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Do Winter and Barefoot Go Together?

Barefoot winter

Are barefoot shoes suitable for Winter? Of course!

We love Lada’s pictures of snowy village Hrusice and sledding boys and girls with red noses. It’s supposed to be cold in Winter but not for your feet!

Thin soles? Then I'll freeze! The foot is closer to the ground, so in Winter, it is closer to the cold, and the barefoot shoes don't have the thick insulation like conventional ones… still, Joseph and Mary are laughing on the sleds under the village square. Why?

It is about movement!

Barefoot shoes mountains

As with other body parts, if we keep our muscles active, we are unlikely to get cold (unless you are climbing the western route to K2…)

This is precisely the effect your feet benefit from in barefoot shoes. They have enough space and stimulus to actively engage even the smallest muscles in the foot and "heat" the shoe from the inside. What are the Features of barefoot shoes:

  • Anatomically shaped toe box (respects the foot shape) - Offers plenty of room for toe movement.
  • Thin and flexible sole in all directions - Thanks to this, the feet, especially the toes, can actively work while walking, and the whole foot feels the surface on which it moves. You can feel every stone or branch massaging the bottom of your feet and stimulating blood circulation.
  • Without raised heel and raised toe (zero-drop) - It does not weaken the transverse and longitudinal arches and does not shift the center of body gravity.
  • Without additional arch support - The arch can work on its own. With each step, the muscles, tendons, and nerve endings in the foot are engaged. Proper blood circulation takes place, and it results in warm feet, which may even bring the proverbial peace of mind.

How to get warm?

As long as you move around, you hardly feel the cold. You should avoid standing for long periods. When the feet are not moving, the muscles work less, and there is no way to keep them warm. Remember how your toes freeze when your feet are cramped in skates or ski boots (not Ester Ledecka’s boots, she has heated ones, and secondly, she uses her big toe correctly in the parallel turn and actively engages the whole foot).

However, if you’re standing at a bus stop waiting for 20 minutes, you can warm yourself up. You can flex your toes and ankles or try simple exercise - active standing, recommended by our movement expert Matyáš Kozma:

Stand actively!

  1. Stand up straight - weight is evenly on both legs
  2. Slightly tuck in your pelvis
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles
  4. Straighten shoulders (down and back)
  5. Bend knees slightly - activate gluteal muscles
  6. And transfer weight from the front of the toes to the heels - sway slightly and push on the big toe

It may seem like a subtle change, but do this exercise for 10 minutes and see how you start to warm up.

Insoles

Cold feet

Everyone is differently sensitive to the cold, so if your feet are usually at a temperature similar to the chicken drumsticks you took out of the fridge for Sunday lunch, they need a little help. You can try warming herbs (Lemon Balm, Calendula, Ginkgo Biloba) or slip merino insoles into your shoes. These have three layers - sheep wool (thermo-regulating, antibacterial), insulating foam (comfort, protection from cold), and metallic foil (prevents soaking, wicks away moisture), and work well against the cold from the ground.

Selection of shoes

Our cold feet are solved now, but choosing the right shoes, the material, and other parameters are important, as well as the care. 

  • With membrane - the principle of the membrane is to take moisture in the form of the steam out of the shoe but not to let water in. The membrane increases the water-resistance of the shoe and maintains the breathability needed to wick away sweat. However, shoes with a membrane are not fully waterproof. It is still "only" a tightly woven fabric.
  • Water repellent - The shoe is made of breathable material that can resist water penetration. So it is not a waterproof material, but the advantage is that the shoe is breathable, and the foot does not sweat. The water-resistance of this shoe can be significantly improved by impregnation.
  • Waterproof - The shoe is from rubber or natural rubber, for example. The material is therefore 100% waterproof. The disadvantage is its impermeability.

Care pays off

Choose the frequency of impregnation according to how you use the shoes. If you have shoes for the city, it is sufficient to spray the protective layer once every 14 days, but if children run in shoes every day in wet grass or snow, it's ideal to treat the shoe every day.

It probably seems too much for those of you who are used to pre- and post-season care or none at all, but you’ll see the results in the form of dry socks for yourself.

Check out our article How to care for your shoes.

Where to?

Choose shoes according to the occasion. If you are going to climb the mountain peaks in barefoot boots, we applaud and recommend sturdier ankle boots. You can go to Advent markets or Christmas shopping in ankle leather boots or women's boots. And if your children love to wade through frozen puddles, insulated wellies are the best.

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