14 myths about barefoot shoes. Why are they more than just “thin-soled shoes”?

It’s clear: You don’t believe the myths about barefoot shoes, that’s why you’re here. Let’s go through the biggest and most outrageous ones. 

1) I’ll be cold in barefoot shoes.

Did you know that your feet mainly get cold in the winter because they have poor blood circulation? In barefoot shoes, they gain the space they need to move naturally. It works the same as when you exercise: you stay warm, even without wearing thick socks.

Tip: Read why you should wear barefoot shoes during the winter and how it warms you up.

A woman in a winter landscape wearing barefoot Ahinsa shoes on her feet.
Your feet won’t be chilly in the right shoes.

2) Barefoot shoes are for the great outdoors, not for the city. 

When you’re in the woods or out on a meadow, barefoot walking is easier because the soft ground cushions your footsteps. But that doesn’t mean you can’t walk barefoot in the city. You just have to learn how to walk in a healthy way

Want to learn how to do it? Check out our free ebook Step by Step to Healthy Walking

Tip: If you’re a barefoot beginner just starting out, choose a pair of shoes from the Ahinsa Comfort line. They are specially designed with a unique insole (insert) that absorbs shock and protects your feet.

A woman in barefoot Ahinsa shoes sits on a railing in the park.

In the woods, in the city, or on the way to work. You can wear healthy shoes anywhere.

3) Barefoot shoes that fit my friend, fit me too. 

They may fit you, but they might not. The correct barefoot shoe frees your feet, so make sure you choose the right ones and measure your feet carefully. If you don't know how to choose, we've prepared a great guide on how to choose barefoot shoes that will fit you.  

Ahinsa shoes come in extra-wide or narrower models, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right fit.

Tip: Learn how to measure your feet and choose the right barefoot shoe size. 

4) Barefoot shoes? Those are the ones with thin soles! 

The main point of healthy footwear isn’t just about having a thin sole, but enough space for natural movement

Classic shoes don’t respect the natural shape of your feet, restricting them and preventing a healthy gait. If you wear the same type of shoes with just a thin sole, you won’t be giving your body any extra relief. That’s why real barefoot shoes are both roomy and flexible

Reading tip: What are barefoot shoes? And are they right for YOU?

“Ahinsa shoes provide generous space for the front of the foot, which is essential for the proper toe alignment that helps determine the entire body’s posture.” 

MUDR. Hana Bořecká, doctor

A pair of hemp Ahinsa sneakers.

Toe space is more important than a thin sole.

5) I’ll slip more in barefoot shoes because of their thin soles. 

We can’t speak for all manufacturers, but Ahinsa shoes have undergone rigorous testing that prove they don’t slip — even when worn on wet surfaces. And it’s something we hear our customers love all the time. 

Our shoes allow your feet to function naturally and “grip” the surface beneath them, similar to the way a rock climber takes hold of a rock as they climb. The result is that you feel more confident with every step you take than you would wearing traditional shoes.  

“The barefoot Ahinsa shoes tested meet all the requirements for a slip-resistant outsole on both dry and wet surfaces.”

Results from the ITC (Institute for testing and certification)  

6) Barefoot outsoles don’t last long. 

Again, this myth really depends on the manufacturer and the materials used. Our outsoles are made from the German material Lifo+, which is extremely resistant to abrasion. As a result, our outsoles last longer and won’t wear down fast

7) Barefoot shoes are expensive. 

Yes, quality barefoot shoes will set you back more than a cheap pair. But let us tell you why they’re worth it. 

  • You’re investing in shoes that were designed by physiotherapists.
  • You know that in these shoes, you will walk healthily
  • You can be certain that these shoes last for a long time
  • You’ll be wearing shoes that were produced ethically. 

You should also consider the cost per wear. Cheap shoes might not cost much, but you’ll probably throw them away after a few months. By comparison, Ahinsa shoes will last you for millions of steps. In the end, you’ll actually end up paying less per wear than a lower quality model. By the way, this is one of the principles of slow fashion

“I got my second pair of Ahinsa shoes this year. I’m just as thrilled as I was with the first, and I’ll probably be buying a third pair soon. I’ve been wearing my first ones since March, and they still look brand new. I walked 10 km in my second winter pair on Sunday, and it was great. They fit me perfectly!” 

L.Chylíková, Ahinsa shoes customer

A woman looks at  a pair of barefoot Ahinsa ballet flats she is holding.

