Benefits of Going Barefoot (and the Best Barefoot Shoes)

-and the best barefoot shoes

Now that warm weather is here, our family is spending a lot of time outside in the sun… and barefoot.

The benefits of getting outside are well-documented, but the barefoot part is often met with more skepticism. In a world where people are being diagnosed with “text neck syndrome” for spending too much time looking at a phone, it is funny to realize that many of us think that going *without* shoes is unnatural.

Benefits of Going Barefoot

Walking barefoot benefits the body in various ways. Think about it logically- feet weren’t designed to be in shoes, especially not the stiff and highly-restraining shoes we have today. Walking around barefoot (or as close as possible) may have quite a few impressive benefits:

Support the Body’s Natural Feedback Systems

Biomechanist Katy Bowman (and upcoming Healthy Moms Podcast guest) from Nutritious Movement claims that our modern shoes are contributing to a lot of problems including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, knee-hip-back pain, and bunions. This is partially because most shoes block full motion of the foot joints and nerve feedback from the feet.

She explains:

There are nerves that interpret the shape of the ground by how the bones in the feet bend at 33 different points (joints). This creates a mental image in the brain (similar to how a dolphin uses sonar to avoid obstacles). Wearing shoes prevents any motion in these joints (except the ankle) and leaves the shoe-wearer “blind” to the environment. This is what makes stiff shoes the worst when it comes to natural development.

This is a large part of the reason that some neurologists recommend flat shoes, like swim shoes, for children with certain neurological delays. Wearing shoes with less padding improves the feedback from the feet and helps improve walking in these children.

Strengthen Feet & Legs to Avoid Injury

Most of us wear cushioned, supportive shoes with a positive heel. A positive heel means that the heel of the shoe is higher than the toe. Typically, the dressier the shoe, the more noticeable the positive heel (especially for women) and the more “athletic” the shoe, the more cushioned.

Heels and supportive running shoes are the norm, but some experts speculate that they may cause more harm that good!

Cushioned running shoes, which date back only to the 1970s, may seem comfortable but may actually contribute to foot injuries, say Daniel Lieberman, PhD, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and colleagues.

Supportive and cushioned shoes encourage the wearer to land on the heel of the foot when walking or running, as the shoe absorbs the impact. This alters the natural step and posture and creates a different walking pattern. Watch babies who have just learned how to walk to see the difference!

It also limits our natural movement patterns and causes our muscles and range of motion to atrophy over time. Watch a baby or small child squat down and try to imitate it. Children can squat with butt to heels while maintaining a neutral spine. Most adults can’t.

Many factors contribute to this (sitting too much, not moving enough, etc.), but shoes play a big role.

Learn to Run Naturally Again

The book Born to Run popularized the idea of barefoot running as the author, Christopher McDougall, chronicles his search for pain free running and how he found a primitive tribe that ran great distances barefoot or in minimalist sandals.

As The Art of Manliness explains:

The publication of the book coincided with a Harvard study by Prof. Dan Lieberman, which showed that people who grow up running without shoes run differently than those of us who run shod. Though the study did not speculate as to whether barefoot running was better or worse than running in shoes, it did demonstrate that making the switch resulted in softer landings and reduced impact force.

In other words, running/walking barefoot or in barefoot-type shoes may be an easy way to improve walking posture. It may even help avoid joint problems.

It is important to note that barefoot and barefoot shoes showed different results when studied. The feet don’t get the same feedback while wearing any shoes. This is why experts don’t recommend running on hard pavement with barefoot style shoes.

Benefit the Brain?

Katy Bowman also explains that nerves in the feet are designed to sense temperature and terrain. This feedback helps us develop a proper gait and stabilization. When all our feet get to sense is the inside of these shoes, this process is put on auto-pilot.

