How to Correct a Bunion - Naturally

Hello folks,

I've spent the last year or two trying to find a natural way to correct a mild bunion on my right foot. It doesn't normally hurt unless I do a lot of walking or running, but even this pain can be bothersome. However, I'm more concerned about the fact that it upsets my balance when practising martial arts and looks ugly. Whenever I search the Internet for ways to correct a bunion that doesn't involve surgery, I almost always stumble across websites that discourage the use of shoes and promote a barefoot lifestyle. Strangely enough, I seem to have a natural inclination to want to walk around barefoot. However, this also creates an interesting problem for me.

I'm sure you would all agree with me that a person who walks barefoot most of the time has stronger bones and muscles in their feet than a person who normally wears shoes. So is it easier to correct a bunion when a person's feet are weak or when they are strong? Would walking barefoot, or in minimalist footwear, make it harder for me to realign the bones in my right foot. Or would the natural movement help to correct the deformity? Do bunions slowly disappear after many years of barefoot walking? Or do they remain just as hideous as they were to begin with? Sorry for playing the devil's advocate, but do you think it's possible that some sturdier types of footwear could be used to correct a bunion? The ones I'm thinking of are listed below:

1. Yoga Sandals (www.yogasandals.com)
2. Shoes worn with Correct Toes spacers (transcendbodywork.com/Store.html)
3. Shoes containing the Barefoot Science Arch Activation Foot Strengthening System (www.barefootscience.com/us/index.php)

Do you think it would help if I wore some of these sturdier types of footwear to correct the bunion while my feet are weak, and then to start using minimalist footwear when I've gotten rid of the bunion. Of course, the only problem is that these types of footwear might not correct the bunion at all. But are they worth a shot? I'm worried that if I start wearing minimalist footwear right now, I'll jeopardise my chances of correcting the bunion in the future. What do you think?

Finally, I'd just like to ask whether you think that wearing Vibram Five Fingers would be more likely to realign the bones in my foot than going completely barefoot. Have any of you found that VFF's help to straighten out the toes? I'm also worried that if I start to wear VFF's before correcting the bunion, I'll wear a hole in the pocket of the big toe because it turns inwards. Have any of you worn a hole in one of the pockets of your VFF's because your toes were crooked? Do you think the material is strong enough to withstand constant pressure in a place it's not supposed to be applied to?

Thanks in advance for your help and guidance.

Barefoot Down Under.
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Comments

  • A friend of mine has a very crooked big toe, and started running in the Five Fingers. After the second day, he noticed his toe on one foot straightening out. This was probably due to the amount of force he was suddenly subjecting that toe to, as he was a very heavy heel striker and wore supportive shoes. However, he overdid it, running about 13 miles on the second day, and running 9 on the third. His foot swelled and became too painful to run; this was at the begining of October, and he is just now starting to feel better. My take on this: yes, the Five Fingers can help straighten out the toes, but take it slow!
  • I have had issues with running shoes in the past and when I wore traditional running shoes - that if I didn't have a wide enough toe box, you could see my bunions pushing through the shoe material.  I was having issues with bunions on both my big toe and pinkey toes.  Pinkey toes were typically worse and hurt a lot after high volume running weeks (like training for a Ironman triathlon....) - I was worried that I was not going to be able to complete my training.  I didn't know about barefoot running at the time so i just searced out shoes with wider toe boxes.  that worked for the time being and got me through my race.  after that point - for some strange reason naturally wanted to gravitiate towards more and more mimimlaist running shoes, going from a heavily cushiuoned trainer down to a light weight trainer with mild stability.  I was able to do this because I was working on my balance and stability in strength training and working on balancing out muscle weaknesses that made me a less efficent runner. 

