Fashion trend barefoot shoes: They really are that healthy

Barefoot shoes

Walking barefoot is healthy. We've probably all heard that before. But walking barefoot in shoes? Not really possible. The running style should be as close as possible to walking without shoes in order to promote naturally healthy feet. But are the shoes really healthy and for whom can they even become dangerous?

The health concept of the barefoot shoe

Our running style changes enormously when we put on shoes. One reason for this is the enormous distance to the ground caused by the sole of the shoe. On the other hand, shoes restrict our feet, especially our toes. Thus the shoe takes over the stabilizing function of our toes and the feet become inflexible. Barefoot shoes try to create a natural gait as much as possible. With relatively flexible materials and thin soles, our walking style should come as close as possible to that of walking barefoot. Because our comfortable shoes make our feet get lazy: Blood circulation is reduced, flexibility decreases and our numerous nerves on the sole of our feet are hardly irritated. On the other hand, the intensive contact with the ground when running stimulates the nerves and the blood circulation is promoted.

Really healthy? The advantages for your feet

But do barefoot shoes really offer health benefits? Yes! Especially those who put a lot of strain on their feet, for example by jogging regularly, can benefit from the minimal footwear. In addition, more and more models for everyday use are coming onto the market. If your feet hurt quickly or if you simply wish to run more consciously, kickers can also provide your feet with beneficial support in everyday life.

These aspects may be of interest to you:

  • Barefoot shoes protect your joints

    According to a study by evolutionary biologist Daniel Liebermann, our standard shoes are the cause of many orthopaedic complaints. To support this thesis, he started a study with 73 runners, some of whom were trained barefoot runners and others wearing modern running shoes.

    The comparison of both groups showed that cushioned running shoes, in contrast to previous assumptions, put a lot of strain on the ankle joints. The trained barefoot runners, on the other hand, put considerably less strain on their locomotor system.

  • Promotes blood circulation

    The palpable ground contact of the sole of the foot and the freedom of movement in barefoot shoes also ensures better blood circulation in your feet and legs.

  • Minimal shoes promote the running style

    Direct contact with the ground also means that nerves and muscles communicate better with each other. Furthermore, the sense of balance is promoted and your foot rolls naturally. This results in a healthy running style and orthopaedic complaints can be prevented.

  • The risk of injury when running is lower

    The flat sole also reduces the risk of twisting and injuries to tendons and joints.

  • Barefoot shoes can strengthen the foot muscles

    Furthermore, the German Sports School Cologne was able to prove in its study that barefoot shoes can strengthen the muscles. The runners trained for this experiment with the Nike Frees and achieved up to 20 percent strengthening of their foot muscles.

  • The shoes protect your foot from sharp objects

    Of course, you would also achieve all these results if you were to walk barefoot. But shoes have their raison d'être: they should protect you from cold, wet and injurious objects. Barefoot shoes combine these characteristics. Your feet are protected and freedom of movement is not restricted.

  • They walk in minimal shoes more consciously

    The thin sole ensures that you feel unevenness, such as stones or branches, intensively. Just to avoid painful stimuli, you will go through the world more consciously. Mindfulness, in turn, can be beneficial to your mental health, giving you inner peace and relaxation.

run barefoot

Exceptions confirm the rule

For most people barefoot shoes are very healthy, but not everyone can cope with them and in some cases they can even be dangerous.

Barefoot shoes may therefore not be suitable for you:

      • You do not like the look

        While the usual shoe shapes become narrower towards the front, barefoot shoes have a wide toe area or even individual toe chambers. The look can appear unusual and not everyone likes it equally.

      • The changeover is difficult for you

        In the beginning, the nerves, tendons and muscles have to get used to the higher strain, which is why wearing barefoot shoes can feel a little uncomfortable at first. In addition, the acclimatisation should be done carefully. A quick change with high loads carries the risk of injury. For sports purposes, a changeover period of 9 months is therefore recommended.

      • There are health restrictions

        Barefoot shoes can be dangerous for diabetics and those affected by other nerve damage. Good padding to protect the nerves is a priority here. In case of malpositions, especially when insoles are needed, you should also discuss the use of barefoot shoes with an orthopaedic surgeon. The missing footbed can cause pain and promote orthopaedic complaints in some defective positions.


Basically barefoot shoes have many health-promoting aspects. If you go jogging every day, for example, you can prevent orthopaedic complaints, the blood circulation is stimulated and the nerves are stimulated. However, barefoot shoes are not ideal for everyone. Some people simply do not like the shape of the shoe. In case of nerve damage and malpositions, the shoes can even be harmful to health. The changeover can also feel a little uncomfortable, but after a period of acclimatisation the flexible soles can give you a whole new walking experience.

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