Take your shoes off! Well, maybe not right now but take them off! We wear shoes too much and as if that isn’t enough, we wear shoes that are bad for us. Like high heels and dress shoes. And we wear them all the time.
Now, I have never been a fan of shoes or socks. I always worked my way out of shoes as a baby and since I’ve grown up, I still don’t wear them that much. I spend 90% of my day barefoot. And I’ve always loved to walk around outside barefoot too. But that’s a different deal. Long story short, I just never liked wearing shoes that much and my parents didn’t force me to. (Thanks guys).
My favorite things in the world involve being barefoot. Doing Aikido, yoga, running in the grass all require being barefoot and I like it that way! My feet, my ankles, and my legs are happiest when they aren’t in a shoe.
When I learned that some people wear shoes all the time I was shocked. I couldn’t fathom how someone could keep their feet caged all day, because that’s what it felt like to me.
My grandma is one of those people. She doesn’t have good balance, her feet bother her a lot, and without shoes now she can’t find enough strength or balance to walk. There’s a reason for this, too. She wore shoes her whole life. Good shoes too!
The deal with shoes is this: they support your feet and keep your ankles perfectly in place. They are a protective barrier against your feet and the ground. Great! They have a place. Shoes are good for walking around outside, running outside, and all sorts of other things.
They are not good for daily life.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that if you’re doing what these people are doing to the left, take off your shoes. Your feet need to breathe, they need to move, and we get a lot of information from our feet. If we aren’t walking around in a store, driving, or anything like that, we can stand to pop our shoes off. Even if it’s an impromptu trip to a field to relax, take a minute to take your shoes off. If you’re around the house, take your shoes off or wear some slippers. Because there are some big problems with shoes.
The first of which is that it robs your foot of its strength. If and when we do take off our shoes our feet get to their natural job, which is to support you. But if you wear shoes all day long, your feet aren’t strong enough to do this. You’re more like to twist your ankle, fall down, trip, and all those lovely things. Who wants that?
Going barefoot strengthens your feet. It keeps you connected to the ground and able to move around better. When you have shoes on, you aren’t walking the way you normally would. Your gait is interrupted. Your feet rely on the shoes. And you aren’t moving yourself by yourself.
Another issue connected to the last one is that we heel strike more when we wear shoes. All that fun cushioning leads up to slam our heels into the ground. Nope, it’s not just a running issue. Heel striking kills you. Or it feels like it after a long time. Our knees will hurt, our hips will hurt, and finally, our backs will hurt. When you remove that cushion from your heels, you’ll feel the impact of your heel on the ground. I promise
So, take your shoes off. Walk around when you’re home and feel how you naturally walk. Encourage yourself to learn about your feet, your tendencies, and if you’re heel striking. Your joints will thank you!
I could honestly spend all day talking about various problems shoes create like ankle instability (strength), the inability to spread and move your toes, and the terrifying amount of germs we bring into our homes when we track our shoes that have been in stores and the workplace. All of these things are very big and very real problems, but I’m cutting it short. I want to tell you why you should go barefoot.
1. It feels nice.
So this, to me, is my favorite reason to go barefoot. I love the feeling of carpet under my toes. I love the feeling of grass under my feet. I love sitting in a lawn chair and feeling the sun, the wind, maybe even the rain on my toes. It’s refreshing! It feels natural and our feet are much more sensitive than we give them credit for.
2. Wiggle Room
When I go barefoot around the house, a lot of the times I’m just sitting at my desk working. But I’ll wiggle my feet around, I’ll stretch my toes, I’ll play with a cord between my toes, or I’ll move my ankles around as I sit. This gives my feet and ankles wiggle room. Because I move my feet freely all day long, I have very strong and flexible feet which has saved me on multiple occasions.
This is also why I like to do a lot of my workouts at home with the weights and equipment I have there (also my body). It really works my wiggly ankles. Those tiny stabilizer muscles are what keep you balanced and happy. Try walking lunges…but barefoot. You’ll notice a difference.
This one is one that you can do whenever. You can pop your shoes off at work, on the train, wherever, and just move your feet around. Let them be feet.
Everything is cleaner with bare feet! Aside from the germs you aren’t tracking inside when you ditch your shoes at the door, you’re also keeping your feet a lot cleaner. Without being confined to hot, sweaty shoes, your feet are less likely to develop fungus and the yucky stuff. Sometimes, you’ll even notice that your foot odor goes down. This is because you are sitting in a cage of yuck. Your feet get to breathe!
This is the last one I’ll touch on but if you’re interested, Google more benefits of going barefoot. Our balance relies on foot strength, spreading our toes, gripping the ground, and the stability of our ankles. Wobbling is good, it means you’re building that up. But when we have shoes on, our feet can’t check out what’s happening on the ground. Going barefoot improves your balance a lot.
It’s easier to balance on strong feet and ankles. And it’s a lot easier to balance if your body is already familiar with how to do it properly.
Are you done hearing about feet yet?
Just try it out. Try ditching the shoes. Spend time with your feet being out and about. Let them be free. Let them breathe. And you…you get to spend time relaxing without shoes. How great is that?