    I still had issues with bunions on my pinkey toes from time to time - so i invested in "yoga toes" - a toe separator to help separate toes and supposedly will help with bunions.  It did help - when I used it regularly.  Then I found out about VFF's - and got them in the beginning just for strength training - as doing that barefoot is better for your balance and joint mobility (or so I am told and from the benfits I have had, its true for me).  since June I have noticed a big change in the shape of my foot.  I slowly got into running - starting in june with some running 100-200 yds at a time on a dirt track.  In aug of this year I had a bike accident - thus laying me off from running, or much else for that matter for about 6 weeks.  when I started running again, in about late sept or so.  I started in very gradually - I had to due to my compromised fitness level from not really doing much of anyhting for 6 weeks. 

    does that help??  I think that VFF's have helped my bunions - and overall has changed the shape of my whole foot for the better.  my balance is also a lot better than it was this past june since wearing my VFF's.  Now its pretty much all I wear. 
  • I also bought YogaToes several months ago, in the hope that they would straighten out my toes. However, I live such an active lifestyle that I don't think I'll receive any real benefits from them. The first problem I found was that I cannot sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. Consequently, I have this bad habit of walking around in them which you're not supposed to do. The second problem I found was that even when I do wear them, my toes tend to squish together again the moment I put them back in shoes. Naturally, I started to wonder whether there was a way I could wear toe separators will walking. It turns out there is - Yoga Sandals. However, the experiment with Yoga Sandals only lasted for several days. The strap constantly rubs against my skin, causing chafing, and the extra thongs cause immense pain between my toes.

    Now I'm looking for a new way to correct bunions. One that will keep my toes separated while I am walking, but doesn't hurt my feet. Some of the ideas I'm currently considering are Vibram Five Fingers, Correct Toes separators, and the Barefoot Science Arch Activation Foot Strengthening System. While the latter does not attempt to keep the toes separated, it does improve the way the foot functions. This, of course, could help the toes to straighten. However, I really cannot see how the Barefoot Science Arch Activation Foot Strengthening System would help to get rid of my bunion any more than barefoot walking or wearing VFF's would. My guess is that the Barefoot Science Arch Activation Foot Strengthening System is really only for those who want the benefits of walking barefoot but are too self-conscious to actually do this.

    As for VFF's vs. Correct Toes, I guess the big question is whether it is better to force the toes apart while they are weak, or to let them move apart gradually while they are strong. What do you guys think? Some people claim that VFF's have helped to aleviate their bunions, while others claim that they did not. So what factors allow someone to successfully correct a bunion using VFF's? Are they related to diet, posture, and gait? Or are they related to the severity of the bunion, the period of time one has had the bunion, and bone strength/density? This is just a speculative question, so please don't feel obliged to give me a scientifically proven answer. I just want some ideas as to how I could maximise my chances of correcting the bunion while wearing VFF's.

    Barefoot Down Under.
  • First and foremost, as you'll find from reading this forum, we all highly recommend VFFs. Toe separation is a part of foot health, but only one. By wearing VFFs, you get all of the natural foot mechanics. Forefoot stride, working your arches, toe separation, everything.

    The Barefoot Arch thing (with the long g-d name) doesn't look legit to me. Any website that you visit that brings up their product's infomercial automatically and has 5 testimonial sections is trying to gloss over something. and they just don't look like they'd work. An insole is not enough to make the dramatic shift back to barefoot health. If the problem is that your shoes are too bulky, you're not going to fix it with a magic insole.

    The Correct Toe separators may be worth looking into, but only as a secondary solution. I would consider wearing them to bed. But again, it's a small part of the big picture, and I wouldn't rely on them. VFFs change the way you look at shoes so much.
  • I agree ZeitHeld  - that there are other benefits to minimalist shoes other than striaghtening out your toes.  its better for your overall posture and such. 

    where is that picture posted on here of the feet that are in modern shoes all the time and the one that is a person who is always barefoot??

