02/07/2024

Step Into Freedom: The Benefits of Barefoot Shoes

Adopt A Barefoot Lifestyle

Have you seen the pictures of Chis Hemsworth walking around town barefoot? He’s adopted a true barefoot lifestyle and it’s kinda Thor level badass, if we’re honest. That said, we're not suggesting you hit the pavement with nothing but a layer of calloused courage – there are issues like street sanitation (eww, public restrooms) and safety (broken glass) to consider. However, there’s been a revolution in footwear that even mainstream brands like Nike, New Balance, and Reebok are trying to join with what they call “minimalist footwear” (keep reading for what we think about that). Barefoot living has become a trend that’s here to stay, so kick off your traditional shoes (gently, please) and let's explore the benefits of going barefoot... well, almost.

Barefoot celebrities

Improve Your Foot Strength & Functionality

MoveU Foot Testimonial

Our feet are intricate marvels, designed to tackle various terrains. But somewhere along the way, we decided to encase them in foot coffins – we mean, shoes (here’s looking at you, stilettos). Barefoot shoes encourage the natural movement of the foot, allowing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to work more actively. This increased engagement helps strengthen the foot's arches and support overall foot health. Regular use of barefoot shoes can contribute to better balance and stability, reducing the risk of injuries

Enhance Your Proprioception

Foot Anatomy

Proprioception is a fancy word to describe the body's ability to sense its position in space. It’s crucial for maintaining balance and coordination. Think of your feet as the secret agents of your body – they’re constantly trying to gather intelligence about the ground beneath you so they can report back to your brain. But if you’re wearing the equivalent of clouds underfoot, you’re in essence deadening the very senses your body needs to operate well! Barefoot shoes heighten your sensory experience, giving your feet the chance to feel every pebble, crack, and errant LEGO brick on your path. This heightened awareness can lead to improved posture and a more efficient gait.

Promote Natural Walking Mechanics

Conventional footwear often alters natural walking mechanics and foot shape, leading to issues like hard heel striking and decreased flexibility. Barefoot shoes encourage a more natural walking or running style. This can alleviate stress on joints and reduce the risk of injuries associated with improper gait.

Increase Your Range of Motion

Thick, rigid soles can limit the foot's range of motion, which is a ‘use it or lose it’ proposition. Barefoot shoes, with their flexible and minimalist design, allow the foot to use its full range of motion, which can positively impact the ankle, knee, and hip joints, promoting more overall joint health and flexibility.

Explaining the Difference Between "Minimalist" and "Barefoot" Shoes

Barefoot Shoes and toe spreading

Alright, so let's talk about minimalist shoes versus true barefoot shoes. Minimalist shoes are aiming for being the middle zone in the Goldilocks story - not too much, not too little, but juuuust riiiight. They’re the Switzerland of the shoe world, trying to keep everyone happy. We like that they keep a low to zero heel drop and have a more flexible sole, but they tend to ignore the need for a wide toe box which allows the toes to splay the way they were made to. True barefoot shoes are au naturale. They’re the nudists of the shoe family -  letting your tootsies feel the breeze and spread out and touch the ground like they're on a first-name basis with Mother Earth. They usually have thin, flexible soles, a wide toe box, and zero heel drop, meaning they don’t elevate the heel higher than the forefoot.

Barefoot Shoes We Love

MoveU's Favorite Barefoot Shoes

Which barefoot or minimalist shoe is right for you is something that may require some trial and error. Fortunately, these days the last of your concerns are about style as barefoot shoes brands have evolved to bridge the gap between fashion and function. From sleek urban designs to rugged outdoor options, there's a barefoot shoe for every occasion. We love VIVOBAREFOOT so much we’ve partnered with them to bring you a discount you can use at checkout. Just enter code MOVEUVIVO15 at checkout for 15% off your first order so you can strut your stuff with confidence like Chris Hemsworth - plus shoes - knowing your feet are happy, healthy, and trendy.

Are Barefoot Shoes for Everyone?

If you’re completely new to the barefoot lifestyle, you may need to transition gradually from your conventional shoes by choosing the more “minimalist” shoe styles at first. People who walk a lot on concrete all day may need a bit more cushion than those who spend more time grounding with the earth. If you do decide to go full barefoot, start wearing them for short periods of time and work your way up. Getting your first pair of Vivos ever and deciding to run a 10k or take a 10 mile hike isn’t something we’d generally recommend for most people.

Conclusion: 

So, there you have it – the bare truth about barefoot shoes. For more on how to strengthen those foot muscles and align your body for optimal function, check out the MoveU Membership which gives you all inclusive access to everything we offer - including the Knee, Ankle & Foot program. In the meantime, whether you're strolling through the urban jungle or hiking the unbeaten path, barefoot shoes are one ally your feet have been waiting for. It's time to leave your traditional shoes in the dust. Happy walking!

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