The Big Lie Of The Barefoot Shoes.


Hold on, the What?

Barefoot shoes are shoes with no drop (the heel is on the same level as the toes), minimal to no cushioning, a wide toe-box, and no arch support. The most iconic barefoot shoes being the Vibram FiveFingers.

photo of Vibram FiveFinggers shoes
Vibram FiveFingers

These shoes meet all the requirements of being barefoot shoes, while also being the most goofy looking barefoot shoes on the market. For barefoot geeks and enthusiasts that don't want weird shoes there are plenty of other companies to choose from. The two most popular ones being Vivobarefoot, and Xero Shoes.

The Big Lie

If you've read or watched anything about barefoot shoes, you'll know that they're supposed to come with a ton of benefits. Toes don't get crammed, your feet can feel what you're stepping on, you gain a balance boost. That's how I got bought in to the whole barefoot thing a year ago. I bought myself a pair of Xero Prios and walked in them everywhere. Walking was awkward, but I could run in them just fine. Now a year later, the journey is still going. I started going on runs, my calves get natural workouts, and I'm learning a new way of walking. So the truth is, yes barefoot shoes do have their benefits, just not for everyone. As a Russian family, we take off our shoes when we go inside our house. I was surprised to learn some or most Americans don't. If you walk in shoes everywhere, like really everywhere. Straight up switching to a barefoot lifestyle like flipping a switch won't work. I've always been barefoot in the house, yet switching to barefoot shoes still took me some time to get used to.

The Benefits

Over time as my shoes got worn, I started noticing some changes. My toes have slightly spread out. I can't fit into my old shoes. No seriously, I can cram my feet into my old shoes, but it's so uncomfortable. It's not just my toes. It's almost as though my entire feet have relaxed into a more grounded state make them wider. Whenever I do put my old shoes on, for yard work (I don't have any barefoot dedicated yard work shoes), the elevated heel feels really weird, and it feels as though my feet are being squeezed into a small space.

Yay or Nay?

I think everyone should switch to barefoot shoes at their own pace. The CEO of Xero Shoes actually says in this interview, that the people running the big shoe corporations know about all the benefits of barefoot shoes. It's all proven. They just don't want to admit that they've been lying for decades. Now I realize without any visible proof this might sound like he was just promoting his products. But you can go watch the video and see for yourself. There are also quite a few articles published on the matter, here's a couple posted on collision forces in normal vs barefoot shoes, foot strength increase.

Now by no means am I telling you to go and buy barefoot shoes right now. If you're home, you can go to a clean area and just take off your shoes if you have them on. See how it feels to be barefoot. Walk, jump, break into a run if you have the space. If you're feeling adventurous and live a fairly clean neighborhood you can go outside barefoot. Feel the pavement, the asphalt, the grass. It's a whole new world to be explored and you don't have to pay anything for it. If you like it and want to go barefoot to places where shoes are expected of you, or where you might want some protection on your feet. Then you can look into buying yourself some barefoot shoes. If you do, here are my recommendations:

Xero ShoesMehAlrightThe Prios lasted me a year before the outer soles started to peel off. Though that could've been because of the washing machine.
VivobarefootPretty goodShould be good?
(Ordered some recently, will update when I get them)
According to this video they are some of the most durable ones.
WildlingsNiceVery nice, though they do have the thinnest soles of them all.Can't really say.

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