How Do You Transition To Barefoot Shoes? | Anya's Reviews (2023)

Transitioning to barefoot shoes is a process and will look different for every individual. Zero drop shoes with a natural toe box make it possible to move naturally, but many people have weak intrinsic foot muscles and learned unnatural gait patterns (heavy heel striking for example) that carry over even in barefoot shoes. So you’ll have the best results if you consider other ways to improve your overall gait and foot health in addition to wearing better shoes.

(Video) How to Transition into Barefoot Shoes SAFELY

Here are my tips for transitioning to barefoot shoes:

(Video) What They Don't Tell You About Barefoot Style Shoes...

It might take several weeks, months or years for your muscles, ligament, nerves, and skin to adapt to the new stresses of being in barefoot shoes. This is why going slowly and carefully is often the best path. Give your brain and your body time to relearn how to be comfortable barefoot, and remember to walk before you run!

(Video) How to PROPERLY Walk in Barefoot Shoes | 3 Tips from a PT

If you’re unable to adapt your walking and running to a barefoot style, barefoot shoes may not always be comfortable. This is ok – you can alternate between barefoot shoes and your old shoes as your body adapts. If you are already used to being barefoot often and are physically fit, you may be able to switch over immediately. Biggest take away: Everyone is different. Don’t push yourself past pain and listen to your body if it’s telling you to slow down!

(Video) ZERO-DROP / transitioning to minimalist running shoes

Check out the FAQ on How To Pick Your First Pair of Barefoot Shoes to get started.

(Video) Barefoot Shoes Explained | Physical Therapist Perspective

List of Resources/Professionals Who Can Help the Transition Process:
Walking 101 – Tips for walking well in barefoot shoes
Whole Body Barefoot, by Katy Bowman
Gait Happens My Foot Function Membership & Virtual Consultation
Andy Bryant Virtual Consultation
Ray McClanahan Virtual Consultation
Gait Happens Certified Practitioners
Healthy Feet Alliance Health Directory

(Video) How to TRANSITION to BAREFOOT SHOES || My Top 5 Tips!

(Video) How To Transition to Barefoot Shoes


How long does it take to get used to barefoot shoes? ›

Observe your body and give it time to get used to the change. For example, start with 30 min/day and then gradually increase the time you spend in barefoot shoes each day. Usually people need about 2-3 months to make the full transition, but this can vary from person to person.

What is the best way to transition to barefoot shoes? ›

Basically, you want to start by spending only one hour each day wearing your new shoes or walking barefoot. Each week you increase this time by one hour until you reach the 8-hour mark at the end of two months. At that point, most people should be able to fully switch to minimal shoes without harm.

How long does it take to get used to Vivobarefoot shoes? ›

Barefoot running, or using Vivobarefoot shoes and the minimal protection they provide is all about the long term. If you bought the shoes tomorrow, you wouldn't be flying down the trails in them for many months yet. “It can take anywhere from six weeks to six months, or longer to get used to them,” Ben explains.

How long does it take to get used to zero drop shoes? ›

Then when your old shoes get binned and phase two starts, your low-drop shoes will be at half life when you start alternating them with the zero-drops. The average runner takes 4 to 6 months to go through a pair of shoes, so we can guestimate that a full transition using this process might take 8 to 12 months.

How do I prepare my feet for barefoot shoes? ›

Gently stretch your calf and arch muscles. If you are going truly barefoot (no shoes at all), start by just standing on gravel. You need to build up toughness on the soles of your feet. Run a short distance on a soft surface such as wet sand, grass or a rubberized track.

Do barefoot shoes cause problems? ›

By going barefoot or wearing a minimalist shoe, there is a risk that your plantar fascia will become over-worked or strained, leading to troublesome plantar fasciitis.

How long does it take to get used to barefoot walking? ›

Some people transition to barefoot shoes overnight and never look back. Others take years to get used to it. The most important thing to understand is that ligaments and muscles take several weeks or even months to adapt to new stresses.

What happens to your feet when you wear barefoot shoes? ›

The most common visible changes are for the toes to spread out and the entire foot to widen and even lengthen. Very flat feet might actually shorten as the arch muscles become more active, and some people find they have a visible arch where none was before.

Are barefoot shoes good for being on your feet all day? ›

In general it's best to use your body on a variety of surfaces and terrain, so as not to overuse certain parts. But if you have strong, conditioned feet then standing for long periods of time in barefoot shoes shouldn't be an issue.

Are you supposed to wear Vivobarefoot shoes without socks? ›

We recommend lightweight, non-restrictive socks, but they aren't required if you're sock averse. We believe that the ideal barefoot experience is insole free, but no one's watching, so the decision is yours!

Are barefoot shoes good for walking? ›

The benefits in minimalist shoes is that they encourage a different gait pattern, so you to land on your forefoot rather than your heel. Whilst this increases stress through the ankle joint, Achilles tendon and forefoot, the counter effect is that it reduces forces through the knee joint.

Should I size up or down for Vivobarefoot? ›

If you are new to Vivobarefoot we recommend you size the same as you would with your existing shoes. Our shoes fit big deliberately - there should be a thumb width of space around the toe box separating your toes from the shoe. If you're in-between sizes, we recommend you size up.

