What are women's minimalist shoes?
Let's get one thing straight, when we are talking about "women's minimalist shoes" today, we are NOT referring to the new phenomena of barefoot shoes for running or minimalist running shoes.
Today we are talking about the gorgeous, stylish women's minimalist shoes that offer some of the same benefits as barefoot shoes. We want to show you how minimalist shoes can be fun and casual, too!
Let's get to it, so what is a minimalist shoe?
Minimalist footwear basics
Minimalist shoes are a type of footwear providing minimal interference between your foot and its environment.
They are made with simple materials that help the wearer experience walking in a different way than traditional shoes.
The shoes can be made from any type of material but generally are produced from durable materials and have thin soles.
Traditional shoes today have a serious cushion, rubber, and arch support that most minimalist shoes don't have.
There is minimal cushioning in minimalist footwear and they allow for natural movement.
If you think of traditional shoes, maybe you think of a pair of sneakers with ample cushions. Minimalist footwear cut out the unnecessary fuss and frills and bring your foot closer to a barefoot shoe experience.
With minimal shoes, you also gain motion control of your foot and have more grip.
What are minimalist shoes made from?
Most shoes in this category, which are also stylish ladies' shoes, are made from materials that allow the foot room to move comfortably while still maintaining support.
They are commonly made from leather, cloth, and canvas.
How is a minimalist shoe different from a normal shoe?
There are many features that don't match up with "traditional" shoes. Here is a highlight of the main differences and what a minimalist shoe does have.
Toe box/wide toe box
A common feature of minimalist footwear is a wide toe box. This allows your toes to splay naturally and allows for full natural foot movement. When feet are allowed a wider splay you will have more stability. This is a feature many women love, their feet are allowed full access to the shoe and it allows you to walk in a more natural way.
It's also a great benefit for women who have wider feet!
Zero drop heel
A simple way to explain zero drop shoes is to call them "flat soles". A zero drop heel (flat soles) means your body stands in a natural pose, with no influence from heel height. A traditional shoe will have a raised heel that changes the position of your body and muscles. Shoes with zero heel drop allow for proper alignment of your body's hips, pelvis, spine, and neck. We want a low heel or no heel at all to access our natural walking pattern.
No arch support
A true minimalist shoe will not offer arch support because your foot will be able to access natural movement. Traditional shoes that offer arch support engage your foot into a single position throughout your whole gait cycle and lock your muscles in place. Having access to whole foot movement and control over your muscles will build muscles and offer you more control.
Thin flexible sole
Why on earth would we want a thin flexible sole? The goal of this thin flexible sole is to bring your foot closer to its natural movement and feel how your foot is moving and pushing against the earth. You will be able to feel your environment more with this type of barefoot shoe. This helps with balance, gaining full foot control, and grounds you to the earth.
In a true barefoot shoe, the heel to toe drop will be 0mm, meaning your foot will be able to follow its natural gait and walking pattern. It also helps you avoid a heel strike gait and encourages correct toes placement.
Secures to your foot comfortably
A minimalist shoe will need an added strap or button to secure the shoe firmly on your foot.
These stability devices ensure that your shoe doesn't pop off while you're living your life in your new comfortable shoes.
This also means that "flip-flops" and shoes that have no strap or tie are not categorized as minimalist shoes.
Are there benefits to minimalist shoes?
Yes, there are benefits to this shoe category -other than the cute style and pattern options.
Allowing your feet to utilize a natural foot strike (basically foot placement) you are allowing your feet to move in the most natural way.
Frequently asked questions
Can you wear minimalist shoes every day?
Yes, you can! Podiatrists and other shoe experts recommend gently breaking in or getting used to your first pair of minimalist shoes before wearing them every day. When you feel your feet muscles and legs feel comfortable and confident in your new shoes, you're more than likely able to start wearing them every day.
When worn properly your shoes should feel close to a bare feet experience!
Is there a list of basic women's minimalist shoes I can look at?
Absolutely, first, you can check out Duchess and Fox's Women's Shoes to compare the durable shop options.
There are more minimalist shoe options on this list from a fellow barefoot dress shoe enthusiast.
Can I immediately switch to minimalist shoes?
Before fully switching to minimalist shoes it's a good idea to strengthen your feet muscles and prepare your body for the switch. You don't want unnecessary foot pain!
Start by wearing a pair of minimalist shoes (or go barefoot if you're waiting on your shoes to arrive) for a few hours at a time. An easy way to do this is by wearing them at home for a few hours at night or during the day, this way your feet and muscles get used to this new footwear.
Once you feel your feet are ready, you can then wear them for a half-day. Depending on how well it did (or didn't) go, you can try out a full day! From there use your best judgment to decide if your feet are ready for daily wearing.
What's the best material for minimalist shoes?
The best materials for minimal shoes are going to be the most durable materials you can find. For example, a pair of leather minimalist shoes are going to be longer-lasting than a pair of cloth or canvas shoes! Some shoe manufacturers utilize a blend of materials such as plastic and cloth.
The best material for minimalist shoes is genuine leather. This is because they are unlikely to fall apart or be destroyed. Genuine leather is the most durable natural material that women's minimalist shoes are made from.
Do minimalist shoes strengthen your feet?
Yes, they can! Allowing your foot full movement and toe control can strengthen your feet and leg muscles. Every muscle that is connected to your feet or toes will benefit from a minimalist shoe or barefoot shoes approach to walking.
Duchess and Fox women minimalist shoes
We love sharing our shoes with you, if you're in the market for a pair of women's minimalist shoes, we've got you covered.
We have a pair of gorgeous Women's Weathered Mary Janes that offer all the benefits of minimalist shoes and bring style to your wardrobe. They're available in multiple colors and we have a look that will match any wardrobe. You can even get a set of shoes to match with your little one! They're perfect for family photos or just a fun family outing. We know you'll love our incredibly comfortable and durable Mary Janes, but don't just take our word for it!