Can you imagine losing your eyesight? Or hearing? It would probably have a significant impact on your life. But getting rid of our sense of touch apparently doesn’t bother us at all. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be wearing ordinary shoes, in which we have absolutely no chance of feeling surroundings through the thick sole.
The world is made up of information that flows to us in all directions. But humans have chosen to ignore some of them, mainly the bottom one - contact with the ground we walk on. And then we wonder why our bodies, deprived of valuable signals, stop functioning properly.
Naturally functional bare feet
"The human foot is a masterpiece." - Leonardo Da Vinci
The foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments. These connect to the rest of the stabilizing system to form a complex and interconnected whole. Improper foot function upsets the rest of the body, from the knees and hips through the lower back and spine to the shoulders and neck.
The foot sole itself contains thousands of receptors for sensitive and accurate perception of stimuli. When these nerves are stimulated, information passes through the central nervous system to the brain. As a result, a person can control movement and posture precisely and correctly.
Walking barefoot leads to adaptation to the terrain, not only by the muscle groups we engage and how carefully we tread. Thanks to its high flexibility, the foot naturally bends around any unevenness and maintains overall stability.
The foot flexibility is influenced by the foot arch, which serves as a shock absorber and damps shocks during a walk. Through proprioception, the vibrations that come from the foot striking the ground are captured. The bare feet receive valuable feedback, and all parts of the feet actively fulfill their purposes.
Summing up the benefits of barefoot walking, we name the following:
- Sensitive perception of stimuli
- Adapting to the terrain
- Active working of the whole apparatus
Do you need cushioned shoes?
Shoe manufacturers are racing to produce a more cushioned shoe with softer foam for more active shock absorption, so we can feel like we are in cotton wool when we run. These may be great for jumping on a basketball hoop, but by entrusting all function to shoes, we are letting our own bodies go idle.
Imagine driving everywhere by car, on an electric scooter, or on other vehicles you only passively use. Then you get home, and you roll out on the sofa. What condition do you think your muscles will be in after several months or years? Similarly, they go idle when you entrust all activity to shoes. Sure, saving effort sounds appealing because it comes with a pleasant experience! But short-term comfort can be redeemed by later long-term discomfort in the form of a weak body.
Everybody probably understands that to be and stay healthy, they need to maintain an active lifestyle. Yes, training and practicing do hurt, but the reward is an increase in strength and performance in addition to a good feeling. Plus, you don’t have to run ultramarathons right away because basic (but regular) exercise is enough. No one is forcing you to walk completely barefoot in the city, but lowering the thickness of the sole is definitely beneficial for you.
Is walking on hard surfaces bad for your health?
Perhaps you can think that your foot experiences much harder impacts when it hits a cobbled pavement or an asphalt street. You are right, but it does not necessarily mean a bad thing. A solid or fixed floor, compared to natural relief, only transmits a different vibration to the foot. If these vibrations are not absorbed by the sole, the body will automatically react the right way and adapt the walking style to the surface to avoid pain. So no problem arises, except the fact that compared to the difficulty of moving, for example, in the forest or the sand, we need to exert much less effort.
What precedes a sprained ankle?
Speaking of the forest, which is usually full of bumpy roots, sturdy shoes will do you a disservice. Why? A foot fixed in a rigid, thick-soled shoe has no chance of reacting to all the unevenness of the surrounding. Thus, when stepping on a root or a stone, instead of the barefoot naturally adapting to its shape, the whole shoe rolls to the side, and all the energy is absorbed by the ankle, which has to deviate unnaturally to prevent an unwanted fall.
When extreme overload occurs, it sprains, and you immediately know something is wrong. However, when the pain from gradual wear and tear of joints creeps in later, most people associate it with aging rather than wearing inappropriate footwear.
Flexible shoes with thin soles
Where conventional footwear fails, barefoot shoes excel.
- The thin sole allows better information transfer between the foot and the surface. As a rule, its thickness is around 3 mm, which is sufficient to maintain puncture protection, but still allows the necessary perception of stimuli, actively engages the locomotor apparatus, and helps thermoregulation.
- The flexibility of the sole in all directions ensures both the foot adaptation to uneven terrain and grasping (= trying to grasp something) with the toes. Where the toes and the foot soles have room to engage, the stability is naturally improved without affecting other body parts.
Barefoot shoes, therefore, maintain the necessary properties for healthy movement, but at the same time, you can use them to go out in the city, into society, on a trip, basically anywhere you do not want to go completely barefoot. Barefoot shoes are also an ideal choice for children to naturally continue the healthy habits learned from barefoot walking even in their first shoes.
However, bad habits can be gradually unlearned with a little effort, which is why we recommend switching from regular shoes to barefoot shoes for women and men of any age. We have them all in stock in our shop and guarantee next-day delivery. If you are still hesitant about which one to choose, check out our reviews or ask us in person.