More reasons to go barefoot

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I believe

I believe that the laws of nature *require* that I use my feet as much as possible for their intended purpose and in the way that they evolved, in direct sensory contact with the ground I am walking on, for my safety and lifelong health.

Stephanie Welch
Boston, MA

Going barefoot in public areas like stores, restaurants, and libraries is very safe. Don’t be concerned about a risk of catastrophic injury from barefoot activity.

“What about broken glass?” It’s often the first question asked when someone goes barefoot in public. In reality, the threat from sharp objects isn’t big enough to keep people from going without shoes in their daily lives. If you can read this Website, you live in a developed part of the world that does a remarkable job of keeping the ground clean and safe for bare feet.

Injuries to bare feet in the developed world are uncommon, and are usually minor. Those that aren’t minor usually would not have been prevented by everyday footwear anyway (like things falling on toes while wearing sandals, or nails going through the sole of any footwear).
We rarely hurt ourselves in any way because we are usually careful. When accidents do happen, we simply try to be smarter next time.

The things we touch with our hands are far more hazardous than the surfaces on which we walk, yet we are willing to take on these everyday risks. Think about it: How many times do you handle scissors, knives, doors, extremely hot or cold things, chemicals, or other potentially dangerous stuff throughout the day? Don’t you wear gloves only if you recognize a high potential for risk? (It would be strange to wear oven mitts all day in case you might touch something hot.)

The benefits of going barefoot far outweigh the risks. All you need to do is keep an eye on the area around you and be careful — just like always.

* * *
Going barefoot is hygienic – even in most public places – and is good for the body in healthy individuals.

Most people want to be healthy, but many don’t consider their health from head to toes. If they do, the decisions they make about foot health are often made based on urban legend or footwear marketing messages. One common message: Bare feet are gross and it’s bad to go without shoes.

We’ve seen the comments on Twitter. They go something like this: “I’d go barefoot all the time if it wasn’t so unhygienic,” or even “This guy is walking around the library barefoot. So disgusting!”

Experts say that the best way to prevent the spread of disease is good hand hygiene. The reason for this is how often our hands touch infected surfaces and then touch our faces. While it may seem gross to go barefoot, it really is of little concern unless you regularly put your feet up to others’ faces or in your mouth. In all seriousness, be more concerned about who washes their hands rather than who goes barefoot.
Many people think they can’t go barefoot because they “need” arch support or someone — even a doctor — told them that it’s bad for their ankles/knees/back/whatever to go barefoot. In all reality, wearing shoes creates a need to wear shoes: People think their feet are weak and that they must wear shoes. When they do, the muscles in their feet don’t have a chance to become stronger so they do become weak. It’s like an arm after wearing a cast. The muscles atrophy from non-use, and the joints become stiff from being immobilized. The same principles apply to almost any kind of shoe you wear.

One concern that is often raised when we talk about barefoot activity with others is the issue of “sensitive feet.” Yes, bare feet are sensitive — but so are bare hands. The difference is that our hands are used to sensation because we use them. When people put their feet in shoes almost all day every day, they’re never allowed to learn how to feel much of anything. Any barefooter will tell you that your feet get used to sensations when you go without shoes long enough, and that those sensations become comfortable.
We who regularly live without shoes have found that our feet in their innate condition function very well.

Bare feet may come in contact with various surfaces, but we don’t get sick because we don’t put our feet up to our faces. Our feet are stronger and more flexible than they used to be. There are, admittedly, no studies to verify these claims, however we have found that using our feet in their innate condition — barefoot — makes the most sense.

Going barefoot has a lot of benefits and prevents many issues that are caused or exacerbated by footwear. At the top of the list is comfort. Admit it: Taking your shoes off at the end of the day makes you feel better. Being comfortable helps decrease stress. Again, feet that are allowed to stay out of footwear are stronger and more flexible. They also avoid problems that are caused or made worse by footwear such as corns, callouses, bunions, smelly feet, nail fungus, ingrown toenails and many more.



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A wonderful world of living with bare feet

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