Barefoot shoes are not just a new fashion trend, they support your entire body and have numerous benefits! These types of shoes provide protection, comfort, traction, breathability, and support – to name a few. While most people (we hope) know barefoot shoes increase foot strength and balance, they also provide various health benefits for your entire body. Today, we go over these benefits and how barefoot shoes can help your whole body feel better and more aligned.

12 Health Benefits of Barefoot Shoes

Did you know that barefoot shoes can help increase your foot strength? In fact, VIVOBAREFOOT shoes can help you improve your foot strength by 60% after as little as 6 months. Barefoot shoes don’t just support your feet though, they also support your entire frame. Here are 12 advantages of wearing barefoot shoes:

Strengthens the muscles in your feet.  

Barefoot shoes do not force your feet into a certain position, instead they hug the natural curve of your feet. This gives your feet more room to move naturally and in a more aligned fashion, which is what Mother Nature intended. Better alignment means you can build strength and move around more freely. With stronger foot muscles, you can absorb impact more effectively and can learn to properly engage the muscles in your feet.

Develops and encourages toe strength.

More toe strength means better biomechanical movement and better foot control overall. Why is toe strength important you ask? Well, the intricate bones and joints in your foot are critical for both balance and the posture of your lower body. Having strong toes (and feet) is important to stabilize your posterior chain.

Reduces your risk of ankle and knee injuries.

With barefoot shoes, your ankles get stronger, which is better for control and stability. Also, many knee and hip injuries stem from a collapse at the feet, so strengthening the muscles in your feet encourages better posture and reduces your risk of injuring yourself in the future.

Supports your leg muscles and Achilles tendons.

These muscles and tendons will be in a more natural position in a barefoot shoe without a raised heel (which most shoes have), which leads to less injuries.

Improves your connection with your brain.

Your foot receives more sensory input while wearing barefoot shoes which means better communication with your brain, so you can walk and run more naturally. According to VIVOBAREFOOT, “In feet, sensory feedback is essentially information our foot passes onto our brain, which helps us understand what’s underfoot and make decisions quickly.”

Strengthens your foot arch and helps you absorb impact better.

Barefoot shoes help strengthen your feet muscles to help stabilize your arches. If you’re always wearing supportive shoes, you are not contributing to muscular strength in your feet.

Improves your proprioception.

Proprioception is the sensory feedback loop you get from your nervous system that tells your brain about your body’s positioning and any forces acting on, near, or around your body. The bottoms of your feet have proprioceptive nerves that send out information about where your body is in space to different areas of the brain involved in movement coordination, balance control, spatial perception, and so much more.

One proven way to optimize this foot-brain connection is to wear barefoot shoes.

Provides less impact on your joints.

You’re less likely to heel strike when running and more likely to have mid or forefoot strikes with barefoot shoes which means less impact on your joints.

Reduces the risk of bunions and hammertoe.

Your toes don’t get squished together in barefoot shoes so they can do their thing and splay out for added stability and fewer problems such as bunions and hammertoe.

Helps you run faster.

Barefoot shoes are lightweight, which means many people don’t feel like they have anything on their feet while walking or running. This might make you feel like you do all your favorite activities a little bit faster.

Helps you move pain-free.

The heel-to-toe stride causes runners and walkers pain that can negatively impact their knees and joints. Wearing barefoot shoes helps you learn how to step or run on the balls of your feet first. Going barefoot has a positive effect on your foot muscles, arch support, posture, balance, and, as you read above, so much more.

Reduces back pain.

In shoes with an elevated heel, your ankles are in plantarflexion (a pointing down position) and your calves are also in a shortened position. This affects your knees which are then in flexion, shortening your hamstrings, putting your pelvis into a slight anterior tilt, and bringing your hips into a slight flexion. What does this all mean? It means in elevated shoes your back is more arched, which can cause muscle imbalances, misalignments, and back pain.

If you’re interested in barefoot shoes, check out our partners over at VIVOBAREFOOT. Put in code MUVIVO15 at checkout for a special discount.