Barefoot shoes

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Why are shoes like they are?

Shoes are designed for fashion due to historical reasons. Barefoot shoes try to prioritize practicality. They make your feet stronger, and you will have a lower chance of back pain. Weight shifts forward in regular shoes, which is negatively effects the knees and back. There are different ways of walking, so learning how to walk can be important.

Adapting to barefoot shoes takes time, and fashion-wise many of them are ugly. Good socks make it possible to use them when it is cold outside. Surprisingly, your feet are more active, so they more easily stay warm during winter. Often the rare exception has value, but the masses do not appreciate it. Many theories start like that.

What the barefoot shoe community doesn't want to talk about

It won't work for everything

Barefoot shoes won't work for everyone. It depends on what you walk on and other factors. I like the idea, but science is not everything. Theory can not keep all factors in mind, and usually there are papers pro and against. I do not think it will reach a huge market, since it appeals to a small nieche.

Professional sprinters wear sprinting spikes. They have more in common with barefoot shoes than regular shoes. If you want to go pro, you need to be aware of what the pros do. Usually there is a good reason for it. They are lighter and the spikes give grip for example. Most sports use different shoes. There is no shoe which fits all purposes. Try to seek what works best for you.

Robert Fliri, the inventor of the Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoe claims that most people he sprinted with agreed that spikes are not good for your feet, but you need them to compete. Obviously he likes the barefoot shoe, since it is a product for him.

Personal experience

I bought the "Xero Glenn Black" shoes at "Iedereen Loopt" in Bruges. The staff at the store helped me pick a shoe. I am surprised by how much these shoes feel like being barefoot. It's amazing! My feet somehow don't get cold. I am curious about how long the soles will last. I removed the insole immediately because I prefer that barefoot feel. The shoes look fairly normal.

You need to get used to the shoes for sure. They say that you do use different muscles, so you should start with short distances. I do feel that this is true for me. Overall, I am very happy with the shoes.

I did get muscle pains in two trainings for the death march. But I never got blisters. The muscles may develop, and that may help in the long-term. My knees may get spared. It is unlikely that I will ever go back to "regular" shoes. I do not plan to run much, as that does not feel great.

Xero Glenn Black shoes


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