I’m not sure when walking barefoot became taboo, but it’s unfortunate that so many doctors advise their patients never to go barefoot if they are experiencing any type of foot discomfort. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across who were instructed to wear shoes every waking hour of the day, essentially casting their feet.
If you never go barefoot outside, you are missing out on the power of being connected to the earth. “Earthing” or “grounding” is simply the act of getting your bare feet in contact with the earth’s surface. If you’re not familiar with it, here is a good article by Dr. Joseph Mercola. Grounding allows earth’s electrons to be conducted through your body and has been purported to reduce inflammation, increase energy, and boost your immune response, among other benefits. If the concept of grounding is too out of the box for you, remember that at one point organic food just used to be food, and we used to drink clean water out of our streams. We have become so disconnected with nature that the natural seems unnatural.
But if being an electrical conduit still doesn’t do it for you, then you should consider slipping off your shoes for other reasons. The human foot contains 26 bones. These bones form joints that are connected by muscles and ligaments. Your foot has so many small joints because it is designed to flex and adapt to the terrain. This simply can’t happen as efficiently with a thick-soled shoe. Imaging how differently your hand would function if you wore a rigid brace over your palm.
Walking barefoot can help to strengthen and stabilize the muscles in your feet and lower extremities, which can improve balance, gait, and posture, as well as energy and stamina.