When you spend hours and hours researching barefoot shoes because you stumbled upon a picture of them on one of your late-night deep dives, you expect to become an expert by the end of the night. But, what do you do when you wake up with a delivery notice and no understanding of what these shoes are? Can you even wear barefoot shoes with socks?
Well, the name would suggest otherwise. Apparently, the sole purpose of barefoot shoes isn’t connected to walking barefoot. Barefoot shoes are supposed to offer you the experience of walking barefoot without damaging your feet because of different weather conditions.
Worry not, you’re not the only one that’s confused about the barefoot shoe trend. Barefoot shoes sound impossible because the term “barefoot shoe” happens to be an oxymoron: you can’t be barefoot and wear shoes at the same time.
With that out of the way, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to bring you everything you need to know about the odd practice before you decide to click the checkout button.
What are barefoot shoes? Can you wear barefoot shoes with socks? And, how to wear barefoot shoes with socks the correct way? Keep on reading to find out!
What are barefoot shoes?
Here’s the thing, barefoot shoes definitely don’t sound like something we would wear on a night out with friends or a Starbucks date after work.
But, they promise a lot more than comfort which seems to be the reason why people consider getting them for walks, hikes, and other outdoor activities.
Right off the bat, you don’t have to be barefoot to wear barefoot shoes. Actually, the name doesn’t stem from the actual meaning of the word, but rather the feeling you get when you’re wearing the shoes.
Barefoot shoes promise to restrict your foot’s natural movement as little as possible and provide you with the feeling of walking or running without wearing anything.
Barefoot shoes are also known as minimal shoes or zero-drop shoes because of the odd characteristics and benefits they offer that are unlike other shoes.
For starters, these shoes have the same thickness of the soles along the entire length of the shoe. And, that means that your foot stays as close to the ground as when you’re walking barefoot.
Of course, the thinness of the shoe ensures that you feel the ground beneath your feet. Now, that’s great because your feet have a bunch of nerve endings that send information about your surroundings to your brain (the same way your palms do, for example).
Other shoes don’t offer you the same awareness of your surroundings. Other than that, barefoot shoes are lightweight, flexible, and wide enough to offer you more comfort than other shoes. And, these shoes don’t offer you pretty much any support.
While that might sound negative at first glance, the producers of barefoot shoes swear that support makes your foot grow weaker over time. But, without the support, your foot has to work harder and grow stronger to support you.
Can you wear barefoot shoes with socks?
Oh, the question of all questions.
Can you wear barefoot shoes with socks knowing that the whole purpose of barefoot shoes seems to be to become more grounded and closer to the “more innate and instinctive” ways of walking? Can you sense the ground beneath you when you’re wearing socks?
First things first, you can wear barefoot shoes with socks.
Whether you’re thinking of getting barefoot shoes because of reasons we mentioned beforehand or because of health problems you’re dealing with, you don’t have to worry about going sockless… Unless that’s what you want to do.
Truth be told, wearing socks with barefoot shoes comes down to preference. On the one hand, people prefer wearing barefoot shoes without socks because they think they get better results that way.
On the other, people wear socks with barefoot shoes when the weather becomes colder or when they’re experiencing discomfort, aches, and sores due to wearing shoes on bare feet. Therefore, there aren’t necessarily right or wrong ways of wearing barefoot shoes.
How to wear barefoot shoes with socks… or without socks?
1. Without socks
Now, you’re probably wondering whether you can wear barefoot shoes with socks because you assumed you had to wear them barefoot.
Turns out you don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them without socks and experience sensations you’ve never experienced before.
Barefoot socks are supposed to make your feet stronger and more grounded. Socks don’t affect the outcome, but there’s nothing wrong with trying out different ways before committing to one.
Who knows, maybe you prefer going barefoot?
2. With toe socks
Toe socks are great for people who can’t understand the whole “wearing shoes without socks” thing. We get that, bare feet with shoes often mean a lot of sweat, rubbing, chafing, and bleeding when you’re dealing with sensitive feet.
Barefoot shoes promise that your feet are going to become stronger after a while, but you can wear toe socks while you’re waiting to see whether they work or not. And, toe socks can help with the problem of your foot sliding around the shoe, too.
3. With riding socks
Riding socks, on the off chance that you don’t know, are the type of socks you wear for horse riding.
They’re different from other socks because they feature additional layers of fabric on the upper part of the foot and the ankle (or the heel) for comfort and protection.
That means that you can wear barefoot shoes with riding socks if you’re having a hard time getting used to those thinner soles.
Of course, riding socks can also add some warmth and cushioning to your (otherwise) lightweight barefoot shoes.
4. With boot socks
Boot socks are different from riding socks and that’s why we’re putting them on the list, too. Boot socks are much longer than other styles of socks and they’re typically thicker.
They’re made out of woolen blends and fabrics, and they’re made to offer you warmth and comfort when you’re wearing them with boots.
But, they don’t have those additional layers of fabric that offer more cushioning and more support. Boot socks are great with barefoot shoes for when you’re walking or running outside during the winter.
Other than the warmth, they’re not supposed to change the way barefoot shoes work.
5. With sock liners
Sock liners are great because they add a thin layer of fabric around your foot without changing the effect of barefoot shoes. Sock liners are made out of polyester or other lightweight fabric that’s supposed to wick sweat away from your feet.
While you would typically wear sock liners under thicker socks (for hiking), you should probably wear them alone under barefoot shoes. Not only are they great for wicking sweat away from your feet, but they’re recommended as a preventive measure to getting blisters.