Bowman explains that the body then moves this information to a part of the nervous system called the inter-neuron. Here’s how she explains it:

More about the inter-neuron: You know how when you walk into a room with a fresh baked pie, it smells delicious, but after a few minutes you don’t smell it anymore? Your brain moves information that is constant into a different part of your brain to free it up for other things, so the more similar your environment, the less your nerves work to perceive. And the less they work, the less healthy they are.

Isn’t Being Barefoot Dangerous?

There are two main concerns with going barefoot:

  1. Lack of arch support
  2. Potential for parasites

I don’t worry about these personally, because:

Lack of Arch Support

This is a touchy subject, especially as rates of foot pain increase. Many people now wear orthotics and extra support for the feet. Movement specialists like Bowman feel that this could be making the problem worse.

The reasoning is that the feet weren’t designed to have as much support as modern shoes provide. Our feet are so supported in most shoes that we don’t have to use the muscles of the feet in the same way. Over time, the muscles weaken which may cause the problem.

As with any muscle, we have to actually use it to strengthen it. Foot pain without arch support may just be a sign of weak foot muscles that need to get stronger. Incorporating more barefoot movement (or wearing barefoot style shoes) may help strengthen the feet over time.

A podiatrist friend cautioned that they often see injuries when a person makes too fast of a switch from highly supportive shoes to barefoot or barefoot shoes. Like any type of exercise, we should start slowly and work up. Running in mini-mattresses of shoes one day and in zero-drop shoes the next is a recipe for disaster.

Potential for Parasites

When I mention that my kids don’t wear shoes in our yard, I typically get at least a few responses along the lines of: “I’d prefer not to let my kids get parasites from being barefoot, thank you very much.”

A quick search for the risks of parasites from going barefoot will have you convinced that we will all die from horrible parasites and diseases if any of us go barefoot. Except that the data doesn’t back this up.

If you are reading this, you likely live in a first-world country. You likely have indoor plumbing and bathe once in a while. Hookworms and other parasites were common when the majority of us didn’t have indoor plumbing. Human feces were often disposed of in yards, gardens, etc. Since hookworms can be easily transmitted through human excrement, they were much more common.

Improved hygiene and laws/codes prohibiting the open disposal of human feces has greatly reduced this problem. Even Dr. Lauren Ploch, a dermatologist who is very anti-barefoot admits that she has never treated a case of hookworm in the US.

Then again, some researchers are looking at purposefully ingesting hookworms to help reduce allergies and asthma. Interested to see where the research ends up on this one!

Viruses and Bacteria

Walking barefoot also exposes feet to potential viruses and bacteria. I don’t worry about the potential small risks for these minor and treatable problems. But then, I also think regular dirt exposure is important! Our family has never experienced any problems from spending time barefoot in our yard and other safe areas.

I consider the potential problems from wearing over-supportive shoes much more worrisome. Of course, with anything, do your own research and make sure you feel comfortable with whatever option you choose!

For those who aren’t comfortable with being completely barefoot, new minimalist and barefoot shoes are the best of both worlds. These are also great for everyday use in places where shoes are needed.

Barefoot Shoes: a Healthy Compromise?

In my opinion, being barefoot is the best when possible. When that isn’t an option, there are some great barefoot shoes that provide almost the same benefits. In general, shoes can be considered “barefoot shoes” if they:

  1. Do not have a raised heel. The shoe should be flat and all the same thickness from heel to toe.
  2. Allow free movement of the toes. Many shoes have thin or even pointy toe beds and constrain the toes. A barefoot shoe should be open or allow free toe movement.

In other words, barefoot shoes provide a basic protective barrier between the foot and the ground and not much else. Barefoot shoes also qualify as minimalist shoes, though not all minimalist shoes are technically barefoot shoes.

My Favorite Barefoot Shoes

There aren’t many shoes that qualify as true barefoot shoes. Minimalist shoes are another great alternative in cooler weather or for occasions that require them. Here are the barefoot shoes that our family uses:

Vivo Barefoot

One of my favorite brands. They also make a lot of great minimalist shoe options including sneakers, water shoes and dress shoes. For a true barefoot shoe, their Eclipse model is great. I’ve found them on Amazon here, but they are usually cheaper on the Vivo Barefoot website.

