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Why barefoot, minimalist or functional running shoes?

Your feet are not the problem, your shoes are! Fortunately, the human body is resilient and you can recover a lot (over time).

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    First and foremost, of course, we have to pass along that barefoot shoes is actually not a correct term. Say barefoot shoes is really just a contradiction. What is actually meant is that these shoes are intended to mimic the barefoot feeling as much as possible.

    Other - more correct terms - are minimalist shoes, natural running shoes, but there is also talk of functional footwear.

    Your feet are not the problem, your shoes are!

    As babies, most people are born with strong feet. As they grow up, foot function usually deteriorates. And this doesn't just happen.

    From childhood, we are taught the bad habit of confining our feet in narrow pointed shoes. Among other things, this leads to deformity of our feet and causes various problems.

    Features classic shoes

    • Tapered toebox: This unnatural shape compresses the toes (into a pointed shape). This can lead to deformities (toes grow crooked and over each other) and foot problems such as hallux valgus, hammer toes, neuromas, plantar fascia pain and overpronation.

    • Stiff sole: You can actually compare this sole to a plaster cast: a stiff sole limits the range of movement of the feet. The human body is very clever: muscles that you don't use or use too little, become smaller. By reducing the range of motion, you use your foot muscles less. This causes muscle atrophy and makes the feet dependent on orthotics and extra cushioning.

    • Elevated heel: No one thinks about it anymore, but in almost every classic shoe for women and men (from suit shoe to sports shoe) there is a raised heel. This changes the entire body posture! Problems that can be caused by this include Achilles tendonitis, hammer toes, neuromas, capsulitis (joint inflammation in the forefoot), back and knee pain and ankle instability.

    • Stiff, upward tip: Due to dorsiflexion of the toes (overstretching the toes upward) and overstretching the sole of the foot, the feet weaken. This foot position can lead to shin splints (shin splints), capsulitis, sesamoiditis (pain under the big toe joint), neuromas and pain in the sole of the foot.

    Features Barefoot & Minimalist Shoes:

    • Wide(st) at the toes: Healthy shoes are shaped according to the foot (and do not deform the foot according to the shoe). This wide shape allows the toes to spread naturally. This promotes blood flow in your feet, ensures proper nerve function, and gives you solid foundations for good balance and strong foot muscles.

    • Zero drop: In other words, that ball of the foot and the heel are at the same height. This feature promotes proper body alignment from your heels across your spine to your skull. A completely flat heel distributes body weight evenly without overloading the toes, ankles, knees or back.

    • A thin, flexible sole: This sole allows you (and your feet) to interact with the ground smoothly and with balance. A thin, flexible sole works with (and not against) the foot muscles, strengthening the arch.

    • As flat as possible at the toes (no toespring): This causes the toes to lie flat in relation to the ball of the foot. The correct position of the toes promotes balance, stability and resistance to injury.

    Features Functional Footwear

    Functional Footwear meets many of the characteristics of minimalist footwear as described above:

    • Zero Drop
    • Functional shape: these shoes follow the shape of the foot and are therefore also sufficiently wide at the forefoot
    • Lightweight

    However, a big difference lies in the composition of the sole. Where minimalist shoes have a stack height of maximum 10mm (= height of the material between the sole of your foot and the ground), you will find functional footwear with a stack height of 17 to 26mm and more. This means that these shoes do have cushioning built into the sole.

    Functional footwear is mostly used by people who are making the transition from classic sports shoes to minimalist shoes or people who are used to running in zero-drop shoes but train a lot of kilometers. Functional footwear can also be interesting for (ultra) trailrunners. In such shoes there is often a rock plate/stone guard built in, which is never the case with barefoot trail shoes.

    My feet are already deformed. Now what?

    First and foremost, we are not a doctor. If you have a physical problem, always consult a doctor. But in addition to medical help, there are things you can do yourself:

    • Wear barefoot or minimalist shoes as much as possible: As you read above, classic shoes can cause a lot of problems. So replace them with barefoot or minimalist shoes as soon as possible. This will give your feet the freedom to slowly return to their proper position. The shoes we sell on our webshop all meet the requirements of a healthy shoe. Of course walking completely barefoot is also an option. An intermediate form between barefoot shoes and barefoot are Skinners.
    • Make use of toe socks: classic socks push your toes together. Thanks to toesocks, your toes retain their freedom and can still spread.

    • Try Correct Toes: Correct Toes are soft silicone toe spreaders that you wear during the day (while straining). Correct Toes spread your toes and allow crooked toes to slowly straighten themselves back out. Correct Toes were originally invented as a non-surgical treatment for Hallux Valgus!
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    IEDEREEN LOOPT 9,4 / 10 - 806 Reviews @ WebwinkelKeur
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