transversal arch.
- A thin sole enables the foot to be more sensitive to the surface. Your feet pass information further to your body (proprioception). If the body gets used to it, it’s more cautious to the surface we walk on, and due to this, it is less prone to injuries.
- Well-developed transverse and longitudinal arch and right big toe posture are projected further to the right position of ankles, knees, hip bones as well as to shoulder-blades, and cervical spine. On top of that, it influences the engagement of the abdominal diaphragm and abdominal muscles. On the other hand, the wrong functionality of the foot can lead to consecutive problems of these particular parts.
Barefoot shoes are not a universal cure
We are not claiming that barefoot shoes are salvation. It does not apply to the moment when you buy one pair of barefoot shoes that you can't wear other footwear (even though you will not be so eager to put on narrow and stiff shoes). It is only a question about your comfort and feelings. If your health matters, the shoes are one of the instruments how to reach it. Think about your feet as you think about what you consume, on what you sleep, or on what you sit. With barefoot shoes, you can help your body to obtain natural body posture, and you won’t be hurting your body unnecessarily. All of this can be backed up with the right exercises.