What is the craze about barefoot shoes? Why wear them? What are they?
Most shoes that we wear have the heel boosted at least a little bit higher than the toe. We were born barefoot. Theoretically when we start walking, we are also barefoot. We are not born with our heels higher than our toes. I invite you to imagine that you lived life up to a certain point completely barefoot, and then suddenly lifted your heel a half inch to an inch off the ground and began walking around like this. Stand up and try it even! Notice how it shifts your knees, tailbone, sacrum and lower back.
Why would one consider switching to barefoot shoes?
I did it by accident. I purchased a pair of Keen sneakers, which are not technically barefoot, but do have a “negative incline”, meaning the heel slopes down so it is not higher than the toe. Magically the right sacroiliac joint pain that I had chronically lived with disappeared! I did not even noticed until a couple of years later, when I was in the market for another new pair of sneakers and tried on a couple other brands that had higher heels than toes. Immediately, I felt the echo of that familiar pain I used to live with and realized how much my shoes impacted my body.
Other reasons to switch to barefoot shoes:
- Menstrual pain: Our posture impacts the position of our organs, our uterus in particular. Having a uterus out of proper position can give rise to all kinds of menstruation issues. Changing shoes is likely not the end all be all solution, but rather a piece of the puzzle.
- Musculoskeletal pain: Our posture impacts every aspect of our bodies. Again, if you have struggled with a particular chronic pain for many years, changing shoes will likely not produce immediate results. Likely addressing the issue on multiple levels will be necessary. However creating a foundation of healthy posture, while addressing the other layers, offers great opportunity for healing.
Where to find barefoot shoes
Many people think of barefoot shoes as the original 5 toed Vibrams that came out a number of years ago. Those have their ups and downs. They do not work for everyone, but for some they are great. Many other companies make shoes known as barefoot shoes.