Nowadays, barefoot is no longer an unknown term. Barefoot supporters can be found among any gender, adults and children. Barefoot is worn by athletes, celebrities and runners.
We have already written a lot about barefoot shoes and their health benefits, and there is still much more to write about. We are glad that you visited our blog and that this topic is of interest to you. In this article, we will talk about how to choose your first barefoot shoes, what to look out for and what to follow when choosing. We believe that it will help you and you will find your chosen ones in our portfolio and will join our satisfied customers.
What are barefoot shoes like?
Barefoot shoes bring the perfect felling of walking barefoot while protecting the foot from external influences. They are know for their typical shape, which resembles the shape of a foot. The wide front part gives the toes freedom of movement and it doesn’t oppress them in any way. Thanks to this, the toes can expand and contract in a natural way while walking, thus giving the body more support and helping with rebound. The thin and flexible sole provides a perfect contact with the ground. It allows us to immediately perceive the surface we are walking on and to react quickly to any changes in the terrain. Additionally, thanks to the thin sole, the nervous system is stimulated through the foot. The more irregularities in the terrain, the greater the level of stimulation to the brain. Zero-drop, i.e., zero difference between the heel and the toe, adjusts the body posture, changes the stereotype of stepping through the heel to step through the front part of the foot, adjusts the center of gravity. The joints are put under less stress and we don’t have as much tendency to lean forward and slouch. The fact that the shoes are quite light also plays its role and they do not feel like you are wearing a plaster on your leg. All of these factors make the shoes very comfortable and we can easily forget that we are wearing anything on our feet at all.
What to pay attention to when choosing your barefoot shoes?
The demand for barefoot shoes is really high as more and more people realise just how beneficial walking in shoes that imitate being barefoot is for the body and mind. The growing interest in the barefoot phenomenon, however, means that products that just pretend to be barefoot also appear on the market. It is also important to understand that the label minimalistic footwear doesn’t always automatically mean that the shoes are barefoot as well. So, if you want to make sure that you invest into 100% barefoot shoes, check that they meet all the following requirements
- Zero-drop, i.e., zero elevation between the heel and the toe of the foot.
- Ultra-thin sole that is flexible in all directions.
- Wide toe-box (the front part of the shoe) that provides enough space for the toes to move naturally.
- Ultralight construction of the shoe.
How to choose the correct ones?
Since the selection of barefoot shoes is really wide, choosing the first barefoot shoes can be difficult. What should we keep in mind before putting on our first pair? First of all, we need to think whether we are used to walking barefoot at least at home or whether our feet are constantly enclosed in narrow shoes. If option number one is our case, the transition to barefoot will not be as drastic as with option number two. So, if we are at least partially used to walking barefoot, any of our barefoot shoes could be considered. Shoes for work, to wander around in the nature or the city. Even though our feet are not completely unfamiliar with the feeling of being barefoot and haven’t forgotten their true function, changing to barefoot is still a big step. Therefore, we approach this change carefully and we are not going to be alarmed if our first try at going barefoot isn’t the most pleasant experience. If hiking shoes are our first choice, we have to keep in mind that we might not be able to do a full hike in barefoot shoes on the first try. We might have to carry a spare pair of shoes with us at the beginning and let our feet adjust to the barefoot shoes gradually. Some people can handle the transition to 100% barefoot right away, others might need more adaptation time. It really is very individual.
If our feet are not used to being barefoot at all or are very little, we have to choose a slow and gradual transition for sure. It is ideal to start with, for example, going barefoot with our slippers at work. Doing the transition gradually like this will allow the feet to get used to the unusual, yet so natural, feeling. An easy way to prevent a shock therapy for the feet. Light tennis or moccasin types of shoes are, therefore, the most suitable as the first choice.
Barefoot shoes are chosen according to the standard criteria – the place of their use, our type preferences, according to our taste, style, the occasion or colour. Adherents of minimalist style, unisex style but also lovers of more distinctive footwear will find their choice of model in the Be Lenka portfolio.
Of course, it is best to pay a visit to our brick-and-mortar store when choosing your first pair of barefoot shoes. The trained staff can best advise on choosing the correct shoes for your feet. The shoes should be tried on since they must really fit your foot perfectly. Otherwise, their usage will not bring all the benefits. However, if visiting our brick-and-mortar store is not an option, and we have to stay in the online world with our selection, we should be really careful when choosing the size. Do not follow standard numbering, but real dimensions. Every shoe model has a table attached that mentions the inner size of the shoe. We choose according to these real numbers and we don’t forget to add a necessary excess room. You can read how to choose the correct size here.
Walking barefoot is as natural to humans as breathing. After all, we weren’t born with sneakers on our feet, right? The human foot is a perfect “invention” of nature. An invention that has been evolving and perfecting over millions of years. It helped the first people to stand on their feet and progress in evolution. And us, modern man, choose to enclose this perfect creation of nature in another invention called shoes. As our thanks to the nature. Honestly, how many of us can say with a clear conscience that we think about our feet, want the best for them and give them the proper care they deserve?
