5 things to pay attention to with barefoot shoes

By Floor Tuinstra

5 things to pay attention to with barefoot shoes

Barefoot shoes

Once you wear them once, you won't want to go back

Minimalist shoes, zero drop shoes and barefoot shoes, there are now quite a few names for them.
Because the less shoe you wear, the better your toes and feet can move as a whole.
The more a shoe allows you to move freely, the better it is for your feet. This means that the foot can do what it is intended for without anything getting in the way, pinching, pressing or no longer being able to move. Because pinching of your foot at certain points extends upwards into your body.
Not only will your feet be extremely grateful for your choice of barefoot shoes, but also your knees, hips, back, shoulders, neck and head. This way you can walk for miles, even on rougher terrain.

How do you find the best possible barefoot shoes for your feet?

There are five things you should pay attention to when purchasing a pair of barefoot shoes

1. How high are the heels?

How much higher is the heel above the toes? Half a centimeter, 1 centimeter, 4 centimeters? Any kind of elevation disrupts the entire alignment of your body. Elevated heels make it impossible for many foot joints to reach their full range of motion. This leads to repeated and frequent small movements being made by the hips and knees. Because everything is connected, your body must constantly make small adjustments in the pelvis and spine to stay upright as you essentially walk downhill (your toes are lower than your ankles through the heels) on a flat surface. This also applies to men's shoes.
Consider the consequences of this, such as lower back pain and pelvic floor problems. Don't get me wrong, adapting your body to walk downhill is not a problem. But if you've been carrying any form of elevation your entire life, your body has had to continually adapt, not just to this position but the entire mass distribution and downward pressure. The most natural choice would be no elevation whatsoever in the entire shoe. If you want to make an impact that affects your entire body, a shoe without any elevation is the first step.
If you do not wear shoes with a heel, but you suffer from weak feet or an ankle that pronates, you will benefit even more from exercises to strengthen the arch and the foot as a whole.

2. Is the sole flexible?

How stiff are the soles of the shoe? Shoe soles that are not flexible ensure that you cannot roll the foot properly. This in turn causes the small muscles in your foot to atrophy (a decrease in muscle tissue because they do not receive enough stimuli) and the joints become stiff. On the other hand, a flexible minimal sole ensures that your foot moves more naturally and freely over the surface of the earth. You should be able to fold the shoe completely in half or around without difficulty.

3. How much room is there for your toes?

Most shoes are not shaped to the foot. Your toes should be wider than the ball of your foot, this is very visible in experienced yogis. They have a nice wide forefoot. They will also quickly notice how difficult it becomes if their foot has a wider forefoot and their shoes are less comfortable. Most shoes push the toes together slightly, causing the muscles in the feet to relax and the health of the nerves in the foot to deteriorate. Squeezed toes are a major cause of corns and nerve problems in the foot. All your nerves come together in your foot, so you can imagine that even a slightly too tight forefoot has consequences. The part of the shoe that wraps around your toes, the 'toe box', is an important part to look out for when buying new shoes, you want to find one with a wide forefoot that gives enough room for your toes to spread when you stand.

4. Can you close the shoe completely around your foot?

Look for shoes that can be strapped around your foot. If your shoe cannot stay 'attached' to you (think slippers, slide-in shoes, slippers and clogs), your toe muscles are working overtime. Although using more muscle sounds like a bonus, this is not the type of muscle use we are looking for. It creates tension and injuries such as 6 risks of wearing slippers .
So make sure that the shoe closes itself around your foot, so that your toes do not have to work extra hard. A pair of summer slippers would therefore better have heel support, a strap that fits around your heel at the back.

5. Are the toes flat?

There are a lot of shoes that curl up at the toes, called a toe bounce. It is the leading cause of hammertoes and can disrupt your foot mechanics over time. You see it a lot in sneakers and sports shoes.

Look for a shoe that is completely flat.