Try to keep your body upright when walking. Slow down and try to land on your feet, keeping your feet as straight as possible, with the toes pointing forward. Focus on the walking. The foot should push off from the ground using all the toes.
How do I do that?
Gradually shift the weight from the heel towards the front, pressing your toes into the ground with the big toe pushing off from the ground last, as if you’re pressing powerfully and consciously into a mat. One foot then leaves the ground, and the other foot follows.
What about hard surfaces in town?
Barefoot aims to give our feet maximum freedom with as many natural stimuli as possible, so it’s important to measure and assess every shoe for your particular foot. If the shoes fit our feet properly, wearing them all day on urban hard surfaces is a breeze. The problem is not the hard surfaces - the foot has its own mechanisms for dealing with that, but unsuitable footwear, which can mean that some parts of the body do not get used properly for many years, thus undermining the body’s natural mechanisms.
Changing the type of footwear is one part of the solution, but we also need to think about changing our movement patterns. If we walk in shoes that restrict our feet for our entire life, it changes the way we move. Some parts of the foot will stiffen, other parts will weaken, and that will even affect the way we stand. So it’s also a good idea to include suitable exercises to develop our feet, and start using our feet CONSCIOUSLY. The beneficial effects will be considerable, and not only for our feet.
The shape of most of the shoes we wear today does our feet no favours. Trainers, court shoes or whatever: wearing this kind of footwear leads to permanently weakened feet, non-functional arches and hallux valgus deformities. Rigid soles and cramped-together toes interfere with the perfect natural technology of the foot because over time, the design of almost all the shoes we tend to wear today forces the big toe to point inwards -- a condition called hallux valgus.
Did you know that our feet, each with their 33 joints and 26 bones, have more nerve endings than the palms of our hands? Each foot has something like 200,000 nerve endings, so our feet are sensory organs, and our body only functions properly if our feet also function as they were designed to do.
When our feet make good direct contact with the ground, this allows our body to move more naturally and feed back into the movement in which we're moving. In that sense then, the foot can rightly be considered a sensory organ which tells the brain about the kind of surface we're walking on.
That’s why we should aim to get our feet moving, keep them strong, flexible and functional, and make sure they don't become deformed. Go barefoot whenever possible over different walking surfaces provided the surface is safe, of course. When that's not possible, swap your non-functional footwear for the kind of shoes which allow you to walk as if you're barefoot.
Barefoot footwear mimics barefoot walking. This kind of footwear must meet a few fundamental standards:
- 6 mm thick sole or thinner
- enough room for the big toe and other toes
- no difference in the sole height between the toe and the heel
- no arch support
With Barefoot footwear you should gradually adapt your walking style:
- consciously take shorter steps
- start to feel your feet and your whole body
- do not land on your heel
- engage your big toe and other toes more
- make your feet stronger with suitable exercises
In this way our pattern of walking gradually reverts to the way nature intended, and fallen arches and hallux valgus deformities are rectified. As a result, the whole body starts to function in the pain-free way it was naturally designed to, as was the case before humans started wearing shoes at all.
Barefoot walking in the grass connects our body with the ground and gives energy.
The wide toe area of Barefoot footwear copies the shape of the foot, unlike modern shoes which cramp the toes inwards from both sides.
Barefoot shoes should be made of soft and pleasant material with a flexible base 3 – 6 mm thick, which can adapt to the foot in all aspects.
They're not reinforced with any braces or rigid heel pieces.
Barefoot shoes are designed to fit with an overlength. For our shoes the overlength should be about 3 – 5 mm. The overlength is the space inside the shoe in front of the toes which allows unrestricted movement for the feet as if you’re walking naturally barefoot.
They don't have a raised heel: the sole is flat, so there's no difference in the sole height between the heel and the toe.
BAREFOOT SHOES are very light, weighing only a few hundred grams. They feel like a second skin: so comfortable and pleasant on your feet that you won't want to take them off.