One day, I was barbecuing with friends and needed to grab something from the store. One guy offered to drive and, when he got out of the car, I realized he was barefoot. Of course, I asked why and he told me he was going to have to have his knees replaced, but that that wouldn’t have lasted him more than a decade, meaning he’d have had to have it done multiple times, and that it generally came with a number of other complications. So, in search of an alternative, he went to every specialist within 100km and finally found one who said, “just go barefoot.” And he did, whenever he could, and was fine. At half his age, I already had back, knee, and foot pain if I stood or sat too long and had to constantly change position.
Intrigued, I started looking into it. What I discovered is that curved toes are a deformity caused by wearing shoes; the toe of your shoe curves up slightly, throwing your balance off; most people in the first-world end up with the same joint problems I had by the time they’re 40 or 50, a problem that interestingly doesn’t seem to prevail in the third-world, where people are more likely to go barefoot; your feet need the sensory information they get from coming into contact with the ground so, the thicker the soles of your shoes, the harder you step in order to get that information, which creates more damaging shock for your joints to absorb; barefooting brings you into closer contact with nature, which can be soothing if you suffer from mental illness; studies show that shoes, especially heels and flip-flops can even be very dangerous, moreso than going barefoot; and it’s not your feet that stink, it’s the bacteria feeding on the sweat trapped in your shoes (that you probably almost never wash), so no shoes = no stink and your feet get washed every time you shower anyway. So basically, most, if not all, of the time your feet spend in shoes is because society tells you you need them; not because you actually do.
Very slowly, I started to venture out in my birthday soles. After a lifetime of shoes, my feet were very weak so I couldn’t initially go very far, but it didn’t take long to build up strength – and it felt so liberating! Not only did my feet look and feel healthier, my records showed that they’d even changed slightly to adopt a more natural form. Over the past several summers, I’m proud to say my feet have seen the streets of several different countries, but, while there are some hard-core, year-round barefooters, part of my illness is a hyper-sensitivity to cold, so I don’t usually do anything less than 15°C.
After tasting freedom, normal shoes felt so constricting; it was like numbly, clunking around in a cast – I had no freedom of motion at all! That was when I first started paying attention to shoes. Generally, I’d just get whatever was cheapest and wear it until the soles wore through, which was usually after 6-12 months of daily wear and a good while of shoe-stink long before that. But then I discovered minimalist shoes. I’ve tried several brands and ended up falling in love with Vivo Barefoot from day one. I’ll admit, not every pair is perfect, but overall they make very high quality shoes that allow you as much flexibility and sensory perception as possible, while remaining protective and durable. I’ve been wearing Vivos for years now and they’re so comfortable, I haven’t worn any other shoe since.
It’s not directly connected to auto-immune disease/ rare illness, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey it’s that everything is interconnected and since I saw they were having a sale, I wanted to put the word out.
Check em out! https://goo.gl/fDxGiD