Wearing barefoot shoes, also known as minimalist shoes, offers various potential benefits. I’m sharing 7 reasons to switch to barefoot shoes, and the brand I use.
Okay, so picture this: our caveman ancestors roaming around barefoot, feeling the earth beneath their feet like it’s no big deal. Our ancestors had a more symbiotic relationship with the earth beneath their feet. They navigated rough terrains and trod lightly, taking advantage of the natural benefits of going barefoot.
Understanding Modern Footwear
Modern shoes have significantly transformed the way we interact with our feet and the earth, often presenting a mixed impact on foot health. While offering comfort, protection, and style, many modern shoe designs can lead to potential drawbacks for our feet. The prevalence of narrow toe boxes, elevated heels, and cushioned soles might contribute to issues like bunions, hammertoes, and altered gait patterns.
Moreover, the over-reliance on supportive features might weaken the intrinsic muscles of the feet, potentially leading to instability and reduced natural arch support. However, advancements in footwear technology have also given rise to options that prioritize foot health, incorporating wider toe spaces, minimalist designs, and enhanced biomechanical support.
Striking a balance between fashion and foot well-being is crucial, as thoughtful shoe choices can play a pivotal role in preserving the long-term health and function of our feet.
Fortunately, barefoot-style shoes have made a resurgence in recent years, offering a bridge between modern life and our primal connection to the ground. In this blog post, we will explore the numerous benefits of embracing these minimalist wonders, from improved posture and foot health to enhanced athletic performance.
For me personally, wearing Peluva barefoot shoes has been very helpful in healing a herniated disc issue. I will share more about this below.
7 Reasons to Switch to Barefoot Shoes
1. Strengthening Foot Muscles and Tendons
Wearing traditional shoes with excessive cushioning and arch support may provide temporary comfort, but they often lead to weakened foot muscles and tendons in the long run. Barefoot style shoes, on the other hand, promote natural foot movement and spread, encouraging the activation of often-neglected foot muscles. This strengthening effect helps in preventing injuries and conditions such as plantar fasciitis, as the feet become more resilient and better equipped to handle stress.
2. Improving Balance and Proprioception
Proprioception, the body’s ability to sense its position in space, plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and coordination. Barefoot style shoes heighten proprioception by allowing direct contact between the feet and the ground. As a result, the brain receives more accurate sensory feedback, which can lead to improved balance, posture, and overall body awareness.
3. Encouraging a Natural Gait
A gait refers to how someone walks or runs, including the way their body moves and their limbs coordinate during the process. Modern footwear often promotes an unnatural heel strike when walking or running, leading to potential joint problems. Barefoot style shoes encourage a forefoot or midfoot strike, which is the natural way our ancestors walked and ran. By aligning with the body’s biomechanics, these shoes help reduce the impact on joints, contributing to a healthier gait and decreased risk of overuse injuries.
4. Enhanced Athletic Performance
Athletes across various disciplines are turning to barefoot style shoes to gain a competitive edge. The minimalist design fosters a more efficient stride and allows for increased ankle flexibility, translating to better agility and ground contact time. Additionally, the lightweight nature of these shoes reduces fatigue during extended workouts, promoting longer training sessions and improved performance.
5. Correcting Posture Alignment
The benefits of barefoot style shoes extend beyond just the feet. By encouraging the natural curvature of the spine and promoting a more stable base, these shoes can help correct posture misalignments. With better posture, pressure on the spine is more evenly distributed, reducing the risk of back pain and related issues.
6. Breathability and Foot Hygiene
Barefoot style shoes are typically made of breathable materials, allowing air circulation and maintaining foot hygiene. Say goodbye to sweaty feet and embrace fresher, healthier steps.
7. Increased Sensory Experience
Walking barefoot connects us with the earth in a profound way. Similarly, barefoot-style shoes offer a taste of that sensory experience, albeit with a touch of protection. By allowing your feet to feel various textures and temperatures, you stimulate your nervous system and experience the world from a more grounded perspective.
For extra sensory experiences, Naboso offers some very cool products.
My Favorite Barefoot Shoes and Accessories
I am not going to lie, I know these are not the most attractive, BUT they work! I have an issue with my big right toe. I can’t bend it. Over time it has created a misalignment issue in my hip, which has then caused a disc issue and very bad sciatica. I’ve been trying to heal it for almost a year. I have done tons of physical therapy, decompression therapy, acupuncture and SO many other modalities.
One of the things helping me the most in my recovery is these Peluva barefoot shoes. I have significantly less pain and sciatica symptoms when I wear these. So far, I have one pair that I wear in the house obsessively. I need to purchase a second pair to wear outside. I think wearing them even more consistently will significantly speed up my recovery.
What is different about Peluva versus other barefoot shoes is that the splay is built into the shoe. Your toes are optimally spread at all times. Most barefoot shoes offer a wide-toe box. However, after years of wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes, our toes are bound together. I find that even in a wide-toe box, my toes don’t actually spread out. Peluva shoes are developed in a way that positions your toes properly.
In addition to the splay feature, the Zero Drop platform accommodates your natural weight distribution on hard surfaces. This has been VERY helpful for me on our tile floors.
PLEASE NOTE that Peluva’s run small. I normally wear a 7/7.5. I wear an 8 in the lace model Peluvas.
The socks are a MUST. They will make the shoes feel more comfortable and last longer. Since they have a built-in splay, you will need these special toe socks.
USE CODE ARSY10 FOR 10% OFF YOUR PELUVA ORDER!
In addition to my Peluva shoes, I have been using Naboso products to strengthen and align my feet.
The Naboso Neuro Ball acts as a massage tool releasing the muscles of your feet as you roll it around with your foot. The ball is also coated with a unique sensory stimulation textures that wake up and activate the nerve-dense surface of your feet. The ball actually splits in two and in the center, you will find an even smaller ball to help with acute muscle release on the bottom of your feet.
The Naboso Splay Toe Spacers help restore a natural range of motion to your toes by allowing you to effortlessly spread your toes both in and out of your shoes.
Naboso Sensory Socks are next on my list to try.
Have you tried barefoot shoes? Are you inspired to try them?