Healthy, high quality, ethical shoes are worth it.

8) I’ll look weird in barefoot shoes.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? Shoes that are healthy for our bodies appear ugly and stupid to us. Luckily, barefoot shoe design today is miles ahead of what it used to be. You can find elegant ballet flats, men’s dress shoes, stylish sneakers, or even a beautiful pair of tall boots

Just look at the people around you — more and more of them are choosing to wear shoes that are both healthy and have great style. Healthy walking is in.

A woman in barefoot Ahinsa shoes stands in front of a fountain.

Do you still think healthy shoes look weird?

9) Barefoot shoes will cure all my health problems. 

Barefoot shoes aren’t a silver bullet. They are a tool that enables you to walk healthily, but you can’t learn how to do it just by wearing them. Lucky for you, it’s easy to learn how to walk naturally. You can learn how by reading our ebook (download it for free here). 

10) Barefoot walking isn’t for me: I have flat feet. 

It’s actually the complete opposite! Exercises from your orthopedic specialist aren’t the only thing that can help treat your flat feet. The most effective way is healthy walking. In order to do this, you need enough room for your toes, which you can only get from wearing real barefoot shoes.  

Your specialist may also have prescribed special shoe inserts. While these help, they won’t help cure your flat feet. They can only passively support your arches as you walk. In contrast, barefoot shoes naturally engage your feet and actively strengthen them

Reading tip: You may not actually have flat feet. Physiotherapist Lukáš Klimpera explains how to find out for sure in this article.

11) My feet will hurt in barefoot shoes

Not if you learn to walk healthily. Don’t have any experience with natural walking? Start off with shoes from our Comfort line first. They come with a unique insole (insert) or a cushioned outsole that protects your heels against harsh impacts

Healthy barefoot walking is different from the type of walking we do in conventional footwear, which restricts the natural movement of our feet. You engage different muscles and move differently. As a result, your feet have to get used to going barefoot. That’s why it’s best to start slow to avoid injuring yourself and ending up with sore feet.

A man in winter clothing and barefoot shoes sits in a snowy landscape and is smiling.

Healthy walking doesn't hurt. Try it.

12) It’s sufficient to wear barefoot shoes occasionally.

Your body will be grateful for every moment of barefoot walking. But the main benefit is that you activate your feet and get used to walking naturally. If you spend most of your time wearing regular shoes, you’ll end up missing out on most of the benefits of going barefoot.  

It’s fine to switch over to barefoot shoes gradually, but eventually you’ll find that you don’t want to go back to wearing narrow shoes. 

13) Barefoot shoes aren’t suitable for sport. 

You’re right, they’re not. But only if you don’t walk or run in a healthy way. It’s simple to learn how with our ebook Step by Step to Healthy Walking or check out our recent article How to start running barefoot

Once you can walk correctly, barefoot shoes will be ideal for any activity.

Take running barefoot, for example. When you run you need to use the full power of your natural bounce while softly absorbing shock. The bounce of your stride comes from your toes, which are completely restricted and inactive in regular running shoes. Barefoot shoes give your feet space so you can run with ease. Your toes will also have more flexibility to cushion against impacts as you move. 

A woman in barefoot Ahinsa sneakers runs through the city.

Barefoot shoes are ideal for sport as long as you have a healthy stride.

14) When I go hiking, I need a reinforced ankle and a strong outsole. 

Hiking boots actually make you move like you’re wearing a cast. Your feet can’t feel the ground or react to the terrain. In barefoot shoes, your feet get a lot more information. They understand what’s going on underneath them and can adapt accordingly. They can even react better if you twist your ankle and activate the correct muscles to protect you from injury. 

But before you head off up the mountain in your barefoot shoes, make sure you’re comfortable walking in your daily environment. Once you get the hang of a natural stride, you’ll be ready to take on a more challenging hike

“Good toe support also means a well-secured ankle. This isn’t possible when your toes are cramped inside of a shoe,” says renowned physiotherapist Clara Lewitová.

Don’t believe the myths. Wear healthy shoes. 

Put on shoes that were designed and recommended by physiotherapists. Wear Ahinsa shoes. 

Did you know that your feet function as naturally in Ahinsa shoes as they do without them? Research from Masaryk University found that your stride is as healthy as a bare foot when you wear Ahinsa shoes. 

Pick out your healthy shoes

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