You’ve been thinking about it for a while, and now you’re ready to take the plunge! Congratulations on making a choice that will have a positive impact on your life and health. Now that you’re ready, you might be wondering, how can I switch shoe types gracefully? This is a great question, and although you might be excited about your new shoes, we suggest that you don’t quit your old shoes cold turkey. Logging many miles on your barefoot shoes right off the bat will leave you feeling sore and uncertain of your new upgrade. Easing into it is the best approach. Let us explain why.
Your lower legs, ankles, and feet have become lazy
Yes, you read that right. After years (probably your whole life) of shoes that offer great amounts of cushion and shock absorption, your muscles have not had to move in the ways they were designed to in a long time. This has made them less flexible and slightly weaker. Because of this, if you start wearing your new barefoot shoes everywhere, you’re not giving your feet time to build this muscle. To avoid pain or injury in the beginning, starting slow is best.
Your gait has become accustomed to the shoes that you are currently using
Your gait includes your posture, your stride, and overall how you move about in the world. Switching shoes means that this will change. Just like how you are going to give your feet, ankles and lower legs time to adjust and build up muscle, you might also be using different muscles more when your gait changes that need time to build themselves up as well. Again, making the switch slowly will give your body time to strengthen where it needs to, preventing pain and possible injury.
So now you understand why you should start slowly. But how should you execute this masterful switch? That is a great question, and we can help you with an actionable plan.
How do I make the switch?
We suggest that you start by wearing your shoes around the house. This will give your feet something familiar to land on that they might even be used to walking barefoot on already. Next, start going for short walks outside, slowly increasing to longer walks. When you feel comfortable with this, you can start going for jogs, and so on. This process will be true for any style of shoe you’re starting with, whether it’s a sandal, a casual wear shoe, or a running shoe. Start out small, and work your way up to wherever you want to land.