    Yes, the yoga toes are good, but yeah, my problem too was that I didn't sit still long enough to use them properly.  although, they suggest only wearing them for like 10min at a time in the beginning.  and it was true, that after about 10min or so the first few times i wore them I really was feelling it stretching out my toes and feet.  i would wear them just before going to bed at night, or a few times on a long car ride, when I was not driving.  but I think that I am getting more efficent results with my VFF's because I can wear them all the time - and not have to force myself to sit still.  Which, might not be a bad idea come to think of it - ha! as that is something that I don't often do.  :)


    as for something scientific on whether or not its better to correct something when its weak rather than strong.  From what I know about the human body (I am not a doctor or anything, was pre-med in college and did a lot of work in phycical therapy, and still read a lot about health and fitness) - and from my own personal experience - its probably easier to train something when its weak - so that when it becomes stronger, it gets stronger functioning in a more healthy way - rahter than it getting stronger with bad habits or in a not healthy movement pattern, then trying to break old habits.  does that make sense? 

    diet and everything else might also have something to do with how well your body adapts - eating well has a lot of far reaching effects than we can probably even begin to touch on.  the severity of the bunion is probably a factor - mine were not that severe on my big toes - on my pinky toes (they are called Tailor bunions) they were worse for some reason - and my left more so than my right.  my left one has been slower in straighetning out, but its definitely different than it was in June.  I also pretty much just wear my VFF's now - haven't worn regular shoes too much since getting my 2nd pair of VFFs - I got black classics that I can wear to work.  Other than when I have a big meeting at work I wear my black classics. 

  • on 1258121752:

    where is that picture posted on here of the feet that are in modern shoes all the time and the one that is a person who is always barefoot??

    tribal-feet-300x142.jpg
    normal-feet-300x200.jpg
  • thanks iain!  :)
  • Here are two photos of my foot after 6 months of running in VFFs. In one photo, my foot is relaxed with only some weight on it. In the other, it is in a stretched position, like when taking off on a fast run or on uneven surfaces. In either photo, it is easy to tell that my toes are very spread out; they were not even close to this when I first started!

    <a href="http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d43/orlin03/?action=view&current=Toes2.jpg"; target="_blank"><img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d43/orlin03/Toes2.jpg"; border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d43/orlin03/?action=view&current=ToesSpread2.jpg"; target="_blank"><img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d43/orlin03/ToesSpread2.jpg"; border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
  • Well done iain, that is the pic I was reffering to in the other bunion thread.
  • orlin 03, that's amazing!!! I've never seen a person's big toe stretch so much away from the other toes. I'd be happy if I could simply get my big toe to point straight while I'm walking, but that is incredible!!!

    I've done a little bit more of my own personal research into bunion correction, and come to the following conclusions:

    1. According to the makers of the Barefoot Science Arch Activation Foot Strengthening System, the BSAAFSS is most effective when worn with minimalist shoes that have a flexible sole. This makes me a little bit suspicious, since minimalist shoes should automatically strengthen people's arches regardless of whether they use the BSAAFSS. So the BSAAFSS would really only be necessary for someone who wears shoes that have a sturdy sole. However, wearing sturdy running shoes with the BSAAFSS instead of wearing VFF's/going barefoot is akin to eating multigrain bread instead of wholemeal. I've never been able to understand the logic of removing all the goodness from bread and then trying to add it back in later on. You might as well just leave all the goodness in there to begin with. Wouldn't it be better to avoid creating a problem in the first place than to try to correct it later on? So why buy a sturdy pair of shoes that stop the feet from working properly and then try to make these shoes more flexible? You'd be much better off avoiding the problem in the first place, be buying a pair of shoes that has a flexible sole and allows the feet to move naturally.

    2. Correct Toes might be useful, but only if it were used in conjunction with foot strengthening activities. There's no point trying to separate the toes without strengthening the muscles that are needed to keep them in their new position. Otherwise, the toes will simply move back into their former position once the toe separator is removed. Similarly, one should not try to stengthen their feet without doing something to keep the toes apart. Otherwise, you'd only be giving the muscles the strength to keep their current, deformed position. However, if the feet are both strengthened and separated at the same time, they should easily keep their new alignment. Consequently, I can see several solutions to the problem:

    a. Wearing Correct Toes with minimalist footwear (such as Nike Frees or the Vivo Barefoot) and wearing them to bed
    b. Wearing Correct Toes with minimalist footwear (such as Nike Frees or the Vivo Barefoot) and NOT wearing them to bed
    c. Wearing Vibram FiveFingers / going barefoot and wearing Correct Toes in bed
    d. Wearing Vibram FiveFingers / going barefoot and NOT wearing Correct Toes in bed

