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Minimalist shoes are good for the health and comfort of your feet. Though it gives a barefoot-like experience, it offers comfort and protection as well. They also make possible natural feet movement and reduce foot damage risks. Here are more advantages of minimalist shoes and boots that will give you an idea of why they are becoming so popular. ~ Ed.
If you are an active athlete or simply need comfortable shoes for your everyday routine, then you have probably heard about minimalist footwear before.
However, with the different terms and types of shoes out there today, one can get totally confused about the differences between all those terminologies and choices.
While the opinions have been conflicting around the benefits of running with more, or less, or no cushioning at all, there are certainly several purposes and advantages that are associated with each type of shoes. However, throughout the past years, minimalist footwear has definitely gained widespread acceptance and popularity due to the benefits it delivers.
Minimalist footwear is becoming popular not only in the athletic department but also as walking shoes and boots for work.
What Are Minimalist Shoes
According to The Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, a minimalist shoe is a shoe that you can wear that offers an experience that helps you to feel as if you’re pretty much not wearing anything. It hugs the foot just right, is highly flexible to allow freedom of movement and feels as light as air.
To make it easier for you, a minimalist shoe is designed to mimic barefoot walking or running, while still providing protection from hazards on the ground. Minimalist shoes have minimal amounts of cushioning and lack all the “extra stuff’ you will find on a pair of traditional shoes, such as arch support, wedge inserts, and motion stabilizers.
The role that minimalist shoes play is that they are made to help in having up feel free when we put them on and as we move- almost as if you were barefoot. What you’ll also find to be extremely convenient is that there is a protective layer at the bottom so that you don’t have to worry about getting hurt.
As traditional shoes have been shown to cause foot injuries, minimalist footwear is created to prevent the wearing down of foot strength and also to lower the impact on your joints, which can be caused by traditional footwear. The goal of its creation is to also allow you to have movements that feel natural and also lower the risk of having any kind of foot damage.
Characteristics of Minimalist Shoes
As you can see, minimalist footwear has different characteristics than normal shoes or boots we know. You should understand the characteristics that make up this popular footwear in order to be able to pick the best minimalist boots or shoes for yourself. Sure enough, everyone wants to be wearing comfortable shoes, especially if your work requires a lot of moving around.
As a start, the main difference between minimal and traditional footwear is the difference in the heel-to-top drop and the cushioning underneath. Traditional shoes have a 10-12mm “heel-to-toe drop.” As for minimalist shoes, they usually have less than a 6mm drop.
Sometimes, minimalist footwear has no drop at all, meaning your heel and your forefeet are at the same level. Here are other characteristics of minimalist footwear that separate it from traditional shoes:
- They are lightweight
- Thin/flexible soles
- They have a wide or anatomically-shaped toe box
- Minimal cushioning and support
What Are the Advantages of Wearing Minimalist Footwear
You are probably wondering now why you should pick the next pair of minimalist footwear instead of your normal shoes. Well, there are actually plenty of advantages which this footwear can provide; here are some:
They are Lightweight
Due to its lightweight, minimalist footwear delivers many benefits. Imagine the feeling of walking to work or running around with extremely lightweight shoes or boots; it’s pretty great, right?
There are numerous benefits of walking or running around with your feet carrying the least possible weight. Minimalist shoes, unlike traditional ones, would require you to use slightly less muscle in order to move or lift your feet off the ground. This means faster movement without bearing your feet down, reducing muscle strains, as well as providing more comfort.
They Maintain Ankle Flexibility
Minimalist boots and shoes have lower measurements when it comes to heel-to-toe drop in comparison to all the traditional shoes you can find in the market today.
Minimal footwear typically has less than 6 mm of the heel to toe drops, which automatically means that your feet take less time to hit the ground, and it pretty much feels like you’re barefoot. This lower heel-to-toe drop, therefore, maintains ankle flexibility as it just doesn’t make your ankle raised higher off the ground than the rest of the foot.
They are Comfortable
One of the most uncomfortable things about traditional shoes is their narrow toe boxes. You’ll find that the majority of shoes that are on the market currently have narrower toe boxes, which doesn’t match the traditional shape of most people’s feet.
As for minimalist shoes, they are designed to provide anatomically-shaped toe boxes in order to provide comfort and space for the toes to spread and flatten out, unlike in other shoes where they have to be squeezed next to each other. This mechanism resembles our movement while we are not wearing anything on our feet, which provides your feet and toes with their natural positioning, which is crucial when it comes to ensuring that the arch is stabilized.
They Strengthen the Foot Muscles
Minimalist shoes have been shown to strengthen the foot muscles when used regularly. Due to the fact that it prevents muscle strains and injuries, this contributes to making our feet stronger by time. Moreover, minimalist footwear helps balance the muscles and evenly distribute the load throughout the different muscles and bones.
In regards to running, minimalist footwear promotes the natural running of the foot by allowing you to land on your midfoot and forefoot rather than on your heel, which helps in strengthening the calf muscle and promoting arch strength and stability.
They Help You Feel the Ground
One final advantage of minimalist shoes is that their thin cushioning and very thin and flexible soles encourage what is called “proprioception.” In this case, it means the ability to feel your own connection to the terrain beneath your feet and paying attention to the activities you are doing.
This could be very useful for athletes who would like to have a much better feel for the terrain they are standing or running on, and feel their foot while making adjustments to their movements.
Minimalist shoes can provide a ton of benefits for the health and comfort of our feet. It is almost like walking barefoot but in the style you are looking for and the needed protection.
After all, we are pretty sure that your feet are going to love this almost barefoot-like experience, so why not start today and give it a try?
Over to you
Have you ever tried the minimalist shoes or boots? Share your tips and experiences in the comments.
Disclaimer: We're not offering any medical advice here. These ideas are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Always seek a professional medical opinion from a physician of your choosing before making any medical decision. The information provided here is not intended to be a substitute to the advice given by your physician or another healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: Though the views expressed are of the author’s own, this article has been checked for its authenticity of information and resource links provided for a better and deeper understanding of the subject matter. However, you're suggested to make your diligent research and consult subject experts to decide what is best for you. If you spot any factual errors, spelling, or grammatical mistakes in the article, please report at [email protected]. Thanks.