Earth Runners

Most shoe stores don’t carry barefoot style shoes so often we have to buy without knowing if the size is right. Earth Runners has a great sizing system and also a custom option that is great for wide or narrow feet or to make sure sizing is perfect.

Five Fingers

Five fingers are the most protective of the barefoot shoes we use. These fit the foot like a glove and often get some interesting looks in public. These are the go-to barefoot shoes of fitness experts like Mark Sisson. I often travel in these because they are comfortable but protect the feet from truly gross places… like airports!


None of the above options are great for babies and toddlers. I’m especially careful to let little ones walk barefoot whenever possible so they can develop good walking patterns. Thankfully, walking barefoot is a little more socially acceptable before age 2 or so! When going barefoot isn’t allowed, I put babies in Robeez (or similar) shoes as long as possible.

Important Notes on Barefoot Running

Being barefoot is great. Running barefoot on pavement may not be, at least without proper training!

Before I tried barefoot running, I consulted a friend who is a physical therapist about the safety of it and any possible problems.

He explained that when barefoot running is done correctly and worked up to slowly, it can be safe, but that many people jump in and begin running the same way they’ve always run, just without shoes, and that this causes problems.

Foot Strike Matters

From what he explained, the foot strikes the ground differently when shoes are worn. With shoes, a person is more likely to heel strike, or let the heel touch the ground first (unless the person has specifically trained not to run this way). Without shoes, landing in a heel strike can be damaging to the foot, especially over time, and it is much better to land on the mid-foot or top of the foot.

If a person tries to run with a heel strike in minimalist shoes or barefoot, this is likely to cause discomfort or even injury as the full impact of the strike is absorbed in the heel and transferred up the leg. Landing in a mid-foot strike allows for a more gentle impact and reduces this risk.

Work up Slowly

Even if a person begins running with a mid-foot strike when switching to minimalist shoes or barefoot options, the process uses the muscles of the foot and leg differently, and should be worked up to slowly. I speak from experience on this one, as my first day running in five-fingers, I pushed too hard and ended up with really sore calves for about a week.

The benefits of running barefoot or in minimalist shoes is that it naturally leads to a shorter stride, which means a lower impact on the feet and legs, and that it leads to landing with a slightly flatter foot, which may also help reduce injury.

Learn to Run Correctly First

The podiatrist’s suggestion? Learn to run the right way before trying to run barefoot. Even if you don’t plan to run barefoot, there may be benefits to learning to run like you are. A mid-foot strike is gentler on the feet and legs and may reduce the chance of injury.

If you heel strike like I did, I found it helpful to practice on nice soft grass or sand and focusing on landing mid-foot. This brought back memories of running around the backyard barefoot as a kid. When running this way, the heel still hits the ground, just not before the ball of your foot does (many people make this mistake, never let their heels touch, get really sore calves, possible achilles tendon issues, and swear off barefoot/minimalist running for life).

Smaller Steps

Another thing to focus on is increasing turnover. This means taking smaller steps but moving the legs more quickly. Instead of extending the foot in front of the body to propel forward, I focused on just leaning my body slightly forward to propel myself and “catching” myself during a controlled forward fall.

For running, I also found some type of barefoot shoe helpful. As much as I love walking around barefoot in the grass, this wasn’t doable on concrete or harder surfaces, and minimalist shoes like five-fingers protect my feet but allow me to work on my running technique.

Do you spend any time barefoot? Ever tried barefoot shoes? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Is the code good for registration in other cities? I don’t run barefoot, and not interested in trying, ouch! but I love that they’re collecting shoes for those who need them. I’m thinking about getting a team together for the Grand Rapids race!