    One thing I should also mention is that Correct Toes don't allow the toes to move individually, so wearing them is akin to gluing your toes together. In fact, it's like wearing a cast over your toes, so it will only weaken them. This in turn will make it harder for the toes to keep their new alignment. So how do you get the benefits of wearing Correct Toes (such as better toe alignment) without the side effects (such as weak toe muscles)? By wearing them during extended periods of inactivity, such as during sleep. YogaToes are much too bulky to be worn to bed, and if you're game enough to try this, you'll wake up after a short period of time with so much pain in your toes that you'll have absoluetly no choice but to take them off. But I must say that I like toastergirl's idea of wearing Correct Toes to bed, because I doubt they'd have the same problems that YogaToes do.

    I also don't think it would be a good idea to wear Correct Toes while one is active, because then the toes will not gain the strength they need to keep their new alignment. Consequently, I reckon that the best option is option c. It allows the toes to strengthen during the day by wearing VFF's/going barefoot, and gently guides them into the correct alignment while one is sleeping at night. What do you think of this plan?

    Barefoot Down Under
  • I agree with option C... strengthen the feet during the day; relax them into position at night when they rebuild.
  • Yeah, I'll reiterate my support for option C. Options A and B don't use the best of minimalist footwear (though I wouldn't put the Free in the same box as Vivo), and option D is doing one less thing to help the process along.
  • Check this out - it's awesome!!!
    www.flickr.com/photos/9138514@N07/3799703698

    Please bear with me because I'm still trying to get over the fact that there are people out there who can actually do this, regardless of how old they are. I sure hope that child never wears shoes until it's old enough to start wearing VFF's. I'd hate to see its feet become like mine. And my bunion is far from being a worst-case scenario (thankfully!).

    I must say that if VFF's really do help people to spread their toes as much as orlin03 indicates, then I stand a very good chance of at least being able to straighten out the big toe on my right foot. Unfortunately there's no guarantee that I'll be successful, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try. At the very least, it will keep my bunion from getting to the stage where it'll need its own postcode.

    BTW, do you think barefoot running would be more effective at straightening out the toes than barefoot walking? I can't help wondering whether the extra movement somehow promotes greater separation between the toes.

    Barefoot Down Under
  • barefootdownunder.....
    I agree with option C as well....I don't think that I suggested wearing them to sleep - I would just wear them as I was relaxing in bed before going to sleep, I would always take them off before actually going to sleep. 

    In the beginning its best to start walking first for a while, letting your feet get used to being barefoot and walking first, then start running.  running is a lot "harder" on your feet - just because they have to work harder to absorb more impact and in the beginning walking is a good enough workout for your feet becuase the feet are weakened from being in shoes. 

    I will take a pic of my toes as well and post them while I am spreading them.  I will try to find a pic of my feet before VFF's.  Hmmm....might have a pic of my feet duct taped at a race.  yes...they sugested using duct tape on the bottom of your feet during the swim portion of this triathlon because of the razor sharp zebra muscles that inhabit the lake where we swam.  yeah....I still got cut on my foot.  VFF's would have been great for this race....had no idea they even exsisted at that time. 
  • on 1258201381:

    BTW, do you think barefoot running would be more effective at straightening out the toes than barefoot walking? I can't help wondering whether the extra movement somehow promotes greater separation between the toes.

    Barefoot Down Under


    I think that sprinting and hill running do the most for spreading the toes, but like Toastergirl says, it's a lot harder on the feet. Still, I don't think you'd have to go far to get the benefits. A short jog followed by three 50 m sprints two or three times a week could be enough to get the process going.
  • My apologies! It was actually ZeitHeld who suggested wearing Correct Toes to bed, not toastergirl. Sorry for the confusion.

