Have you been thinking of giving minimal shoes a try? This movement (pun intended) of going back to our feet in natural form and letting them do their thing, has been catching on over the past 10 years. Shoes that offer a lot of padding, shock absorption, and shape are actually attempting to correct something that isn’t wrong! Your feet were made to carry you, and trying to change the way they are designed can cause permanent damage to not only your feet, but also your back, legs, and joints.
If you’re not yet convinced, here are some reasons why you should try minimal shoes that you may not have thought of yet.
1. You land more gently
When we wear shoes that have a lot of padding, we might be placing a lot of impact on one part of our foot, but our feet don’t signal to our brain as quickly that we need to land more softly. When we wear minimal shoes and our feet can feel the impact, we can understand where we might be having a greater impact than necessary as we run or walk. This allows us to efficiently adjust our stride to fix where we are hitting hard! So instead of striking our heel for an hour during our run, we can feel within minutes that we are striking our heel, and can fix this immediately.
2. It can strengthen your lower legs and feet
Wearing minimal shoes has been shown to increase plantar flexor strength. These are the muscles in your lower leg, ankle, and foot that help to control foot movement. Many endurance athletes focus on building strength here, so making the switch to minimal shoes can help this without the extra training.
3. Your balance can improve
As you hike, train, or generally move through life, your feet pass information to your brain about what you’re walking on! With a great amount of cushion below your feet, you can’t feel what’s underneath them. With a minimal shoe, you can feel this, allowing your feet to send those signals to the brain and, in turn, you can move more skillfully, while also improving your natural balance.
4. More comfort
With the wide toe, your feet have room to spread out and your toes aren’t pinched all day. You’ll get home after a long day and you won’t feel the need to kick off your shoes immediately when you walk through the door. What’s a better win than that?
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