Why Adults and Kids Should Go Barefoot More

If you live in the southern part of the U.S. like I do, then you’ve probably already had your shoes off a couple of times. If you haven’t you might fall into the category of people who think it’s unwise to go barefoot. And you wouldn’t be alone. Many parents and adults feel that going barefoot outside can cause injury or that you could pick up a disease or illness that you would later track into your home. Now, don’t walk barefoot on glass, be smart. The truth is that being barefoot outside is incredibly good for you.

While shoes do protect your feet, they can also create the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus, as well as prevent proper toe spread (which interferes with the foot’s ability to function properly), and prevent proper movement development (which can make children more susceptible to foot and lower leg injury). This isn’t to say we should all just chuck off our shoes and never wear them again but we should look at what happens to us when we DON’T wear shoes.

Check out this video here, about the concept of Grounding or Earthing:

Another benefit of going barefoot and allowing your child to, is that it, “strengthens the feet and lower legs, making the body more agile and less prone to injury. It also enhances proprioception, the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. In other words, going barefoot helps a child develop body awareness, ” reports The Washington Post. Since the nerves in our feet are sensitive (the soles of our feet have over 200,000 nerve endings– one of the highest concentrations in the entire body) we are more careful with the ground beneath our feet. Per the Washington Post, we can better, “climb, cut, pivot, balance, and adjust rapidly when the ground shifts beneath us, as it does when we walk on uneven terrain, or anything besides concrete and pavement.”

In 2008, Adam Sternberg wrote for New York Magazine about what shoes have done to our natural gait. In his piece he highlighted a study published in the journal, The Foot:

“The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans—i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest.”

Since the American Podiatric Medical Association doesn’t encourage people to be barefoot, even though scientific evidence supports that behavior, it’s our job to get outside, take our shoes off, and walk. Or play. Or run…or simply just be. Standing outside in nature on a lovely day, with the sun beating down on our skin(as we soak in that incredibly good for us Vitamin D3)is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

Here’s one more video, from Laura Koniver, M.D., about what happens to our body when we connect to the earth:

Source: The Washington Post and NY Mag