Zwei Füßen, barfuß, etwa bis zum Knöchel im Bild, stehen auf einem gepflasterten Untergrund. Vor den Zehen ist ein kurzer Grasstreifen zu sehen. Vor den Füßen steht ein Paar schwarzer Wildling Minimalschuhe.

10 things we love about minimal shoes

Minimal shoes are becoming more and more popular. And it’s no wonder. They strengthen the musculoskeletal system, are able to improve your posture in the long term, and often they can even ease pain. Here are ten reasons why we love them:

1. Setting the feet free

Did you know that 98 percent of all children are born with healthy feet? Over the course of our lives we then squeeze them into shoes that are wrongly designed or simply don't fit. Thick soles, high heels and toe areas that are too narrow deform toes and restrict feet. By choosing minimal shoes we're giving our feet what they crave: freedom.

Most conventional shoes come to a point at the front. Even sports shoes. Let's ask ourselves the following question: What shape would our feet have to be in order to really fit in there? Minimal shoes, for example Wildlings, have a natural basic shape that’s based on an anatomical foot shape. They don’t restrict our feet. In fact the opposite is true: you can even wiggle your toes! Give it a try!

A bright, empty storage room where a child in shorts and Wildling minimal shoes jumps from left to right with his hair flying.

Image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes 

2. Strengthening our feet

With minimal shoes we can gradually strengthen our foot muscles, which in many people are only developed to a basic extent, thanks to conventional shoes. The toes become more agile and you feel freer. Caution: If you notice some muscle ache in the first few days, there's no need to worry. It’s a sign that you're activating muscles you haven't used for a long time, and it’ll soon let up.

After a little while you may also feel that your feet are getting a bit wider overall, noticeably stronger and more muscular. That's because the position of your toes is gradually returning to normal and your foot arches are spreading.

Two pairs of legs, up to the knees in the picture, stretched into the cloudless sky. On the feet Wildling Shoes minimal shoes.

Image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes

3. More natural Movements

In conventional shoes your feet have additional cushioning and shock absorption. Heels and soles soften your steps and are supposed to protect your feet and joints from impact. But that's not actually necessary. When you've been going through life in barefoot shoes or even with completely bare feet for some time, you’ll certainly notice it.

Our foot arches are quite capable of doing their own shock absorbing. Any additional padding simply suppresses that effect. That’s why minimal shoes are not made with foot beds. 

Two feet, somewhat up to the calves in the picture, balancing on a lying tree trunk; in the background a meadow; on the feet Wildling Shoes Minimal.

Image: Sandra und Stefano Chiolo | Wildling Shoes

4. Walking our paths more deliberately

In minimal shoes we have a direct connection to the ground we're walking on. You’ll probably notice that this makes you move about much more deliberately. Suddenly you're able to feel small differences in the height of the ground and experience different surfaces in different ways. A walk on the beach is quite different to a short trot to the train in the morning - and that's good!

Even if you’re surprised at first to find there's no foot bed, after a little while you’ll no longer miss it. In fact the opposite is true: When you walk more deliberately, feeling the ground under your feet, you're less likely to rush through the day. And of course even in minimal shoes you're still protected from sharp objects and dirt.

Two feet, slightly up to the calves in the picture, balancing on a lying tree trunk; in the background blurred a forest path and a piece of meadow; on the feet minimal shoes from Wildling Shoes.

Image: @marenettakatharinafoto

5. Improving our posture

Our bodies are simply perfect by nature. Think of it as a spring, with the anatomy as a shock absorber. By wearing conventional shoes we permanently suppress this very natural function. The heel reduces the tension on the Achilles tendon, and your feet have a lot less energy available than nature intended for pushing up from the ground.

So by avoiding thick rubber soles and heels, we'll automatically improve not only our gait, but also our posture. The back becomes straighter and the pelvis, too, gradually returns to its natural position.

Eine Person macht Dehnübungen in einem Wald. An den Füßen trägt sie Wildling Shoes Minimalschuhe.

Image: @marenettakatharinafoto

6. Your back feels better

By improving your posture you're doing your back a favour. And in today's world, who wouldn't want to do that? Thanks to increased numbers of desk jobs, more and more people complain about back pain or are already experiencing postural problems in their younger years.

Heavy, thickly padded or high-heeled shoes are not exactly gentle on the back. With light-weight minimal shoes it’s the complete opposite. By strengthening the Achilles tendon and at the same time exercising the tendons in the sole of the foot, you take the pressure off your spine and experience back problems less frequently. Muscle tension decreases.

A person in jeans and white T-shirt is doing an acrobatic exercise outdoors, hands on the leaf-covered ground, legs in the air. On her feet she wears Wildling Shoes minimal shoes.

Image: @marenettakatharinafoto und @trianils

7. The circulation is stimulated

When you walk or run in barefoot shoes, you’re not only doing something for your posture and the health of your feet. Your blood circulation, too, improves, and you’re less prone to cold feet. That's because your feet are not restricted, and thanks to their close connection with the ground they are almost always getting a massage. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Ein einzelner Fuß, balancierend auf einem niedrigen Metallgeländer, in einem Wildling Minimalschuh, etwa bis zur Wade im Bild. Im unscharfen Hintergrund ist ein Park zu erahnen.

Image: Cherie Birkner | Wildling Shoes

8. Improved balance

Thanks to your new, healthy posture and natural gait, you improve your balance. Which isn't really surprising. If you’re consciously aware of every centimetre on the sole of your feet, you gradually learn to balance your body better. An easy way to try it out is using a slack line. First, try balancing along it in conventional sports shoes. Then try it with bare feet. The difference is quite considerable, isn't it? 

Two feet in Wildling Minimal Shoes balancing on a slackline. The legs are up to the knees in the picture. In the background meadow, bushes and sunset light.

Image: @marenettakatharinafoto und @trianils

9. Living more actively

Buying a pair of barefoot shoes doesn't automatically turn you in to a marathon runner. It's great if you're working towards such a special sporting goal. But even if you're not, you automatically become more active. Not only your feet and back, but also your calves, upper thighs and buttock muscles become stronger. This is of particular benefit if you often experience lower-back pain.

When the muscles in your buttocks and inner upper thighs become stronger and work together as they naturally should, it has a positive effect on the stomach muscles and the lower spine, meaning that over time back pain decreases.

A person in dark red patterned leggings and Wildling Minimal shoes jumps over light colored boulders. The person is about up to the waist in the picture.

Image: @marenettakatharinafoto

10. You’ll always be one step ahead

In minimal shoes you’re not only a step ahead of others because you choose modern and innovative footwear that can improve your health. No, we mean it literally!

When running or walking in minimal shoes you’re demonstrably taking more steps than people in conventional shoes! Your pace length decreases, while the pace frequency increases. Which means that while on the move you're constantly exercising, you're burning more calories than before and in the evening you’ve clocked up a few more steps on your pedometer.

Two feet, about up to the calves in the picture, on a forest path. Wildling sandals on the feet.

Image: @nicoleschnackfotografie


Header image: Sandra Chiolo | Wildling Shoes