Steven Sashen - CEO, Feel The World, Inc.

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Dogs say “Go Barefoot” or grrrrrrr…

Whether you love cats or dogs, this video will prove that dogs deserve the title “Man’s Best Friend” when you see what they do to the “foot coffins” most people call “shoes.”

They know that barefoot is best (and Xero’s are the closest thing to barefoot) ;-)

Barefoot Running Q&A – Transitioning, pain, and cold weather

Here’s another Barefoot Running Q&A video, where I take an email I’ve received and give an answer on video.

In this video we look at the relationship between barefoot and minimalist shoes, foot and calf pain  during the transition to barefoot, how minimalist shoes fit in with the transition to bare feet, and how to handle the cold.

Some of the links you’ll want to take a look at:

Transitioning to Barefoot Running

Is Calf Pain Necessary

Dealing with “top of foot pain.”

Barefoot running and cold weather

Know the dangers of distance running!

Parents, do you know the warning signs of “distance running?”

Are your children under the influence of the evil pushers of 5k racing?

We hope this video will help you save your children from the unnecessary suffering that this horrible addiction can cause. ;-)

Big thanks to everyone at BYU TV for this hilarious bit (and the shout-out to bare foot running)!

How do Xero Shoes compare to Barefoot Ted’s Luna Sandals?

“Barefoot Ted” sells a running sandal he calls the Luna Sandal. It’s similar to our custom-made Xero Shoes, but with a few key differences:

1) Did you know there are 18 different types of “size 9″? Rather than pick just one of those and pre-make our sandals, the custom-made Xero Shoes are, actually, custom-made for your unique foot. We use a tracing of your foot to make sure the length and width are correct for your specific foot — and if your feet are different sizes, you get sandals that match. We make sure that the toe and ankle holes are placed correctly based on the size and length of your toes and heel. With Xero Shoes, you’re getting a product made just for you.

2) We use the 4mm Vibram Cherry sole material or our exclusive FeelTrue rubber to give you the optimal barefoot feel, and for your convenience. Aside from really being able to connect with the ground with our soles, you can roll up Xero Shoes and keep them in your pack or pocket — go out barefoot, and come back with some protection on your feet. The thicker sole in the Luna is comparatively rigid and over 60% heavier… add some glue and a leather upper and you’re further minimizing the minimalist feel.

3) We use soft, durable polyester laces that don’t stretch or contract when they get wet and dry out, unlike leather or hemp. Our laces are round, meaning that there are no edges to rub on your skin. Polyester is a very strong material — I’m still using the original laces in my 12-month old huaraches that I wear every day — and after getting wet, nylon laces dry really fast. And with round laces, you don’t have to worry about “which side is up” or getting them twisted when you use the different tying styles (some of the clever tying variations people have developed require round laces. Plus, you can get our laces in a bunch of fun colors. And if you ever want to replace your laces or get other colors, they’re inexpensive.

4) Our product is “vegan friendly”. So is Ted’s basic Luna Sandal if you get the hemp laces instead of leather.

5) Luna Sandals have an optional leather footbed. Ted is making a fine product… some people like the leather upper — which, over time, molds somewhat to your foot. Any material upper, though, will wear and collect dirt. And, for those who are sensitive to these kinds of things: natural materials are not anti-microbial. While we don’t currently offer a material upper, we have heard from a couple customers who bought some leather and glue and added those to their Xero Shoes for only a couple of dollars.

Hope that helps.

What are the benefits of barefoot walking and running?

I got a message on Facebook from Ben:

I have a pair of your sandals and I really enjoy the freedom, strength and all around sensation I get running free!

My only hurdle has been steeping on rocks on the ball or knuckle of my feet and bruising an irritating the nerves. I have had bouts with mortons neuroma and whenever I land on that spot with a rock or hard object – I am back to my cushy runners. Maybe I am destined to be a shod runner or maybe in time my feet will toughin’ up? Any advice would be helpful!

Thank you!

Now, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play on on TV (or anywhere else for that matter), so the best I can do is tell you what I’ve noticed since I ditched my shoes and started walking and running barefoot (in 2009).

