There’s always a lot to add when it comes to footwear. This is particularly true when speaking of any natural, iterated daily activities like walking and running. However, most people seem not to get the idea of the correlation between minimalist shoes and walking.
Borrowing inspiration from a fitness study led by Fitbit, about 70% of people reveal that they walk for fitness purposes. This study involved more than 10 million subjects from all over the world. And based on findings, walking can be as effective as a workout, if not running- despite it being the most underrated form of exercise.
Whether it’s a walk in the park or simply walking your dog around the hood at an easy pace, walking is probably the most accessible, calming, and low-impact form of exercise. Consequently, minimalist walking shoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among low-impact workout lovers.
Moreover, with certain specially designed minimalist shoes, walking alone is associated with significant improvement in endurance, posture, and stability. These are sound reasons to incorporate minimalist walking shoes into your workout routine and intensify your overall walking performance.
A reliable minimalist shoe (according to most podiatrist reports) is nothing more or nothing less than a protective upholstery and ornament footwear that allows your foot to feel and function like a barefoot within the shoe. To do this, the shoe must incorporate four crucial design features that promote excellent natural foot health and function. These four design elements are:
- A sufficiently accommodative toe box to give room for your toes to splay
- Completely flat outsoles from heel to forefoot. No toe spring or eel elevation
- A flexible outsole that can be twisted easily in any direction
- Overalls lightweight construction
Minimalist Walking Shoes: Benefits
Also referred to as barefoot walking footwear, minimalist walking shoes generally include flat, flexible outsoles, and ample space for your toes. As a result, these shoes skimp on arch support and dense padding in most cases. Such designs provide a much freer range of foot movement since there isn’t much cushioning to hinder the feet’ natural motion.
As research suggests, without all the cushioning stuff and arch support, your feet’ muscles, including those extending into your lower back, naturally become stronger. Some walking enthusiasts’ funny remark is that getting active in a pair of minimalist shoes is more of adopting a weightlifting regimen for your feet.
The resultant boost in endurance acts as real implications for your stamina and posture. Moreover, weakened muscle strength is among the major reasons we develop poor posture and balance in the first place.
On the topic of minimalist shoes, experts suggest that there are various common features of “regular” shoes that attenuate our posture, balance, and foot strength:
- Curved toe boxes (often referred to as toe springs)
- Toe boxes that squeeze and taper our toes
- Elevated heels
Walking in minimalist shoes with sufficient toe area allows your toes to wiggle naturally. That means you will have a slightly more triangular, more stabilizing shape to your feet. In turn, this provides an optimally balanced foundation for your body alongside even weight distribution on your feet.
Minimalist shoes are basically meant to keep you closer to the ground. You will get to feel the surface underneath your feet more acutely, which will help you feel more balanced and stabilized.
According to the National Institute of Health, walking to maintain an optimal balance is beneficial because it will help control your body’s posture when moving or standing. This way, you’re better able to prevent injuries due to falls, especially as you age. Besides, studies show that promoting your balance can improve your overall athletic performance.
Another research presented in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states that strong, well-developed foot muscles create a solid core for the body, just like the way abnormal muscles are correlated with a stable core. These findings directly recount walking and running minimalist shoes as an essential part of developing this strong core.
The researchers found that wearing minimalist shoes while walking can improve the sensory input transferred between the underneath of our feet and brains. And on that note, this level of sensory production has long been associated with positive effects for stability, postural, and hearty dynamic gait patterns.
Also Read: How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should A Woman Own?
Walking in Minimalist Shoes
If you’re looking forward to improving your strength and posture through minimalist walking, you’ll get to choose from different minimalist styles. Rather than tossing your regular trainers right away, consider a gradual transitioning into your minimalist shoes.
Fitness experts suggest that our bodies adjust with the supportive nature of modern shoes. A moderate transition can keep you from injuries as you develop foot strength and cope with your new kicks.
Ideally, you can count on this transition in footwear as the perfect time to scrutinize your walking technique in general. For instance, you can check your foot on the ground during movements and evaluate whether it’s ideal for healthy, pain-free feet.
Some of the best minimalist shoes don’t include any motion control feature, as this could tamper with your foot’s natural functioning. This way, you will be able to achieve the inherent strength and integrity of your feet.
The best minimalist shoe should also enhance healthy gait patterns while walking or running. It should make you feel lighter to avoid fatigue. It should promote a lower-impact forefoot or midfoot strike.
A forefoot or midfoot strike helps you the body to disperse the impact associated with bipedal movement. Therefore, minimalist shoes can help maintain the integrity of your joint system and other tissues.
All things considered, we can round off that minimalist shoes are good for walking. They are as effective as foot strengthening workouts when it comes to improving stamina and foot endurance. The aspect of transitioning into minimalist footwear rather than dwelling on certain workout types can result in a more remarkable performance.
Indeed, a reliable pair of minimalist shoes take into account normal healthy feet and adheres to the fact that your shoes’ most accommodative part should be the forefoot. The benchmark of evaluating toe box width in minimalist shoes is to check whether the shoe can sufficiently accommodate toe spacers. #
The best shoes under this category gently realign your toes in the normal anatomical position. Provided the shoe can accommodate your feet without irritating your toes, then the shoe may be ideal for helping foot form, function, and improve posture.