As I like to say, barefoot is always best. Walking barefoot has many health benefits, including improved balance and foot strength, and I avoid wearing shoes whenever possible. However, if going barefoot is not an option, barefoot shoes are the best way to keep your feet happy and healthy. These types of shoes allow your feet to move naturally whilst offering adequate protection from harmful objects.
Here are some tips for finding foot-healthy shoes.
- thin, flexible soles – to allow natural movement and maximum sensory feedback, whilst also providing protection
- breathable and lightweight material – to keep you skin healthy and dry, which in turn prevents fungal and bacterial infections
- flat soles – raised or high heels should only be worn on special occasions
- a wide toe box, with 15-17mm of room at the end – so your toes to have adequate room to wiggle and move!
- shoes with little or no arch support
Avoid shoes that:
- have a narrow toe box or squeeze your toes
- cause pain
- excessively rub your skin or create blisters
- have rigid soles or prevent your foot from moving naturally
- have a raised heel
- are very narrow
It may be hard to find shoes that satisfy all these requirements, but look for as many of these features as possible. There are an increasing number of barefoot shoes available, so try on a few styles to decide which are right for you.
If you have been wearing “normal” supportive shoes, make the transition slowly to barefoot shoes, as your feet need to build up strength. It will take some time for your feet to “remember” how to function normally – but if you make the effort now, your feet thank you in years to come!
Research Podiatrist for Skeanie