Friday, May 7, 2010

Barefoot Shoes

Recently, a friend told me that there are all sorts of health benefits involved with going barefoot.  She's in to doing everything all natural - and this whole barefoot idea goes right along with her 'au naturale' outlook.  Even though I have lived with some foot pain - fallen arches, soreness - over the past few years, I was somewhat interested in  what she was telling me.

I looked into it, and it turns out she was right.  It has been found that there are many benefits to going barefoot - and it is being recommended that people lose the shoes as often as possible.  I found that people who go barefoot regularly (even people carrying extra weight around) have far fewer foot problems and far less foot soreness than those with shoes.  Apparently, shoes are not traditionally made to fit a foots natural contours, and after time, wearing shoes causes damage to the muscles in the feet. Additionally, wearing shoes causes a relaxing of the muscles in the feet and ankles, causing humans to be less able to carry their own weight around.

Going without shoes is supposed to be beneficial to emotional health as well.  We have a huge amount of nerve endings in the soles of our feet - and they are meant to help us gather information about our immediate environment.  Shoes put a barrier between us and the world, lowering our awareness, impacting our ability to respond to environmental changes, and ultimately leading to feelings of depression.  On the flipside, stress, depression and fatigue can be relieved simply by removing your shoes!

There is even a Society For Barefoot Living (, a group of people who have chosen to go barefoot as a lifestyle choice.  Also, there is the running barefoot website (, for the growing number of runners who have given up their Reeboks.

While I was looking for information on the health benefits of going barefoot, I found many products available for those making this lifestyle choice.  You would think that going barefoot involved the simple decision of whether or not to wear shoes, and would cost next to nothing - but no!   Seeing as we are a capitalist society - as long as there are willing consumers, I guess anything can be sold, .

This is one of my favorites:

This is a cobblestone barefoot walking mat!  It replicates the experience of walking barefoot outdoors across smooth stones (like those found at the beach) without having to actually leave your home!  I mean, who would want to walk barefoot along a beach when they could just walk back and forth across this mat right there in their own living room?  Plus, when you are done walking barefoot for the day - this convienient mat can be easily rolled up and stored in a closet!  If I had one of these babies, I might never go outside again!

As awesome as the cobblestone mat is, barefoot shoes are even better!  I had to sit and consider that for a while - barefoot shoes? A bit of an oxymoron, ay?  But, hey, in the words of The Lorax, "You never can tell what some people will buy."  But wait - there is not just one barefoot shoe, there are many styles of 'barefoot shoes' to choose from!  Many things to consider when living the barefoot lifestyle.

First up is the Barefoot Freedom sandal:

This lovely shoe has a removeable, heat moldable insole that can be molded to match each individual foot's shape.  Your foot will be more comfortable that the bare foot because it will sit on it's personalized mold throughout the day - which will eliminate foot fatigue.  Still, I don't think this shoe will replicate the exercise or stress releiving elements of going barefoot.  This shoe, by the way, is sold for $98.95.

Another concept in the whole barefoot shoe craze is the vivo barefoot shoe:

This stylish shoe has a little different concept than the Barefoot Freedom Sandal.  This shoe is made with an extremely thin sole, so you're ALMOST barefoot - which, I imagine, means that you will ALMOST reap all of the benefits of actually BEING barefoot.  And you can ALMOST improve your plantar health for an average cost of $150 per pair.  Makes perfect sense to me!!!!

But maybe some of you only trust the well known footwear brands.  Well - here is the barefoot shoe for you!

This is Nike Free - which attempts to simulate barefoot running.  So, if the idea of barefoot running appeals to you - BUY THIS SHOE!  Depending on the style, these shoes cost between $85 and $110 - and, honestly, who would want to practice barefoot running while actually running barefoot?  Right?

Finally - we have the premium barefoot shoe!  This is the barefoot shoe of all barefoot shoes!  Check this out:

This is the long awaited fivefinger barefoot shoe!  This shoe is much more reasonable at only $70 a pair.  Plus,   as you can see, this is as close as you can come to being barefoot while still wearing shoes! 

 Again - it is pretty darn important to choose the right shoe for you if you want to be barefoot!


  1. I'll keep that in mind, barefoot sounds wonderful=]

  2. I have had my Five Fingers for almost a year and I love them. I currently wear them mostly to Zumba classes. I used to wear them EVERYWHERE...until S. Texas summer hit. Then it was back to my Sanuk yoga mat flip flops! But I sing the praises of Five Fingers frequently!