Behind the unconventional look of all barefoot models is the basic idea of not restricting our feet. Conventional footwear does not adapt to the foot and oppresses it, on the contrary, the barefoot shoe suits the foot as it is and does not restrict its shapes in any way. How to choose the right barefoot shoe so that your feet are free? 



We are culturally accustomed to a certain visual standard, so the appearance of barefoot shoes is an obstacle for many people. However, the growing interest in this type of footwear suggests that in today's society there are more and more people who choose health and comfort primarily for their feet. In addition, barefoot footwear manufacturers are aware of the importance of the aesthetic aspect and strive for modern processing. However, the design of the shoe should never outweight its function. Barefoot shoes will always look at least slightly different. This article deals with the individual parameters of a barefoot shoe, which depends on the dimensions and shapes of a particular foot. You can find out what general attributes a barefoot shoe should meet in the article General attributes of the optimal barefoot shoe. 




The choice of model, in many cases the choice of brand, depends mainly on the shape of the foot [2]. There are a number of foot shapes and their minor modifications, for better orientation I present here three basic groups, under which all others can be included. 


Foot with the longest first toe (thumb). Includes Egyptian foot and Germanic foot. This is a very common foot shape. Barefoot models that fit such a leg are distinctly fin-shaped. For this type of foot, the shape offered by suitable barefoot models is essential, as this foot shape is not taken into account at all in the design of conventional footwear. 


Foot with the longest second toe (index finger). This includes the Greek leg and the Celtic leg. It happens that if the foot has the longest finger other than the first toe, its length is neglected and it is not given adequate space. The shapes are the toes of the shoes that these feet need, they are more round and more similar to conventional shoes. 


Foot with the first three toes (thumb to middle finger) of the same length, professionally a Roman foot. This shape of the foot is most demanding in width when wearing shoes in the front part of the shoe. 




Choosing the right size can be a struggle. Often, even within one brand, the size of a winter model can differ from a year-round model in the same size. In the beginning, I recommend trying several different models and brands in person, so that you have a clear idea of what you are looking for. 


PHOTO - What is the specific shape of the foot and how to comfortably measure the width and length of the foot, you can best learn from the outline of the foot under load?. © CZP Camino, L. Kropáčková 


Ideally, you can measure your feet to find the right size. You can find out how to measure correctly in the relevant video for this article. To the measured length from the heel to the longest toe and the width of the foot at the widest point, we add extra allowance of 1.2 - 1.5 cm in length and 4 - 6 mm in width [5]. Again, we recommend trying the shoe in person to test how it sits. Also pay attention to the changed perception. As the foot works for a long time in cramped conditions, it needs time to tune back to the optimal perception of what is and is not enough space for it. Many people hold a misconception and think that their shoes are large enough [4]. This phenomenon can be observed in children in kindergarten. According to the Nursery on Feet study, only 26% of children had shoes of the appropriate size confirmed. The wrong width (72%) was more often to blame than the length (26%). Most importantly, only 2 out of 160 children subjectively rated their shoes as small [3]. 

However, once a person walks into the ideal barefoot shoe for a few months, they never want to go back to the conventional shoes. Suddenly they are uncomfortable. So do not be afraid of space and expect the foot to spread a little after the first months of barefoot walking. Sometimes it even happens that the first purchased barefoot shoes become small after a year of wearing them. Change the shoe box gradually and have no fear. If your feet do not hurt, your arches are definitely not lowering etc. They only take back the optimal space and ideal dimensions. 




If you are switching to barefoot, you are probably solving the question of whether to choose footwear for the city or the field. This is a very important question, and given the price of these shoes, most people choose the city because they do not want to destroy their shoes right away. However, walking in barefoot shoes is usually more difficult in the city. It is not true that barefoot does not fit into the city at all and endangers the feet. However, it is necessary to take the city's harder terrain with greater demands on suspension as a more demanding level for footwork. If possible, choose shoes suitable for nature for a start. There, the foot will receive a greater number of various stimuli, thanks to which it will be able to work and react better. It is true that in the city we also encounter a certain variability of perceptions, such as curbs, larger or smaller cubes, etc. But as already mentioned, the surface is usually harder and the demands on the work of the foot are therefore greater [2]. 




The ideal barefoot shoe copies the shape of the foot and does not compress the foot. On the other hand, the shoe should not be too loose so that it does not have to be held by the foot while walking. Beware of confusing too much freedom with the initially unusually large space, which is the privilege of barefoot shoes and may surprise you from the beginning. Also important is the excess to a length of 1.2 - 1.5 cm and 4 - 6 mm to the width under load (!). You can check both allowances visually by touching the toes and sides of your feet while standing. Beware of too tight socks that will compress your foot. If you are just starting out with barefoot footwear and are just waking up the perception of your feet, you may feel lost in all the measurements and research. In this case, we recommend copying the shape of your foot on a piece of solid cardboard and inserting it into the shoe [4]. If it fits, but also does not "fly" in the shoe, it should be right. We wish you best of luck in choosing your barefoots! 



© Bohempia / Mgr. Lucie Kropáčková, physiotherapist and yoga instructor, CZP Camino 


Disclaimer: Although all information contained herein is presented for maximum accuracy and factual accuracy in accordance with the latest scientific knowledge, no guarantee can be given for all information contained herein, as some information becomes obsolete over time and may become inaccurate. Articles and videos are for information only and should not be construed as a substitute for medical or physiotherapeutic examination and treatment. The authors of the texts and videos are not and cannot be held liable for any damage incurred in connection with the use of the submitted information. If in doubt, consult your physiotherapist or doctor for your medical condition, intent and procedure. 




1 - SAXBY L., WILKONSON M. Foot Function, Exercisen Related Pain and the Influence of Foorwear, Joe Nimble e-book, 2018. 


2 - HOWELL D. Barefoot - 50 reasons to take off your shoes. Young Front, 2012. 


3 - HOVORKOVÁ Š. Project Nursery on legs. The Art of Physiotherapy - No. 1 - Children's Foot, 2016. 4 - LARSEN CH., MIESCHER B., WICKOHALTER G. Healthy feet for your child. Cognition, 2008. 5 - KINCLOVÁ L. O dětských nožičkách e-book, 2019.