Is going barefoot unhealthy?

Many health experts are bringing to light the benefits to going barefoot as opposed to wearing shoes. More information will be provided in other parts of this site but to give a few brief points:

Firstly, when you sweat, your body is ejecting toxins as part of its cleansing process. Did you know that your foot produces more sweat than any other part of your body? Now when your foot is confined all day, where are those toxins going to be? All around your foot – in other words – from 8am to 6pm, your foot is literally swimming in a pool of toxins! Yuck.

These germs are what actually cause that foot odor to emanate when you kick off your shoes at the end of the day – or worse – athlete’s foot – which happens from placing dirty or damp feet back into your sneakers. In fact did you know that most problems relating to the feet stem from wearing improper footwear? Think about it! Corns, hammer toes, bunions and other physical ailments – all from trying to keep up with the latest fashion . In fact it seems that the more fashionable a pair of shoes is, the worse they are for your feet!

Take the high heel pump for instance – you’re taking your foot which generally has a wider front than the heel, and forcing all five of your toes into a one-inch narrow “toe box” (notice toe is singular and not plural). Since the heel is raised, each step you are taking forces the toes to push up against this narrow contraption – ouch! Not only does it hurt and give you burning blisters, but it is a cause for more serious disorders such as, bunions and hammertoes – which can only be repaired by an orthopedist.

In fact, going barefoot has been known to cure the type of disorders caused by some shoes!Now what would you rather have? A foot that’s been disfigured from being cramped up all day? Or a naturally shaped foot that is bare, free of pain, and attractive to look at.

It amazes me to hear 2 women having a discussion about the need to be fashionable, sometimes rationalizing, “I’d rather hurt my feet wearing pretty heels than comfortable ugly shoes. For some reason, bare feet are not an option with them, even though to me it makes the most obvious fashion choice, and are much more appealing to the eye than the most fashionable heels.

And if you’re worried about being fashionable, just clip on a nice ankle bracelet (I prefer hemp) and throw on a couple of toe rings and you have the most fashionable feet around! Now doesn’t that beat having a disfigured foot just to be in with the latest fashion?

Aren’t you afraid of hurting your feet?

This is another question I get frequently. Another way of looking at this is, how many people do you know that keep their hands concealed in gloves all day? Okay granted, there are people like this but most of society would consider this type of person OCD (obsessive compulsive neurotic)! Have you ever heard someone say, “oh this would have never happen had I worn mittens!” Nonsense! In fact it is generally second nature that a person will rarely hurt his hands doing some mundane task due to sense of danger. And if a person does get a cut in his hand he or she will just wash it off, put on a bandaid and continue with what he was doing.

It is the same thing when one habitually goes barefoot. Trust me – you will actually sense when there is a possibility that you will get some kind of injury. That is because the mind is actually trained to send you those signals. It is the reason why in some cultures shoes are never worn and yet you see the people of these cultures walk in the mountains, fields – on all types of terrain – barefoot!

This brings things back to the high-end shoe which not only causes much more pain to the foot but permanent damage as well, compared to going barefoot for the first time which might cause a little pain. Yet, the ironic thing is that people who elect to wear them don’t seem to be afraid of hurting their feet!

But once you make it a habit to go barefoot, your foot will adapt to its environment. Your sole will grow thicker and more resilient to things that will normally harm a regularly shod foot. I’ve from time to time stepped on a shard of glass. Since my soles are to the point of being leathery, I am able to pull the splinter right out of my foot and go along my way, washing it as soon as I get the chance.

I often enjoy during the course of having these conversations, finding a lit cigarette butt on the pavement and casually extiguishing it with my foot!

Isn’t it unsanitary to go barefoot?

Many establishments will say that bare feet are in violation of the health code. The health code they refer to are the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards, which in actuality only apply to employees, and only in certain lines of business. There are actually no health code requirements concerning barefooted patrons. This link will provide you with OSHA’s guidelines.

