Barefoot Benefits

Posted: August 23, 2011 in barefoot, Fitness, Health, Running, Shoes, Society
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First a bit of a rant:

BAREFOOT SHOES ARE A LIE. Don’t believe me??? Look at your barefeet…Do they look like they need shoes? Walk around barefoot, then put a shoe on (sure even the thinnest huarches you can find)…Does it feel the exact same as barefoot? No…I didn’t think so. I’m sick of the marketing used by big shoe companies claiming their shoes are better than being barefoot. As far as a form correcting, sensation inducing part of running, nothing is better than being bare. You’ll also be suprised to know that Steve Sashen of @invisibleshoes feels the same. He even wrote an article about it which can be found here. This article single handedly points out everything that is wrong with this whole “barefoot” shoe ideal. They aren’t barefoot shoes, they are minimal shoes. Sure, it might seem like the pot calling the kettle black, but you just aren’t barefoot if you have ANYTHING, including socks, medical booties, etc. on your feet. You’re not a barefoot runner if you don’t run without shoes. You are a minimalist runner. The two should not be considered the same for obvious reasons that you can read in the article linked above.  But for my sanity and everyone else’s, please stop making the two synonymous with one another. They are similar, yes. But they are different on many levels and should be viewed as such. HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU MR. BIG SHOE COMPANY.

Most of the buzz surrounding the barefoot running movement is about exactly that…Running. However, there are more benefits to be had by going barefoot than simply pain free and faster running. Many people, myself included, are arguing that going barefoot for the majority of our days has benefits that go far beyond sports performance. I myself have experienced a more positive outlook on life, more relaxed state of being during the day, more energy (probably because I don’t have to carry the extra 2-3lbs of shoe), and I just overall FEEL better. I understand going barefoot into places like stores and eateries can be intimidating, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always go into these places barefoot. However, I’m the type of person that believes in challenging the social norm. Since going barefoot, I’ve also quit caring so much about what other people think. I make more confident decisions, and I make my decisions based on what is RIGHT for ME.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that we all chuck our shoes, and begin living barefoot 100% of the time. There are indeed times when shoes are necessary. I also believe that gloves have their place as well, but I don’t see folks wearing gloves all day long. Thanks to Michael at the Primalfoot Alliance for pointing out that unique observation. I’ve also made the argument that going barefoot is a learning experiment. How do you know what you can/can’t step on until you actually…uhm…PUT YOUR FOOT ON IT???? This just utterly baffles me. If you guys follow @Barefootmichael on twitter, take a look at his profile picture….He’s standing on a pile of glass…you guessed it….barefoot. He did this without injury, and while I may not be 100% willing to step on broken glass, I don’t fear it. People seem to think that without shoes, we would just walk around constantly stepping on unfriendly surfaces. I argue that we were born with tools to prevent this…Almost all of us have two of them, and for almost all of them, they work the same way. They are called your EYEBALLS. Use them. If you see a big patch of menacing rocks/nails/glass/syringes/drug needles, etc in your path…By all means go around it. No one is forcing you to walk on it. However, many people with shoes on wouldn’t even have known that they were stepping that kind of stuff.

People also argue that going barefoot is unsanitary. Well, I don’t know about you, but I wash my feet everyday, sometimes 3-4 times a day. When was the last time you washed the bottom of your shoes? I don’t mean a nice sprinkle of water to get the mud off. I mean a real cleaning with soap, you know that stuff that some people seem to forget exists, and water? I bet you don’t wash those very often. Yet you walk into your house with that stuff on your shoes, you walk all over the place. That’s kind of gross. What’s worse…YOU LEAVE YOUR FEET IN THEM FOR HOURS at a time. How is that clean and sanitary. Biology 101 people. Bacteria likes dark, moist, warm places. That’s where it grows best. Guess what…Your shoes provide all those criteria. Not only that, but your feet sit around for the bacteria to feast on all day. That can’t be good right?

So a brief recap: I believe we should be living barefoot as much as possible. Yes, being barefoot has it risks, but so does cutting, cooking, grasping, etc without gloves. You learn to do things without the added protection, and you learn to do them better. Like Barefoot Ken Bob says, you can feel the piano keys with gloves on, but you can’t play mozart. If you are interested in learning more about living barefoot, I urge that you check out the Primafoot Alliance and the Barefoot Runner’s Society. @BarefootMichael (founder of the Primalfoot Alliance) has an excellent manifesto of how to live your life as barefoot as possible. You can find his post here. Also, you might be interested in checking out the blogs over there in my blog roll. Lots of good stuff there.

Until next time,

Puff

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