If you follow Clint and I on social media or know us personally you’ll be very aware we’re big fans of going barefoot. Clint more so than me; he’s barefoot 90% of the time when he’s not at his part-time job that involves wearing shoes (which he loathes by the way!).
I tend to be barefoot when we play (as in exercise, but our version of that is ‘playing’) and often when we go to the shops (from the car in the carpark) or our ‘local’ Ground Organics in Mooloolaba for a cuppa (again, from the car). But the rest of the time I wear shoes. Always flat shoes mind you, no heels for me as they make my legs and lower back and very sore.
Though lately I’ve been thinking I’d like to wear shoes less often.
I know all about the long list of health benefits of walking barefoot, so why do I still wear shoes when I leave the house? Is there a need? Or is it due to the social stigma outside the privacy of our homes where we’re ‘expected’ to wear shoes out in public?
I think it’s a little of both.. I like to be comfortable and wearing flat shoes out and about means I don’t have to worry about stones, sticks, prickles, hot roads and the likes. And I also feel self-conscious that if I’m walking to the shops from my home barefoot I’ll look like a total bogan.
I’ve been questioning these issues a lot lately.
I do know that the more I go barefoot the more the soles of my feet will adapt to what I walk on and will feel less discomfort from stones and other rough surfaces. I can just look at Clint as an example.. his feet have definitely built up a tolerance and he can walk on rough surfaces just fine whereas when I give it a go, it feels painful or uncomfortable. So I know my feet can adapt, it just takes practice, as with anything.
With the other issue though, of “what will people think of me if I go out in public with semi-nice clothes on but no shoes on my feet?” … y’know what I realised? WHO GIVES A RATS?!! If I stop worrying about what others think then I relax a lot more and stop stressing out about it. If I walk to the supermarket with no shoes on and someone does think to themselves “gee, she looks a little daggy without shoes on” does it really matter? It actually doesn’t! Why? Well for one I can’t even hear them thinking that so, I can never know if someone is thinking actually that anyway! Maybe no one thinks that at all! So I shouldn’t be concerned about what thoughts others might have about how I look.
Also, if I’m barefoot and feeling physically more comfortable, isn’t that the main thing?! Wouldn’t we rather have more physical comfort, than not?
That’s how I’m starting to want to be living. More physically comfortable and less emotionally stressed. Who doesn’t want to be that way, really, deep down?!
I did an experiment the other day. I needed to walk to the nearby organic shop for a few bits and pieces and also wanted to check out a new raw cafe and grab a takeaway coffee. I had the urge to go barefoot. I only live about 15 minutes away from these places but walking all the way from home to the shops, by myself, not in exercise clothes, is something I’d never done before.
So.. I did it! And it was actually really liberating! I’m sure I got a few odd looks from passersby but I didn’t really care. Correctio… I chose not to care. My feet were happier and I was going outside my comfort-zone which takes a bit of courage, so I was feeling pretty darn good about myself!
The next day when mum was up from Brissie her and I decided to go to the same cafe (cos their coconut milk cappuccino happens to be absolutely delicious!) and had to make a few other stops along the way, so I went barefoot again. Two days in a row? You betcha! Again, I felt more comfortable then when I wear shoes and I enjoyed the experience.
What was the outcome of this little experiment?
Well firstly I found I really enjoyed being barefoot; it feels more natural and the more I do it the more I want to do it. My feet prefer it. I prefer it. I know it’s doing me good and that the more I do it the better it will be for the earthing factor, structural benefits etc etc etc.
Any negative effects?
Actually I did get 2 very minor blisters on the soles of my heels. On both feet, in the same place on both, a little patch felt sore for a day or two afterwards, which I think would be where my foot rubs the most while I’m walking. And that’s totally fine, they were gone in no time. The more I do it though, the more my feet will get used to it.
The third day it was a bit chillier weather, we were going to be out and about all day, at a cafe and also out on a farm, and since my heels were a little tender I opted for boots (which are years old and have molded to the shape of my foot, they feel like pillows, I love them!) to give my tootsies a break.
I wasn’t chickening out or going back to constantly shoe-footed, I just realised it’s best to start slow and build my feet up to barefoot.
I definitely plan to go barefoot a lot more often! Only thing is though.. I’m nervous about Summer time when those nasty little ground prickles called ‘bindis’ start popping up all over the place. I may need to come up with a minimal footwear alternative, and just try and go barefoot wherever there aren’t any prickles. Oh how I miss living in Darwin where prickles were non-existent!!
I now intend to help others break away from the ‘barefoot bogan’ stereotype and allow their feet the freedom they so deserve! I’m on a mission and I’m going to walk it with no shoes on! lol
Are you a shoe addict? Think you could never be a barefoot ‘bogan’? Want some damn good reasons to even start considering you could go barefoot some of the time? Then check out these handy links…
Are you a fan of going barefoot? Feel free to tell me about your own experiences and how you adapted (emotionally and physically!). I’d love to hear from you!
5 Things I’m Grateful For:
1. Our Paleo Lifestyle talk at Grub Organics last night
2. Slow cooked beef tongue – yum!
3. Gelatin hot choc
4. My organic container garden and the strawberries that are almost ready to pick
5. Spending time with mum on the weekend