    Barefoot Down Under
  • OK, I went and bought myself some VFF's and some Correct Toes toe separators. While the Correct Toes are still in transit, the VFF's have arrived and fit almost perfectly. However, my reaction towards the VFF's is very mixed. In some ways, they are better than going barefoot; while in other ways, they are worse. Here's a list of all the things I like and dislike about wearing VFF's compared to walking completely barefoot, in the hope that you can give me some guidance as to which is better for me. Sorry for making such a lengthy post, but I have many questions that need to be answered.


    Why going barefoot is better than wearing VFF's:

    1. Although the sole of VFF's is very thin (just 2mm), it still blocks much of the sensory information that could be obtained by going completely barefoot. Even if this lack of sensory awareness is the result of wearing sturdy sports shoes for most of my life, it doesn't change the fact that people who go completely barefoot can feel a lot more of the ground beneath their feet than those who wear VFF's. Then again, those who wear VFF's can still feel a lot more of the ground beneath their feet than those who wear study sports shoes or even thongs.

    2. VFF's do not let the soles of the feet breathe. Sweat builds up inside them, making them mildly uncomfortable. While I could try wearing socks with my VFF's, I don't think this would work because I've noticed recently that even wearing socks with my regular sports shoes is not enough to solve the sweat problem (at least in summer). Considering how many sweat glands we have on the bottoms of our feet, and the need for that sweat to evaporate quickly, I really can't understand why anyone would want to wear shoes at all (myself included). While I appreciate the idea behind VFF's in protecting the feet from injury and allowing them to function normally, they still suffer from one defect that all other shoes suffer from - they create a moist environment that allows bacteria to breed uncontrollably and make your feet and shoes STINK!!!!!

    Although I haven't encountered this problem with my VFF's yet, the fact that it could crop up at any time makes me very reluctant to wear VFF's for an extended period of time. Furthermore, I do not have the time or the money to wash my VFF's more than about once a week. And in this weather, I doubt that once a week would be enough. While VFF's are great for getting people used to walking barefoot, I hardly see them as a long term solution (unless you walk or run on very harsh terrain). I should also mention that not only would wearing toe socks with VFF's fail to solve the sweat problem, they would be far too much bother to put on in the first place.

    3. Wearing VFF's in public would probably attract a lot more attention than simply going barefoot. Despite being an extrovert, I would absolutely hate to have strangers come up to me while I'm shopping to ask questions about my feet. While bare feet may attract attention, they certainly won't cause people to come over and interrogate me. I'm a busy person, and do not have time to waste trying to explain to people why I would want to wear shoes that allow the toes to move independently. While others have a right to be curious, I also have a right to be left in peace.

    4. Going barefoot helps to toughen up the soles, which makes them more resistant to damage. It increases one's independence by eliminating their need for shoes. People who can walk comfortably without shoes have one less need than those who cannot.


    Why wearing VFF's is better than going barefoot:

    1. VFF's not only help the toes to spread, but they also nudge them into the correct alignment. I have good reason to believe that VFF's would help to correct the bunion on my right foot, but no such evidence that walking completely barefoot would have the same effect. While such may be achieved by walking barefoot during the day and wearing Correct Toes at night, this probably wouldn't be as effective as wearing VFF's during the day and wearing Correct Toes at night. In other words, it would be much more difficult for me to get rid of my bunion if I did go completely barefoot.

    2. My bunion looks ugly. While VFF's cover the bunion and make it less noticeable, walking barefoot would completely expose the bunion for all to see. I would hate to walk around barefoot until I've noticed a significant improvement in the alignment of the toes on my right foot. The only people who look good when walking barefoot in public are those who don't have any foot deformities.

    3. Wearing VFF's makes you look rich, whereas going barefoot makes you look poor. I live in a very well-educated, affluent area, where most people are too concerned about their social status to even be seen barefoot. It's difficult enough just trying to get them to wear shorts instead of trousers. While there don't seem to be any rules against being barefoot in public in my area, I get the impression that it's frowned upon for being "hippie" and uncivilised. To date, the only people I've even seen walking barefoot in public in this area are children and sometimes older youth; I have never seen anyone over the age of 25 do it here. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if there were many people in my area who want to go barefoot in public, but simply don't have the guts to do it. Why is everyone so afraid to show just a little bare skin?

