Have you seen these crazy looking athletic walking and running shoes that look like a foot skeleton yet? They’re actually very futuristic looking, but they look like on me, who needs a lot of arch and ball support in my shoes, they would cause a lot of pain in my foot and in my back!
I’ve never tried a pair on, but I’d venture to guess these are the types of shoes that only certain people can wear who don’t need a ton of support when they’re either running, walking or doing a lot of physical activity. Especially the kind that involves a lot of jumping around and joint impact.
But are appearances deceiving? Let’s take a look what these barefoot athletic shoes are all about and talk about it.
The idea is that running and walking or moving around otherwise is most naturally done in bare feet. The barefoot running shoes, most notably made by Vibram FiveFinger now, are based on the idea that this is the best way to work out, but they also add extra protection and cushion that you wouldn’t have if you were just strictly going bare foot.
These shoes literally have five separate toe slots, just like the footie socks that were such a novelty back in the day. They even have socks that have the little toe pockets as well, to go with the shoes. This is why you look like you’re in your bare feet when you wear them, because each of your toes is outlined.
The idea is also that when in your essential bare foot form, you are also helping to train your entire body instead of “casting” your foot in a regular shoe with all the padding, rubber, soles, and binding. They supposedly help to make your body sync up, helping to train the nerves and muscles to become more efficient due to the minimal interference of all the unnatural padding of a regular fitness shoe.
There is also supposedly research out there that shows we can run faster and farther when in bare foot form (of course with protection, but with minimal interference from too much material and padding in the way). There is also some evidence that we may be able to escape more injury by running in this more natural form.
The shoe maker Vibram recommends that when starting off using their shoe, you transition slowly as there may be an adjustment period. They do say that they have a sole that protects from too much friction or injury. Is the barefoot running shoe right for you? I suppose you’d have to try them out!