Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book of the Year Award

I am pleased to announce that The Barefoot Book has won ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award in the Body, Mind & Spirit category.ForeWord magazine announced the winners of this year's awards on Saturday, June 25th at the annual American Library Association conference in New Orleans.

If you haven't read The Barefoot Book yet, pick up a copy of this award-winning book. After all, there's no better time to try this "barefooting thing" than in the middle of summer! So go ahead, kick off your shoes! (Now!)

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!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Culture of Costumes

I just finished an interview with Proof Negative on FreedomizerRadio. Proof and I and Bob Neinast were contemplating why going barefoot in public is still considered taboo by so many people in America. Obviously, I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few years, but I recently came to a new realization which may partly explain the phenomenon: we are a culture of costumes.

Think about it. We have a costume, er… uniform, for almost every occupation: policeman, nurse, fireman, priest, janitor, doctor, soldier, scientist, businessman… the list could be very long. Perhaps the only ones to really escape the costume party are the artsy types; they are instead often known for their lack of conformity (we call it creativity).*

Even when we’re not working we are dressed up in costume to identify ourselves: slut, gangsta, prep, nerd, redneck, jock, church lady… this list is long, too, and each group has their own costume.Nearly all of these costumes – at work or at play – include shoes. Without shoes the costume is incomplete and for all but that most diverse group of non-conforming, artsy types an incomplete costume is unacceptable.

Fortunately, our costumes can and do change over time; it’s called fashion.

For the health of our feet and for the sake of our personal freedoms, let’s make bare feet an acceptable part of our costumes.  You can help by going barefoot this Saturday, June 11, which just happens to be Your Day Without Shoes. Of course, you can also buy and share a copy of The Barefoot Book. ;-)

*Intellectuals tend to avoid costumes, too. One reason I became a professor is because profs are high in creativity and low in conformity. Indeed, it seems the more ‘rigid’ the uniform the less creativity is usually involved in the task. This is not always a bad thing, but it’s clearly not always a good thing, either.