Three great reasons to wear barefoot shoes
Experience has shown that many newcomers to the concept of 'barefoot shoes' have a lot of questions: Surely the words 'barefoot' and 'shoes' are mutually exclusive? Are barefoot shoes just shoes that you wear without socks? Why do I need barefoot shoes at all when I can just go barefoot?
That's why we're going to explain what barefoot shoes are and give you a few good reasons to wear them. To be clear, we absolutely recommend that you spend as much time as possible going 'genuinely' barefoot. On the other hand, sometimes external circumstances mean this isn't possible: we need shoes to protect out feet from the weather, for one thing. We would never recommend going barefoot on hot asphalt or in snow and ice. Furthermore, protection against sharp objects on the ground such as stones or glass fragments is required. In addition, there are many situations in daily life where going barefoot is rarely acceptable as a result of social conventions. Most of us would certainly not go barefoot at the workplace, for example.
Barefoot shoes are a good compromise. They offer a feeling which comes as close as possible to actually going barefoot. This basically comes down to the fact that they're wider, lighter and more flexible than regular shoes. This provides a number of advantages.
You make your feet stronger
Many conventional shoes force your feet into an unatural shape. They're made from fixed, stiff material, and are often too narrow in design and pointed at the front. This means that the toes are pressed together. The feet are restricted in their freedom of movement and natural motion is not fully possible.
Barefoot shoes such as GROUNDIES® are designed to match the natural shape of the feet and consist of soft, flexible material. The toe box is wide: The toes can spread and grip the ground naturally. Ligaments and tendons are able to stretch. Muscles have the space to use their full strength and grow stronger when walking.
At first, you may feel sore muscles in your feet and calves in barefoot shoes. This is a good sign, however: It means that your previously neglected muscles are now working fully to become strong and powerful.
You walk naturally
Most conventional shoes have cushioned and padded soles. This is intended to protect our feet and keep them comfortable. That might sound good, but it means that your feet remain relaxed when they should be active, such as when walking. This can lead to wasting of the muscles, and important movements can't be carried out as nature intended.
We firmly believe that feet don't need any padding in most situations. They can regulate various pressures themselves and adapt to different types of ground. Muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons in the foot ensure this by cleverly working together. We therefore don't use cushioned soles and padding. The GROUNDIES® barefoot sole is only 6.3mm thick and fully flexible in every direction. This allows your feet to work naturally.
Most conventional shoes also come with a heel or at least a small elevation in the heel area, even if they are not high heels. Barefoot shoes also avoid this: a neutral heel position is possible, the same as when walking walking barefoot. You keep your back straight and you benefit from a proper, healthy posture.
You consciously notice your environment
The soles of your feet are very sensitive. This is due to the fact that they contain many nerve endings, much like your hands. These nerve endings transmit important information about your environment to your brain. This information influences our movements and the way that we orient ourselves. Unlike thick, padded shoes, barefoot shoes allow the soles of your feet to naturally contact the ground, meaning that your brain receives full sensory feedback.
You'll also find that the thin, unpadded barefoot sole automatically slows you down and makes you pay more attention. You will take smaller steps without realising, especially as you get used to it. Barefoot soles allow you to clearly feel the ground beneath your feet. You feel exactly what type of ground you are placing your feet on - soft, hard, smooth, uneven... Concrete, grass, or forest floor.
Barefoot shoes make it possible for you to fully and consciously perceive your enviroment with all senses. This offers pure relaxation, especially in our stressful daily lives.