Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes are big business these days, especially barefoot running shoes.

They seem to have caught the zeitgeist of runners, and the big sportswear manufacturers are falling over themselves to offer something in that line.

Barefoot Shoes

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What is a barefoot shoe?

Yet to become mainstream, are general purpose barefoot shoes – i.e. for use other than running. But it doesn’t take long once you’ve subscribed to the idea of barefoot running, to start to look at all shoes in a different light. If barefoot running is so much better, then wouldn’t barefoot walking be better too? Traditional shoes profoundly affect how you stand, walk, run, or do any activity. Barefoot shoes don’t cause these problems and these days they don’t need to make you stand out from the crowd. No one at my office has ever noticed I wear barefoot shoes in the office (Vivobarefoot Ra), as they just look like shoes.

What is a barefoot shoe – test?

As we said above, lots of sports shoe manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon to offer barefoot running shoes. But weren’t they the very people who’ve spent the past 40 years using pseudoscience to explain cushioning, motion control and all the other technology to help us go faster? And aren’t they still selling those running shoes with all that ‘technology’ that hurts our feet?

‘Barefoot shoes’ is not a legal term, there is no law governing what is and what isn’t a barefoot shoe. So you need to be careful who you put your faith in and what you buy. Not everything touted as ‘barefoot’, will be.

What is best?

Let’s get one thing clear right from the start. The best thing for your feet is no shoes at all. Eight million years of evolution didn’t equip us with feet that needed shoes.  Other physical activities that requires skill and balance are always done barefoot:  karate, yoga, gymnastics, etc.  There is a reason for this and running should be no exception.

Barefoot shoes offer an way to start using our feet as if we were barefoot, but with protection for our delicate soles.

Why do I need barefoot shoes?

Can you imagine going to the office barefoot? What sort of looks do you think you’d get in the supermarket if you were barefoot? Do you really want to walk the streets with nothing on your feet? Of course you don’t. So how do you reap the benefits of going barefoot, without actually going barefoot? Barefoot shoes of course.

The term barefoot shoes is an odd oxymoron, but has become the accepted term for minimal shoes. It’s an unfortunate title, perhaps minimal shoes or bare shoes would have been better names. But language will always find its own way, so we’re stuck with this term for now. Don’t get too hung up on it like many actual barefoot runners do, it’s just a label after all.