There’s no better feeling than running on grass or soft sand in bare feet. In fact, many people find going barefoot to be positively liberating, and will take every opportunity they can to remove their shoes. Of course, this isn’t always appropriate; for example, if the ground is overly hard or covered in debris removing your shoes can result in injury. In this type of situation, even the most hardcore enthusiast of bare feet would have a hard time. It’s no wonder then that the ‘toe shoe’ was invented.
You’ll know them when you see them, because toe shoes are like no other item of footwear on the market. Each toe is housed in its own little unit, and some toe shoes are so thin that the foot looks as though it’s covered in paint, rather than material. Nevertheless, these odd looking items were created with protection in mind, and the earliest toe shoes, produced by Vibram in 2006 and sold by E-Outdoor, were pioneers of what’s known as the ‘barefoot running movement’.
Other Types of Barefoot Shoe
Toe shoes aren’t the only type of barefoot shoe on the market. In fact, barefoot shoes are only called as such because they are more considerate of the natural design of the foot when compared to something like a sneaker or a heeled sandal. Whereas sneakers make allowances for certain elements of the foot’s shape, barefoot shoes are minimalistic with the express intention of encouraging the natural expression of every single aspect of the foot, from the toes to the heels.
Despite their promotion of and appreciation for the natural foot, most barefoot shoes are nevertheless unsuitable for barefoot running. This is because a large number of barefoot shoe designs don’t have a sole flexible enough to support and protect the foot during exercise. The toe show, however, tends to defy these problems, which makes them a great choice for anyone looking to compromise between bare feet and safety.
The Perfect Barefoot Shoe
You see, barefoot running isn’t necessarily running without any shoes on at all. It’s really more of an encouragement to exercise in as natural a state as possible, whilst still making provisions for protecting your feet. In this respect, toe shoes are as near to perfect as a shoe can possibly be. The sole remains locked in place while the toes are able to move dynamically – just as they do when a person is barefoot – however the sole of the foot is protected by hard wearing, yet flexible, material.
This was a guest post by Tom Nelson.