You might not guess that I’ve often gone barefoot in public, since my lovely heels make their appearance sometimes when I do pull ups and pushups. But I don’t wear heels all the time. In fact, I really don’t wear heels much at all. Only for fun, the occasional night out, and in the bedroom.
Usually, I don’t wear any shoes.That’s right, I’m one of those weird barefoot people.
Going barefoot brings you into the present moment, makes you pay attention to your senses, your sensuality. Just beware, after you do it for awhile, you may not be able to wear shoes anymore.
Benefits of going barefoot in public
- Feet are the foundation. Shoes alter the way you stand, and the way your foot strikes the ground (unless it is a barefoot minimalist shoe, and even that is debatable). This faulty alignment and foot strike then affects your ankles, your knees, your hips, and so on up the body. The result: chronic pain in feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, neck.
- Going barefoot restores proper proprioception–your awareness of the position of your body. Your feet are a big part of how your brain receives information to orient you to what is around you, the terrain, where you are in space, and how your body should be responding to the environment. When you wear thick, padded “comfy” shoes with arch supports, your brain is not getting all the info (you want your brain to get all the info). When your brain is not getting all the info, it makes you more prone to injury. You will actually step, jump, or run harder than you normally would because your brain thinks the surface is padded. This causes more impact to your body.
- Wearing shoes would be like wearing a thick padded box around your hands. Could you feel anything or understand what you were touching? Your feet just can’t function properly when they are constantly encased in shoes. They become like clubs instead of the strong, supple support for the rest of your body that they are meant to be.
- Going barefoot strengthens your feet. Yes your feet may get sore when you first start, so go easy at first. If you start easy, and do it properly, your feet will get stronger and you can even reverse your flat arches. See my post on transitioning to going barefoot and wearing barefoot shoes.
Do NOT walk like a duck with your toes pointed out! Stand and walk with your toes pointed straight ahead. Watch this video from Katy Bowman about externally rotating your thighs. This is super important for the health of your feet and knees. If you can’t bring yourself to walk barefoot, at least walk with your feet straight ahead and externally rotate your thighs.
In fact, I suggest that you subscribe to Katy’s blog because she is super smart and has incredible information about the body (and she’s all science-y n’ shit, and can back it all up).
- Going barefoot in public will mess with your ego. It’s incredible how naked you’ll feel. And it’s just your bare feet! It feels a little weird at first, and you might get a few dirty looks (cuz it’s public nudity don’t cha know?) But you can do it!
Tips for going barefoot in public
You’ve heard about this whole barefoot running thing right? I don’t suggest running (at least not at first). Just walk, bare foot (in public
- If you wear shoes in your home, my gosh, stop it now!
- Go barefoot in the grass
- Go barefoot on short walks
- Then challenge yourself a bit and try surfaces that aren’t so soft–cement, gravel, uneven surfaces, big rocks–it’ll wake up your soles (soul!)
- Then try it at your local farmer’s market.
- Find friendly places to go barefoot in public. I have found a couple of local places here that have not taken issue with my barefoot-ness. Even my friendly local gym Flex Fitness Center, is good with it.
Consequences of going barefoot in public.
- You might get reprimanded. (ah– one of my greatest fears in life–the reprimand). This has happened to me at the library, the doctor’s office, and a gym I used to attend. I have been told numerous times, “We really need you to wear shoes, just in case/for safety/because there might be a staple on the floor/you might step on our invisible gnomes etc. I got kicked out of a certain Latin dance/aerobic class for not wearing shoes.
- You might start forgetting your shoes. I don’t realize that I take my shoes off. Then, I forget to put them back on.
- You must always be on the lookout for the following things: glass and sharp things (in 3-4 years of going barefoot I have only had maybe 2-3 cuts), dog poop or other poop, chemical spills like oil from cars and such. After awhile it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it too much.
- Keep in mind temperature variations on different surfaces. Grass may be just fine on a hot day, but cement or asphalt is going to be like a broiler, so always make sure you have some minimalist shoes with you to slip on.
What to do when you can’t or don’t want to go barefoot in public
Wear minimalist or “barefoot” shoes. Usually in the summer I wear flip flops when I need to put shoes on. Some other options:
- Soft Star Shoes. I love this company. USA made, great customer service, and they will custom make shoes for your feet. Here are my Soft Star Ramblers. I wear them in spring and fall when it’s not wet. Not the most fashion forward certainly, but they work. Next time I’ll get some of Soft Star’s Runamocs. (and no, I’m not an affiliate or anything, I just really like the shoes and the company).
- Vibrams–kinda ugly and I can’t get them on my feet to save my life, but if you like them…
- Merrells have some good looking minimalist shoes
- Minnetonka moccasins has some fashionable options, although too narrow in my opinion. I have the knee high black boots. I ripped the inner cushion out because I prefer to feel the ground and because it gives my wiiiide feet more room.
So go ahead and slip off your shoes, right now. Go walk barefoot in the grass or around your home. This is part of discovering the sensual divine feminine energy. Then come back and tell me what you noticed.
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