I'm not a runner, though I used to years and years ago. I have no interest in distance running, though I may add a sprint session once per week. I have zero exercise regimen except the home push-ups, squats, planks twice a week.
My daily routine would include mostly walking and a fair amount of standing in place. At home it would include lounging around the house but also gardening and yard work outside and walking around the neighborhood on sidewalks or asphalt trails.
So would barefoot shoes offer any benefits at all?
I hold out hope that a mild back ache might be helped further by these, my nutrition and diet changes have already made an immense improvement that it is only a mild ache anymore, I couldn't stand longer than 30 minutes before I needed to sit.
[Addition] If you can suggest any brand and type that would best work in a (retail) work environment and casual around-the-house work I'd be thankful!
Abso-freaking-lutely. Vibrams, and good old-fashioned barefooting, were part of what got me out of a wheelchair. No amount of therapy was building up leg musculature right, but barefoot walking let nature do its thing. And I'll certainly never run. But I find they're still amazing. I hike. I row in them. I wear them to lift weights (which I can also do now). And the improved leg function eliminated a lot of pain.
No, barefooting isn't always a perfect solution for people. You need to be active to get the benefits. But you can be active without being a runner. As for something you can wear to work, look into Vibram KSO Treks or Trek LS. The leather looks very professional, and the toe-shoes also make a great conversation piece.
I've gone to events wearing a suit and my KSO Treks. The dark brown goes well with a grey suit, and were a much more comfortable option.
I'm not a runner and in fact I really really really hate running, but I like that they have given me stronger arches, which means I hopefully can avoid some of the foot problems that plague older people. Stronger feet also means greater adaptability in case you want to pick up a sport/type of exercise sometime.
If you can score some "dress" style shoes with and even toe to heel ratio that will help. Think about it this way. Hopefully you wash your feet a few times a week at least, but how often do people wash shoes? I'd say when you are home is when you should forget shoes exist at let them feet get some open air. You don't have to run, in fact I think people should start by just walking bare foot before they start running so they can get the feeling back in their feet. It's different when you feel the earth under you instead of just knowing it's there.
Yes! The benefit is many fold! Its better for your foot in general, helps build your own natural muscles in your feet/legs. Less foot and knee, shin problems in the long run as well. You definitely don't need to be a runner to enjoy the benefits to barefoot shoes! I have to ditto the Merrell barefoot shoes. I tried the Vibram vff's and my husband swears by them, but the ones that work for me are the Merrell pace gloves. I think they look better too hehe.
I love my Vibram Five Fingers for walking and just hanging out. I don't really run (except when I sprint to catch the bus). The thing I love about them the most is that they've undone the damage to my feet that normal shoes caused. My toes were squished in from wearing shoes all of my life, but the VFFs have spread my toes back out. So yeah, I wear mine all the time, when it's warm and dry enough.
I also must chime and say "yes! yes! yes!"
I also am not a runner and still love wearing them. In fact, I think they are nothing short of awesome! :)
I wear them to workout (twice a week) and out and about when it's not too cold up here in New England. They are great though and frankly, I don't know of anyone who has tried them and not fallen in love. So whether it's gardening, hiking, or just walking around town I think vibrams do wonders for the way you walk.
Definitely worth the money.
Ok, just kidding.
I wear vibrams and I am most definitely not a runner, in fact I'm rather hostile to the concept. I do jog and sprint occasionally but walking is what I probably do much more than any of the above.
As far as an office shoe, that's thus far the "holy grail" that many are looking for. Some have gotten away with the minimalist "sneaker" type shoes, but that depends on your work and how stringent they are...
What about the new Merrel Slant Glove?
I've been wearing a Merrel Trail Glove for the better part of a year now and love it! Very comfortable and still a mostly normal looking shoe. Personally I like them better than the Vibrams I had before which just never seemed to fit me well.
The slant glove looks to be a similar barefoot type shoe and might be somewhat more formal than the trail glove (haven't seen them in person - just online).
I do run in my trail gloves, but also love them for just day to day use. One thing I've noticed is that I'm wearing them evenly as opposed to a "normal" shoe where I wear the inside edge heavily due to over-pronation. I have no idea if this is working to fix my gait or if it's just better in these types of shoes. I do know that in a barefoot shoe I tend to heel strike a lot less when walking (and, of course, running).
I rarely do any running but have been barefoot-shoes-only for years. Before that I would occasionally find that, after walking for around an hour, I would sometimes experience a debilitating pain in one foot. After switching to barefoot I've never experienced any such problem.
I recommend http://www.vivobarefoot.com - they have lots of formal, casual and street styles. They're also a generally nice, environmentally-conscious type of a company.
Just to warn you: for maybe the first few months of walking in barefoot shoes I was extremely conscious of the surface I was walking on. Pavements felt hard and uncomfortable and carpets were a relief. Now it's never uncomfortable and walking in normal shoes feels strange.
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