What Are Barefoot Sandles? [3 Ways to Identify]

Barefoot Sandals

I have two pairs of sandals that I use from time to time, yet they are not barefoot sandals. I can use them to walk shorter distances, and they are easy to slide off when I am done with them. Barefoot sandals are different because they stay securely on your foot until you decide to unlatch them.

Barefoot sandals are designed to stay on your foot like a shoe, so you can walk or run for long distances and still have your sandals stay secure. A barefoot sandal has three unique features that help you identify them.

  1.  They have a thin sole – This gives you a barefoot feel when walking or running, yet still protects your foot. Around 3 – 7mm of the sole can give you a barefoot feel.    
  2.  They secure your toes – They use a strap around the big toe, between the big toe and second toe, or a strap just behind all the toes to hold the front of the foot in place. 
  3.  They secure your ankle – They use a strap around the entire ankle to hold the back of the foot in place. 

A barefoot sandal is helpful if you want to experience barefoot walking or running and still have foot protection. One main goal many people have when choosing this sandal is to strengthen their feet. A barefoot sandal can be a good way to get started on helping you feel the experience of fully using your foot as nature intended. 

You’ll find many types of sandals that are like barefoot sandals, but if you truly want to have a barefoot experience, then you need to find sandals with very thin soles. That way, your feet can feel most of the bumps and texture of the ground beneath.

Your foot will feel more and adapt faster to walking without a cushioned sole. This means your feet will start to get stronger as you are forced to use muscles in your foot that thicker soles, sandals and shoes prevent your feet from using.   

If you’re just beginning to wear barefoot sandals, take it slow and remember to walk for shorter distances so your feet can slowly get used to this new experience. 

Why Should I Use Barefoot Sandals?

Why Barefoot Sandals

For Stronger Feet

As I mentioned in this article about barefoot running, using your bare feet can help heal various issues you may have because your feet are getting stronger. Barefoot sandals can have some of the same benefits because you are still using most of the muscles in your foot. 

It will take a while to slowly build up foot strength, so it’s important to go slow and not overdo it. Also, if you have a preexisting condition, it’s advisable to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if barefoot shoes are beneficial for you.

For A Natural Experience

Your body is constantly sending signals to the brain so it can decide what to do. The feet do this as well, and when you feel the ground under your feet while wearing barefoot sandals, you get sensory information.

This information sent to the brain can help your body experience and start to adapt to walking more naturally. Your toes will start to activate more naturally, and with time, you will have better control over them. 

Then you can have better balance and get a better hold of the ground as you walk. Afterward, your foot gets stronger, and the toes can articulate better.

To Feel More Relaxed  

I love to go to the beach and wear my sandals because it feels good to go without my clunky shoes. The beach is a good example of how good it can feel to go without shoes. 

Wearing sandals exposes your feet to the air and water. You don’t feel too hot, and for me, it feels relaxing to go somewhere without my shoes on. 

If you’re not used to walking for long periods with thin soles, then your feet will start to hurt after a while. So, taking your time getting used to this type of sandal will take some time, and then you can feel more relaxed for longer periods with a thin-soled sandal.

Here’s what one person thinks about her barefoot sandals and why she thinks they are good for you. 

How Long Does It take to Get Used to Barefoot Sandals?

How Long barefoot sandals

If you’re new to barefoot shoes or sandals, then you should limit your time in your sandals. I would start by wearing them for about 15 minutes a day a couple of times a week. If your feet start to hurt, then give them a rest until they feel better. 

In one of my articles, I say, “do not increase weekly mileage by more than 10% each week.” This all depends on how strong your feet are and how you are using them. The basic rule is, that if your feet are not strong, take more time. 

It might take you 3 – 6 weeks to walk 90 minutes a week in your barefoot sandals and start feeling comfortable. If you have foot problems already, you should take it slower than this.  

Which Sandals Should I Get?

Choosing the Right Ones barefoot sandal

I would find a sandal that matches your goals. You don’t need to get the thinnest soled sandal to have stronger feet. You might start with a sandal that lets your toes spread out, is very secure on your foot, and is somewhat cushioning.

If you expect to hike, run, and walk a lot, then choose a sandal that is made to last, but if all you plan on doing is walking, you might be able to find a good sandal that gives you a more natural feel and can help get your feet a bit stronger. 

Just remember to get a secure sandal that allows the toes to spread and has a sole that isn’t too thick.

Barefoot Sandals 

With thin-soled sandals, you can start to get some foot strength and still have a bit of comfort. If you’re ready to use barefoot sandals then I recommend Zero Shoes Sandals.  They have a variety of good barefoot sandals that most people like.

You can go to their website (xeroshoe.com) to find a variety of sandals they offer. They are secure and have thin soles. Here are some examples.

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03/11/2024 11:25 am GMT
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Walking Sandals

There are plenty of other sandals to choose from but not many with such thin soles as Zero Shoes have. If I wanted to find something with a bit thicker sole I would go for something that has some cushion added to it or maybe a leather-soled sandal.

The following are examples of walking sandals. These aren’t designed for sports or running. They give you a fairly secure fit but may not be built to endure strong pulling forces. Here are some examples that I might choose to use for walking. 

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03/11/2024 10:36 am GMT

Rougher Terrain Sandals

You might want to go on a hike or climb some rocks. Very thin sandals might not have enough cushion. You can still get a barefoot feel with some sandals that have a bit of cushion. If you need something with a bit of cushion for heavier activities, you could try one of the following sandals. 

Final Thoughts

Barefoot sandals are a good idea for some people to try. They help you get used to walking more naturally and it feels more relaxing to wear them for many people.

Avoid sandals that constrict your toes or have soles that are stiff or too thick to feel the ground. If you get the right sandal it should flex easily and will have little to no cushion. 

If your goal is to get stronger feet these types of sandals can help. The nice thing about them is you can use them just like a shoe and use them wherever you go.  

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I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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