Friday, June 10, 2011

Going Barefoot? Good For You!


Barefoot running has moved from weird to phenomenon in the past few years. Many thousands – perhaps millions – of people have kicked off their shoes and at least tried the barefoot running thing. That’s good. Running is a complex biophysical process and barefoot is the most natural way to do it. People are discovering that the bells-and-whistles that have sold running shoes for the past few decades do more harm than good since they change that complex, biophysical way in which we run.

Now, what about walking?

It should be no surprise that shoes change the way we walk, too. And surprise again, those changes are negative and unhealthy. Should you then walk barefoot? Yes! Even if you’re an avid runner you take many more walking steps per day than you do running steps. If you’re walking in shoes you are putting extra stress on your joints and causing them undue wear-and-tear. Undoubtedly, the damage done by walking in shoes is slower than that done while running in shoes because walking is less impactful, but you’re taking more walking steps than running steps. And the damage adds up over the years.

But is barefoot walking weird? Well, remember... modern shoes have only been on the scene for a short time compared to the eons in which man has walked barefoot – or nearly so – on the Earth, so it’s definitely not weird as human locomotion goes. However, we do live in a shoe-addicted culture, so yes; it may be weird in the sense that it’s not (yet) normal. Perhaps you will attract a few stares if you walk around the neighborhood shoeless, but like running, all it takes is a few people willing to kick off their shoes and stroll to move it from weird to phenomenal.

So kick 'em off and take a walk.

PS. Tomorrow (June 11, 2011) is YOUR DAY WITHOUT SHOES, an excellent opportunity to try the barefoot walking thing!

10 comments:

  1. I can remember as a child, running down a dirt road barefoot. I don't think I wore shoes at all during the summer! I'm so glad I've recaptured that part of my life. Now that I'm almost 50, the only time I wear shoes is at work. And I wear FLAT shoes! My feet are stronger. They feel better. I feel more balanced too!

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  2. I have started doing all my walks barefoot, about two miles a day on top of what ever mileage I run in the mornings. Eventually I would like to try some barefoot running, but haven't taken the plunge yet. One thing I have noticed since beginning barefoot walking, is that my PF seems to have totally disappeared. Coincidence? I don't think so.

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  3. I walk barefoot in the neighborhood all the time. A couple months ago, a family of four were walking out to their car. The boy, about 10, says, "Mom, why isn't she wearing shoes?" I turned to him and said, "It's sad, really, but I was born without them."

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  4. LOL veggirl... that's one I haven't heard before!

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  5. I walk barefoot at least half of the year nearly everywhere, particularly in the city. I feel that it's good for my feet to walk barefoot on hard surfaches. My soles are covered with leathery skin. So my feet are well protected and need no shoes.

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  6. I have not worn shoes in my house for 48 years, ever since I married a Japanese woman. I am retired so that means sometimes I go for days without donning shoes.

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  7. I always go barefoot at home, but I wear Vibram Five Fingers in public as a happy medium. I already don't wear makeup or earrings, and I don't shave my legs, so I don't mind sitting this movement out (it's also too cold most of the year to go barefoot). However, I applaud those who partake and encourage my friends and family to avoid high-heels.

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  8. Hurray for walking barefoot around the neighborhood! I've been happily enjoying the bewildered looks of my neighbors, as I walk around Chicago shoeless. Ah - freedom at its finest.

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Welcome to The Barefoot Professor blog, intelligent talk about running, walking and living barefoot. I encourage your comments, even if you disagree with me. In this spirit I don't even moderate the comments. However, PLEASE use critical thinking skills when leaving comments, and avoid inflammatory words. Please keep your comments short and to-the-point. THANKS.