Why are we going barefoot ?
“I’m doing what is comfortable for me because I enjoy it and it does not harm anyone”
The webmaster of barefooting.eu
I have loved walking barefoot since I was young and it does not turn me into a crazy homeless person. I wish society wouldn’t give a negative image of barefooters as poor or stupid. In contrast, this is the expression of a great freedom and communion with nature but it’s not worthy to big shoes companies to say that their shoes don’t have the quality of a bare foot. The fashion is to create shoes for everything. Shoes for basketball, for soccer, for walking in the street and why not for the beach, pool and to go to bed ! So, the title of this subsection would rather be “Why not going barefoot ?”. Actually, for many activities barefeet are more comfortable.
A notable exception: when you are on the beach, the sand is not the most enjoyable ground: sometimes it’s too hot, sometimes too cold and not that easy to walk on !
Another good reason to walk barefeet is to feel free. The true freedom is not to depend on an acccessory ! It is also a very good way of feeling the ground, the earth and be closer to nature/the environment. You will not crush or destroy anything because of your awareness of what is “below”.
How did I become a barefooter ?
At the beginning, I tried walking outside by night during the summer, so I didn’t meet anyone and the ground was less hot. