So before we dive into the best barefoot shoes for your feet, let’s learn why shoes are so important for your health.
When your posture is not ideal, your feet end up having to work very hard to compensate for the fact that your body is falling forwards and twisting. This happens to just about everyone so we end up using our muscles to compensate and keep our balance.
Often, our feet end up doing a lot of compensating, resulting in an increased risk of developing deformities, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles pain or rupture, calf muscle strains, knee problems and more.
Your feet are loaded with very sensitive sensors, and the muscles in your feet and legs react in response to this information, giving you absolute control. As your feet work harder due to problems with your frame, they get damaged, lose sensitivity, become stiff, painful and deformed.
Bare in mind as Advanced BioStructual Correction Chiropractors, the advice we give to find proper footwear is to supplement the benefits of the treatment. the treatment and the advice complement each other to give you the full benefits outlined below.
Why shoes are important
When it comes to standing with good posture, your footwear plays a huge role. Did you know that humans have not been wearing rubber-soled shoes very long? We are at our best being barefooted or with minimal leather/cotton sandal type footwear, so at least when you are at home, we recommend trying this.
Outside, in a modern, city environment you need shoes; the ground is too hard and cold to go barefoot. However, a shoe with a sole that is either too thick, too stiff or too soft will take away your foot’s ability to feel the ground, maintain balance, propel you and change direction.
So, a shoe that mimics a barefoot feeling with a thin, flat, flexible sole is the best barefoot shoe.
Your toes also need room to splay out when you put weight on them so they should not be tight. In fact, tight clothing will also affect you in the same way so avoid tight socks, jeans, skirts, bras, etc.
Your feet and ankles also need to be free to move fully when walking. Not only does this motion propel you forwards but it also helps pump blood back up your legs; hence, why walking is so good for your heart – everything is connected!
Unfortunately, like most things in life, fashion and image have become more important than what is best for us. Most of the well-known shoe and trainer brands make awful shoes with very poor knowledge of how shoes affect your health. The wrong shoes can ruin your whole body (not just your feet – remember that everything is connected). We need to see shoes as a health item first and a fashion item afterwards.
Finding the best barefoot shoes
This standing advice is an integral and essential part of the ABC Chiropractic recovery process. It is also useful for all people of any age, so please share with your family, friends, and colleagues.
The overall idea of the advice is to help keep your head, and spine close to the neutral position most of your day, so your spine is not bending, twisting or arching.
The best barefoot shoes for your feet will let you stand upright and still with next to no effort. You will not slouch or wobble. This relaxed, upright posture is a requirement of the unwinding process. It is achieved by using your shoes to counter the imbalance in your body structure.
Not following the advice, by wearing bad shoes will at best, slow the overall recovery time. And at worst, pull/push bones out of place again; halting recovery.
So here we go…
The Best Barefoot Shoes For Your Feet
Firstly, barefoot is best. So free your feet as often as possible. Slowly increase the time you can manage without shoes to get your feet used to it. The best shoe mimics this barefoot experience.
A barefoot shoe looks like this. They have a flat insole, wide toe box, and flexible sole. They are not meant to be tight, so make sure there is lots of room inside and keep your laces loose.
Barefoot shoes come in many different designs based on this concept. Please check your choice of shoes with your practitioner before purchasing. Barefoot sandals are also a great option! You can also get barefoot hiking boots and barefoot trainers. (Although take care transitioning to barefoot shoe running.)
There are lots of brands to choose from including:
Dress shoes: Carets
Bespoke shoes: Ruth Emily Davey Shoemaker
You will need to investigate and see which brand and type is the best barefoot shoe for you.
Flip flops are also fine, but discard them when the heel area becomes deformed/sunken in.
A flat sole is great but some people will benefit from a small heel to tip the ankle forwards. This can improve balance, breathing, and posture whilst reducing muscle and nerve tension. Your practitioner can add heel lifts and chips to your flat shoes to accomplish this. They may also add a small dot sticker to the shoe on your breakdown side. This further improves your body’s mechanics. This combination of barefoot shoes and added heel chip + dot is our top recommendation for a personalised shoe that truly is the best barefoot shoe for you.
Is wearing heels good for you?
The exact heel height is different for everybody and needs to be found by testing your posture when standing. You can test by breathing out, relaxing and letting your body go. When you get it right, you will remain upright, not fall backward or forward and feel loose. Your breathing should be easy and full and if someone pushes you gently from behind, you will remain upright and not be pushed forwards easily.
If your shoe has a heel, less than an inch is usually enough. Any more and your body may suffer. A high heel is also difficult to balance on and will change the way you walk. This stresses your feet and ankles and also increases the risk of a sprain. You will also have to contort the rest of your body to maintain your balance and this is likely to create misalignments of your joints and cause difficult unwinding.
Best barefoot shoes for wide feet
Any shoes that are too tight will put stress on your ankle and other joints higher up the body. They also negatively affect your breathing, circulation, balance, and coordination. Over time, they also reduce the bone strength in the foot and can lead to bunions. The front of the shoe (the toe box) should be very wide or open. If there is a strap it should not squeeze your foot at all.
Shoes that have a soft or sculpted sole like Sketchers memory foam, rubber crocs, Birkenstocks, or worn out flip flops, will make your heel sink down, tilting the foot backwards.
This will negatively affect your balance and hyperextend your knees, pulling on the back of your legs and forcing your body to lean forward to counter-balance. This is a bad situation to put yourself into and will force bones out of place to compensate; slowing recovery and causing unnecessary symptoms.
With the correct shoe, you do not need to pull your belly in, tilt your pelvis, pull your shoulders back or push your chest out. Just relax. If you are getting treated properly and have the correct shoes, you will stay upright with no effort.
If you regularly find yourself crossing your hands in front or behind, putting them in your pockets, or leaning on something to stabilize yourself, it is likely that your shoes are not supporting you properly.
Are standing desks good for you?
Standing desks can be better than sitting desks but you still need good shoes to work in. Moving regularly is important to help your body to function correctly and stay healthy.
This advice for the best barefoot shoes applies to all your footwear. Including trainers, formal shoes, slippers, sandals, flip flops and more!
Toddlers and children need similar barefoot shoes. In fact, it is even more important for them as their bodies are still developing. Bad shoes make it harder for them to stand, balance, co-ordinate and walk. Also, keep them out of shoes as much as possible. Barefoot shoes are also available in children’s sizes.
By the way, even tight socks affect everybody’s posture so make sure your socks are also loose-fitting.
The best barefoot shoes for flat feet / running / The best barefot shoes to run /The best barefoot running shoes
If you are a jogger/runner and have found barefoot trainers tough on your feet and Achilles, this is not the shoe’s fault, but it is a sign that your body is crooked, and you are overloading your calf and foot during your gait. Once you get your posture and alignment corrected with Advanced BioStructural Correction, you can see what all the barefoot fuss is about.
Your body is the ultimate iteration of a biped. We are meant to be on our feet all day without a problem. If your feet hurt or are deformed it is a sign that you need help. Once you are fixed, no matter what your age, you will see just what your body is capable of!
This advice will help you to make the most of your unwinding recovery and help you to be your best!
If you would like to find out more about our treatment please get in touch with us to discuss your problem.
Find out more about Advanced BioStructural Correction ABC Chiropractic.
You can also find out more here too!