Two years ago I left behind an old friend. The standby of my college years and partner with me on adventures from rockclimbing to hiking bit the dust.
You see for nearly 7 years I lived, adventured and traveled in Chaco sandals. With 2 pounds of arch-supporting rubber I loved my inch of sandals guarding each foot.
Then I discovered the joy of minimalism.
You will find this idea variously defined around the Internet. I simply mean wearing little to no sole under my feet. My running sandals clock in at 5 mm and my dress shoes the same, both in flexible rubber material. I would go barefoot everywhere if less sharp things occurred in the world.
Let me lay out three reasons I think you should consider going minimalist.
1: The texture of the world feels fun.
I love feeling the texture of the ground beneath my feet. From running gravel trails to walking around the church I serve, I love how the world feels to my feet.
I think I heard somewhere our feet literally have hundreds of nerve endings. That’s why my daughters laugh so hard when I tickle their feet. More than any other spot. When you take away the thick sole insulating your feet… You let them experience more.
Wearing thin sandals allows me to experience the texture of the world and I almost never feel pain of anything through my sandals.
2: You get to exercise your whole body.
I run a lot. Yet, the more I thought about it I realized I didn’t really exercise my feet. I ran in shoes that supported my feet and forced me to run a certain way.
My Chaco sandals had a high arch that held my foot in one shape. My feet muscles did not have to work at all. This made the sandals pretty comfortable. And my feet pretty weak.
I would go to the gym and work out from head to toe. Meanwhile my feet lived incased in foam and rubber.
Now I do everything giving my feet fall full freedom to flex and move and adapt. It took over a year to fully get used to going minimalist. But now I feel much stronger and confident after I do 15 Burpee’s barefoot.
3: Freedom is fun.
OK, I get it, this kind of repeats reason number one. But I thoroughly enjoy getting to stretch and flex and move my feet. I feel extraordinarily confined whenever I have to wear my one pair of shoes with a hard sole. Going minimalist I feel free and almost like a kid.
Conclusion and What about feet problems?
My wife wears nice, highly supportive shoes. She needs them because of long-term foot issues. I don’t have problems with my feet. I haven’t had problems with my feet. My opinion isn’t better than a doctor. So if you need highly supportive shoes for medical reason, get them.
But if you don’t have a diagnosed medical issue with your feet, why not try going minimalist? God made us and he made our feet wonderful. How could you more fully use what God has given you at the end of your legs?