I tried living life in 'barefoot' shoes and this is what I found

I tried living life in 'barefoot' shoes and this is what I found
Kate Plummer

Barefoot or minimalist trainers are all the rage right now, with the sight of yuppies cutting about town with what resemble flippers attached to their feet becoming a more and more ordinary.

The shoes, which are thin and bendy, are meant to replicate the sensation of being barefoot - which is a good thing, to fans of going without ordinary shoes, or crazy, to those used bouncing about with a good level of padding.

But are they a fad for people with too much disposable income, or actually worth giving a go?

I tried the Motus Strength, Vivobarefoot’s first barefoot functional fitness footwear to find out.

Kate Plummer

My friends mock me for their wide toe area, and a colleague goes as far as to call them "ugly" – but I am fan of the aesthetics, personally.

But that's not the main thing - I'm on a mission to get the best feet going not walk down a catwalk, so how does that go?

At first, wearing barefoot shoes is uncomfortable. Walking around, I can feel surfaces more profoundly and my heels soon harden because of the impact.

But that is the point, in a way. If we are cushioning ourselves with padded shoes we are disguising the fact that we are walking in a way and on surfaces nature did not intend us to.

And so, after a week or so I notice the way I walk changes, even when I am wearing my 'normal' shoes. My gait is lighter and I feel my toes spread with every stride as if to grip the pavement. My feet get used to new surfaces and no longer hurt and my ankles and other supporting muscles around my feet feel stronger.

But what do the experts think? While research is mixed and more studies need to be done to get answers as to whether the future is barefoot, some people are keen on it. “Barefoot running really helps us reconnect with nature,” Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist working with muscle and joint care specialists Deep Freeze and Deep Heat, tells the Independent.

The muscles in your legs will develop differently too. Margo adds: “Running barefoot also activates smaller muscles in our legs and feet, helping to improve strength and overall mobility.”

Others claim it makes people more efficient runners with better balance and reduces injuries. And Vivobarefoot co-founder, Galahad Clark that adopting Vivobarefoot footwear sees a 60 per cent boost in foot strength.

But there are drawbacks. Because they are so thin they make people more vulnerable to things like nails and broken glass on streets. They can also put the achilles tendon under more strength, some argue, and at £170 they don't come cheap.

So as with everything, there are highs and lows, but in my experience at least there are worse cults to join.

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