What do podiatrists say about zero drop shoes? ›

Cunha actually believes that zero drop shoes actually increase the risk of injury. "I frequently treat patients coming into my office suffering from injuries after wearing minimalist shoes—like stepping on a foreign object, spraining an ankle, or developing a stress fracture," says Dr. Cunha.

How do I prepare for zero drop shoes? ›

Consider wearing your new minimalist shoes for a very short period at first, such as 30 minutes per day, and then gradually increasing wear-time by 30 minutes per day as your feet and body adapt to the changes.

How do you transition to no drop shoes? ›

Transitioning into Zero-Drop Running Shoes
  1. Use your new shoes during a short, easy run once a week at the start.
  2. Jump back and forth between your new shoes and old shoes every other day.
  3. Wear your new shoes for several days in a row; slowing down as needed.

How do you start walking barefoot shoes? ›

Start by going completely barefoot in your free time as much as possible. This can help the muscles, tendons and ligaments which have been weakened by 'normal' shoes slowly get used to walking without support. Walk around your house or apartment only in barefeet or socks.

Are barefoot shoes for everyone? ›

Barefoot shoes are ideal for almost anyone who wants to learn how to walk healthily. As physiotherapist Lukáš Klimpera notes: “There are some diagnoses, such as diabetes, peripheral nerve disorders, and various injuries, which aren't ideal for wearing classic barefoot shoes.

Can everyone wear barefoot shoes? ›

ANSWER: Minimalist shoes, also known as barefoot shoes, can be a good choice for some runners. But they are not right for everyone. You need to be particularly careful with them if you have had foot problems or injuries in the past.

How often should I wear barefoot shoes? ›

We would recommend wearing a barefoot shoe as an every day shoe and after about 3-6 months start running in them for short distances initially. The shoe uses very different muscle groups than you are probably used too.

Are barefoot shoes good for back? ›

The wide toe box and thin sole of a barefoot shoe also allow the foot natural movement through a full range of motion. This full range of movement helps keep the body in a natural alignment, improving posture and reducing strain on the back.

What are the disadvantages of walking barefoot? ›

Apart from causing an achy body, walking barefoot also exposes our feet to bacterial and fungal organisms that can infect the skin and nails. These organisms can lead to infections that change the appearance, odor, and comfort of the foot, such as athlete's foot or fungus.

What happens when you start walking barefoot? ›

Walking without shoes can improve balance, help with pain relief and lead to improved mechanics of hips, knees and core.

Does walking barefoot build arches? ›

There are studies that have found that walking barefoot can make arches stronger and higher. Underused muscles and ligaments are activated. Feet are in their natural position and there is nothing to restrict the full range of motion. This natural movement may help to strengthen your arches.

What muscles do barefoot shoes work? ›

After six months of training in minimalist shoes, participants in the experimental group showed a significant increase in the volume of their leg and foot muscles.

Is it better to walk around the house barefoot or with shoes? ›

IS IT SAFE TO WALK AROUND BAREFOOT AT HOME? Avoid walking barefoot outside of the house in most places unless absolutely necessary (such as when participating in yoga) and when you do inspect and cleanse your feet immediately to avoid contracting an infection.

Are Crocs good for your feet? ›

They lack heel support

“Crocs are backless and do not support or control the heel,” Weiser adds. As a result, you could develop heel pain and tendonitis of the heel. The lack of heel support can make it more difficult to maintain stability as you walk, so you may be more likely to trip or fall.

Do barefoot shoes wear out faster? ›

Barefoot shoes have thin soles, so it stands to reason that they would wear out more quickly than other shoes.

How often should you wear barefoot shoes? ›

We would recommend wearing a barefoot shoe as an every day shoe and after about 3-6 months start running in them for short distances initially. The shoe uses very different muscle groups than you are probably used too.

Are you supposed to wear socks with barefoot shoes? ›

A frequently-asked question: do you have to wear the shoes barefooted, without socks? The short answer is: socks are allowed! When they hear the term 'barefoot shoe', lots of people immediately think of conspicuous toe shoes.

Is it better to walk with shoes or barefoot? ›

Walking without shoes can improve balance, help with pain relief and lead to improved mechanics of hips, knees and core.

Can you use barefoot shoes for walking? ›

Walking in Barefoot Shoes

While these shoes may seem comfortable, they lead to muscle atrophy and weak foot muscles over time. This can contribute to a variety of health issues including joint pain, poor circulation, headaches, and insomnia.


1. Barefoot Shoes Explained | Physical Therapist Perspective
(Dr. Michael Tang PT, DPT, CSCS)
2. How to TRANSITION to BAREFOOT SHOES || My Top 5 Tips!
3. How to Transition to Barefoot Shoes
(Mark Bell - Super Training Gym)
4. You Will Want Barefoot Shoes After Watching This… My 5 Year Journey
(Balancing Laura)
5. 5 Simple Foot Exercises for Transitioning to Barefoot Shoes
(Anya's Reviews)
6. I Switched to Barefoot Shoes Safely. Here’s what helped
(The Durable Body with Keith Nunez, PT , DPT)
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