Barefoot shoes are a type of footwear that is designed to closely mimic the feel of walking barefoot. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, due to the many health benefits they offer.
In a nutshell
Barefoot shoes are beneficial for the health of your feet, ankles, and legs. They can also improve your posture and alleviate back pain. In addition, barefoot shoes can help you to be more mindful of your surroundings and improve your balance and coordination.
Barefoot shoes are becoming an increasingly popular way to improve health. For those looking to explore the potential of this type of footwear, here are just some of the surprising benefits that can be gained from wearing them. Keep reading to find out more!
The most surprising health benefits of barefoot shoes
Wearing barefoot shoes can provide many health benefits. Here are some of the most surprising health benefits that you can experience by wearing barefoot shoes:
- Improved Posture: Barefoot shoes are designed to help improve balance and posture. By providing less cushioning and allowing the foot to move freely, they stimulate the muscles in the feet, ankles, and lower legs. This helps to build strength and stability, which can lead to improved balance and posture. Barefoot shoes also help to distribute weight evenly across the foot, helping to reduce strain on the ankles and lower back. By encouraging more natural movement of the feet and ankles, they can help to improve posture and reduce fatigue.
- Alleviated Back Pain: Barefoot shoes can be a great way to reduce back pain. A real barefoot shoe, like SOM Footwear, will have an entirely zero drop sole from heel to toe, which helps to promote natural posture, reduce strain on the lower spine, and improve balance. Your running style has to be dialed in to run in a zero drop shoe. The thin sole also allows for better sensory feedback from the ground and increases mobility in the feet which can help reduce tension in the back. Barefoot shoes can be a great way to reduce back pain and improve overall foot health.
- Improved Mindfulness: Barefoot shoes can be a great way to improve mindfulness. They allow for more natural movement of the feet, which can help to better connect with the ground and improve awareness of your surroundings. By allowing for a greater connection with the ground, barefoot shoes can also help to improve balance and proprioception, which can be beneficial for mindfulness practices. The increased contact with the ground also helps to improve posture and promote better alignment of the body, which can further enhance mindfulness. All in all, barefoot shoes can be a great tool for improving mindfulness and helping one to stay present in their everyday life.
- Strengthened Muscles: Wearing barefoot shoes helps to strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. This can help improve balance and reduce the risk of injuries. Someone with weak ankles can highly benefit from minimalist shoes. With a thinner sole than traditional shoes, the feet are much closer to the ground and this reduces the chance of spraining an ankle. These shoes can be an invaluable aid for those who are more injury-prone.
- Stress Relief: Barefoot shoes can be a great way to reduce the stress on your joints. These shoes are designed to allow your feet to move naturally, which helps to reduce the strain on the joints in your feet and ankles.. Additionally, barefoot shoes feature a wide toe-box that allows your toes to spread out naturally, reducing pressure on your joints.
- More natural gait and running form: Barefoot shoes can help you achieve a more natural gait and running form by allowing your foot to move and flex more naturally as you run. They are designed to mimic the feel of being barefoot, but with the added protection of a shoe. By allowing your feet to move more freely, they can help you develop a more efficient stride pattern and reduce the amount of stress on the ankles, knees, and hips. Barefoot shoes also provide additional stability so that you can run at a comfortable pace for longer periods of time. By wearing barefoot shoes, you can reap the benefits of a more natural running stride.
- Higher calorie burn: Wearing barefoot shoes can help burn higher calories while working out. The thin sole design of these shoes encourages the user to work out with a more natural gait, which in turn activates more muscles and helps to burn more calories. With the reduced cushioning and instability of the sole, your body is forced to use more muscles to stay balanced, which can help you to burn more calories during exercise. Additionally, barefoot shoes provide better flexibility and agility so you can workout with a wider range of motion, again helping you to burn more calories.
The science behind the benefits
Although wearing barefoot shoes is beneficial in many ways, the question still remains: how do these shoes help us? The science behind the health benefits of barefoot shoes lies within the concept of natural movement.
Humans have evolved to move in a certain way, and our feet are designed to work as a natural shock-absorbing mechanism when we're walking or running. In modern times, however, with the introduction of hard-soled shoes, our feet tend to be confined and restricted, which leads to reduced mobility and balance and also can cause knee and back pain.
By reintroducing the freedom of a light, flexible sole to our feet, barefoot shoes allow us to tap into our innate ability to move naturally and to reap the benefits of a more natural gait. The thin flexible sole that varies from 2 mm to 8 mm lets your feet move naturally and lets your muscles, tendons, and ligaments work to maintain balance and control, leading to improved posture, stronger muscles and tendons, and improved balance and coordination.
How to get started with barefoot shoes
- Find your barefoot shoes. Making the transition from traditional shoes to barefoot shoes can be a big change. To get started, it's important to find the right type of barefoot shoe for your lifestyle and lifestyle goals. Consider the activities you plan to do and choose a shoe with the sole and materials that will best suit your needs.
If you're looking for a more barefoot feel, then a 2 to 4 mm sole is the best option. Simply be aware that these shoes don't offer much protection when walking on rocky trails. However, if you are wanting more forgiveness and protection from sharp objects, then 6 to 8 mm like the SOM soles are the way to go. This thickness is also a better option for those transitioning from traditional shoes as it is a more gradual transition.
- In a gradual fashion Once you have the right shoe, it's time to take some small steps to get used to barefoot shoes. Start with a few minutes a day and gradually add more and more time until you are wearing your shoes all day.
Remember that going through an adjustment period is normal. Your feet will need to get used to the feel of your barefoot shoes, and you may experience some minor pain and discomfort as you build up your strength and balance.
- Feet care with stretching. Once you've made the switch to barefoot shoes, it's important to take care of your feet. Make sure that your feet are clean, dry, and remain mindful of any sharp objects or slippery surfaces. If you experience pain or discomfort in any part of your foot or leg, it's best to give your feet some rest and do some stretching. It all starts from the ground up. Be aware, listen to your body, and be patient, it will pay off.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, wearing barefoot shoes offers several surprising health benefits. Barefoot shoes can help you improve your balance, strengthen your muscles, and reduce the stress on your joints and bones. They can also help you adopt a better posture and give you more natural movement throughout the day. For those who have moved from shoes with a raised heel and narrow toe-box to barefoot footwear, transitioning back can be difficult to nearly impossible. I know this from my own experience.
However, it’s important to make the transition to barefoot shoes gradually. Start with a few minutes a day, wear them with comfortable socks, and pay close attention to your feet and any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing. With these tips, you can enjoy the many benefits of barefoot shoes and discover a whole new world of healthy movement.
To your health and well-being.