Search This Blog

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Benefits of Barefooting

I have to write about the benefits of barefooting here on my Nitty Gritty of Writing blog because I feel that the very lifestyle of barefooting impacts my writing.

Yes, being barefoot is one of the Nitty Gritty facts of my own writing.

Being barefoot connects me with the earth, my surroundings, and therefore, with myself in terms of how I fit into this world. This, in turn, connects my writing to the most genuine core of my thoughts, ideas, ways of expression, and others – my readers and all the people in my life.

Now that I am back in the work world, i.e., the public sector, I feel the pressures of social “norms” to wear shoes and I am resisting it both practically and philosophically.

Following is a list of benefits and arguments to support them.

Safety: It is a myth that going barefoot is unsafe; shoes, on the other hand, are hazardous. Harm exists everywhere from a hot burner on the stove to jammed locks. Nearly all our daily activities pose potential for harm. Consider the use of a curling iron, a kitchen knife, a paper cutter, a razor; consider closing drawers and doors, driving a car, inserting contacts. Bare feet slip less than any kind of shoe on slick surfaces. Shoes can cause you to trip, stumble, wobble or tumble. Straps, buckles, heels and stings are all much more hazardous than bare feet. Finally, because of all the nerve endings on the soles of our feet, going barefoot allows you to make subtle and immediate adjustments on uneven ground, thereby making walking barefoot the safest way to go.

Health: Toe fungus and athletes foot require a warm, moist, dark environment to foster and grow; barefooters simply don’t have these ailments. Barefooting promotes health because without the restrictions of shoes, our feet are free to build up strength and maintain flexibility. This promotes strength in our joints and muscles in our ankles, legs, hips and on into our backs. Barefooting supports proper posture as well. Additionally, going barefoot has a therapeutic effect as walking on a variety of surfaces mirrors a foot massage. This not only promotes physical health, but mental and emotional health as well!

Cleanliness: Hands are significantly dirtier than feet. Even if you wash your hands several times throughout the day, hands touch unbelievably dirty things from public restroom door handles to hand railings and money. Then we touch other people. We even put our hands in our mouths, but we don’t tend to put our feet in our mouths. Why have we not all adopted fashion gloves like we have shoes? Bare feet do get dirty from walking, but they also get washed daily. What’s more, germs that our feet come into contact with are “cleaned” by the following steps we take. When is the last time you washed the bottoms of your shoes? Yet we wear our shoes in our homes and think that because we vacuum, our floors are clean. Think again. And one more thing – shoes harbor all the nasty stuff that grows from sweat and it all stays there for weeks, months, sometimes even years and we continue to put our feet into that environment over and over again.

Legalities: It is a myth that it is against the law to go barefoot in restaurants, stores, or when driving. There are no federal or state laws in the United States that ban bare feet in public places. This includes the health departments and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Respect: Another point of contention is that it is disrespectful to go barefoot because it might offend others. Yes, but tattoos, wearing hats, cussing, showing cleavage, preaching religious or political views, overstaying your welcome, being late, talking too much….. all these things and more also considered disrespectful. Barefooters are not trying to be offensive, rather we tolerate all kinds of offensive behavior from others and think that we too, should simply be allowed to honor our own beliefs and convictions about health, safety, comfort, and lifestyle choice. 


  1. I'm all in favor of your having the right to go barefoot. What I mostly remember about going barefoot was...stubbing my toe, getting stung, burning my feet walking on very hot streets, getting a sliver in my foot and breaking my toe on a door. The last, I must admit was walking in the dark to the bathroom and walking into the corner of the door. Ouch! :( That hurt, and I said a few blankety-blank words. So, now I go barefoot only in the house or at a beach. Now there's a great place to go barefoot!

  2. I stopped by to say hello and now you've got me all curious. Do you really go barefoot everywhere? I love it!

  3. Quite often - banks, post office, stores, many restaurants, libraries, parent-teacher meetings at my kids' schools, church, etc. Now my struggle is with the expectation that I will wear shoes at work! I wear them in the halls, but hook them on my bag when I walk across campus. I wear them into the buildings, but then kick them off again when I go in to teach. How about you, Relyn, do you ever go barefoot?

  4. Shh; I go barefoot at work - - on Saturdays, when I'm the only one there to notice. (lol)

    But you make a good argument for going barefoot everywhere. I like the idea.

    I'm with Scrappy Grams too; I remember stubbed toes and . .