I’ve worn barefoot shoes for 15 years – How to increase your foot strength by 57%!

May 5, 2024 by VAHVA Fitness

Eero shares his 15 years of experience with barefoot training, how using the barefoot shoes will naturally strengthen the feet and the best shoes to wear!

Recently, we have spoken a lot about developing strong ankles & feet. This is because this is a necessity and not just something that would be nice to have.

I would even say that you cannot even have strong ankles & feet if you are using the modern shoes regularly.

This is because the sole of the shoe does a lot of the natural stabilizing for you. Not only this, the heel is often elevated which can have severe implications for your posture, knees and back.

No amount of specific ankle & feet training will be enough if you are walking and standing using modern shoes every day. The accumulated stimulus to your feet and posture is tremendous.

If you are wearing modern shoes every day, the muscles that are supposed to be working get weakened over time - you use it or you lose it. 

The good part here is that if you wear the minimalist shoes such as the barefoot shoes, the feet and ankles get strengthened pretty quickly as well.

A recent study published in 2021, discovered that just 6 months of daily minimalist shoe use was enough to increase foot strength by 57.4% in the active participants. 

Moreover, they also studied another "experienced" group that had worn minimalist shoes for 2.5 years and they found out that the new group reached the same level of foot strength in this 6 months of time.

In other words, in just 6 months you can completely transform the level of your feet strength by just using minimalist shoes alone.

Taking Your Feet and Athleticism to the Next Level

As discovered, the first step is to start using the minimalist shoes. You cannot even train the feet and ankles properly if you are wearing modern padded shoes. 

The purpose of training is to stimulate the intricate functions and the smaller muscles of the feet and ankles. The modern shoes largely prevent you from doing this.

You don't have to get fanatical about it though: if you are going out, attending a wedding or must look good for a brief period of time, do not think the conventional shoes will immediately destroy your feet.

As long as you are wearing minimalist shoes regularly, it will be enough to develop the feet in the proper manner. 

In general, the less padding you have the better it will be for your feet. We personally love the shoes from Leguano (not affiliated) but many people swear by Vivo barefoot shoes and other brands.

When you are shopping conventional shoes, there are many forms of shoes such as loafers that are soft and may have barely any padding at all.

Once your shoes are taken care of, you should always train barefoot or use the minimalist shoes. Using the proper shoes is really the first step. 

After this, there is a lot you should and can do to strengthen your feet and to increase your athletic ability.

How to Maximally Strengthen the Ankles & Feet

There are several phases you should take your ankles and feet through. 

Here are the steps we recommend:

  • Mobility – It's crucial to move the feet and ankles in all of their natural joint articulations. This step alone should get rid of most pain and issues in the area.
  • Strength – Mobility and range of motion are necessary but in addition to this the muscles need to be under considerable resistance to fully develop. 
  • Stability & isometrics – If your feet and ankles are in a bad shape, isometrics will strengthen them the most. Increased stability will directly translate into actual speed & agility.
  • Power – Once you have good levels of mobility, strength and stability, it's time to develop power so you can have even more speed, agility and force in your movements.

Earlier, Eero already uploaded a video demonstrating how to develop the Soleus – a calf muscle that is often neglected. But that's just one exercise out of many that should be used.

The full step-by-step solution to developing and fixing your feet is now added to Athlete 20XX Method for no additional cost. The benefits for many people will be worth the price of the program alone.

Superior Athletic Ankles & Feet course is a 1-hour course with videos and tutorials for each step mentioned above.

In addition, there are 2 full routines (video & text): one standard routine (from beginner to advanced) and one athletic routine (from intermediate to advanced).

The goal of this new course is not only to fix your feet but to also take your ankles & feet from a "good" level to your maximal level.

The benefits? Massive improvements in speed, agility and power in all sports and activities where you are standing up.

I have worked on this material for over 3 months and I move like I have never moved before. My running feels different... Even our MMA coach Nordine Taleb mentioned I move better and we actually learned some of the isometric drills from him.

The reason why I even started taking this more seriously was because he pointed out that I should be faster and more agile, especially considering my fighting style. And you know us: when we find a rabbit hole, we go deep!

So there you have it. A massive improvement done to Athlete 20XX Method. The program already had great exercises for the ankles (Phase 2 - Stability and Phase 3 - Power) but now the material is next level.

Stay strong.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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