Where are you going barefoot

The ultimate guide: That's why walking barefoot is healthy

When was the last time you went barefoot outside? Do you remember how soft and comfortable thick grass feels under the soles of your feet? The tickling and particularly soft spots when you step on moss? Or what the sun-warmed asphalt feels like under your feet when you walk slowly over it? Maybe you still remember how it pokes when you walk over stones or straw? Or was it perhaps too long ago ...?

Most of us wear conventional shoes every day because we think we need them. The good footbed, or the shock absorption that is supposed to protect the joints. I'll say it very clearly: this is bullshit.

Conventional shoes are not a support for your bodybut more of a burden. They deform your toes and make the muscles weak because they can work less in these shoes. The good thing about our bodies and our brains is that we can relearn things that we have forgotten. The best way to do this is to create new routines so that the body slowly gets used to new / old processes. Cool right? This is exactly why it is possible to run barefoot again Step by step to integrate it into your everyday life and thereby do something good for your body.

For me, walking barefoot is a way of life. At the same time, it has innumerable health benefits. Unfortunately, it is now almost unimaginable for many people to move around barefoot for the most part. It used to be our natural state!
Today I'll show you why walking barefoot is healthy, how you can learn and integrate it into your everyday life.

Why you should run barefoot - the advantages

The toes are not squeezed together.
I would say about 99% of (non-congenital) misalignments or poor posture in feet are caused by incorrect footwear. Be it hallux valgus, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, etc. These complaints are usually caused by weak feet. By running barefoot, you can actively prevent this weakness of the muscles. If you already suffer from a more pronounced form, you usually still do not have to live with pain or even have an operation. Instead, you can strengthen your feet with active training and get them back into their proper function. I show you how to do this in my barefoot power course.

If your foot is used in its original function and is therefore trained daily, that has Influence on the whole body. Also, your foot can move much better when all of the muscles in it are well trained. You can do this by walking barefoot (tips for beginners can be found below).
You can imagine the process of walking something like this: You step on. Your feet send information about the ground directly to your brain: “Is the ground hot? Prickly? Is the subsoil yielding? Is the ground stable or unsafe? Flat or uneven, sloping etc. ”. Your brain then decides whether there are bumps to balance out, you have to walk more carefully, or should choose another place to step on. We march through the world in conventional shoes and don't really notice anything.

When walking barefoot, your muscles and joints are used adequately.
Among other things, this has advantages for the cartilage in your joints. This cartilage lives from movement! The fluid around the joint needs to be kept going for the cartilage to be good.
So the more you use your joints, the better they can work for you - if you don't overwhelm them. In addition, the muscle pump in the ankle and calf is operated more. Put simply, this has the advantage that the venous blood in your body is better pumped upwards and thus the return flow to the heart is better. Your body stays supple and flexible.

Learn to walk barefoot

If you want to run barefoot more it is important that you improve your body slowly get used to it. Switching from now to immediately can be very uncomfortable and sometimes also painful, because your muscles are no longer used to this strain. For years they may have been comfortably lying in a footbed that has done all of their work for them. Your feet have therefore probably forgotten how to use their 20 (!) Muscles correctly. Therefore, you may expect a sore muscles if you change completely too quickly. Instead, give them the chance to slowly get used to walking barefoot.

So, to start with, I definitely recommend:

  • Give yourself and your body time to adjust.
    For beginners, I recommend a maximum of 30 minutes a day. This time can be increased slowly
  • Start walking barefoot at home
    Do not overwhelm yourself with too many different surfaces, especially at the beginning. If you start at home, that's fine
  • Increase the time every half hour per day
    If you go barefoot outside, gradually increase the time and distance. This is the only way you can slowly introduce your body to this new, old way of life and not overwhelm it
  • Listen to your feeling
    For example, if you are in pain or in a hurry, take it slower. The important thing is that it is fun and that you feel good about it.
  • Exercise your feet
    Well-trained muscles are essential for healthy feet. To support the health of your feet, you can actively exercise your feet. How this works, among other things, I'll show you below

Exercises for walking barefoot

The best exercise is of course going barefoot itself. The more you integrate it into your everyday life, the more likely you are to perceive positive changes. I don't just mean physically. When walking barefoot you are usually much more careful than in conventional shoes. You pay more attention to where you take your next step, what the underground feels like, where there might be something that you would rather not step into. This can be very relaxing, especially when going for a walk or just outside the house, because it brings you from your head to the moment. There is little space for a head cinema.

Are you now wondering what you can do to give your feet the best possible support on their way to a barefoot life? Then I have 3 of my favorite exercises to you:

The gecko toes
A very simple and effective exercise is to suck your toes in as if they were the tentacles of an octopus. But be careful: do not claw, but form small steps! This activates the muscles that sometimes form your transverse arch, the flexores digiti minimi brevis muscles. So this exercise can help you train against splayfoot. You can almost always do this exercise. When brushing your teeth, showering, at the red light, etc.

Walk on uneven ground as often as possible
"How come? It's a strange tip, "you might be thinking ... Each foot normally has around 20 muscles, 33 joints and around 114 ligaments! These joints want to be able to move in all their directions of movement, which is what they need in order to be nourished. Food for the joints, muscles and ligaments is movement!

The big toe
An exercise from my barefoot power course for the CHEF of the foot: the big toe! Unfortunately, this is also the part that is most abused by wearing conventional shoes.
Try “sucking in” the little toes (like gecko toes). The ball of the big toe (base joint) should remain on the ground!
Now lift the big toe of the foot up. Be patient if it doesn't work! Sometimes it takes months to regain this function!

If it doesn't work at all: Imagine how the movement works, do it over and over again! If necessary, you can also use your fingers to help. The best way to do this is to grab your toe sideways! (little tip from neurology) There are a few other tricks such as rubbing or knocking. Alternatively, you can try standing or sitting. You will get even more tips in the barefoot power course.
But why the whole thing? To be able to control the big toe differently from the group of 4 small toes is fundamentally important in order to functionally strengthen the muscles. Because to train something without the control working is hopeless in the long term. Logical right? It's like rolling your car down the hill with no fuel in the hopes that the battery will start ... I say yes, hopeless.

Bonus tip: just do it

Maybe easier said than done? Yes for sure. Here are a few tips on how to get started anyway:

  • People will watch, yes. And you can just smile back or ignore it. It has nothing to do with what people think of you, and it doesn't change you either.
  • Take back-up shoes with you that you can wear in case you feel uncomfortable, you see broken pieces, etc. That will totally relax you, believe me!
  • Nothing has to, everything can. Nobody forces you, you do it just for you. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone either. Increase the barefoot distance slowly to get your skin and muscles used to the new challenges, even if you are already on the move in BFS.

Is jogging barefoot healthy?

Walking and jogging are two different things. I am trained among other things Natural running Coach and teach people how to run healthier, easier on the joints and more effectively. This requires a completely different gait cycle than we are used to (jogging).
So jogging barefoot is only healthy if you do it right. The technology is crucial. And that one no longer says jogging, but running: D.

When jogging, you come up with your heel and roll forward.
With natural running it's the other way around. Here you land relatively flat with the metatarsus / whole foot and the heel comes on last and kisses the ground. And properly.

If you are interested in the topic, my absolute recommendation: start with a coach. A trained natural running coach does one Running technique analysis. An analysis is an important cornerstone for the further procedure and training. Therefore, please look for someone who will carry out this analysis with you and who will accompany you afterwards. (If you want more information, stop by the Barefoot Academy. There you will find trainers in your area.)

In order to run properly, efficiently and in a way that is easy on the joints, you need the right hardware. By that I mean a body that is flexible and strong to the right degree. In this case, this mainly affects the feet and the mobility of the hips. Unfortunately, our lifestyle today takes these skills away from us for the most part. Aaaaberr: You can actively counteract this! Among other things, by following the above tips, walking barefoot and getting your body back on track.

For me, running barefoot is more than just an attitude towards life. It has so many health benefits - if you do it right. Yes, you can make mistakes, but after reading this article you will have a lot of information that you need to start your barefoot life.
If you want support and guidance to strengthen your feet, you can register for one of my courses here.

For more tips and information, follow me on Instagram. Do you still have questions? Then write ‘them in the comments!