We take them for granted and forget their needs. It’s okay though, no one ever guided us to do that, like, for example, most of us have been taught to take care of our teeth or hair. On the positive side, it is never too late to start! The time to be aware of your feet is now, we can finally give them what they need to serve us for many years to come. One of the options for a healthier foot is definitely changing to barefoot shoes. The vast majority of us who wear classic shoes wear them inappropriately and unknowingly cause harm to ourselves. The foot in a classic shoe suffers mainly in two ways – a narrow shoe that doesn’t copy the natural shape of the foot and oppresses the foot, presses on the bones and doesn’t give enough space to allow the foot to work naturally while walking.
The pressure on the bones can even lead to a pathological remodelling of the bones of the foot and this is, quite obviously, a serious problem. The second most common problem with standard shoes is the shaped insole which provides artificial support to the foot. The foot doesn’t have to work inside the shoe and the muscles, tendons and ligaments get progressively more and more weak. The foot gradually forgets its natural function. Gets lazy. This can lead to various problems not only with the feet or toes, but it affects the overall health of the musculoskeletal system. It is not uncommon to suffer from lower back pain or hunching over because of bad shoes. Additionally, unsuitable shoes force us into an incorrect walking stereotype, where the heel hits the ground first and hard. Rebounds from the heel are not beneficial for our joints, force us to lean forward and slouch. In addition, classic shoes usually have a thick sole that prevents contact with the surface and thus reduces the reaction time in the event of a surface change.
The limited flexibility of the sole is also a chapter in itself. An inflexible sole doesn’t allow the muscles of the foot to activate and work properly. Yes, this is how feet feel in classic shoes. Therefore, the transition to barefoot should be considered as a “treatment” of the problem and should be approached carefully and slowly. The foot has been passive for years, enclosed in a “plaster”. That’s why we can feel discomfort in the beginning, this is due to the fact that the foot has to remember its function and slowly restore it. The muscles and tendons must be given time to strengthen. The feet must get back on track. It’s the same as when we haven’t exercised in years and now we go to the gym. Similarly, we don’t lift the heaviest weights on our first try but we start gradually. Just like when we start running. We may run a few kilometres to begin with and gradually add more. Nobody starts off by running a marathon. The transition to barefoot should also be approached in this way. Slowly, gradually, first try it for short distances or wear barefoot slippers at work, gradually add more. Follow the body’s response and really listen to it. Only the body can tell us how it feels and how to move forward.
Get up and exercise ☺
Lazy feet from classic shoes and supportive insoles will need extra care. In addition to wearing the correct shoes, we can give them a little bit of extra training and support their skill of walking barefoot. Exercises and various games help restore momentum to the legs, improve motor skills and coordination but also encourage correct foot arch and blood circulation. For example, you can try picking up a tissue from the ground using only your toes. You can also lift, for example, a pencil or move pebbles from pile to pile. It is quite interesting to try drawing on the sole of the foot which irritates the nerve endings. You can also try taking off your socks without using your hands. Last but not least, you can try treating your feet to alternate cold-warm baths or relaxing massages. Involve your children in these activities, their feet will appreciate it and they will have fun doing it.
Barefoot for every occasion
Thanks to the growing interest in barefoot, today’s offer in the area is more than extensive. Women, men and even children choose their desired shoes. Even here, in Be Lenka, the whole family will find shoes to wear. You will find models suitable for every season, for any gender and also for children. Since last year, we have been sewing barefoot shoes that are suitable for sports and hiking as well. Barefoot shoes from our workshop are not only suitable for casual wear or sports, you can also wear them for special occasions such as a wedding.
All of our shoe models are sewn by hand from premium materials. In the offer, you will find models made of top quality leather as well as vegan models. Lovers of vegan models will find what they are looking for in our next brand, Barebarics, which offers stylish and unique sneakers in which your feet will be unmissable.
Once barefoot, forever barefoot
Walking “barefoot” in barefoot shoes is actually a return to our past. Reconnecting with the earth, an opportunity to slow down a bit and stimulate our senses. Thanks to barefoot walking, we are “forced” to perceive more, to be more aware of our surroundings, to be present here and now, present in the given moment. It may sound a little bit spiritualistic or like a cliché, but it is true. It is even scientifically supported by countless studies, don’t try to look for any magic in it. Being barefoot, our foot is constantly stimulated, the nervous system experiences a firework of sensations. In addition to the fact that this type of footwear has countless health benefits, as we have already mentioned many times, it has a positive effect on our central nervous system, irritating and stimulating it. It is proven that long-term wearing of barefoot shoes reduces stress levels, straightens immunity and even brings feelings of happiness.
They say that once you’ve tried barefoot, you will never want to go back to your old shoes. This statement and the reviews from our satisfied customers make us extremely happy and also confirm that our mission to change the footwear habits of people around the world was the right decision. It is the satisfaction and positive feedback that drives us forward. We want to bring you new and improved models all the time, so that you don’t want to trap your feet in classic shoes ever again.