Outdoor Life: It’s Time to Give Barefoot Shoes a Try

Discover the benefits of barefoot shoes with Outdoor Life’s comprehensive guide, “It’s Time to Give Barefoot Shoes a Try. Learn from experts like Dr. Irene Davis and Scott Socha about foot dynamics and fit, explore design insights from John Wadley of Xero Shoes, and gain practical tips on transitioning to barefoot shoes for a more natural gait and stronger foot muscles. Plus, find out why the Xero Shoes HFS II comes highly recommended by editor Laura Lancaster.

Read on to hear from experts about:

  • How modern footwear changes foot dynamics with stack height, arch support, and heel lift, with insight from Dr. Irene Davis, a renowned expert in biomechanics.
  • How your shoes should fit in the toe box and why you should avoid stiff soles, as Pedorthist Scott Socha shares.
  • How Xero Shoes VP of Product Development John Wadley highlights the difference in the design of barefoot shoes vs modern shoes.
  • Tips from Ultrarunner and top running coach Eric Orton on running in barefoot shoes.
  • And actionable tips from all these experts to help you transition to barefoot shoes in your daily life.

And if you’re sold, check out the Best Barefoot Shoes article by Outdoor Life’s editor Laura Lancaster, who shared why you should consider getting a pair of barefoot shoes and her top picks.

Benefits include:

  • Zero Drop: Equal heel and forefoot height for natural biomechanics.
  • Wide Toe box: Allows natural toe splay for balance and propulsion.
  • Flexible Sole: Enables a free, uninhibited gait cycle.
  • Low Stack Height: Varied thickness, promoting ground feel.
  • No Arch Support: Dr. Irene Davis, says, “the arch has 10 muscles in 4 layers “that help to control the defamation of the arch to provide that control of your foot.” Arch support in shoes inhibits these muscles from controlling your foot as it pronates and supinates during the gait cycle and, over time, weakens them. Barefoot shoes do not have arch support, so that these muscles are uninhibited, and can strengthen over time and function naturally.”

And according to Xero Shoes VP of Product Development, John Wadley: “The body knows what it’s doing,” said Wadley. “Once you get the shoe out of the way, the body will control movement.”

Laura’s pick for the most comfortable barefoot shoe: Xero Shoes HFS II.

“Xero shoes are designed to fit a wider range of the feet actual humans have… As a gear reviewer, I’m constantly swiveling around to see what people have on, including their shoes… I’m constantly surprised when I catch sight of the logo (the only true tell-tale sign). If you’re looking to try barefoot shoes, but don’t want to rock your whole aesthetic, then Xero is the way to go.”