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Interview with Anya the Barefoot Queen

I don’t think there’s a barefoot enthusiast out there that doesn’t know Anya or hasn’t been influenced by her. She is ‘to blame’ for at least 5 pairs of barefoot shoes in my closet right now. And I’m just a newbie! She is authentic and honest and kind, and even though she’s followed by more than 10k people she still finds the time to answer all comments and messages, be it DMs or emails. She did share her secret about how she manages to do everything she does and she believes it’s a matter of time until mainstream shoe brands will sale barefoot shoes. In the meantime, I am (not so) secretly looking forward to her own design of barefoot shoes!

photo credit: Anya's Reviews

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when starting this new barefoot life? 

I would tell myself that it takes time and to be patient. Accepting that earlier on would have made things easier for me!

What advice would you give to someone deciding to embrace barefoot shoes now?

Same as above.

You influence a lot of people on the world wide web. Was it just as easy to make your friends and family switch to barefoot shoes?

No actually, I didn't talk about barefoot shoes much with my family and friends for a long time (except my husband and best friend). Now that my blog is successful more people in my circle are switching to barefoot shoes. I think they all thought I was crazy at first! But in general, I don't consider it my place to persuade. If you want to talk I will tell you what I know, but I don't push my ideas on anyone.

Have you ever had to deal with people denying the benefits of barefoot shoes? If so, how did you manage that?

Yes, I just politely listen first and then offer my viewpoint. I haven't had any arguments or bad experiences, thankfully.

Do you feel any kind of pressure? Either from brands or followers? How do you manage that?

I do feel pressure at times because I have so many things I want to write about and I want to respond to everybody equally, but that is self-inflicted. The vast majority of my readers/followers are understanding and thoughtful and it's been a joy to interact with everybody. The barefoot shoe brands have for the most part been amazing to work with as well. They understand that I will review honestly and don't ask me to promote or give a favorable review. And I turn down every review opportunity that doesn't meet my strict requirements for healthy footwear. So, yes it's quite busy but it's been positive.

Who was your Anya? Was there someone like you, for you? Because we have it pretty easy thanks to you.

I am inspired by many strong women, I think Katy Bowman was my biggest source of inspiration starting out. But because when I started there were no social media accounts like mine and no blogs like mine I didn't have anyone to look to for guidance. I think it made my start a little slower, because I wasn't sure what my next steps should be. I had a vision for what I wanted to do, but wasn't sure how to execute it. I knew I wasn't a Katy Bowman. Thankfully it has taken shape over time and now it's much more clear how to be inspired by people but take my own path.

When do you have the time to accommodate all your roles in your life? Do you have more than 24 hours in a day?

My life is really packed right now! But one of the most important things I want to share is that the lifestyle changes I have made have allowed me to accomplish more. The extra energy I've gotten from strengthening my body from the ground up has changed my life in so many ways, one of them being this business that I would never have had the energy for before. But, just like everybody, I can't do it all. I let go of the things that don't matter (like what other people think of me) and I focus on the things that give me joy and are important. My family, my health, my happiness, and my work (that I also love).

Except for Vibram 5 fingers, we don’t see too many celebrities wearing barefoot shoes (maybe a few sports personalities in their professional lives). I admit that I hope that the more we are that are rooting for this topic, the more brands will come on this barefoot shoes territory. I used to love Ecco shoes, it would be great if brands like this one would integrate barefoot shoes in their production. Do you think there is a chance for that to happen? Why do you think barefoot shoes are such an 'indie' subject and not a 'mainstream' one?  

I do think it will be picked up by major brands, it's just a matter of time. More and more people are joining the tribe and we really are influencing in a big way.

As someone who has tested hundreds of barefoot shoes, are you tempted to launch your own line?   

Yep! I've wanted to design my own shoes from the beginning. Not sure when it'll happen, but hopefully someday!

Your main quality in a barefoot shoe is …

Zero drop and wide toe box.

Your first barefoot shoes were…  

Vivobarefoot Gobi, bought used for $40 from Poshmark!


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