Again and again we receive feedback from people who are delighted that wearing Wildlings has eased symptoms in their feet, knees or back in the long term. We’re happy to share such feedback and want to take the opportunity to give some anatomical background information.
Photo: Maria Herzog
Walking in bare feet strengthens muscles and fosters sensory perception
Walking in bare feet is the healthiest and most natural form of walking. With our shoes we want to imitate this.
Thanks to the particularly thin and flexible sole, sensory perception and reflexes are triggered in the sole of the foot, which, together with improved circulation in the connective tissue, leads to more feeling in the feet and the locomotor system in general.
In conventional shoes, foot muscles often deteriorate due to the shock absorption. When you take a step, the energy disappears into the shoe, so to speak, preventing the muscles from being stimulated and having to work. But muscles that aren't used get shorter and have poorer circulation. As a result, they no longer support the spine, tendons and joints properly, which leads to overload and tension that can cause severe pain.
The special sole and construction of our minimal shoes support the strengthening of the foot muscles with every step. In that way the sensitive balance between pressure and strain on our backs and joints can function again as it should, and sensory cells, muscles, joints and tendons work together naturally.
“I've been wearing your shoes since the summer and I have to say that this is the first time I don’t have any back pain. I was a competitive athlete and had to give up for health reasons. I wasn't able to be out and about for more than an hour without painkillers, because without them I couldn’t move myself forward... that at 26 and with two children... wasn't the best situation...
I found out about your shoes through a friend. And I LOOOOVE them... since then I've been doing really well, and even long hikes aren't a problem anymore."
Our own experiences, including from the older ones among us, confirm this impression:
“Before wearing Wildlings I often had pain in my right foot. I was prescribed orthopaedic insoles but the pain got even worse. I felt the pain least when I was wearing shoes that were as flat as possible, but again and I again I had knee problems and back pain in addition. My husband suffered for years with extreme pain in his back. He hardly had any feeling left in the toes of one foot.
Back then Wildling Shoes didn't exist yet. Now we can hardly imagine walking in other shoes, because the health benefits alone are staggering." (Barbara)
The footprint of a healthy person is the template for the design of the Wildling sole. It’s good that Wildling co-founder, Ran, threw caution to the wind, insisting on the special sole shape on the basis on his knowledge of the human body and the anatomy of movement.
People wearing Wildling shoes for the first time are struck by the way the muscles of the whole foot are put to work. Often, they’ll even have aching calf muscles to start with and discover that you have to adjust slowly to the unusual way of walking. The whole locomotor system takes the weight in a different way.
The drop in conventional shoes causes the body's axis to learn forward, meaning that you have to correct your balance every time when straightening up. This is a particular challenge for the joints and the spine, leading over time to permanent postural damage.
In barefoot shoes the upper body quite naturally straightens up, and you’re less likely to fall into an arched posture. That has positive effects on the spine.
“I have rheumatism, and whichever shoes I walked in, I was crying with pain in the evening! Now I’ve been wearing nothing but Wildlings for a year, and the pain is no longer there in the evenings.” (Nadine)
“Since I was 13 I’ve suffered from a severe form of rheumatism. My knees in particular were swollen, inflamed, and during the last 15 years there wasn’t one day when my knees, feet and back didn’t hurt, even leading to an inability to move.
Of course my rheumatism hasn't gone. But since I've been wearing Wildlings I find myself without pain for the first time in 15 years - none in my feet, nor my knees, nor my back.” (Nicky)
Wildlings meet the needs of the particular shape of the human foot. Walking in barefoot shoes re-establishes muscular balance, and existing misalignment can be resolved. The toes are given enough space where the foot is widest, and the big toe can stay straight. As a result there’s no rubbing on the toes, and the little toe is neither stunted nor pushed under the other toes.
Shortened muscles and fasciae, which also cause the symptoms of a painful heel spur, can be stretched by walking in Wildlings.
Positive feedback reaches us from people with a whole range of conditions. This was just a small selection. We get letters from people with rheumatic conditions and other joint problems, with neurological problems, with diabetes, and from more than one Wildling-wearer now having fewer migraine attacks. To show that these are not just isolated instances, we want to collect your feedback!
Please write and tell us about your experiences with regard to health and walking in Wildlings, and tell us your stories.
Run wild and healthily!
Anna, Ran & Team Wildling