    4. VFF's allow you to walk on hot surfaces, and give your feet more protection than going completely barefoot. However, since regular barefooting helps to toughen up the soles, I doubt this would be a long term problem. If one walks correctly and takes adequate precautions while barefooting, they would only need VFF's in extreme situations. Nevertheless, this is still an advantage that VFF's have.


    So here's the list of questions I have for you:

    1. What percentage of sensory information do you think VFF's block out compared to going completely barefoot? Is it really as high as I think it is? Do you believe that the amount of sensory information you can obtain through the soles of VFF's increases over time? To what degree?
    2. What is the simplest, most cost- and time-effective way of solving the sweat / body odour problem with VFF's? I've read much information on this subject already, but have never been truly satisfied with the solution. I don't want to wear socks with my VFF's, nor do I want to wash them frequently. I'll only make a mess if I try to put powder in them, and I'd prefer not to use a spray-on deodorant because of all the chemicals in them. Furthermore, if I have gotten my feet dirty just before putting on a pair of VFF's, I would hate to have to go and wash them beforehand. I love getting my feet dirty, and would have absolutely no desire to wash them until taking my shower just before bed.
    3. How can I wear VFF's without drawing attention to myself? How can I stop strangers from coming up to me and asking about them?
    4. Can I still get rid of my bunion if I decide to go barefoot in public instead of wearing VFF's? Do you think it would be harder for me to get rid of my bunion if I went completely barefoot all the time than if I wore VFF's whenever I'm outdoors? Is there a way I could go barefoot all the time while still obtaining all the toe-aligning benefits of VFF's?
    5. How can I walk barefoot in public without drawing attention to my bunion or having people notice it?
    6. How can I find the courage to walk barefoot in public without worrying about what other people will think of me? How can I avoid being labelled as a "hippie"? Is there any way I could walk barefoot in public while conveying the message that I'm not poor without resorting to formal dress (minus the shoes)?
    7. How can I avoid being bitten by ants while walking through an ant-infested area?
    8. Is it possible to completely eliminate the risk of standing on a dirty syringe while walking barefoot, especially in grass or sand?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and hopefully answer these questions for me. Your response is greatly appreciated.

    Barefoot Down Under.
  • on 1258814416:

    So here's the list of questions I have for you:

    1. What percentage of sensory information do you think VFF's block out compared to going completely barefoot? Is it really as high as I think it is? Do you believe that the amount of sensory information you can obtain through the soles of VFF's increases over time? To what degree?
    2. What is the simplest, most cost- and time-effective way of solving the sweat / body odour problem with VFF's? I've read much information on this subject already, but have never been truly satisfied with the solution. I don't want to wear socks with my VFF's, nor do I want to wash them frequently. I'll only make a mess if I try to put powder in them, and I'd prefer not to use a spray-on deodorant because of all the chemicals in them. Furthermore, if I have gotten my feet dirty just before putting on a pair of VFF's, I would hate to have to go and wash them beforehand. I love getting my feet dirty, and would have absolutely no desire to wash them until taking my shower just before bed.
    3. How can I wear VFF's without drawing attention to myself? How can I stop strangers from coming up to me and asking about them?
    4. Can I still get rid of my bunion if I decide to go barefoot in public instead of wearing VFF's? Do you think it would be harder for me to get rid of my bunion if I went completely barefoot all the time than if I wore VFF's whenever I'm outdoors? Is there a way I could go barefoot all the time while still obtaining all the toe-aligning benefits of VFF's?
    5. How can I walk barefoot in public without drawing attention to my bunion or having people notice it?
    6. How can I find the courage to walk barefoot in public without worrying about what other people will think of me? How can I avoid being labelled as a "hippie"? Is there any way I could walk barefoot in public while conveying the message that I'm not poor without resorting to formal dress (minus the shoes)?
    7. How can I avoid being bitten by ants while walking through an ant-infested area?
    8. Is it possible to completely eliminate the risk of standing on a dirty syringe while walking barefoot, especially in grass or sand?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and hopefully answer these questions for me. Your response is greatly appreciated.

