Why Barefoot Shoes?

Q: Why does your shoe's toe-box (front of shoe) look like that? 

A: Your feet are being squished to fit into your shoes; creating a wide toebox allows your toes to splay out. 

Don't believe us? Just take out the insole of your foot and step on it. It'll probably look something like this:

deformed toes

Q: Okay - why should I care?


  • Your toes become deformed: bunions, hammertoes, neuroma, plantar fasciitis, foot weakness and atrophy

  • You lose performance: balance, gait, posture. This is immediately seen by knee valgus (knees collapse inwards towards one another)

  • Foot discomfort: Having your toes crushed all day hurts! Providing room for your toes to spread feels good, especially when you're in shoes all day!

Toe deformation (bunions)

Bunion Pictures: Causes & treatments

A bunion at this critical junction of bones, tendons, and ligaments can seriously impair the foot's functioning. "-Harvard Health

Decrease performance

What is less known, is that deforming your big toe inwards makes you less stable. Your feet are the foundation to the skyscraper that is the human body. 

The stability of the feet works like a tripod; the 3 areas of support are:

The Tripod Foot While Squatting | CrossFit 306

What happens you remove one leg of a tripod? It tips over and 'falls' in the direction of the missing leg. In the case of our body: if you tuck your big toe in, like a bunion, you lose support! In this analogy, your knee (the stool) would 'fall' in the direction of your big toe (the missing leg). This is known as valgus.

knee valgus

Just watch this video by Dr. Aaron Horschig of Squat University

Foot Discomfort

Having your feet crushed all day just plain hurts. Here at Icarus, we've all worked jobs where we're on our feet all day long. Even if you're sitting in a cubicle all day, those shoes are squeezing your feet just the same. If you feel a great sense of relief taking off your shoes at the end of the day - they probably don't fit you. With the feet in a more natural shape, your entire body will be in better alignment. The problems caused by conventional shoes force us to rely on the same shoes to “correct” the problems caused by those very shoes!

This means that we are training our bodies to adapt to the improper alignment caused by traditional footwear. This results in injuries and discomfort throughout our musculoskeletal system and is often responsible for injuries in the calves, knees, hips, and back.

Depending on the severity of damage already done on your foot, you may find that you need to be more proactive about rehabilitating your feet. In addition to wearing shoes with a wide toe box, you can also do the following:

Wear toe spacers

Performing foot strengthening exercises

Go barefoot as much as possible!