Why You Should Consider Barefoot Running Shoes

May 25, 2023 | Tips, Sports Injuries

I’ve been a runner since I was in high school. I suffered from years of running related injuries including shin splints, stress fractures, ITBand syndrome, and achilles tendonitis. In high school, I was told I needed orthotics to control my pronation. In college, I was told I need a stability sneaker. I wore my Asics kayanos for about 10 years, getting new ones yearly. While postpartum with baby #3, the bunion that I’ve had for as long as I can remembered started “acting up”. This was my body’s warning sign and wake up call. I’m not sure if it was the relaxin hormone or the sandals that I insisted on wearing all summer long, but suddenly I felt pain in my big toe all day long. During the night it would throb and sometimes keep me awake. It was limiting my ability to do long runs, which I desperately wanted after months of being pregnant. And it was preventing me from proper lifting with lunges and other movements that required big toe dorsiflexion.

Critical thinking question: which provides better stability and cushion for your foot, your own foot or a sneaker? A sneaker, with foam, acts like a cast to hold your foot in one position. And like a cast, it doesn’t allow your muscles to work as they are intended. Barefoot shoes allow your foot to move in all the directions it was intended and to act as a natural shock absorber for the joints in the foot, knee, hip, and low back.

I decided to try something different – barefoot running shoes. I had confidence in my own body and its ability to react to stimulus and perform. Chiropractic care ensures that my body moves optimally, and thus has good proprioception, nervous system function, joint movement, and strength. I ordered my first pair of barefoot shoes in September. They were low top sneakers from Feel Grounds. I really wanted to love them, but disliked how thin the soles felt and that I could feel every pebble and cobblestone. Luckily, a sale for Xero Shoes appeared on my Facebook newsfeed and I decided to give it a try. I ordered the Mesa Trail II and it was love at first sight and try on. I thought they looked really cool and were very durable. From the first wearing, I never wanted to take them off. It’s a bonus that they are extremely lightweight, making them easy to pack in a suitcase.

They’ve been my daily “around town” shoe for 3 months. My feet have never felt so strong and the bunion pain is gone. In addition to barefoot shoes, I wear toe spacers once a day for 20 minutes and do kettlebell lifts completely barefoot.

One of my new years resolutions is to begin running in barefoot shoes. I ordered the HFS shoes. They feel so light yet supportive, with just the right about of thickness in the rubber sole.

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