You are currently viewing Barefoot Shoes? Is it for everyone?

It’s happened before & it’s happening again

What used to be called Minimalist Footwear is now being referred to as Barefoot Shoes. But what hasn’t changed is the call from people wearing this type of footwear to encourage others to do the same.

Let’s start from the beginning

What are Barefoot Shoes? Barefoot Shoes have some specific features. No heel, minimal to no padding, super thin soles, no arch support, wide toe-box and they’re ultra flexible – to the point where you can roll some of them up. The idea behind them is to stop feet being “lazy,” allowing muscle to develop, toes to splay and for the person wearing them to feel the terrain beneath them, giving sensory feedback which, in theory, improves gait.

The Pros and Cons

Like anything, there’s obvious benefits. These benefit’s though depend entirely on a number of factors about the person wearing them. Current foot function, weight, what you’re using the footwear for and for how long. If you’re a runner and want to use this type of shoe to enhance your training then absolutely there’s a place in your collection for a Nike Free or equivalent. People have successfully run marathons barefooted. My advice would be to introduce it slowly and, ideally, stick to sand or soft grass. There’s too much load and ground reaction forces going through the body when running on tarmac or concrete as it is, without introducing another stress factor. You’re just asking for tissue injuries. Always reassess/speak to your Podiatrist if you pick up an injury as it may be related to the footwear.

My thoughts as a Podiatrist

There are simply too many bodily considerations to factor in when giving advice on footwear over the internet. To use your platform to tell people that this kind of shoe is the be all and end all – as well as to ignore medical advice, is foolish.
If you’re an average person with an average daily life, which is the majority of the population, then this footwear probably isn’t for you. Our bodies have evolved and our feet need to be treated differently to when we were cavemen and hunted across desolate land. The ground we walk on is different and so is the structure of our bodies. Our feet probably aren’t as strong as what they were back then…but that’s okay? We now walk on two limbs instead of four and we have modern life to contend with.

 If you’re already in the midst of “successfully” adapting to this kind of footwear then well done. This doesn’t mean that Sandra down the road is suitable for this footwear. It’s not a fix-all magic cure for any and all foot problems. There’ll be some cases of success but, for the majority, it won’t be suitable. If you’ve had ANY foot problem in the past (broken bones, foot drop, plantar fasciitis, dropped arches, tendonitis, tendinopathy, strains, sprains etc) then steer well clear.
If you have any doubts over your footwear and if it’s right for YOU, always consult your Podiatrist. A full biomechanical assessment will show straight away what type of footwear will give you the relief from daily aches and pains.

Get in Touch

Everyone’s feet and needs are different. If you’re concerned about an aspect of your foot health, give us a call & arrange a consultation! Our podiatrists at Doncaster Foot Clinic can provide you with support, direction, and care throughout your recovery for all of your foot issues. Since our staff are skilled in a variety of foot treatments, we can ensure that your foot health is in great hands. You can reach us by calling us at 01302 342 971. Or, to stay updated with our clinical updates and specials, follow us on Facebook.

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Barefoot Shoes? Is it for everyone?