    Barefoot Down Under.


    Wow, some of these questions seem impossible! Though many caused by social paradoxes, and many answered by trying out for yourself. VFFs are amazing shoes, but not perfect.

    1. Its hard to quantify sensory input,  it's best to see for yourself. And you can could categorize all the different types of senses coming from the foot; temperature, texture, shear force, pressure force. VFFs would affect these to different extents. And would you increase you sensory awareness? I think so, but it depends how aware you were before trying VFFs.

    2 This is a big problem, how big, depends on your attitude towards this. I see it as part of laundry, there's always time if you are willing. I could suggest the nuclear option :P: Expose your VFFs to ionizing radiation to kill any bacteria, its how surgical tools are sterilized and the VFFs won't get radioactive either. Tricky to find a nuclear reactor that is willing to sterilize your VFFs

    3 I find bare feet attracts more attention than VFFs. Any attention is usually positive, and if you don't have time you can quote "birthdayshoes.com" and be on your way.

    4 I don't think many people have tried VFFs to improve bunions, something to try out for yourself. I definitely wish you the best of luck :)

    5 Get some standard shoes, remove sole and put them on. Looks like you have shoes from the top, but nothing below  ;)

    6 I thought you were an "extrovert"  :P Still if people stare then smiling and saying good morning will show that you are reasonably sane. I personally don't think one should worry about what other people think, plus you could say its healthy for the feet.

    7 VFFs, or avoid ant-infested areas.

    8 No its impossible to do 100% elimination, all you can do is minimize risk and keep it in perspective. Watching where you walk, avoid long grass, wear some protection like VFFs etc

    Hope this helps, but don't just take my word for it. Try for youself and hope you enjoy your VFFs!  :)
  • I think the big thing is that FiveFingers are millions of times better than normal shoes. However, if you are fine without wearing shoes entirely, then you have less of a reason to wear FiveFingers. In this situation, your FiveFingers are best off as the shoes you wear when you have to wear shoes. Basically, the point in a pair of VFFs is to get you close to barefoot when you can't be, so barefoot is inherently better if you can be.

    As far as the specific questions you asked, I just get the impression that you see some of the problems we take to be secondary as being primary. So I'm going to answer them in the way I deal with the same problems, though they may not be directly helpful to you.

    1. I compare VFFs to shoes rather than to being barefoot, so I think of it as gaining a ton of sensory perception, rather than losing some from being barefoot. The majority of the perception you lose are the details and comes from having even the thinnest layer of anything over your feet. FiveFingers still retain the rest of the perception though, which is more the lay of the ground and the material, as opposed to details and textures.
    2. I just don't have a problem with the sweat thing. Sweat bothered me when I wore socks and normal shoes, and they simply don't in my FiveFingers. The only real thing I do for the odor is to wash them every few weeks.
    3. Again, I don't have a privacy issue, and while the number of people who stop to talk to you in public with FiveFingers is higher than without, it's still a relatively small number.
    4. I have little to no experience with how bunions work. You are the first person I've heard of trying to tackle bunions with VFFs.
    5. I don't think you can. It comes down to how comfortable you are with yourself. I don't put much stock in what people think.
    6. I don't think of barefoot as directly conveying poorness. If you are well dressed and clean otherwise, nobody will think you are poor. Here again, I just don't care what people think.
    7. Wearing FiveFingers.
    8. This isn't really a problem you can "fix". You can avoid it by keeping your eyes open, but you pretty much have the same chance stabbing your foot in FiveFingers as in normal shoes. I think this is just another problem that doesn't really have a solution.
  • Okay, this is perhaps not the most tactful thing to say, but reading all that tired me out.

    I get the desire to scope out a new purchase from multiple angles before plunking down the cash - I do that myself - but this sounds like you're spending far more time fretting about "might bes" and not enough time just wearing the VFFs and seeing for yourself what does and doesn't work.

