A relatively new trend in the fitness world is running barefoot. As a former runner I always wanted to try that out, but I’ve had some bad experiences with a nail going through my foot and having a piece of glass cut my hand when I was doing a handstand outside when I was younger. Because of that I was always a bit reserved about going barefoot. However, I found a solution.
Ever since I saw the television program Dual Survival featuring Cody Lundin I was intrigued by his barefoot walking. The survival expert hardly ever wears shoes and he visits the most remote areas in the world while doing so. The benefits of barefoot walking he talks about is strengthening of the feet and lower legs as well as a better connection with the ground and better focus of his surroundings. With him there are a lot more people who like going barefoot and you can even find forums of fans of this ‘movement’. The most useful benefit for me personally would be the strengthening of the feet and lower legs.
When I studied sport and exercise at college (I quite after 3 months but that’s a different story), I suffered from split shins. I did a lot of running back then too and the combination of always having to do various kinds of sports such as field hockey, football and basketball put a lot of stress on my shins, eventually leading to split shins. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a rather painful affection that’s caused by overtraining of your lower legs. My shins were all tight and painful and I couldn’t walk properly. It kind of feels like constant cramp, so you can imagine how annoying this is.
I even had to wear these special wool stockings that keep your shins warm. One of the best ways to treat split shins by the way is keeping them warm and getting plenty of rest. However, the underlying problem was not solved with that. I quit the study sports and exercise (not because of split shins), but continued running. After a while of hard training the problem occurred again. I lost interest in running due to various reasons but I still would get cramped up shins and calves when I had to walk a lot. The problem seemed to be untrained feet and lower legs and it was time for a solution.
Despite the fact that the shoes I wore became increasingly minimalistic due to the fact that I started to prefer sneakers over ‘proper shoes’, the real solution came later after I got a collaboration offer from ANI brand. ANI stands for ‘As Nature Intended’. A shoe brand that makes shoes that are barefoot, ecological and vegan as well as pleasing to the eye. The soles of the shoe are only 4 mm thick, which can be considered as if walking on your bare feet. As a student of nursing who does internships in hospitals can’t go barefoot all the time for obvious reasons. Having shoes that have that thin of a sole was a great solution to being able to have the benefits of walking bare foot.
So after getting a discount code for my viewers on YouTube and readers of my blog and website I got a couple of pairs to try out (25% discount code at the end of this page). At first I only wore the shoes while working out, which I loved because I could do some good squats and deadlifts with them. I think it’s best to do those exercises without any shoes on, but in my gym it can freeze up, or should I say down, to minus 5 degrees Celsius. That’s not very pleasant if you don’t wear any shoes, I can tell you that much. ANI shoes gave me the benefits of doing squats without the feeling of shoes on my feet as well as the comfort of not having my toes frozen off. I see a win-win there. Later I started wearing them in public too.
Benefits of ANI shoes
The major benefit of going barefoot in my opinion is the fact that we aren’t supposed to wear shoes. The brand ANI doesn’t stand for ‘as nature intended’ for no reason. We weren’t born to wear shoes and most of us don’t find them very comfortable. Those thick leather shoes and shoes with thick soles don’t allow your feet to get enough air to them. ANI shoes are far more ‘breathable’ if you ask me, even though I still prefer not wearing shoes in general. They also have slip ons which you can easily take off. When my feet need some air I often pop them off during class without anyone noticing.
Since wearing these shoes on a more frequent basis I’ve noticed stronger feet, better balance and no painful shins or feet anymore. It took a few days to get used to it and walking with barely any shoes on can be hard for some when they have been wearing shoes with thick soles. However, after a while you’ll get used to it and it feels way better than having those ‘comfy shoes’ on your feet.
Their thin soles take away the negative effect of wearing shoes that comfort your feet. Don’t pamper your feet because they are made to work and they can take a lot once you’ve gone past the comfort zone. Your feet don’t need to be supported by special shoes and soles. Unfortunately most of us, me included, have indeed pampered our feet so they aren’t used to anything. So let me give you some tips to ease into going barefoot.
How to go barefoot
In and around the house I never wear shoes. I never did and probably never will. I can definitely recommend everyone to do so. However, outside it’s often necessary to wear shoes and especially for people like me who work in a hospital it’s a ‘no-go’ to show up without wearing shoes. ANI shoes are a perfect solution to this. There are other options like the ‘five toe-shoes’, but I find those dumb looking. Besides, it’s against hospital policy to wear those. Nobody will notice you wear ANI shoes. Flip flops are also an option, although I dislike wearing those as it’s easier to trip and your feet are forced to make an unnatural movement to keep them on while walking.
– Simply start by going barefoot at home, where you know it’s safe to walk… unless you have Lego all around the house.
– Watch where you walk at all time.
– Get shoes with a minimalistic sole such as ANI shoes to get used to it and in case you can’t go fully barefoot.
– Slowly build up the amount of time spend walking around without shoes.
– After you’re comfortable wearing no shoes at all and are able to walk around like that for a while, you could consider doing some running without shoes on. Make sure you can run in a safe area where you won’t find glass, needles, small rocks and similar sharp objects.
– Work out without wearing shoes if you have the luxury. If you drop a weight on your foot it doesn’t really matter much if there is a shoe around it or not, it’ll break regardless. Unless of course you have steel toes on your shoes.
– Your feet need time to grow stronger and the sole of your feet need to grow some calluses to be strong enough to take the heat of warm tiles in summer for example. Don’t try to get rid of the calluses as that’s what protects your soles from damaging.
– Do some stretching of the soles of your feet by using a Lacrosse ball or a similar hard ball by simply rolling the ball underneath your feet while putting some pressure on it. This can be painful at first, but feels great later on.
Discount on ANI shoes
As already mentioned I’m affiliated with ANI, which is why I can get you a 25% discount on all their shoes. Let me be transparent in saying that I do get a small percentage of any sales I generate. That’s how the online business works and I think we as ‘social influencers’ should be more open about that.
No matter how many of their shoes you’ll buy, you’ll get a discount of 25% on your entire purchase. So if you want to try them out I can definitely recommend them. I don’t think you’ll want to go back.
After putting all your purchases in the shopping cart, add the coupon in the bottom left bar, click apply and you’re ready to go.
Get your shoes here: http://anibrand.com/shop
Note: If you have issues with your feet and need special shoes to correct them these tips (and shoes) are probably not for you. In that case, consult with your doctor or orthopedist.