Five Reasons Why It's Better Being Barefoot
There are many reasons why being barefoot is better for you than wearing shoes, and that’s why Vibram FiveFingers look like feet, here’s one of 5 that we came up with.
How many can you think of?
Five reasons of wearing barefoot shoes
Reason One: Barefoot is comfortable (regular shoes are a different shape to regular feet!)
Let’s face it, most shoes are pretty uncomfortable aren’t they? Some can even become painful. How often have you got to the end of a day and couldn’t wait to take yours off?
This has something to do with the shape of the shoe vs the shape of your feet. Bottom line, most shoes are not foot shaped. Your feet have to spend a large chunk of their time squished into shapes that are not suitable for them.
Often shoes will
- push your toes together and away from the floor
- elevate your heels
- push your feet in at the sides.
That’s bad enough if you’re sitting down but what happens to your feet when you stand up? They get wider.
The weight of your body and the need to balance forces the soles of your feet to spread and your toes to separate. At least that would happen if we wore shoes that didn’t stop our feet functioning the way they should. This is partly why standing on your feet all day can make you desperate to kick your shoes off.
This is why Vibram FiveFingers are foot shaped.
- They allow your feet to stay flat on the floor
- Your feet can still spread
- Your toes are free to help you to balance and grip as you move
- They protect you from both the elements and from surfaces
Most importantly you don’t feel the need to get them off your feet after a long day.
Reason Two: Your balance is better
Our ape like ancestors would have used their feet more like hands with opposable thumbs. Even though we use our feet very differently now we still have those 5 digits, our toes.
- They are essential for our balance
- Each toe has the ability to move independently, constantly making tiny adjustments to keep us balanced whether we are standing still or moving.
- We’ve also retained some flexibility within our feet. So, much like the feet of our ancestors, we can wrap our feet over stones, roots or other unstable surfaces.
- We have hundreds of thousands of nerve endings in our feet that make all this stuff work.
When our feet are wrapped in thick, rigid cases (or shoes) we lose the ability to make all these small adjustments
- Our feet and toes are restricted
- Our toes move less
- Our feet flex less and our nerves feel less
Instead we control our balance with our ankles, our calves and other higher parts of our legs. All with a little help from the shoes. With time the muscles and nerves in our feet weaken through a lack of use.
What’s the answer? Build a shoe differently:
- Build a shoe that allows your toes to move freely
- Build a shoe that is flexible like our feet and thin enough so our nervous system can still feel the floor and our feet can respond
Something that looks like a glove for your foot perhaps?
Vibram FiveFingers don’t stop your feet from doing what they evolved to do.
Reason Three: Your posture is better
As well as compromising your body’s natural ability to balance, conventional shoes can play havoc with your posture and can even give you headaches.
Go barefoot and your heel is at ground zero, directly in contact with the floor and at the same level as the balls of your feet and your toes.
Conventional shoes changes this natural state in two ways
- They lift your toes away from the floor (with something called a toe spring, a toe deforming shoe feature)
- They elevate your heels so they’re higher than the balls of your feet.
These two changes at your feet have a knock-on effect all the way up your body:
- A slight change to the position of your knees
- A slight forward tilt in your pelvis
- An arch to your back
- They can even create adaptations at the top of your spine and neck.
Vibram FiveFingers don’t have elevated heels or toe springs. Stand on the floor in a pair and very quickly you’ll feel different. Your nerves wake up, your feet relax and your posture changes.
Reason Four: Your feet become stronger
How much of your day do you spend on your feet? Most of the time they are the only part of you in contact with the ground, supporting your whole body.
And movement! Start walking and you’re transferring all your weight from one foot to the other. Start running and the impact force increases, a force of over 2 times your body weight). That’s a lot for your feet to cope with isn’t it?
So, it makes sense to do everything we can to make sure our feet are strong. However, we tend to do quite the opposite. Modern footwear is designed to support our feet, much like scaffolding supports a weak building or a cast supports a broken bone.
But there are consequences. With support, under used muscles become weak because they don’t need to work so hard and over time your feet become less effective at doing all the stuff we want them to do to be strong.
Vibram FiveFingers have no support:
- Do not support your foot by holding up your arch
- They don’t hold your foot in one position
- They give your feet the chance to do what we want them to do
- They give your feet the chance to become stronger.
Reason Five: You can feel things
Are you ticklish on the soles of your feet? That extreme sensitivity is down to around 200,000 nerve endings constantly sending loads of information up to your brain. Our feet are like finely tuned instruments constantly making adjustments that your brain controls with the help of all that data. All this works together to make it possible for you to move around safely and effectively.
Take some of that sensitivity away and your brain loses a large amount of information about what’s going on down there. So it makes a best guess of what to do or relies on less sensitive parts of your body.
All this means less effective movement.
Imagine wearing thick mittens on your hands all day and how hard it would be to do regular things like pick up a cup of tea, turn a key in the door, play the piano.
Vibram FiveFingers are thin for two reasons:
- To allow your feet the flexibility they need to work properly
- To allow those nerve endings to do their job; to sense what is going on in space and tell your body what to do next
Lots of Vibram Five Fingers to choose from
The full range of Vibram FiveFingers all excel at different jobs.
- There are ones with extra grip for off road running, like the V-Trail 2.0
- ones that keep your feet warm, V-Trek
- super thin ones for more complex movement, like the KSO-Evo or V-Train 2.0
They are all designed to allow your feet to do what they do best!