    Put them on.  Walk around in them.  Either you'll like the experience or you won't.  Don't make it more complicated than that.
  • on 1258830788:

    Okay, this is perhaps not the most tactful thing to say, but reading all that tired me out.

    I get the desire to scope out a new purchase from multiple angles before plunking down the cash - I do that myself - but this sounds like you're spending far more time fretting about "might bes" and not enough time just wearing the VFFs and seeing for yourself what does and doesn't work.

    Put them on.  Walk around in them.  Either you'll like the experience or you won't.  Don't make it more complicated than that.


    I totally agree. Try them and if you don't like them well then sell them, but you're spending way too much time thinking about them.
  • Sorry once again for making such a long post, but this is a real struggle for me. I can't help noticing that there's a strong social pressure to wear shoes in public places, and that even some of my friends and family members would look down upon those who do otherwise. Do you really think that I want to risk being condemned by those who I love and care about most? I care very much about my relationships with other people, and do not want to put them in jeopardy. Nevertheless, we are also free and independent beings, and have the right to live as we please.

    I don’t believe that walking barefoot in public will ever become the norm, but to anyone familiar with the Myer-Briggs personality type indicator, that should not be surprising. I strongly believe that the desire to go barefoot is very closely related to one’s personality, and that those who frown upon the practice do so because their own personality doesn’t allow them to appreciate it. There’s nothing wrong with wearing shoes; nor is there anything wrong with going barefoot. However, the education system tends to be a lot more hostile towards people whose personalities are most conducive to going barefoot.

    That’s why your boss will have such a hard time trying to understand why you would want to go barefoot everywhere, and why he’ll tell all his employees that they must also wear shoes. And since there’s always a small chance you could run into your boss at the local shopping centre, no-one’s game enough to take their shoes off there, either. After all, it might affect your next promotion. He’ll probably give that job to someone else who always wears shoes in public, and they’ll eventually become your new boss. While the risk of missing out on a promotion for being seen barefoot in public is extremely low, I suspect that for many people it’s very real.

    I agree that we all need to be much less self-conscious and not worry about what other people will think of us if they see us barefoot in public. Like many wanna-be barefooters, my heart tells me that in order to be completely human, I have to feel the ground beneath my feet. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. But to do that requires a mental toughness that I’m still trying to find. And yes, I will just have to put up with people asking about my VFF's / bare feet. There's simply no way around it.

    Personally, I like the attraction of going completely barefoot. It would give me more sensory information than wearing VFF’s, make my soles tougher, and allow my soles to breathe properly so sweat can escape. However, I doubt it would be as effective at correcting my bunion as wearing VFF’s would. VFF’s make the toes point straight, even if they’re not naturally inclined to do so. Going barefoot would allow my toes to stay in their current, deformed position. What is it about VFF’s that allow people to reduce the size of their bunions? Is it something common to both VFF’s and regular barefooting, such as the separation of the toes, or is it something unique to VFF’s, such as the alignment of the toe pockets? Do you know anyone with bunions who’s noticed a significant improvement in them after they stopped wearing regular shoes and started going completely barefoot all the time?

    Thanks once again for your help.

    Barefoot Down Under.
  • Just get some VFFs already and see for yourself if your bunions correct themselves. Bunions don't seem to be a big problem here on the boards and you seem to be beating this topic to death. Sheesh!  :-\

    Shoes are required mainly for liability purposes since this is a sue-happy country (US). Also there some nasty stuff out there since people aren't as clean/neat as they used to be.
  • Yeah, while I think there's something in the whole VFF phenomenon, and I'm not a big believer in the idea that things can be over-thought, this is too much.
  • on 1258881126:

    Yeah, while I think there's something in the whole VFF phenomenon, and I'm not a big believer in the idea that things can be over-thought, this is too much.


    LOL Zeitheld, that has to be one of the worst phrased sentences I've seen today. ;) I'll just chalk it up to late night posting. I had to read it 3 times to firgure out what you were trying to say, but then again I'm pretty tired.  :)
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