  2. I’ve never run barefoot (at least not since I was a kid and spent all summer barefoot) but I’d certainly love to give it a try!

  3. I would love for this to be my first post-baby-#2 5K! Soles for Souls is a great organization!

  4. I love being barefoot and when I got some merrel barefoot shoes for christmas I knew I found my for life shoe! I use them dor running and everyday life if I need a bit more protection for my feet. My hubby recently got some and his feet issues have resolved by using them! Can’t wait for the big run in denver.

    •  liked and shared!

  5. i love walking around barefoot and i would run barefoot 24/7 but my only issue with being barefoot are those sharp little rocks that magically appear out of nowhere for me to step on!

  6. So exciting. I just recently found out about the nakedfoot 5K and was planning on road tripping to Denver to run with a friend there. Love my Merrill minimalist shoes!

    • Plus I shared with a friend on facebook!

  7. I’m not a runner but, my kids and I have been walking around barefoot in our yard and garden since your last post.  No races near me, but I will hold a shoe collection at work to donate.  Thanks.

  8. I would run with naked feet, just never done it before and what should I do to prepare???  I want to do the DC run and have a daughter who loves to be barefoot, so she’ll be up for the 1k.  I’ll take a free entry too!

  9. I’ve been running barefoot for 2 years now and will complete my second half marathon in VFFs in June. I love it; it’s made running fun for me again!

  10. As a full-arched mother of 4 flatfooted babes who LOVE to be barefoot, I’m glad to know that it is better for them (and me!) to be barefoot everywhere (not just preggo in the kitchen lol)

    •  i’m a flatfooted mom of 5 and i’ve benefited from going barefoot. 

  11. Never tried but would love too.

  12. I tried it on my treadmill once, bad idea! 

  13. i go barefoot (for all exercise and leisure)!  i started about 2 years ago.  i ditched my shoes in frustration because of my lower back pain, shin splints, blisters, and other aliments.  i’ve been barefoot and pain free every since. my max barefoot run is 15 miles. 

  14. Never tried it!

  15. I dont barefoot run, but think it would be good to try on the correct terrain. lnb1191(at)aol(dot)com

  16. Have always wanted to try but haven’t!

  17. I think I’m too fat, but I’m willing to try! 

  18. i’ll try anything!

  19. I walk around barefoot all the time, does that count? I’m not much on running, but maybe I would be if I had some super comfy running shoes….  😉

  20. I have run barefoot on beaches before, and recently ran barefoot after needing to walk a long long way and only have flip flops, decided that barefoot would be the better route. But have not ran very long for long distances barefoot.

  21. I started wearing vibrams 5 fingers in February when I started doing crossfit.  I LOVE them!  The pain I had in my knees disappeared almost overnight.  I would love to try a barefoot race!  How fun!

  22. I love being barefoot. I hate shoes and so do my girls. I actually only own five pairs of shoes lol. Boots, two pair flip flops and two pair tennis shoes. I love the idea of this race and the fact that they get kids involved!! I will be chicking it out and seeing if there are any races near me. Would love to do 1k with my daughters!!

  23. great article. I have been running barefoot for about 2 years now. Its the best thing in the world. I now enjoy running and I never get injured. I remember when I was in high school I would get injured all the time, and I gave up because of that. But now I have toe shoes to run in or just my bare feet. I really encourage everyone to try barefooting.

  24. I’m not a runner do to fibromyalgia but i love walking barefoot just got in from one mile with my dog Jr.

  25. I was barefoot all the time as a kid, even in 110 degree weather. I loved it! When I am in the back yard I go barefoot and I go to the beach a lot just to walk around barefoot. It feels wonderful to connect to the earth.

  26. This is hilarious! I’ve been running barefoot everyday for going on 3 years. My mom (I’m 16) is always telling me its not good for my feet! lol But I personally find it much more comfortable then running with shoes. I do run in the grass. The main reason I started running barefoot was i was to lazy to put on shoes. I go barefoot 99% of the time so it was pain to actually put shoes on!

