Barefoot, but shoes ….

After cronic foot pain, lower back pain and plantar fasciosis (fasciitis), I started a barefoot lifestyle that completely eliminated those problems for me.
Unfortunately I still have to function in a shod society and therefore I do have to wear shoes at times, like at work. This forces me to marry up my reasons for getting rid of shoes, to shoes that I can wear that meets me half way.

So here are the factors in conventional shoes that negatively affected my health:
Heels, narrow shoes, arch support, tightness and toe spring.
If you want to get rid of these evils in modern shoes, but you still want to / have to wear shoes, here are my review of the shoes I find best for the purpose : (these are in no particular order)

Softstar shoes.

These are very nice!
Getting rid of shoes, has the effect that your feet get more muscle action and blood flow and do not feel cold so easily. So I have also discarded the use of socks to prevent my feet from living in sweaty enclosures.
These shoes are made of leather and breathe very well. I also thought at first they would be too narrow, but that proved to not being the case.

Lems shoes.

My first minimalist shoes I used for work after going barefoot. Closest to a classic sport shoe. The company also makes minimalist boots and other shoes.
These are made of an artificial fabric and warm up your feet fast without allowing it to breathe. So, if you do not wash them every five days or so, they do start to smell. They handle the washing very well, probably because I only wash them by hand.

Snow Boots

Yup, I live in Minnesota and sometimes it is more comfortable and less dangerous to wear these in the cold and snow…..


My latest discovery. And the least expensive! $20 a pair.
They are made for both men and women. Mostly spandex on top, making them light and comfortable. It took a few days for the elastic strap around the edge to stretch our a bit and not put a line across my foot.
The soles are rugged enough for outdoors and when I load trucks at work up aluminium ramps. And this week I also used them in the gym without my feet sweating or getting clammy. (I know my feet are always sweating and that it is constantly evaporating and controlling the temperature of my feet – just like with your hands.)

Home made shoes

I am lucky that I do leatherwork and is able to make my own custom shoes. What can I say? As wide as my feet, breathing leather, flat thin soles, loose fitting shoe enough to be legal and accepted where society still fails in this aspect of life.

Home made Flip Flops

Just a thin sole and a thong – easy for just quickly running into a store.

Crocs Flip Flops

I usually travel with these. That was before I made my own. Mine will take up less space in a back pack.

Crocs boat shoes

When you want something more substantial on your feet. These have vent holes all round and have leather uppers.
For someone with a barefoot lifestyle, shoes truly take on the same function for which most people use gloves on their hands.

Birthday shoes

Given to me at birth, always adapting to my growth (and now shrinking), these have protected me against infection for six decades! Super comfortable and so much fun to use! At no cost whatsoever! Nothing beats this shoe……

Barefooting 103

Some reflections after almost a year living as shoe-less as possible.

It just gets better all the time!  It is almost as if I am getting more and more feeling and a sense of touch back in my feet.  It is an absolute joy to step out the back door in the mornings onto the pebble paving of the back yard.  Like having a quick mini reflexology treatment.

I currently have a routine where I leave my shoes for work and my flip flops for shops in my car. So the only times I really wear any footwear is at work and when I go into businesses.

The shoes are two pairs of Leming Footwear – they look like regular shoes, but they have no heels and no shape in their soles – I have written about them before.  And I can wash them every week! 

My feet are far less tender than they have ever been, but, as I have stated before, it is as if they feel more.  They are never swollen any more and I have far more balance than I have ever had before.

We were lucky that the 2011/2012 winter was not harsh at all – and when it is cold it is not to difficult to wear  socks with my Lemings.  Andrew Rademacher of Leming Footwear just made it known that they plan more model shoes for next year and hopefully these will included better winter wear.

So, here is why I mention shoes every now and again:  For me it is simply impossible to go barefoot 24/7.  I go barefoot for health and pleasure – not to make a point.  The winters here in Minnesota will make it dangerous and uncomfortable to spend too long outside.  And the company I work for does not want our dress to get too informal and I respect that, so when I have to, I do wear my Lemings.

If you really want to know how I feel about the first year of Barefooting, imagine the following scenario:
For thirty or forty years you are required to wear thick chopper mittens all of your waking hours – whatever the work you do.  And you just make do and you cope, because that is what society demands of you.

Then one day you are allowed to take them off and you feel all the wonderful textures your hands have never been allowed to touch.  Can you imagine the sheer joy that would give you?

Well, that is how I feel about walking barefoot wherever I can and as often as I can.

Just think of your shoes of sensory deprivation chambers, because that is exactly what they are.  Together with that, they are dark and damp and warm breeding chambers for bacteria.