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Barefoot Shoes vs. Earthing Shoes – How are they Different?

By David Gelfand

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Jun 30, 2014 8:30:00 AM


There’s a barefoot movement going on and it’s all around us! Everywhere you go, people are walking, running, and dancing barefoot. Some of the reasons seem obvious, such as the calm feelings that we get and the ability to free our minds. You suddenly feel young again! These reasons don’t appear to be scientific and, in reality, they shouldn’t be. Going barefoot is about as natural as it gets and it’s a feeling that we all can appreciate.

The articles I’ve been reading also focus on this new trend of barefoot shoes. We’ve talked in some recent posts about Juil and the benefits of earthing shoes, so I thought it would be beneficial to dig deeper and see what the differences between earthing shoes and barefoot shoes really are.

barefoot-five-finger-shoesBarefoot Shoes – there have been studies recently that support the physical benefits of walking barefoot. Believe it or not, shoes aren’t always designed in the most optimal ways (although they may seem fashionable and comfortable). A large heel-to-toe drop, added cushioning, and arch support all interfere with natural movement that our feet need. Shoes that fit poorly force our feet to be positioned in awkward/artificial postures that can harm our posture, gait, and heel strike.

Barefoot shoes (also known as minimalist shoes) have seen a spike in the shoe market over the last few years. These styles may include those that have separate spaces for the toes or those that are simply ultra-lightweight. In both cases, their lightweight, thin-soled, and tight fit construction are meant to allow you to walk (or run) in a way that’s nearly barefoot. There’s no denying the popularity of this trend – I own a pair of minimalist running shoes myself!

Earthing Shoes – a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the health benefits of earthing and earthing shoes. A lot of my searches for “barefoot shoes” and “barefoot health benefits” yielded results for earthing and grounding. It’s important to note the distinction here between the benefits of earthing vs. the benefits of a shoe meant to mimic the physical style of walking/running barefoot.


While we absolutely agree that shoes now-a-days can negatively affect posture, we must also recognize that there are benefits and side-effects of walking barefoot outside of that scope. Physical ailments and foot problems caused by current footwear are the immediate and apparent concern, but there is more to the problem. Modern footwear is made with an insulating outsole (no matter how thick) that prevents us from maintaining a direct connection with the earth (touching it directly).

Aside from improving posture and strengthening the foot, walking barefoot allows our bodies to absorb electrons from the earth’s surface. These electrons act as an antioxidant and help rid the body of harmful free radicals. For those that aren't familiar, free radicals are a big contributor to inflammation – a primary cause of the many health ailments we experience today.

So, what’s the conclusion? Barefoot and minimalist shoes are great for those people looking to walk and run using something on their foot that mimics the true posture/gait of a bare foot. Earthing shoes and grounding shoes are meant to offer a direct connection with the earth to use the earth’s free, natural healing power in the form of electrons.

Take a look at our selections of earthing shoes for men and women. Using copper conductors in the heels/toes, Juil earthing shoes let you walk in comfort and maintain a healthier balance and calm in your life.


Check out these other posts as well: 



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Topics: Earthing and Grounding, Physical Activity, Foot Health

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Welcome to the Juil community blog. These are the stories of our lives, our growths, our passions, and the connections we hope to give you. We hope that what you read makes you laugh, stimulates your mind, cultivates your thought, and inspires you. Inspires you to become stronger, healthier, and more connected to that which makes you feel whole.