fitness · Guest Post · Sat with Nat

Bare Feet

I got caught in the rain walking home from work on Thursday. It was a downpour and my shoes were getting squishy so I took them off and walked barefoot from downtown. A few people stared. To me bare feet always feel better than wet, squishy shoes. Growing up in rural New Brunswick we went barefoot for comfort and to reduce wear and tear on shoes and boots. It was a point of pride to be able to walk on chip-seal or gravel without wincing, major butch cred. Bare feet are a part of summer for me but I got thinking during my walk home that being barefoot can be a class loaded thing. Sure, I’ve read lots about barefoot running as a choice like Mallory’s Barefoot Triathlon and To go barefoot or to wear “foot coffins”? but I also thought about being barefoot by circumstance, like not actually having shoes. There’s plenty of signs that indicate one must wear shirts and shoes to get service and yet people are also positioning bare foot athleticism is a bit of a niche thing. some sports, like martial arts and yoga, require practitioners be barefoot, but mostly shirts and shoes are required.

Notice Shirts & Shoes Required

My Mom was raised in the 60s and people actually had to curtail their activities, like missing school, for lack of shoes. Compared to Mallory’s accounts of New Zealand where plenty of folks go barefoot all the time, it’s interesting to see that patrolling of footwear here in Canada. Today you can get something to put on your feet for a dollar. I also pay $120 for running shoes for each member of my family twice a year. WOW. That’s a lot of money for some mesh and a bit of foam. It makes me be quite stingy, to the point that most of my footwear have been given to me by friends (Thanks Wes & Kate!). I do occasionally covet a designer shoe or two but mostly shoes are there to get me where I want to go and nothing more.

I totally sneak in bare foot time at work, walking home, gardening and I never wear stuff on my feet at home. I have sweaty feet but, more than that, bare feet help me feel balanced and connected.

What’s your experience around being bare foot? A fun choice? Recalling tougher times? I’d like to hear your thoughts 🙂

16 thoughts on “Bare Feet

  1. I am with you on bare feet – i hate thongs (flip flops) so I am bare footed (or sandaled) in summer too! And would rather splash in the rain than damage/stretch a pair of leather sandals.

    On sports shoes – there is a fabulous charity here in Aus called ‘Boots for all’ which collects and cleans football boots for distribution to clubs where the kids can’t afford boots. It’s fabulous, especially when you think how fast kids grow out of their boots, they might not even get a season out of them.

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  2. The moment I saw this I knew I had to read it aha. My feet are very fussy when it comes to shoes because they blister easily, so I’m more than happy to walk barefoot. I used to walk barefoot home from town (about a mile or two) to home. I also dispise the feel of wet fabric, particularly on my feet. First chance I get, I will take shoes and socks off :L

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  3. I was barefoot as often as possible until I started having plantar fascitis a couple years ago. Got custom insoles on the podiatrist’s advice. Really helped, in a lot of ways, but I still prefer bare feet.

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  4. I’m barefoot a lot. In the dojo, at Aikido, for sure but also all the time at home and lots at work because of my stand up desk and anti fatigue mat. In NZ I bothered less about footwear just because local schools, businesses, church etc didn’t care. I found it odd to return here where it’s policed. Not at all clear why. Class? You’re probably right. I love fancy funky shoes as a fashion thing but I also love bare feet.

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  5. Funny timing to read this today. I’m visiting my parents and just last night my dad started raving about the books he just bought about sisters walking the Appalachian trail barefoot. He hasn’t started them yet, more a talker than a reader.

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  6. Totally get this and would go barefoot wherever possible, or live in flip flops as close second. I’ve gone barefoot in the city more than once, despite those same stares. And I can still do barefoot on a stony beach despite being out of practice. Shoes have their place (I wouldn’t work as a nurse without them), but as usual we’re all being sold down someone else’s river.

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  7. I love being barefoot. I feel more natural and balanced that way. As a kid I was always barefoot outside (except on the farm… obvious dangers there) because I was usually in a pool, lake or river or the gully across the street from us. As well, we were never (and still not) allowed to wear shoes in the house. It just feels wrong somehow. ☺

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  8. Going barefoot hurts my feet in that I need some support. It’s a holdover from a serious bout of plantar fasciitis two decades ago. Even at home I need to wear something with a bit of support on my feet. But I envy those who can go barefoot. And I like walking barefoot on the beach or in cool grass because there is just enough give on those surfaces that it doesn’t hurt me.

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  9. I was born in Singapore and lived there for the first year of my life. My parents say I hardly wore clothes, just a nappy, as it was so hot, and I didn’t wear shoes. When we flew back to the UK, they put another layer on me every few hours, and my mum says I was toddling up the aisle of the plane trying to shake the shoes off my feet. I like to think that’s why I’ve always hated wearing shoes. I much prefer being barefoot, or given that I live in Scotland and it’s chilly, sockfoot.

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  10. I am barefoot at home all seasons, even if the floor is a bit cool in winter. I also wear shorts year round at home here in Canada. 🙂 But outside I will wear a shoe of some sort.

    As a kid, we always wore shoes outdoors when playing except in our own backyard. I was raised in the city….so it was just less worry for parents.

    Honest my mother just couldn’t deal with washing feet of 6 children after play each time. A bit of reality here.

    Right now my feet are abit sore: I stood for 4 hrs., at table, doing some art today.

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    1. “Discalço” (shoeless) was used to mean beggar in Brazil. Even flip-flops were better than being barefoot, for status reasons. I used to go barefoot in the house, and my local friends thought I was a little strange. The ability to walk over gravel was a sign of toughness in my childhood too. Going without, especially over uneven ground, is incredibly good for using all the little muscles in one’s feet, but I rarely get get do that anymore sin I live in the city.

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  11. This is an interesting post. I prefer barefeet. I didn’t discover this until I moved from Chicago to Florida in 1997. Here, people remove their shoes upon entering one’s house (typically) and it’s easier, usually, because one is wearing flip-flops or something like that. I only wear socks if it’s cool (<70). Hey, "cool" is relative. And I've learned that I'm a little more grounded and in tune with my root chakra than most; I blame my barefootedness. Thanks again for this unique post!

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