I’m not a runner, a fitness guru, or a parkour enthusiast – just your average mammy in Ireland.
I’ve heard the hype, watched the videos, and read a few reviews - barefoot shoes – every other person I follow on Instagram seems to be rocking them. At one time seemingly just a minority product for those with hippie notions, now the shoe of choice for top athletes, parkour geniuses, and fitness enthusiasts - even my therapist strolls in for session in his barefoot kicks.
But I’m not a runner, a fitness guru, or a parkour enthusiast – just your average mammy in Ireland, would they do me any favours?
My initial impression when shopping around different brands was that – OK - they may not be the first choice when it comes to fashion or street cred – but then I came across Legauno – not your typical barefoot, fashion disaster – they actually look like regular shoes!
The ordering process was easy using the Leguano UK and Ireland site – I wasn’t sure whether to go for a UK size 4 or 5; as these days the sizing seems to be so variable between brands – even though years ago, I seem to remember being a 5 in everything, but by the by - I went for the 5, and with a couple of clicks they were on their way.
Delivery can take up to two weeks, if your desired style is not in stock in the Ireland/UK store, but I was in luck – 3 days later they arrived. I was impressed with the packaging, minimal and lightweight, and easy to recycle. Also included was a beautiful brochure of the products, and a cute little guide to the background of barefoot shoes, and their benefits.
My limited understanding was that we humans roamed barefoot for hundreds of thousands of years before shoes existed, and anything that can bring us back to our roots, in this ever more disconnected, and artificial environment, must be a good thing! (Ok, I might have slight hippy notions…)
I had also heard of the supposed physical benefits and, suffering an increasingly dodgy knee and hip situation - in my thirties…. Really?! - I thought these could be the answer.
If you’d like an depth read on the benefits of going ‘barefoot’, look no further then this article –
Located on the Leguano UK and Ireland website – they can explain it far better than little old me!
The shoes feel like no other shoe I have ever owned, the quality is apparent the minute you take them out of the box. Super soft, and flexible to the touch – and beautifully stitched inside and out. Yet, you can tell they are also strong, and durable. They just feel… gorgeous.
I went for the Denim Sand – recommended for city, and office – as I planned to wear them doing my normal daily stuff – cleaning house, walking the dogs, doing errands, and working from home. I wanted them to suit my normal outfits – jumper, jeggings, and a messy bun! They remind me of the flat brogues that broke out over the last couple of years…
Ah the brogues… I love a flat shoe, especially with a pair of skinny jeans, but everything rubs! I’ve tried countless different brands of brogue, flat sneaker, and dolly shoe, and always end up with the heel of doom - blisters galore, and a manky plaster that won’t stay put! Or even worse… the abused little toe, squashed into a corner, with nowhere to go!
I was a little sceptical of how they would hold up in the outdoors, and whether they would be just another toe/heel nightmare … but I’ve taken them for a good spin this week, and wow, how can seemingly so little shoe, do so much?
The comfort is on another level, it really is like wearing no shoes at all – but with all the protection that traditional shoes offer from the daily dangers our feet encounter. My legs and glutes felt like I’d taken on a mild squatting challenge (ok, I’m no guru, but I’ve gone to a fitness class here and there!). My dodgy knee wasn’t screaming at me at the end of a busy day, something that was becoming my normal, and my posture felt improved.
I felt light on my feet, the feedback is palpable, even driving the car I felt more in control, and connected to the pedals. They held up no matter the weather, and being able to machine wash them is a god send!
Also, the heel/toe fear? … Completely, and inexplicably, unfounded!! No squashing, no rubbing – a flat shoe that doesn’t cause me pain? Nothing short of a barefoot miracle!
Comfort, style, durability, and health benefits that are immediately apparent?
… and although my 14 year old daughter looked at me like I’d lost the plot when I tried to sell her on them, after trying them on, she is now eyeing the Leguano Aktiv Winter and the Leguano Kosmo as potential Christmas presents… Maybe this time next year we’ll be a whole family of barefoot, fitness enthusiasts… maybe…