If you enjoy running, hiking, or wearing lightweight, flexible shoes, switching to footwear with less cushion is truly good for you. Though it may feel like you’re risking injury by ditching the structure of a supportive shoe, research suggests that going barefoot, or as close to it as possible, is the healthiest way to run and walk.
Whether you’re new to the barefoot movement or have been running on minimalist shoes for years, here are five benefits of barefoot shoes women that may interest you:
What Is a Barefoot Shoe?
A barefoot shoe is a type of footwear that simulates being barefoot. This type of shoe is meant to provide as little interference as possible between your foot and the ground, allowing you to move more freely and naturally.
Characteristics of barefoot shoes women
- Completely Flat
- No Arch Support
- Secure to the Foot
- A wide toe box that allows your toes to spread out naturally
Barefoot shoes have been around for a while, but they’ve gained popularity in recent years as more and more people are looking for healthier lifestyles. Though they may look like nothing more than glorified flip-flops, these shoes have a variety of benefits that make them worth the investment.
Benefits of wearing barefoot shoes
Better Ground Feel
This is one of the most important reasons people consider barefoot footwear. Conventional well-cushioned shoes have broken the connection with the planet for so long; it is time now to switch to lightweight and flexible shoes whose soles let you sense the under your feet, which makes you feel liberated and more connected to nature and your surroundings. You can reduce stress, let go of negative thoughts, and focus more on the present moment.
Barefoot shoes can help improve your balance. When you wear shoes with a lot of cushioning and support, your feet don’t have to work as hard to stabilize your body. As a result, your balance muscles can become weak, and you may lose the ability to sense where your body is in space. Wearing barefoot shoes forces your feet to work harder to stabilize your body, strengthening the muscles in your feet and ankles. This can help improve your balance and coordination and may even reduce your risk of falls.
They May Help You Avoid Injuries
One of the main reasons people switch to barefoot shoes is to avoid injuries. And there’s good reason to believe that they can help. For example, a 2012 study published on ResearchGate found that runners who ran barefoot or in minimalist shoes had a significantly lower risk of developing an overuse injury than those who ran in traditional shoes. So, if you’re looking to avoid injuries, barefoot shoes may be a good option for you.
They Can Help Strengthen Your Feet and Lower Legs
When you wear traditional shoes, the cushioned heels and arch support prevent your feet and lower legs from having to work as hard. As a result, your muscles can become weak, and your joints can become stiff.
On the other hand, when you wear barefoot shoes, your feet and lower legs have to work harder to stabilize your body. This helps to strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs. Additionally, the increased range of motion in your joints can also help to improve your flexibility.
They Encourage a More Natural Gait
Another benefit of barefoot shoes is that they encourage a more natural gait. When you wear shoes with a lot of cushioning, it’s easy to heel-strike or land on your heel first. But when you’re barefoot or in minimalist shoes, you’re more likely to land on your midfoot or forefoot. This may seem like a small change, but it can significantly affect your running efficiency and injury risk.
With each step, heel-striking encourages a braking action, which can lead to injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis. But landing on your midfoot or forefoot helps you run with a more fluid stride.
If you are thinking about switching to barefoot shoes, it is important to ease into them. Start by wearing them for short periods and gradually increase the time you wear them. It is also important to make sure that you have the right shoes. Look for shoes that are lightweight and have a wide-toe box. This will allow your feet to move more naturally and reduce the risk of injury.