While some establishments may actually believe this myth, others will claim that out of fear of complaints from customers who are prejudiced towards the exposed foot. The bare foot is no less sanitary than the bottom of the shoe which no one ever washes from the date of purchase.

A lot of shoddie customers actually buy into this myth, yet the same people will prop their shoes or boots up on a coffee table or couch while giving a look of disgust to my feet which are probably way cleaner!

Not to say that the bottoms of my feet do not get dirty – heck I quite enjoy looking at my blackened soles as a testament to being bare, but then again, my feet do not get any dirtier than the sole of the shoe, which again is never cleaned.

To add to that, the shod person who steps on something sticky will never realize that something is on the bottom of their shoe unless it gives off some kind of stench, while since there is nothing blocking my feet from feeling the ground underneath, I immediately sense when something is stuck so I remove it right away!

Back to the food establishment, here is another one of my favorites – “this is a food establishment and it is a health hazard”. How many people do you know that eat with their feet? My answer: none!

Isn’t it kind of unprofessional to come to work barefoot?

I’ve been asked this often by friends and colleagues. My answer is a flat out NO. As I mentioned earlier in this page, I often attend professional events barefoot, even the corporate ones where everyone male and female alike is in a suit or other formal attire including shoes and socks, or nylons. My attire of choice at any of these events is denim as I think they go best with bare feet. Since my feet are bare, my contacts are quite understanding of my dressing down.

A pair of nicely groomed, clean bare feet does as nicely as any dressy shoe and sock. A big plus is that you don’t have to worry about spreading foot odor like others who are afraid to remove their shoes, since it is bare feet that don’t give off odor, rather the shoes once they are removed after long periods of time – like 9-5!

If you go barefoot and have good hygiene, there is no reason to think that you are being unprofessional and never let anyone convince you otherwise. In some cases you can actually convince your bosses and colleagues that going barefoot at work can be more beneficial to you and your work environment.

If you think about it, how long has human civilization been in existence? Excluding the Stone Age, almost six-thousand years, right? The Biblical times, and the Age of the the ancient empires, people, including royalty and nobles, if not in sandals (also seen as unprofessional in the modern work environment) went about their normal day barefoot. It was really only in the past half millennium that closed footwear became a symbol of nobility and image of power.

Figuring out the math, the period of time that shoes became a fashion requirement on the timeline of civilization is less than one-twelfth! And that’s excluding the Stone Age!

And yet, for some reason, a person whose legs and feet were completely covered became perceived as the educated and upper class while bare feet were relegated to the poor and ignorant.

And this was only in one portion of the world – Europe. In the Middle East, Far East, the Americas (before the European shoddies defeated the barefooted Native Americans), and Africa, people for the most part continued to conduct their normal day with their feet in plain view.

Today the modern corporate shoe still emulates the footwear of the Renaissance, roughly five hundred years ago, which were designed more for looks than for comfort. Unlike the Ancient and Biblical times where foot deformities were not known, today people make appointments to visit the podiatrist costing them thousands of dollars to fix a problem that could have been avoided.

Isn’t it illegal to go or drive barefoot?

While there are some regulations for employees to have on proper footwear mainly for safety, for the individual there is absolutely no law against going barefoot. Though some employees will tell you that there are laws against entering business establishments barefoot, this is a complete myth. It is even legal to drive barefoot.

In fact I once had the grace of avoiding a car accident because I was able to feel with my toes an object that was caught between the brake and the floor of the car. Something that I would have never felt had I been wearing shoes!

You can click on this link for more information about driving barefoot.

They say you can determine the personality of a person by the shoes he or she wears. To me, bare feet denote a personality of a person who values his or her physical well being, freedom and one who is environmentally conscious. I have yet to meet a barefoot person who is an asshole.

So to all my friends out there, if you are not already barefoot, kick off your shoes, lose those socks and wiggle those toes in celebration of a barefoot freedom!

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