Our bodies are not meant to be confined in any way, said my friend in May. Our bodies are not made for furniture, for restrictive clothing – they’re made to be free. And yes, she was so right about that! I didn’t immediately go and chuck out all our furniture (although I do tend to sit on the floor more now than before), but I did start walking barefooted everywhere. And it is so liberating!
Just like my back is thanking me for getting rid of my bras (I’m a 80E European size, so I kind of have a pair of large melons – and still my back feels much better now 3 years without a bra!), my feet are thrilled with me walking barefooted!
There are so many benefits:
- I get to use muscles I didn’t even knew I had! My feet are so happy!
- along with happy feet, my legs are also happier, and my whole body as a result! I can feel everything shifting and feeling more natural now.
- that feeling of well-being that my feet get from walking outside surges through my whole body, and definitely has a positive effect on my sleep
- I get to relive memories from being small and running around barefooted during the summers – it feels so nice to walk on pine needles on a soft wood path, to step in mud, to walk through puddles or in the waves at the beach!
- the temperature regulation is amazing! I had no idea so much of what you feel in your body regarding heat/cold is because of your feet, but now I definitely do! I don’t need to wear as much clothes when I walk barefooted as when I wear socks and shoes, and artificially let my feet think it’s another temperature than it really is. If I feel cold I put on a sweater or a jacket – I don’t need to wear socks (not yet, at least)
- walking outside barefooted is mindfulness. You can’t walk outside and not be aware of what you’re stepping on, what the ground feels like, where you are. That is really relaxing and a great benefit.
- no blisters! And I don’t need to wear special soles – my feet have both healed themselves from whatever injury I used to have. It feels amazing! I’ve been wearing special soles for the last 16 years, but no more!
The main drawback is people staring and commenting. I expect that will get worse as temperatures drop! I don’t know yet how long I will be able to walk barefooted, if my body has adjusted itself enough so I can still walk while it’s zero degrees outside. We’ll just have to see!
But already so many people are commenting.
I think it’s like when we moved here with a big bike (a Kangaroo) – people stared and had questions, but after a while people were used to seeing us with the bike and other people actually got big bikes like ours as well, so they stopped asking questions. I think going barefooted will be the same – right now about half the people who comment seem to know something about the benefits to walking barefoot, and have themselves toyed with the idea of doing it.
I also walk much differently now that I walk barefooted all the time. There isn’t this artificial inclination to step heel first – instead I step toes first, heel after.
But what about stepping on glass? Aren’t you afraid you’ll hurt yourself?
I was at first, but then when I started walking barefooted I noticed that there isn’t that many sharp objects lying around on the ground most of the time. And also, because of the propensity to walk toes first, I get a sense of something sharp much earlier because of the toes hitting the ground first, and can adjust accordingly. Plus as the soles of my feet adjust, they sort of get thicker (more leathery) – if something sharp pierces the soles, it usually doesn’t do much damage or even hurt at all.
When you walk heel first your whole body gets a sort of jolt by the power of the motion, but when you walk toes first it is much gentler on the whole body. You also walk more quietly and can see much more wildlife as a result.
Don’t your feet stink?
Actually, no! They stink less now that I walk barefooted all the time, than when I use socks. I get a natural exfoliation every time I walk outdoors. My soles are kind of like thick leather, and they feel much healthier now than they used to.
Don’t you hurt yourself more easily without the protection of shoes?
Yes, and no. I did at the start forget to watch my step sometimes (mainly because I wore glasses that didn’t allow me to see well close by on the ground) so I accidentally stubbed my toe on a plank when walking a trail and broke my toe. But here’s the thing – yes, it hurt something fierce to break the toe, but the toe immediately started healing! I think the circulation in my toes is much better now, so if I hurt them they also heal faster. And when my muscles get stronger, they will provide additional protection.
I.e. you should watch where you’re walking, and take care to wear proper glasses!
I love my feet, and my feet love me!