On Being Barefoot and Minimal Shoes...

Healthy feet are what Softstar is all about! Our RunAmocs™ and minimal shoes are designed to encourage natural movement with flexible, soft soles and breathable, natural materials.

If you are reading this then it is likely you are already interested in the possible benefits of going barefoot or wearing minimal shoes, such as improved foot strength and balance. Below is a compilation of some additional resources you may find helpful.

Conventional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

Conventional Shoes vs. Minimal Shoes

Recommended Reading:

For health and research information specific to children and growing feet, click here.

 Interesting articles:

You Walk Wrong by Adam Sternbergh for New York Magazine. It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we're wrecking it with every step we take.

Barefoot Shoes? The Primal Reason You Want to Take Off Your Shoes   by Mark Sisson for The Huffington Post. Absent any social obligations, fashion expectations, or store regulations regarding the necessity of footwear, would you choose to go barefoot as often as possible?

Barefoot: Historical and Religious Aspects on Wikipedia. "Alexander the Great conquered half of the ancient world with barefoot armies." 

We Evolved to Walk on Heels in Order to Save Energy While Out Hunter Gathering by Richard Alleyne, The Telegraph. Heel first isn't always bad!

...and good books:

Tips for Healthy Feet:

For some tips on stretching, pain elimination and strengthening your feet, check out these simple exercises.

Tips for Selecting Minimal Footwear:

  • Buy properly-sized shoes. Shoes should provide room for your toes to wiggle and spread. This applies to socks as well as shoes.
  • Try on or purchase new shoes later in the day, when feet tend to be at their largest. Always buy the shoes that feel the best.
  • For outdoor shoes on hard surfaces, such as sidewalks, look for soles that are slip resistant, low profile (no heels) and flexible.
  • Look for shoes that have spacious and simple interiors twith no "molding" features, such as arch supports or molded footbeds
  • Upper portions of shoes should be made of breathable material. Since feet sweat, your shoes will absorb moisture from them. It is important to allow your shoes to dry completely after use.
  • Buy shoes that are chemical-free. Your feet can absorb chemicals transdermally. Beware of bad smelling shoes or those with plastic footbeds or uppers.
  • If using footwear for walking or exercising, choose shoes that stay secure without your foot or toe muscles having to clench or use other unnatural forces to keep the shoe from sliding or kicking off (sorry flip flops—okay for lounging, but not for moving).
  • Lighter shoes are often better since they allow your stride to land lighter with less impact, less fatigue and faster recovery.

RELATED: Looking for comfortable travel shoes that are easy to pack? Click here!

Before you Switch...

Making the switch from traditional shoes to minimal shoes or barefoot running/walking should be done gradually with research and advice from healthcare professionals to prevent injury. Walking barefoot will tire your feet initially and require extra stretching and care. Running minimal/barefoot will inevitably use new muscles in your feet, ankles and calves and we recommend seeking out the advice of running or medical experts to transition gradually.. It is not recommended to immediately begin heavy running in your new minimal shoes unless your feet have already adapted to this type of foot strike. You will probably be tempted to just take off since they are FUN and you feel like a kid in them, but you may end up injuring yourself if you plunge into full speed without prior conditioning. There is a lot of great advice in the recommended reading on how and why and pros and cons of transitioning to a more minimal shoe. It is worth your time to do some research and find a training plan that works for you.