Whether you believe that the human body was designed by a higher being or by millions of years of evolution, our bodies are capable of functioning as they were meant to. Although people often think of feet as weak, helpless appendages that cannot function without the aid of thick and cushioned shoes, the human foot is an amazing piece of engineering that is perfectly capable of walking and running. Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that, “Human subtlety…will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” Let your feet do what they were designed to do.
Shoes have altered the natural gait of human movement. Rather than landing on the forefoot or midfoot, shoes create the tendency to heel strike. When the heel takes the main force of walking or running the shock is absorbed by the joints and can cause ankle, knee and back problems. Minimal footwear supports a natural forefoot or midfoot landing where the muscles absorb the shock.
Although most people don't want to feel what they are walking on, there are some major benefits. Our feet are loaded with nerves that send instant feedback to our brains when our foot makes contact with the ground. This feedback alerts our brains of what we are stepping on and our bodies automatically alter gait, weight distribution, and balance depending on what specific terrain is underfoot. When the situation permits, it's great to go totally barefoot.
Minimal shoes are lightweight and make walking and running more efficient. They are easy to pack along on a backpacking trip and take up much less space.
Not only are your feet allowed to breathe and move in a natural way but you are liberated from the need to always wear cumbersome shoes.
As your feet work and flex as they were meant to the muscles get stronger and stronger. At first your feet may become sore just like any muscle that is being worked out. Remember that your feet have probably been protected in shoes all your life and have become weakened.
As your muscles become stronger your balance improves. Your feet are able to read the terrain that you are walking on and are more empowered to react to keep your center of gravity where it belongs. This doesn't happen overnight but give it time and your balance will improve.
Tips for beginers:
START SLOW!!! You may be temped to go out running or take on a large hike with your newfound freedom but be patient. Remember that your feet have been weakened from restricted movement and they need time to build strength again. We reccommend some leisure walking and gradually use your sandals for more serious activities.
If you are not used to having a strap between your toes you may feel some pressure between your toes where the strap rests. This pressure usually goes away with a little bit of time and getting used to. If you know you don't like anything between your toes then you may want to purchase the Pah Tempe sandals which have an over-the-toe design.
All our sandal straps are reinforced under the toes on the bottom of the sole to reduce wear and tear. This coating will eventually wear off leaving the nylon exposed. The nylon has been plasticized and will still resist wear. You can, however extend the life of your sandals by smearing a small amount of shoe goo over the plastic area when the protective coating has worn off. You will need to wait at least 24 hours for the shoe goo to fully cure before use.