  27. I am new to this sight, but have a serious question.
    I am a dental assistant. Feet are killing me.
    Never thought of running barefoot. Exercise yes I love to exercise barefoot.
    Any suggestions for shoes to work in..
    So many out there.
    Tired of spending a lot of hard earned money on shoes?

    • Not sure what you are allowed to work in, but Merell’s barefoot line is really the best on the market. Vibram fivefingers are great as well, but garner weird looks (ask me how I know…)

  28. I’m been making an effort to go barefoot since reading Earthing a couple years ago. I love it! Especially going barefoot in water (like a creek). My head always feels clearer and I can sense my heartbeat more strongly.

  29. Have gone barefoot all my life. Now at 56 foot problems. Any thoughts on plantar fasciitis?

  30. For the last three years I am practicing bare- foot therapy.At least one hour morning and evening walk. No substitute for bare-foot walk.

  31. I have been practacing earting for several months now, and noticed a change in my posture, not to mention it helps to keep plantar warts away, which i used to get frequently before going bare

  32. Going barefoot is one of life’s simple pleasures. I have found that I get almost nothing but positive responses to being barefoot, as opposed to the fearfully expected chastisment and nasty comments. There is no reason to not give it a try! I’ve never found a pair of shoes that feel as good as no shoes at all!

    • Yeah, people are concerned of the reactions they’ll get, but IF I get a comment it will be either curious or positive.

  33. I have Vibram barefoot shoes. They make you feel civilized, yet you are still reaping the benefits of the earthing of your foot. They have various styles, and Vibram even came out with a more feminine version. I LOVE them! Thanks Katie for the info!

    • thanks for the info will try to find them now that they a more femimine version

  34. I’m still a teenager, so I can’t really complain about any of these health issues yet, but I have always gone barefoot (and my mother always yells at me, lol) and I can definitely tell the difference between shoes vs. no shoes. Whenever I walk barefoot, I feel so much more comfortable. With shoes, it’s unnatural for me, not to mention the pain and muscles I always pull when I go shod.

  35. I will be 70 soon. I have loved being barefoot for as long as I can remember. I live in a city and do not recommend going barefoot on city streets and sidewalks though I did so for years. Beaches, parks, lawns are wonderful barefoot experiences. Gravel? Not so much for the shoe accustomed. The closest to barefoot “shoes,” made in the USA, that I have found, are Sass. One of my friends did not like them, but I recommend “try before you buy.” There are other brands. I will be checking out Mamas recommendation. (Yes, I am barefoot right now. Shoes come off as soon as I get home.). Thanks Wellness Mama and everyone. Great read!

  36. I’ve been “barefoot” for many years now, with great results, but do caution that to switch you have to be very conscious of your body. Anyway, for children I wanted to recommend Soft Star Shoes. All natural materials, soft, wide enough toe box. Perfect for new walkers!

  37. I’ve been barefoot and also worn Vibram for years! Only time this doesn’t work is winter, here in Canada. Never had any foot, knee or hip problems. Being a massage therapist I’ve seen many problems due to improper footwear. Less is more has always been my motto!

  38. I have wide feet and high arches. Women’s shoes are not made to fit high arched duck feet like mine! After many decades of cramming them into whatever I could find that fit and insisting that I “need” that extra arch support, I made the switch to a pair of Soft Star mary janes. This is the closest I will probably get to barefoot or minimalist shoes. They look cute, cover my feet, and I honestly feel like I am walking around in slippers. It feels kinda naughty. 😉 They are so lightweight. As a bonus, you can get them customized in any colour combination you want. I LOVE these shoes so much.
    Now, the high arch thing, I had to look into. I was worried about it and how I felt like I “needed” the arch support. After researching it, it made no more sense than deciding that my arm “needs” a sling to support it or that my breasts “need” a bra. Why do we think we have to “support” so many of our body parts? Isn’t that what the muscles and ligaments are for?

