It's probably indoors where you would wear barefoot shoes for the first time. It will remind you of light and flexible home slippers. Since we are not used to walking on the city asphalt in such shoes, by walking outside in barefoot shoes, you may clearly feel the hardness of the street surface. This is the exact memory from my own first experience with barefoot shoes.
We are used to walking in shoes with soft and thick soles, through which the surface we walk on is not felt at all. A question may arise here — why, in fact, should we feel it? Surface feel is important for proprioception. Most likely, this word is new to you, but it means a fairly trivial thing: the brain's understanding of the body's position in space. Along with the five obvious senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), we have two more: the sense of balance and proprioception. The main source of information for the brain about the position of the body in space is the feet. Tens of thousands of nerve endings in the feet help us, on an unconscious level, to make the necessary pushing efforts with the feet during movement and not to lose balance. A nice bonus of the improved sense of proprioception is the reduction of excessive levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body — the brain becomes calmer when it is clearly aware of the environment in which the body is located.
I must say that the feeling of the earth's hardness is a temporary experience. When you get used to barefoot shoes, the muscles and joints in your feet will recall their purpose and become toned. The biomechanics of your gait will also change. Thus, you will get natural cushioning by your own feet movement when walking and running: it will be possible to get pleasure both when walking on a soft lawn and on city asphalt.
It will surprise you. You'll immediately notice how you start each step with your heel hitting the ground. Our gait indoors is very different from our gait outdoors.
Everyone is familiar with the experience in which you have no discomfort when walking at home, but when you go outside, suddenly your knee, hip or foot pain starts. This happens because at home we don't walk with such sweeping steps as on the street, and we start them more smoothly, not so roughly with a heel strike: usually at home we don't wear shoes with heels and thick soles, which allow us to be so daring movements in relation to our anatomy. In its natural form, the biomechanics of the step involves a slight roll from the heel to the front of the foot. This movement is gentle on the joints and spine.
The structure of modern shoes with heels and thick soles allows us to take long steps exactly on the heel, which accelerates our pace, but negatively affects the health of the feet, knees and lower back. The muscles and joints of the feet are practically shut off from the process, the knees get an extra load, and the impulse of the unnatural impact of the heel on the surface (with every step!) is transmitted to the artificially curved lower back due to heels. The service life of all the listed parts of the body is sharply reduced and people begin to face numerous joint pathologies and pains even at a young age.
Barefoot shoes will stimulate a natural, body and joint-safe gait that has been developed by us for tens of thousands of years.
Awakening the feet
Your feet will start working. In a good way. The muscles of the feet will become stronger, the ligaments and tendons will tone up, and the range of motion will return to the joints. All this will happen due to the fact that the design of the shoes will not limit the natural biomechanics of the gait, and the exceptional lightness and flexibility of barefoot shoes will allow the feet to function freely during movement.
At first, you may feel soreness in the feet (slight pain in the muscles that occurs following an unusual load), because it will be unusual for them to be fully involved in the process of walking and running. This feeling is normal and, as a rule, soreness passes within a few days. During this period, you can give your feet a break by putting them back into your regular shoes. After recovery, the muscles of the feet will become stronger, and your feeling of walking in barefoot shoes will be pleasant.
Walking will become an interesting process. Such a habitual activity will be revealed in a new way. Perhaps you will slow down a little, walking will become more conscious. I call this feeling "grounding." Asphalt pavement, tiles in a shopping center, cobblestones in the city center, car pedals or the floor of a subway train — the expressive feeling of different surfaces will be extraordinary and interesting for you.
In this context the following question will be fair — why should I feel the relief of escalator steps or paving slabs in the city? Believe me, after long-term use of barefoot shoes, the same not indifferent reaction will be provoked by the suggestion to stop feeling this surface. Having used gloves all your life, you can get used to them in the same way. But this does not mean that the alternative is not worth your attention.
The right transition to barefoot shoes
By knowing what sensations will follow when you start using barefoot shoes, and understanding their nature, your experience of wearing them will become more meaningful.
In order for the transition to frequent or permanent use of barefoot shoes to be smooth, it is reasonable to gradually increase the frequency of wearing them: you can start with 1–2 times a week, monitoring the reaction of your body and accustoming it to barefoot shoes at a pace appropriate to your feelings.
We will be happy to support and help you on the way to taking care of your own health and switching to shoes that are good for your body. Feel free to send us a message if you have any questions, and recommend such shoes to friends and relatives — let's share the initiative to restore the health of our feet.