At first, the term barefoot shoes may sound like an oxymoron such as jumbo shrimp. But barefoot shoes are not only real they are becoming more popular every day. As people discover the benefits of running barefoot many also want the protection that shoes provide. Barefoot shoes offer the perfect compromise that combines the advantages of running without shoes while offering the protection that proper shoes provide to the feet.
Your body is a product of your ancestors. For most of human existence, people did not wear shoes. They walked, jogged, and ran barefoot. This means that your feet are designed to be out in the open. However, that is not always possible given the heat of the pavement or sand on the beach. Plus, the debris that litters the streets and sidewalks containing sharp rocks, broken glass, and other items that can cut the skin.
Barefoot shoes offer the compromise that provides ample protection while still letting your feet be in a natural setting.
What are Barefoot Shoes?
Barefoot shoes, also be called minimal shoes or even shoeless shoes, are a type of footwear that have been designed to mimic the natural motion of bare feet. Barefoot shoes are not only comfortable, but they also help promote better posture and muscle activation. The soles of the shoe are designed to flex with your foot and provide a more natural range of movement. This is because they do not have any arch support or heel cushioning.
What Makes a Barefoot Shoe?
There are different designs of barefoot shoes, but for the most part, they tend to include the following characteristics.
- Wide: To allow the feet to spread out
- Thin Materials: Which lets you better feel the ground below while still providing protection
- Toes: Many will have places for each toe instead of being bunched together
It is the toes that are the most noticeable feature of barefoot shoes. The reason is rather simple as the toes tend to spread out as you grow older. However, shoes keeps the feet rather narrow which also bunches together the toes. By providing each toe with its own space, you help to spread them out naturally. The result is firmer contact with the ground and more relaxation as you walk, jog, or run.
There are considerable benefits to wearing barefoot shoes, starting with the fact that they are designed to provide the right type of support.
Balance: It may seem counterintuitive at first, but barefoot shoes provide better balance because they activate certain muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, and hips that otherwise stay dormant while wearing standard shoes. In other words, they do not provide the type of support compared to standard shoes, but they strengthen the muscles that do provide you with better balance.
Grounded: When wearing barefoot shoes, you feel more grounded to the environment compared to standard shoes. It is that natural feeling of letting your toes spread out and your leg muscles provide a better balance that makes you feel like you are not wearing shoes at all.
Protection: The most notable advantage is that your feet are protected from the dust, dirt, and debris from the ground upon which you tread. This means that your feet do not pick up the dirt, get exposed to the high heat from the pavement, or risk getting cut by sharp objects that you might step on.
While barefoot shoes are not for everyone, they do provide benefits for those who seek a better, more natural experience when they walk, jog, or run.
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