There seems to be a divide between everyone when it comes to barefoot shoes.
We hear how about the importance of arch support/ heel padding, and at the same time how the foot needs to feel the ground and learn to work on its own. There is so much confusion out there as to what is actually good for our feet. The barefoot craze has been around for a little while now and it’s time to explain if they actually are good for our feet?
We are starting to learn that our feet give us a lot more feedback than you think. The information they provide our brains with is phenomenal. Our feet have about 200,000 nerve endings. This allows us to feel the different terrains and the undulating surfaces. So much technology has been put into shoes to support our feet and now we are learning that feet should be doing this stuff anyway. With all the padding, arch support and heel cushioning, our feet start to become lazy because they constantly feel the same surface over and over again. Why is this important?
Our feet are the first point of contact to the ground. With every step you take, our brains receive feedback about the levelling / temperature / sharpness of the surface. This tells our brain how to respond next. Think of how many times you walk on the footpath and accidentally step on the edge of it and lose your balance potentially falling over and hurting your wrist or even more damage. A foot that has been conditioned to only feel the soft comfy surface of your shoe won’t respond as well as a foot that is constantly on guard feeling different surfaces. In other words, the more sensation your foot gets the smarter it becomes. So, in this situation (where we step on the edge of the footpath), the foot can respond quicker and correct this misstep.
Barefoot walking is actually beneficial and will help to improve the function of your feet rather than make them worse. Give it a try. You won’t go back!