Who Shouldn’t Wear Barefoot Shoes?

Switching to unsupportive shoes with thin flexible soles can be a big change, and for some people it’s not advised to try it without professional/medical guidance. While most otherwise-healthy individuals can adapt over time to barefoot and minimalist shoes, if you have the following you might consider working with a professional:

  • Ehlers Danlos/severe hypermobility
  • Rigid musculoskeletal deformities
  • Any pre-existing chronic foot condition
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Despite the fact that the transition can be long and involved for some people, in most cases it’s a not a question of whether it’s possible, but whether you are willing to stick with the process. And don’t forget that it’s not an all or nothing deal – almost anyone regardless of their starting point can improve their foot health. A few ways to do this even if you meet the above criteria are:

  • Choose shoes with a wider toe box. You can keep your support, cushion, and even a heel rise and still benefit from the toe space.
  • Do basic foot exercises. These are very beneficial and available to most individuals.
  • Provide safe sensory stimulation for your feet through Naboso products or with barefoot time (adapting this to your personal condition).

Click here for more detailed suggestions on how to naturally treat a variety of foot conditions.

Here are a few professionals who do virtual consultations and can advise you on your transition:
Gait Happens
Correct Toes
Ray McClanahan
Andy Bryant
Find more practitioners here

*For the entire searchable FAQ list, visit Barefoot Shoes FAQ

*Disclosure – Anya’s Reviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Share This Post:


Subscribe For Weekly Updates

Get notified when new posts are published

You May Also Like:


4 thoughts on “Who Shouldn’t Wear Barefoot Shoes?”

  1. Why are you including peripheral neuropathy? I have that and love foot shaled shoes. I am wearing LEMs since they have more cushioning then most barefoot shoes. I have added a thin layer of additional cushioning for walking outside and so far, so good! I have been wearing the LEMs for at least 9 months and just added the additional cushioning a week ago. It’s impossible to find foot shaped shoes and we know the most important things in a good shoe are flexible, lightweight, but most importantly, foot shaped. Even the wider toe boxes of regular shoes are bunion makers. That is where it starts. And the little toes are so important because they help us balance. All the toes help balance. I am amazed at how many of my reflexology clients cannot spread their toes wide, especially the little toe. And we need this for better balance as we age.

    1. I think that clinicians really hesitate to recommend barefoot shoes to someone with peripheral neuropathy without being able to see them in person. But you’re totally right, choosing a foot shaped shoe with cushioning can really give you so much benefit while being far less risky.

    2. I am with you. I have peripheral neuropathy as well. Barefoot shoes allow me to use my entire foot to help keep my balance. Also, the message being sent from my feet to my brain is that my nerves need repaired. My neurologist and physical therapist have both said that they have heard this before from other patients.

  2. I agree 100% with Angela. I have CIPN. I do not have pain, but the numbness affects my balance immensely. Barefoot shoes allow me to feel uneven surfaces, especially with my toes, like gravel or uneven grassy surfaces to make me more stable. If I wear boots or shoes with a thicker sole or platform, the blocks I feel I am already walking on are exacerbated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

Follow Me

Subscribe for weekly updates

Shoe Finder

Check out our shop!

Popular Posts

Scroll to Top

Subscribe to the Barefoot Shoe Digest™

Stay up to date on all the best shoes, current sales, newest releases, and more.