I replied to Ben:

My experience has been that 4 things happened over time:

  1. My feet became stronger and more flexible (so they bend around the things that used to be painful). In fact, I was at a clinic for chiropractors not too long ago and the teacher said to his students, “If you have to, pay Steven to let you check out his feet… you’ll be amazed at how strong they are, but really relaxed and flexible.” Sadly, nobody paid me… but a lot of people did check out my feet ;-)
  2. My reflexes seem to have improved, so I step off things that might be painful faster, and therefore they don’t hurt.
  3. My gait changed, so that I don’t have my weight on my foot until it’s a bit more flatfooted as I walk — with more surface area, there’s less force/stress on any specific part of my foot.
  4. I pay more attention (effortlessly) to where I’m stepping, so I don’t put my feet on painful things as often. It seems like a combination of using peripheral vision, plus feeling what’s underfoot more quickly.

I hope that’s helpful.

And I hope that’s helpful for you as well.

If you’ve been barefooting, what have you noticed about your walking and running over time?

Leave your comments (and questions) below…

Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandals now available through Rakuten

Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandals on RakutenOur goal with Xero Shoes is to give as many people as possible the fun and benefits of natural, barefoot movement (with some just-right protection and a dash of authentic style).

To do that, we want to make Xero Shoes available wherever people are shopping.

Since people are looking for barefoot running shoes on many online stores, well, that’s where we want to be.

So, we’re happy to announce that you can get Xeros on now.

Why would you buy there rather than directly from us? Well, no reason, really, since when you place an order for our barefoot-inspired sandals on Rakuten, we actually ship it from our office.

But some people search on Rakuten and would never find us in any other way, so we’re happy to be find-able on one of the largest online retailers.

Warning: Chia Seed Recall

Chia Seed RecallThere’s been a national recall on some brands of Chia Seeds.

This won’t affect you if you think Chia Seeds are something you use to make “pets,” but it might if you eat them.

The affected brands include Organic Traditions, Williams-Sonoma, and Navitas Naturals brand chia and chia-flaxseed blend powders.

Many of our readers heard about Chia from the book, Born To Run, which described it as one of the superfoods that the Tarahumara use to fuel themselves for epic runs. And you’ll often find barefoot runners with a handful of seeds, or a gloopy-looking beverage full of chia.

The Consumerist blog reported that many people are unaware of the recall of chia seeds, caused by the fact that certain chia brands are contaminated with salmonella and have sickened at least 65 people so far.

So, barefoot runners, and everyone else who eats chia, please check your supplies, and not just the seeds that are still stuck in your teeth from last week’s smoothie ;-)

Barefoot Sandals are for more than running

The two most popular comments I hear from people seeing Xero Shoes barefoot sandals for the first time are:

“You can’t really run in those, can you?”


“I’m not a runner so I can’t use those.”

Make up your mind people! ;-)

So, some people equate barefoot-inspired sandals with running, and others can’t fathom doing an ultramarathon without giant maximalist shoes with tons of padding and “motion control.”

It’s true that Xero Shoes were inspired by the huaraches sandals worn by the Tarahumara of Mexico, who make their sandals from scraps of tire and leather laces (they’re stiff and heavy, btw). And the Tarahumara are known for running long distances in their sandals. And it’s true that the early adopters of Xero Shoes were barefoot runners. And it’s true that we’ve had hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from customers all around the world who’ve run everything from 5k – 100 mile races in Xeros.

But that doesn’t mean you have to run in them. Lena, my wife, co-founder of Xero Shoes, and our COO… she’s a hiker, not a runner. But she mostly wears her Xero Shoes as her daily footwear.

I’m a competitive sprinter, and wear my sandals for daily wear — I haven’t had a “normal” pair of shoes on my feet for 5 years — and for all my drills and warm-ups on the track (for sprinting, I’m in a pair of spikes, which you need for traction and maximum speed).

I like to ask people, “Do you enjoy being barefoot?” And if they say Yes, I say, “Well these sandals give you the closest thing to that fun, free barefoot feeling, but with a layer of protection.”

And with that combo, our customers have done practically everything you can think of in Xero Shoes — walking, hiking, sky diving, paddle boarding, biking, kayaking, hanging out on the beach, a night on the town, even 100k ultramarathons through the jungles of Costa Rica.

Here’s a pic of Michelle, an awesome YogaSlacker (that’s people who can do yoga poses on a slack line), showing what she can do in Xeros!

Barefoot Sandals for slackliningPut on your Xero Shoes and go everywhere, do everything… naturally!

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