    • So true about “support”

  39. I’d love to go barefoot outdoors, but I’m always concerned about pesticides everywhere. I don’t want to walk around in areas that are covered with insecticides and pesticides, so I’ve avoided earthing/grounding. Any advice/thoughts on the subject? Thanks!!

      • Katie, I have nothing against going barefoot, but those who are diabetic should exercise extreme caution! I have seen people who are brittle diabetics (sugar levels are hard to control, lots of ups and downs) and older diabetics end up losing a leg because of a minor foot injury. Anybody with vascular insufficiency in the legs should or any kind of immune problems should also be very careful. The problem in these people is a combination of decreased sensitivity so that a small injury isn’t noticed at first and a greater likelihood of infection when there is an injury. Even with aggressive treatment, a toe can become necrotic (dead) and at that point, amputation is the only option. Unfortunately, since these people aren’t great healers, the surgical area often has the same problem as the initial injury. This can lead to more and more surgery and eventual loss of the limb. Diabetics are often told not to cut their own toenails because of this.

        I personally go barefoot most of the time when at home but if I were to develop either peripheral artery or venous disease, or diabetes, I would not go barefoot outside anymore. The risk would outweigh the benefits. Many people (including me at one point) tend to dismiss the chance of this happening, but it does. It is not rare or uncommon in this population.

  40. I just recently switched to barefoot shoes as part of our minimalist journey. I use Xero Shoes as they are a lot more reasonably priced over some that you mentioned, and they also have a 5,000 mile sole warranty. 🙂

  41. You forget to mention that Earthing is the most important part about going barefoot.

  42. I’m in my mid-50s and have loved going barefoot since being a child. Didn’t know that it’s suppose to be good for ya… I just love feeling the texture of the ground, floor, rugs, grass, sand, and even pebbles beneath my feet. It’s like getting a little massage everywhere you go. Thanks for the article.

  43. I love my Earth Runners! You forgot to mention the grounding access built into them. I wear them daily in the garden.



    • Love barefoot walking. Last year when I read Katie’s article, I bought some Earth Runners. That was the only time I developed athletes foot on the bottoms of my feet. So I started washing the Earth Runners off every time I wore them, but that’s a lot of work. Barefoot is better. For outside I do wear zoris with little nubs on the instep. For dresswear, I still prefer Sass. And, yes, I agree- the best shoes are no shoes! Indigenous moccasins are nice but barefoot is better.

  44. I love barefoot. It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced. I did use SAS shoes with tripad support when I worked 11 years on a concrete floor in a kitchen for 12 hour shifts. But I always felt freedom after work when I took em off. Because it was a kitchen shoes were required but now I wonder if moccasins might have been a better choice. Anyway… love the article.

  45. Way to go with bringing Katy Bowman into the conversation! Her site and books are GREAT! I walk barefoot less now than I did as a child, but love wearing my FiveFingers everywhere ( : As far as running on gravel, I have memories of running full tilt down our gravelled road, and being amazed/proud that it didn’t hurt! I was a really analytical kid, and it seemed that I figured my eyes were scanning ahead, and I was able to dodge between the pointy pieces (try it now, at 45?? Well…I’ll think it over!).
    Katy, I question the statement you made regarding turnover: “This means taking smaller steps but moving the legs more quickly. Instead of extending the foot in front of the body to propel forward, I focused on just leaning my body slightly forward to propel myself and “catching” myself during a controlled forward fall.” This leaning forward and catching yourself would seem to go against the principles of alignment, and may be damaging to the body (knees, especially)…is this simply your own method?

  46. HI! my 17 month old goes only barefoot and I get comments all the time. I reply with four scientifically backed reasons! Three of them include the above: sensory feedback, healthy walk development, and good bacteria. My fourth reason is “earthing”, connecting directly to the free electrons on the surface of the ground, which can only be accessed through bare skin or 100% leather soles. In that case, I wonder if the barefoot shoes you recommend would qualify? I’m looking for something I can wear myself that covers my feet but keeps the natural contact with the ground for earthing purposes as well.

