It is better biologically to go barefoot rather than wear shoes. This may seem like a controversial thought at first glance; however, I am here to convince you otherwise while informing you of my favorite barefoot tips.
Given my most recent weekend endeavor, I was motivated to write this post. My husband and I were invited to a Saturday night college football game, so naturally, I decided to dig way back into my closet to find my favorite Fall shoe staple: booties. Though these weren’t barefoot shaped, I thought to myself, “how bad can it be for just a few hours?” Boy, was I wrong!
After only one-quarter of the football game, my feet were killing me, my knees were beginning to hurt, and I quickly realized my favorite Fall booties were the wrong choice. On the car ride home after the game, I found blisters on my big toes and pinky toes. That is when it hit me, the modern shoe is not designed with human biology in mind.
Did you know our toes are supposed to be the widest part of our feet?
God designed our toes to be the widest part of our feet for multiple reasons; however, conventional shoes taper in at the toe. Traditional shoes are not made with biology in mind. For example, hold your favorite shoe up to your foot. As you can see, the typical modern shoe has a narrow toe-box and does not follow the natural shape of our feet.
I began my barefoot journey about this time last year, the Winter of 2021, and it has been a slow transition. My journey started by going barefoot often and wearing barefoot Vivo tennis shoes daily during my chiropractic internship. The first couple weeks of wearing my new minimalist shoes were rough. I was on my feet all day, and my feet had to quickly become accustomed to barefoot shoes.
However, once my feet became accustomed, I instantly noticed a difference. I used to never be able to stand on my feet for long periods without my heels hurting, and after a few weeks of re-training my feet on what barefoot feels like, I could stand all day with no problems.
Visually, I can tell my toes have started to return to the shape they were designed to be, with my toes being the widest part. I had not realized how much my feet had become shaped by my pointy toe shoes rather than how God designed them. Given that the booties I wore to the football game went very narrow towards the toe, I realized it was time to officially purge my conventional shoes.
There is evidence that going barefoot can benefit the feet and body. For example, going barefoot may help to strengthen the muscles in the feet and lower legs, improve balance and posture, and reduce the risk of foot problems such as blisters and calluses.
Many ask, where do I begin my journey to barefoot living?
It’s simple, begin by taking your shoes off the second you get home. Wake those feet up! Walk outside in the grass barefoot. Walk on concrete and small rocks. Anything you can do to bring awareness to your feet and ground yourself at the same time. All those small intrinsic muscles inside your feet have been turned off due to the constant support of conventional footwear and insoles. Therefore, walking barefoot forces your feet to turn on those intrinsic muscles and work the way they were designed.
Get your feet adjusted! The chiropractic adjustment releases tension and stored stress allowing your foot to become more adaptable. This will also help wake your feet up and bring awareness to this vital body part. This can help with many lower extremity issues, such as knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
Transition your closet to minimalist, barefoot, biologically foot-shaped shoes. When purchasing minimalist shoes, be sure to look for a few key things, such as a wide-toe box. This allows the toes to move freely and can help to reduce the risk of bunions and other toe problems. Be sure they have thin, flexible soles and are completely flat with no heel elevation or artificial arch support. We want to increase our connection with the earth and allow for proper balance and alignment throughout our spine and body. Also, ensure they have a way to secure to the foot, so your toes don’t have to grip with every step to keep them on. My favorite brands are Vivo Barefoot and Earth Runners.
How do I transition from conventional shoes to barefoot-shaped shoes? I made a quick transition and suffered the consequences. Be sure to make the transition slowly. I would begin by wearing barefoot shoes for 30 minutes daily and gradually increase by 30 minutes each day. This will allow your feet to adapt to the change.
Another helpful step is to utilize toe spacers. These can be a bit uncomfortable at first. It is a bit like wearing braces or a retainer but for your toes. I would begin by just wearing them for 30 minutes and gradually increase until you can get to where you can wear them for long periods.
Lastly, there are many more resources on beginning the transition, and Anya’s Reviews is one of my favorites. She compares different barefoot shoe brands and provides exercises and stretches to help ease the transition to barefoot life.
My goal is to be a constant resource for my community, and we want to encourage our Chiro Co. community to get outside and go barefoot.
In humble service,