Minimalist Hiking Boots, Sandals, and Shoes
Barefoot hiking is one of the best ways to connect with nature and achieve "grounding" that studies have shown can be beneficial in lowering pain and stress while increasing healing and energy levels. However, there are concerns that your barefoot hike can be ruined by hot surfaces or, even worse, glass or other hazardous material on the ground. This is why we recommend genuine barefoot footwear from Xero Shoes.
Benefits of Barefoot HIking
Barefoot hiking will increase proper foot development. Modern shoes are incredibly confined and hinder natural flexibility and movement for your feet. Hiking barefoot or in minimalist footwear will allow proper development of your feet, which will not only strengthen your feet and legs but raise proprioception/body awareness in your day-to-day life. Other benefits would be:
- Increased Muscel Strength
- Increased Body Awareness
- Better Posture
- Better Balance
- Potential for Decreased Foot Related Injuries
Everything you need to know about Barefoot Shoes
It's best to figure out what you are looking for with your hiking footwear. Typically hikers prefer either a comfortable sandal or boot to protect their feet from the elements and dangers while hiking. This is why we recommend Xero Shoes; no matter your preference, they have you covered. We recommend the TerraFlex or Xcursion for the best overall coverage for any hike.
A minimalist/barefoot shoes are typically lighter shoes that can be rolled into a ball without resistance. A minimalist shoe will have "zero-drop" along with less than 10mm thickness. This allows the runner to have a natural experience.
Compare that to a "traditional/modern running shoe' that will have thick heel cushion/support and stiff soles. Modern shoes promote unnatural heal strike motions. While claiming to provide "arch support," a traditional running shoe will lower the natural muscles and proprioception growth of your feet.
Yes, the Tarahum has proven for generations the ability to run in minimalist sandals for ultra marathons without the typical modern injuries we have grown accustomed to expecting. Further, there is evidence that authentic minimalist running shoes can help with chronic knee issues because minimalist shoes promote natural toe to heel running motion compared to modern shoes creating a heel strike when running.