Are Barefoot Shoes Good For You?
When it comes to barefoot shoes, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Rather, it's important to make sure you're acclimating to this new footwear at your own pace and not based on what others are experiencing.
If you're used to wearing thicker midsoles and higher heels, switching to barefoot shoes can have an impact on your feet and ankles. This is especially true if you're coming from shoes that provide constant arch support.
They Strengthen Your Foot Muscles
Barefoot shoes hug your feet’s natural curve, allowing you to use all of your foot muscles. This allows your body to absorb impact more effectively and learn to engage the muscles in your feet properly, resulting in stronger and more flexible feet.
Strong feet are critical for stability and lower-body posture, especially for athletes who want to keep their joints healthy and injury-free. Having strong feet also reduces your risk of injuries in other areas of the body, such as knees and hips.
Whether you’re training for a squat, deadlift, or Olympic lift, barefoot shoes can help you feel more stable and improve your gait. But before you make the switch from running shoes to barefoot ones, it’s important to do some foot strengthening exercises.
They Improve Your Posture
Posture is your ability to stand upright and have your body be in a natural, straight alignment. If you stand slouched or with your spine curving in one direction, this is not good posture and may be a sign that you need to improve your balance and stability.
Conventional shoes with a heel-to-toe drop put your feet in an unnatural position that can cause muscle imbalances and misalignments. They shorten your calf muscles, reduce your range of motion and can be painful for your lower back, hips and knees.
They Help You Avoid Injuries
Barefoot running has a growing subculture of enthusiasts who believe it's the best way to run injury-free. The trend is based on a belief that the human body was never designed to run in cushioned shoes.
However, if you're new to barefoot running, it might take a while for your body to adjust to the changes.
But if you're patient, it will be worth the effort. You will develop better foot muscles, improved posture, and balance. It also will help strengthen your arches and absorb more impact.
They Help You Relax
Taking your feet back to their natural habitat is a great way to de-stress and rejuvenate yourself. Research has shown that going barefoot reduces blood pressure, overall tension in the body, and the stress hormone cortisol. You can do it from your own home or while enjoying the great outdoors.