Because being barefoot is healthy for you! Because being barefoot can feel great! Because being barefoot is how our bodies were designed!
Have you ever stopped to think about why we need so much support and protection? The answer is that we don’t. The answer is that the more we wear shoes, the more we damage and weaken our feet.
Bunions and hammertoes, smelly feet and flat feet – these are all the result of wearing shoes, and wearing shoes has caused us to walk wrong. In 2007, researchers at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled “Shod Versus Unshod” The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans? in the podiatry journal The Foot. The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European) comparing their feet to one another’s as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans—i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Bernhard Zipfel, when commenting on his findings, lamented that the American Podiatric Medical Association does not “actively encourage outdoor barefoot walking for healthy individuals. This flies in the face of the increasing scientific evidence, including our study, that most of the commercially available footwear is not good for the feet.” Read More
Shoe manufacturers are finally realizing the health benefits of being barefoot, and determined to break into a market that is, by design, not intended for shoes, have come up with shoes that mimic being barefoot. Most of us can’t walk barefoot all the time, and two of these companies have come up with ideas that show great promise. Vibram has invented the popular Fivefinger shoes. These shoes, shaped just like a foot, fit so perfectly that they resemble a glove for your foot. The Vivo Barefoot shoes, from the company Terra Plana, have designed a series of shoes that look like regular shoes, but have a minimalistic approach to the sole. The sole is felxible and very thin, and contains no heel or arch support, giving you a close-to-barefoot experience while keeping you feet protected (and not drawing too much attention to your naked toes). We have contacted both these companies to obtain samples so that we can give you an in-depth review – stay tuned.
What about a good pair of athletic shoes? Can they not protect our feet from the unforgiving concrete? A paper titled “Athletic Footwear: Unsafe Due to Perceptual Illusions,” published in a 1991 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “Wearers of expensive running shoes that are promoted as having additional features that protect (e.g., more cushioning, ‘pronation correction’) are injured significantly more frequently than runners wearing inexpensive shoes (costing less than $40).” According to another study, people in expensive cushioned running shoes were twice as likely to suffer an injury—31.9 injuries per 1,000 kilometers, as compared with 14.3—than were people who went running in hard-soled shoes.
There are of course other barriers to barefooting. Society has made it “dirty” to go barefoot, and common mythes and rules make it challenging to break into a barefoot lifestyle. It is commonly believed that barefoot driving is illegal. Bafefoot groups have done much research on the matter and have found almost no situations where driving barefoot is in fact illegal. The requirment of shoes within business establishments is another myth. While health regulations often have rules for employees and the wearing of proper footwear, few such rules exist for patrons.
The good news is that the enjoyment of barefooting does not need to be an all-or-nothing decision. In fact, if you wear shoes all the time, the transition from shoes to bare feet should be a gradual one. Your feet will adjust as you spend more and more time alowing them to strengthen. It will take a little time for your feet and body to ajust to the new flexabilty and movement.
Try it! Those of you with tender soles will soon find that regular barefooting will toughen the soles of your feet, and barefoot activities will feel more and more natural. It is a wonderful way to experience the world, with a whole new level of awareness as you feel the ground beneath your feet.
Our website is new, but growing rapidly. We aim to create a community for anyone who is interested in the health benefits of freeing your feet, and for those who are already convinced. Visit our new Forums to meet others who have the same interests.
If you have a barefoot friendly product that you’d like us to review and feature on our site, please contact us!
As you read our reviews, please keep in mind that our reviewers review shoes in terms of their suitability for those looking to find the highest quality minimalist shoe products. All reviews are as factual as possible. In an effort to be transparent and ethical, we will point out any defects found, even if these do not affect the usability of the product. Not all defects will be present in final production shoes as we are sometimes offered “seconds” or pre-release products in an effort to provide you with reviews in a timely manor. In the event that serious issues are found with a review sample we will give every opportunity for the manufacturer to replace to explain the review samples before the final review is released. We never accept payments for reviews. We do not guarantee a good review for any products sent to us. We do not review products that do not claim to be minimalist or “barefoot like” unless we receive a significant number of requests from readers or listeners.
Should you have any questions about our review process or would like your product reviewed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us using our contact page.
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