Work boots have been part of our basic wardrobe since time immemorial. Over the years, we have developed this footwear to give more protection to the elements at the same time adding style and finesse to our look. We have long since added a lot of features to our work boots and have inadvertently restricted our natural form when wearing them compared to walking barefoot.
Minimalism has seen a rise in popularity in today’s culture of consumerism. We as human beings have been indulged with too much stuff and with greater accessibility. With Amazon Prime and like services, we don’t have to leave our house to get something we want on the same day.
We sometimes feel like the clutter we live in is the new norm and is natural. Minimalism opposes such concepts and it helps us simplify our lives by decluttering our surroundings with things we don’t necessarily have to possess. It clears our space and gives us a better state of mind.
One of the concepts of minimalism is to get in tune with nature as possible. Our lifestyle, things and even our footwear, especially our movements, have taken some notice. The idea of minimalist boots is to approximate the conditions of walking barefoot, while still having the necessary protection.
They are a natural alternative to toughen your feet and muscles. It also opposes the conventional style of working boots, where the soles are thicker and there’s a significant elevation on the heel side of the feet. The conditions of minimalist boots will bring about tremendous benefits for the user.
Here are some of the advantages of wearing minimalist boots:
1. Improved feeling on the ground
It will give you an improved sensation increasing your awareness of sticks, stones and the changes in terrain, and the variances in walking or running on concrete pavements, grass or just a dirt path. The thick cushion underneath our soles in traditional footwear does not provide such experience and you’d be missing out on the natural experience of walking outdoors.
If your training requires you to adjust the biomechanics of your movement, doing it barefoot is the initial phase of that exercise. However, when you get to wear shoes, traditional shoes, the design prohibits you to make the adjustment you tirelessly worked on. Using minimalist shoes, you can make the adjustments inside the shoes as if you’re walking barefoot.
2. Conforms to the feet’s natural form
Heel elevation and contours on the side together with filling in the gap in the center of the sole has shown cause that increases joint impact. This typically refers to the effects of traditional footwear on the knee joints. Our toes spread out to improve stability, minimalist boots allow for that movement in contrast to traditional shoes that are narrow. It compresses your toes together, which is not our natural, form although it may look fashionable it’s not healthy.
The toe spring, which is more pronounced in traditional footwear does not promote a natural motion for our feet when we walk or run. They are designed so that the foot will have a rotational motion forward. When we walk barefoot our toes usually press down on the ground as we propel ourselves forward. Minimalist footwear, in general, promotes the natural tendencies of the toes when walking.
3. Ankle Flexibility
The flexibility of your ankles in shoes is mainly dictated by the elevation of the heels. Most traditional shoes have elevated heels, which already engage your calf muscles. This is like walking on a downward ramp all the time. This doesn’t give you much range of motions on your ankles. Minimalist shoes have great torsional and longitudinal flexibility which gives you better movement without putting too much stress on your joints. It doesn’t need to elevate the heels more than the rest of the foot, which means your feet remain flat.
Minimalist boots are generally lightweight compared to most of its conventional counterparts. This is in-line with the concept of experiencing movement as if you’re barefoot. Even outdoor minimalist boots that are usually rugged and heavy to give maximum protection are designed to be light and easy to move. Also, you will be using your energy efficiently that consequently lessens the stress on the feet because of its weight and the way you’re moving with it.
5. Strengthens Feet
The design of minimalist boots gives you better propulsion and it also promotes the absorption of your motions, it is designed to how we should move naturally. At a young age, we learn to stand and walk barefoot. Our feet naturally grow stronger and we’re able to do more as it develops. The research was conducted that showed that people using minimalist shoes had their foot muscles developed. This is mainly due to the lack of cushion that the muscle is activated to support and absorb the movements.
Important Transitioning Phase
Although it takes some time for the user to get used to wearing minimalist shoes. If you are used to the constricting experience of conventional working boots it may take you a week or even a year to transition to minimalist working boots. It is not uncommon to feel inconvenienced and at times it may hurt because you’d be sensing the ground beneath a lot more. Historically, runners rushed to use minimalist shoes to improve their performance. Sadly, many of them ended up getting hurt.
Experts recommend to ease yourself by limiting your number of steps with minimalist shoes to get acclimated to the adjustments needed in your motions. You will also need to engage in foot-strengthening exercises to prepare yourself with the conditions in wearing minimalist shoes.
What kind of minimalist work boots have you been considering? Let us know in the comments below. If you are also interested in reading about boots further, then please check out another of our articles the benefits of buying highly durable work boots. In this article we look closer at how you can buy boots to last as opposed to replacing them every year.