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Barefoot Shoe FAQ

Wha are barefoot shoes?
What are the benefits of wearing barefoo shes?
Are they ugly?
Are barefoot shoes for me?
How do I transition?
Will barefoot shoes lead to injury?
Will my feet change?
Should I wear socks?
What does zero drop mean?
What if I have to be on my fee all day?
I switched to barefoot and my feet hurt

What are barefoot shoes?

What are the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes?

Are they ugly?

Are barefoot shoes for me?

How do I transition to barefoot shoes?

Will barefoot shoes lead to injury?

Will my feet change if I wear barefoot shoes?

Should I wear socks with barefoot shoes?

What does "zero drop" mean?

What if I have to be on my feet all day?

I switched to barefoot shoes, but my feet are hurting in them! What should I do?

Should my kids wear barefoot shoes?

What are barefoot shoes?

 

In short, barefoot shoes are shoes designed to allow your foot to function as it would if it were barefoot - while in a shoe! This means: no arch support, enough space for your toes to splay out, super bendy and flexible, and no heel lift whatsoever. In barefoot shoes, your feet can function as nature intended them to, even in situations where cold weather or social expectations call for foot coverage.

 

What are the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes?

 

There are a TON of benefits to wearing barefoot shoes! Wearing minimalist style shoes will naturally allow your feet to get stronger, potentially reducing or negating foot pain if you have it. They will promote optimal body posture and alignment. There is definite potential to heal nagging injuries and improve conditions like bunions. The best part, for me, is having feet that feel awake and alive, capable of carrying me wherever I want to go. (For a more in depth discussion, see this post on the benefits of barefoot shoes.)

 

Are they ugly?

 

If you’re a shoe person who’s concerned about fashion, fear not. The barefoot shoe industry is rapidly growing, and companies are keenly aware of customers’ desires to not look like clowns. If you’re one who goes for super high heels with a pointy toe, you won’t find anything with those particular qualities, BUT you can find barefoot shoes that mimic every other aspect of your fave style.

 

Are barefoot shoes for me?

 

Barefoot shoes are suitable for most people. If you have hallux rigidus (stiff big toe) or neuropathy, barefoot shoes may not be the best option for you. If you are hypermobile or are currently dealing with an acute injury, you can wear barefoot shoes, but you definitely want the guidance of a foot health professional so you can make the switch safely.

 

But YES! For most people, barefoot shoes are totally doable, as long as you transition wisely.

 

How do I transition to barefoot shoes?

 

Everyone’s feet are different, and some will have an easier time adjusting to barefoot shoes than others. Basically, you want to take it slow and listen to your body as you’re transitioning. Practice foot exercises and use Correct Toes. See this post for a more detailed explanation of how to transition!

 

Will barefoot shoes lead to injury?

 

IF you jump in too quickly and go hog wild out of pure excitement to be living a barefoot life, you MAY experience an injury. But if you can keep it cool and move forward with kindness and consideration for the state of your body and your feet, you won’t just NOT hurt yourself - you’ll probably end up healing injuries and getting stronger.

 

Will my feet change if I wear barefoot shoes?

 

Probably! Our feet are very adaptable body parts, and they morph and change like silly putty according to the containers we routinely put them in. (If you look at a foot with a bunion, it really does resemble the shape of a conventional shoe's toe box.) Typically, you will see your foot grow a bit with more time spent in barefoot shoes, since there is space for your toes to really fan out. But if your feet are quite flat, the foot may actually shorten up a bit as the muscles in your feet beef up and you start to develop a more defined arch!

 

Should I wear socks with barefoot shoes?

 

If you want! Although, keep in mind that most conventional socks are designed with conventional (NOT barefoot) shoe-shape in mind. So if you’re wearing socks that keep your tosies bound together, you really won’t reap all the wonderful benefits of wearing a wide-toe-box shoe. What I do if I feel I must wear socks is either wear toe socks, or wear my Correct Toes toe spacers inside socks to make sure my toes can stay separated. For more ideas and inspiration, read this!

 

What does "zero drop" mean?

 

The "drop" of a shoe refers to the amount of difference in height between the heel of the shoe and the toe. Obviously, a three inch stiletto is going to have a substantial drop, but even your standard running shoe has a drop (or heel lift) which alters the way you stand, walk, and move around. Barefoot shoes have literally zero drop between the heel and the toe, allowing your feet and body to function as nature intended.

 

What if I have to be on my feet all day?

 

Once you're fully adjusted to a barefoot lifestyle, it should be no problem to wear barefoot shoes on hard surfaces all day. At the end of the day, you'll probably want to treat your feet to a massage with a lacrosse ball and some mobility exercises to make sure your joints are bending and flexing in all the good ways. And you probably won't want to start off going full on barefoot until you've taken some time to transition. If you want the benefits of a barefoot shoe but the comfort of a little cushion, check out Lems or Altra.

 

I switched to barefoot shoes, but my feet are hurting in them! What should I do?

 

If your feet are super used to supportive conventional shoes and you make the switch too quickly, your body will probably talk to you and tell you it doesn't like the change. That's okay! Your body is wise, and it's just telling you that you're asking too much of it at the moment. Back off the duration of time spent in your new shoes and slowly increase the time as your tolerance and foot strength increases. If you're still experiencing pain, try working on the foot strengthening exercises described here, or consult a professional who is knowledgeable in true barefoot mechanics. (Gait Happens is a wonderful option.)

Should my kids wear barefoot shoes?

 

One million percent, YES!! Your kids' feet are growing and developing, and you want to optimize that development by giving them as much time barefoot or in nonrestrictive shoes as possible. You have the amazing opportunity to give your kids the gift of a foundation for strong and robust feet. Hopefully, they'll grow into adulthood without ever having to experience foot pain or injury. What an easy and powerful parenting win!

Should my kids wear barefoot shoes?

What did I miss? Comment below to send me your question, and I'll add it to the list!

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