Experience has shown that people who have not tried the concept of "barefoot shoes" have many questions: Don't the very terms "barefoot" and "shoes" contradict each other? Are barefoot shoes shoes to be worn without socks? Why wear barefoot shoes when I could simply walk barefoot?
So we want to explain again what barefoot shoes are, while giving you some good reasons to wear them. We definitely recommend spending as much time as possible barefoot. However, there are some outdoor conditions that are not conducive to barefoot: for example, you need to wear shoes to protect your feet from the weather. We don't advise anyone to walk barefoot on hot asphalt, snow or ice. In addition, there is the need to protect against sharp objects such as stones and glass splinters on the ground. In addition, there are many everyday occasions that are difficult to reconcile with walking barefoot because of social conventions. For most of us, it is impossible to go to work barefoot for example.
Barefoot shoes are a good compromise. They offer a sensation that is as close as possible to walking barefoot. In short, they are wider, lighter and more flexible than traditional shoes. These characteristics have several advantages.
You strengthen your feet:
Many conventional shoes force your feet to stay in an unnatural position.They are made of strong, stiff materials, not to mention that their fit is often too narrow and ends in a point. As a result, the toes are pressed tightly together. The freedom of movement of the feet is limited, preventing them from moving in a natural way.
Barefoot shoes such as Watelves® have a natural shape for the feet and are made of soft, elastic materials. The space for the toes is wide: This allows the toes to have a grip on the ground for natural walking. Tendons and ligaments are able to stretch. Muscles have enough room to flex and strengthen.
You may feel pain in your feet and calves when you wear barefoot shoes for the first time. This is a good sign that your previously unused muscles are working hard to get stronger.
You walk in a natural way:
Most classic shoes are equipped with cushioned soles or cushioning. The goal is to protect your feet while increasing your comfort. At first glance, this seems like an advantage. But in reality, these features cause your feet to relax when they are supposed to be active, such as when walking. This causes the muscles to atrophy, preventing the important movements that our anatomy is designed to do.
We are convinced that the feet do not need to be cushioned in most situations. You can regulate the loads yourself and adapt them to different surfaces. This is made possible by the skillful cooperation of the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons of the foot. This is why we refrain from equipping our shoes with insoles and padding. Watelves® barefoot insoles are only 6-8 mm thick and bend in all directions, allowing the feet to work naturally.
Most conventional shoes also have a "drop", which is the difference in thickness between the heel and the forefoot, or at least a rise in the heel, even if they are not stilettos. Barefoot shoes do not require this: a heel position that is as neutral as possible respects the natural gait of bare feet. This way you keep your back straight and enjoy a healthy posture.
You become more aware of your environment:
The soles of your feet are very sensitive to what they touch. It is in fact equipped with numerous nerve endings, just like the palms of your hands. These nerve endings send important information to the brain about their environment. This information influences our movements and impacts our sense of direction. Unlike shoes with thick padding, barefoot shoes allow the soles of the feet to make natural contact with the ground, sending sensory feedback to the brain.
Another great feature: thin barefoot soles without padding make you walk more slowly and carefully. You will take smaller steps especially during the transition phase. Barefoot insoles make you fully feel the ground under your feet. You clearly perceive what type of ground your feet are treading on... soft, hard, smooth, uneven... Concrete, grass or forest.
Barefoot shoes allow you to open all your senses to your environment to become more aware of it. They open the way to pure relaxation in our stressful daily lives.