We’ve long touted a barefoot approach to luxury here at Karma – but the benefits of releasing the feet go beyond a welcome sense of freedom and relaxation. In fact, giving your feet some ‘room to breathe’ can have significant impacts on your long-term health and wellbeing. Why? Modern human beings spend a disproportionate amount of time in shoes – and many of those shoes are designed to catch the eye more than protecting the health of the foot itself.
The human foot contains a quarter of all the bones in your body and around a hundred muscles and tendons not to mention a myriad nerve endings. It’s also an organ – and a hugely important one; after all it has to carry your weight for a lifetime and allow locomotion. The foot has evolved over four million years and is a bona fide miracle of bioengineering. And what do we do with it? Squeeze it into stiffly shaped shoes that over time can literally change its shape. Think hammer toes, bunions, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails. Those stilettos might look spectacular – but worn too often and what’s inside them…well not so much!
You might think that a nice soft padded pair of trainers with a supported arch might be a better option. Well, not necessarily. The arch in your foot (there are actually three) literally evolved to carry your weight – like a bridge. Stick padding underneath it and it no longer needs to do its work. The elevated heel in many modern trainers is also controversial – it encourages runners to heel-run instead of landing on the front of the foot (the preferred technique of elite Kenyan athletes, some of the greatest long-distance runners on the planet).
So are we suggesting you stop wearing heels or trainers? Of course not! Just remember to give your feet some love but let them loose now and again – and consider more minimal, foot shaped options when it comes to buying shoes for certain activities, like working out. And with kids – let them go barefoot as much as possible – their feet are super malleable as they’re growing so confining them can have consequences. And with that – we invite you to go ahead and put your best foot forward!