I was taking a walk through town one lovely late March afternoon, just pushing Delilah in the stroller enjoying the unseasonably warm 50 degree weather. The baby was all bundled and I was wearing pants and a hoodie, but no shoes. As I go to cross the street I hear a little boy on the other side talking (in a very loud voice) to his mom. Their conversation went something like this-
Boy- “Mommy!! Why doesn’t that girl have any shoes on??!?!”
Mother- “Shhhh!!!! Don’t talk so loud! *hushed whispers*”
Boy- “Oh, I bet I know why! Maybe she doesn’t have enough money to get some! Do you think that’s it? Do you think she’s to poor for shoes, mom?!?”
Mother- “Shutup!! Be quiet! Your being rude! Shhhh!!! *Angry, muffled whispers*.”
Yeah, that actually happened, and it was pretty funny.
However, this is quite a popular subject of discussion amongst my friends, family, peers and even strangers. Everyone has their own opinions. I’m sure most people I know think its because I’m a wacko hippie, and I guess that is partially true. There are, however, people who think its because I’m dirty, trashy, manly, gross, I enjoy being dirty, I’m weird, I’m an uncouth hillbilly or cuz I’m just plain crazy (or too poor). Some of those are partially true as well.
Surprising enough, I have real, actual reasons why I skip wearing shoes unless its absolutely necessary!!
First off is a little thing called earthing.
Earthing is the idea that physically connecting with the earth is the bottom line of health. Which I feel is very true. Even if you don’t personally feel that its the foundation of health, its has some proven benefits. When you go barefoot outdoors the earth’s subtle electric field transfers to the body almost instantaneously. The soles on shoes are non-conductive and you can’t reap the benefits. Therefore, you must go barefoot to fully connect with the earth.
Studies have shown that earthing or grounding improves blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep and reduces effects of stress. I can honestly tell you I feel better on days where I get outside in my bare feet. I also feel better in warmer weather when I don’t need shoes outdoors. I go barefoot as soon as the ground thaws in the spring and until it freezes in winter.
The next reason is really an age old debate.Going bare foot can help with back pain.
This is a huge debate among runners. Can running bare foot help your back? Does running barefoot make it worse? There’s studies done on both sides of the debate. However I’m inclined to believe that it does help your back. Not only running barefoot, but being barefoot in general. One of the main reasons they consider running with no shoes to be better for your back is the fact that shoes screw with your senses. When your wearing shoes your feet come down harder (since your feet can’t sense the ground) thus increasing the impact on your back and body when you step down. When your shoeless you can sense the ground better and down slam down your feet as hard.
I’ve had times where I wore shoes regularly and times where I’m barefoot constantly. My back pain decreases 10 fold when I’m barefoot.
Shoes just totally throw off my groove. They mess with the way your body naturally works, they are uncomfortable and generally give me blisters.
I enjoy feeling the grass between my toes, cool sidewalks on a hot day, mud under my feet, bouncing on cool, damp moss and splashing in puddles! This is gonna sound pretty darn ‘hippy dippy’ but I love touching the earth. I hate always feeling something man made on my feet. Socks, shoes, carpet, floors, asphalt…. They just don’t give you the happy feeling the dirt or grass does.
Plus, hey, we’re washable!!
You get dirty feet, you can wash em! They are on the bottom of your body. How often do you eat off of your feet? Most folks probably answered that question with never. My feet are very dark on the soles from being barefoot so much, but it really doesn’t affect my day to day life. My feet hurt less, my back hurts less and all I have is dirtier feet then your average 20 year old girl. I’d trade feeling better for dirty soles of my feel any day.
So, there you have it!
You know why I try to wear shoes as little as possible!
There are actually some honest to goodness, scientific explanations. I’m not only a wacko hippie.
Go kick off your shoes and relax =)
~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent