What’s with this whole barefoot thing?

Besides feeling great, people may choose to go barefoot for various reasons. For some, going barefoot is a health practice. There are many benefits of going barefoot, and going barefoot can correct many foot and alignment problems caused by shoes. For others, going barefoot is a lifestyle choice. These people don’t see the need for shoes and choose to not wear them. There are some who may go barefoot for religious or environment reasons.

Is it healthy to go barefoot?

Yes! There are lots of health benefits of going barefoot. Almost all foot problems are caused by shoes, such as bunions, ingrown toe nails, weak arches, morton’s neuroma, and athlete’s foot. Shoes not only effect the feet, but can cause alignment issues and lower back pain. Studies show that those who go habitually barefoot rarely have any foot problems.

Does it hurt?

Going barefoot can hurt at times, especially if you are just starting out, but it only gets easier. The more often you go barefoot, the more tolerance your feet will have. Those little pebbles that once bothered you, won’t be noticed.

What if you cut yourself?

Feet can become quite tough and objects such as glass won’t be too much of a problem for a frequent barefooter. Being more aware of your surroundings and stepping correctly (not dragging or shuffling feet) will also help reduce chances of injury. Although cuts may happen from time to time, they are rarely serious, and are considered an acceptable risk. If one is in an environment which poses actual danger to the feet, appropriate shoes should be worn.

What about catching diseases?

Going barefoot is a lot safer than people think. Humans have been around long enough not to let a little dirt hurt us. In fact, some bacteria is actually healthy. Fungus like athlete’s foot, strives in dark, moist environments, like the inside of shoes. Hookworm is no longer a concern for developed countries, thanks to greater sanitation like indoor plumbing. There are some harmful bacteria that don’t live on human skin, but inside shoes!

Do your feet get cold?

They can, but feet are adaptable. How feet handle cold will vary from person to person. There are some people, nicknamed “snowfooters” who go barefoot in the snow. Others may wear flipflops to keep their feet off the ground, or simply wear boots.

What if I have flat feet?

If you’re feet don’t hurt, then going barefoot should not be a problem. Going barefoot will strengthen the muscles in the arch, and many people have experienced a raise to a normal height in their arches by going barefoot. Here are some barefoot exercises you can do for flat feet.

Is it legal to walk around barefoot?

Completely! There are very few laws regarding bare feet in the United States, Canada, the UK, and lots of other countries. There are some barefoot myths saying that you can’t enter stores barefoot or drive barefoot, but such practices are completely legal. Even though entering stores and restaurants is legal, these premises may have their own dress codes.

Bare feet are gross!

How people view feet has a lot to do with culture. There are some developed nations like New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia where going barefoot is common practice and at times encouraged. Students even attend schools barefoot! The healthiest and best looking feet are feet that go bare.

How do I get started?

Getting starting going barefoot is as simple as taking off your shoes. You can start by taking off your shoes where it’s easiest, indoors in your own home or when visiting friends. Short barefoot walks are great for getting started, as walking will strengthen the necessary muscles. It’s important to start slow to prevent injury.