What are Barefoot shoes 101

In this blog post video, we’ll give you the basics of barefoot shoes, what they are, and point out their advantage over mass-produced shoes. The main parameters of shoes that are defined as barefoot are:

1. A wide toe box that follows the natural curve of the foot.

2. Flexible and thin sole that does not lift at the arch.

3. Zero drop or zero unevenness between the heel and the top of the foot.

BeLenka Entice 2.0 – Cinnamon brown

Why is this so important for a shoe and why do we call walking in it barefoot?

  1. The wide toe box in the front part allows the toes to spread freely without being pinched and allows them to take their natural position. In most conventional shoes, there is a narrowing in the toe which leads to compression and subsequently a change in the bone structure. As a result of the narrowing, the foot cannot perform its primary function of supporting your body weight, which usually results in back and lower back pain, leg pain (both in the foot and knees), misalignment of the toes, especially in thumb, ingrown nails and many more.
BeLenka Nevada – Mustard

2. The thin sole, on the other hand, is extremely important for the proper loading of the feet. It helps build muscle while walking. Also, the thin sole does not allow us to push our feet excessively as would be the case with a conventional shoe with a soft heel. And excessive bending of the legs when walking or running inevitably leads to injuries in the knees, spine, hips, neck. When we are barefoot we instinctively step on the top of our foot to protect our body from improper loading. The thin sole allows our bodies to continue this same type of movement but also when walking with a shoe. It probably sounds crazy, but due to the greater sensitivity of the toes compared to that of the heels, walking with bare shoes our body receives a lot more information about the surface we are walking on which helps us to take a correct posture for movement. The soft sole allows our foot to assume its natural shape when walking. The simplest example is when walking on stones – with bare shoes, the foot will take its natural shape and this will lead to evenly distributed tension throughout the body.

BeLenka Nevada – Mustard

3. The basis of correct body posture is correct footwear. Flat shoes (zero drop) guarantee a correct position of the feet, which in turn helps us to maintain a correct posture and reduces the pressure on the joints. A very slight heel lift affects your posture, shifts your hips forward and overextends your back. Back pain is a result of this posture. With a raised heel, there is also a shortening of the movements of the leg, which leads to its improper functioning and immobilization. Maintaining the arch is also something superfluous that our body does not need.The arch is also a very strong structure in architecture that does not require additional maintenance. In the presence of such, our legs become lazy, and our muscles begin to function improperly. In fact, the muscles that hold this arch up stop functioning. It is not by chance that the arch rises after the first few months after switching to bare shoes. And lazy legs and weakened muscles inevitably lead to injuries, whether during sports activity or daily movements.

BeLenka Entice 2.0 – Cinnamon brown

We all have different shapes of the feet, the toes, the comb, which is exactly why there is a classification according to this shape. All barefoot shoe manufacturers are highly specialized in producing shoes for a certain type of foot. There is almost no manufacturer that covers every single foot shape. In case you are new in the barefoot walking, it is extremely important to verify what is your foot shape and foot type. Having that information you will easily find what is the best shoes company producer that fits with you.

You can find more information about what is your foot shape HERE.

What healthy shoes to buy for baby’s first steps? 

Have you heard that a child should walk in shoes that shape the foot and support the ankle? The truth is that a toddler’s foot should have the freedom to move naturally, not be “shaped” by a shoe. Therefore, shoes with a hard heel or Nike type sneakers are NOT suitable for babies and small children.

According to studies, over 99% of children are born with healthy feet, but only about 1/3 of them remain with healthy feet and proper posture, without complaints as adults. All this is a result of the inappropriate shoes that children wear daily. See the picture below.

The appropriate shoes for a toddler and child are barefoot shoes – light, soft, flexible, manufactured according to the shape of the child’s foot. They don’t have a heel, heel lift or hard sole like the modern shoes on the market – Biomechanics and Nike Revolution.

Attention! During the first 4 weeks of walking, the baby should be barefoot if possible. The baby’s first shoes should be chosen after he can walk independently without someone leading him by the hand.

As already mentioned, there is no need to buy shoes with heel support, for example Biomechanics shoes, if your child has healthy feet. Sneakers from conventional brands like Nike and Adidas are stiff, with a raised heel, narrow toes and heavy, even if they don’t feel like so heavy to you. Only when you do the comparison of the above and a barefoot shoe, you will see that really conventional shoes are heavy and hard for the child’s tender foot.

Barefoot shoes have the following 3 characteristics:

1. Flat sole without lifting the heel or the so-called Zero drop

With conventional shoes, there is a heel lift that may be so small that you don’t even notice it at first glance. This is because manufacturers hide the “heel” inside the shoe. Lifting the heel leads to shortening of the muscles and tendons of the feet – stiffness and immobility. Therefore, barefoot shoes have a completely flat sole that does not take away from the movement of the foot and is completely healthy for a child’s or baby’s foot.

Bundgaard Petit Strap Dark Rose WS

2. Flexible and flexible sole

All the muscles, joints, ligaments and bones in the foot are involved in the movement of the leg when walking, jumping, running. This allows the joints to move freely, as well as distribute the weight of the body evenly when walking.

The thin and flexible sole allows the child to feel the pebbles and rough pavement under his feet, allowing him to develop the sensory feeling of his feet. The pebbles will not lead to unpleasant stinging, as some parents worry. Barefoot shoes have a thick enough sole to protect a toddler’s tender foot while still not depriving it of the sensitivity every foot should have!

3. Wide toe box

The front of the shoe should be wide and roomy enough for the toes to move freely. The thumb toe needs free space as it takes a large part of the body’s weight when stepping. Pointed shoes flatten the toes and quickly deform the child’s foot. And this, in turn, leads to problems with feet and posture in the future. Shoes should be foot shaped, which looks like this:

Pegres Barefoot BIO natural brown
Pegres Barefoot BIO natural brown

Appropriate shoe brands for the first steps of your baby are:

Narrow feet: Bundgaard

Normal feet: Pegres, Fare bare, Tikki, bLifestyle

Wide feet: Pegres, Fare bare, Tikki

The shows for both normal and wide feet can be easily adjusted so that they fit good enough.

Now that we’ve told you what shoes are suitable for a toddler, it’s time to tell you how to measure your foot to correctly judge which shoe size to get. See this article.

We will conclude this article with the recommendation that you should always consult an orthopedist before buying shoes for your child. If the child has a health problem, then barefoot shoes may not be suitable for him. But if the child has healthy feet, there is no need to wear shoes with a hard heel (Biomechanics) or orthopedic insoles.