What are you “feeding” your feet?
We spend time a lot of time researching and eating the right foods for health… and yet few people think about their feet!
Shoes with heels or that crowd toes together are NOT GOOD!
They lead to foot problems/weakness, bunions, and more.
Personally, I don't even like how heels look, now that I know how bad they are for us. I know people think they are fashionable, yet I don't. I think they look crippling and painful.
3 Tips For Healthy Feet
My husband is actually the one who started hunting for healthy shoes a few years ago. I quickly joined him because it made so much sense.
In fact, I wonder how I missed the boat on this for so long.
But take it from me — it's never too late to make better choices, and I'm really glad I did!
Here's what we look for in shoes, and more importantly — why.
Please note that there are certain medical conditions that prevent someone from wearing “minimal” shoes. If you have one of those conditions, you know these recommendations aren't right for you. 🙂
#1 — “Zero Shoes”
These are shoes with a “zero” heel drop so the shoe doesn't elevate one's heel at all, nor change natural footfall or alter natural spring… all for safe, strong, and energetic walking.
#2 — Open, Uncrowded Toes
Healthy shoes don't smoosh toes together, but rather allow them to splay out naturally as they should. This retains their God-given shape (and less chance of bunions!).
I'm always stretching out my toes to improve their flexibility and “splay” — to undo the affects of the crowding they experienced for all the years I did wear heels or undesirable shoes. I have recovered quite a bit of splay just by doing this regularly!
#3 — Minimalist Soles/Footbed (“Barefoot Shoes”)
A low profile sole allows my feet and body to feel the terrain and make adjustments, rather than my senses be dulled through cushioning.
Bonus! #4 — Made With Natural Materials
I prefer shoes made with natural materials, leather if possible. My sandals (pictured below) have a leather footbed so they don't stink! EVER!
And leather lasts much longer than cheaper materials.
Foot Health Is More Than Just Healthy Shoes
For good foot health, in addition to choosing the right shoes, I do some other things, too:
- I try NOT to wear shoes as much as possible. Because that's the absolute best! I even work out without shoes as often as possible. And if I do wear shoes for working out, I very often use my leather Shamma Sandals.
- Because I walked a bit duck-footed for most of my life, now when I walk around, I make a concerted effort to turn my feet inward and more straight, retraining my feet into a more stable and balanced walking motion.
- I'm working on the path of my footfall; putting my heel down first, then walking while shifting my weight from heel to toe, kind of rolling on the outside of the foot, then lift off. There is a “proper” way to walk; you can search YouTube for quick videos that show the healthy motion!
The Ultimate Reason For Choosing Shoes That Promote Healthy Feet…
It's a little bit spiritual for me. Just like we changed our diet years ago to honor God's design for our nourishment, I try to do that with my entire temple… including my feet.
God gave me a strong and able body, with strong feet. So to the best of my ability, and while leaning on His strength and providence, I am choosing the apparel and habits that maintain that strength and His design… all so I can serve Him and my family better.
God sustains my every breath. He gave me a body and a responsibility to care for it. If I care for it by doing the things I know to do, then I am more able to love and serve Him and others.
That's my motivation. To love God and my family more! To serve more!
It took some effort for me to change myself (and I'm still working on it) but I believe it's worth it just for that.
Also… if I was having children again, I would keep them out of shoes for as long as possible (which our daughter is doing with her son) and I would NEVER put them in normal shoes once they needed them. Only “zero shoes”!
Speaking Of Children… Are There Zero Or Barefoot Shoes For Kids?
Yes! As pictured above, my daughter's son LOVES his minimal leather moccasins from Softstar Shoes. They are so soft, and protect his feet while allowing him to feel his environment. They have no heel and provide plenty of space for his growing baby toes.
You might also consider Vivo Barefoot — another good option although not all are made from natural materials.
My Favorite (Adult) Minimalist Shoes For Men & Women
Here are my shoes. The ones I wear anyway. 🙂
Yes, all black! Because that's my color. 🙂
From left to right:
- Sandals, my summer shoes, even for long walks! — from Shamma Sandals, classic All-Blacks in full leather.
- Mary Janes, my spring/fall shoes when it's too cool for sandals but too warm for boots — from Keen, not sure of the model or if they're available any more! When the elastic at the buckle wore out, I got them repaired because I love them so much. However, these Keens are not quite zero heel, which I didn't know about at the time I purchased them.
- Boots, my winter shoes — from Lem's, the Boulder Boot in black leather. They came with black laces, too, but I liked the reds and once I did that, my husband started using my black ones in his pair of Lem's boots. 😉
I chose all these shoes because they are “zero shoes” and check all the boxes above (except Keen which are not zero heel). I can wear them with anything: jeans, slacks, skirts, dresses, even shorts. And I can do anything in them: walking, errands, and even going to church. Well, I don't wear the boots with everything but then I'm not wearing shorts in winter, so I think you get it. 🙂
Softstar Shoes and Vivo Barefoot also sell a variety of barefoot shoes for men and women, although no one in my family owns a pair (yet). 🙂 You might also check out the Aurora Shoe Company and The Drifter Leather for more healthy shoes for adults made from natural materials.
Baby Boy and I went to the park in our “zero” shoes!
What Happens When You Switch To Minimalist Shoes?
Just a warning for you so you're not surprised by what happens if you start wearing minimalist shoes or “zero shoes”! It may take some time for your feet to adjust. They may actually hurt quite a bit for a few days/weeks as the muscles get strong again.
I got through this years ago when I switched to a standing desk. My feet and legs hurt for a good two weeks. A pain I had never experienced before. People told me to wear shoes to help the pain. I hate shoes, though, so I did it barefoot anyway and finally got through it in about two weeks.
For me, it was worth the pain, because now I'm on the other side!
At the beginning of this summer, when I first got my Shamma Sandals, if I took an extra long walk in them, my feet felt a bit sore afterward. With walking all summer, my feet are getting stronger and walking is a breeze now. Unless I go extra-extra-long! The point is: you have to work up to it as you build up your foot strength.
I would love to hear from you what you know, do, or wear on YOUR feet — and why. 🙂
What are your tips for healthy feet? Do you wear shoes made from natural materials, with a zero heel drop and open toe bed?
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. There are certain foot conditions for which minimal shoes are not recommended. You are responsible for your own health and for the use of any remedies, treatments, or medications you use at home. God bless you!
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