  47. I first learned about minimalist shoes when I was working in the hospitals and standing in surgery for long hours. Most hospital staff wore danskos which cause your feet to rock on your arch, but for me, they just put extra pressure on my arch and that was painful (I have wide feet). I was starting to get plantar fascitis any that’s when I knew I needed something else. Now I wear minimalist shoes with Merrell soles and my feet are pain free. I think it did take several months for me feet to adjust to changing my posture and stepping pattern.

  48. I always go barefoot when in my home. Feet are happy out of shoes! I do walk barefoot outside in my yard and sometimes in certain parks or trails.

    Something that really helped me with plantar fasciitis pain and chronic calf pain was to only wear foot shaped toebox shoes. Life is good again!

  49. Hey Katie, I grew up going barefoot and still go barefoot. It is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and kids. I’ll swear to one thing, eat healthy and go barefoot, and you will not be visiting doctors. I’m 62 and have not seen a doctor in over a couple of decades. I’ll tell you something that is a fun response, and that is being asked who your doctor is, and answering you don’t have one. Going barefoot is not the only reason of course, but an excellent contributer to good health.

  50. I worked into barefoot running over 5 years ago, and it really strengthened my feet! When I have to wear shoes (work, etc.), I always wear my Soft Star shoes. Soft Star is an amazing company…. elves make the shoes! 🙂 I love hiking in my Soft Stars and I always get comments from other hikers wanting to know more about them, and asking if it’s dangerous to hike with so little between me and the ground (as opposed to a large, heavy hiking boot). I have actually found that the body quickly begins to go back into the natural “bio-feedback mode” when you have on less shoe, and you’re less likely to slip and twist your ankle because you can feel a misstep before it happens! 🙂

  51. I stopped wearing shoes (except for work) almost 20 years ago. I go everywhere barefoot (church, shopping, homes of family and friends, etc.. One of the first benefits I experienced was the relief of tendonitis in my knees. The second, was no more lower back pain. For work I wear a pair of VivoBarefoot Gobis. They are unquestionably the next best thing to being barefoot. Of course I do all of my running and walking barefoot (street and treadmill). When I ran in shoes, I would hurt at the end of the run. Since I started running barefoot, I am no longer sore or “rundown” after my sessions. I feel rejuvenated and energetic!

  52. I live in a third world country in Africa and still spend all my time barefoot in the bush and have never picked up any parasites or viruses! I loved this post as I am always being told to wear shoes! Another benefit is that it’s way more comfortable than any shoe I’ve worn before!

    • Tiggy: Barefootedness looks good, feels great! It is economical – skin recycles. And there is nothing quite like squishing my toes in warm mud and moss or wriggling toes in soft green grass, wandering along wet sand at ocean’s edge.

      Katie – thanks for your continued interest in and promotion of wellness!

  53. Sorry folks there are times when shoes are the only option. Ask my pigs. I would much rather they chewed on my shoes than my feet!

  54. I’ve run around barefooted since childhood and just never really stopped. I wear shoes in town and they are just the “normal” ones you can get anywhere. Same with my children. I’m thinking it won’t hurt to wear them where necessary when the majority of our time is spent going barefoot around the house and yard. I run some but wear ‘regular’ shoes for that too. Again, I think the years of going barefoot have paid off, God made us pretty resilient. I concur with the need to “work up” to going barefoot. When we moved from our little, carpeted apartment to a larger house with laminate floors, where I spent a lot of time on my feet, they ached a lot for a month or two and I wanted to have the cushion of shoes. Eventually the muscles grew stronger and the floors didn’t bother me any more. Same thing happens when I have a long cooking day and I’m on my feet most of the time.

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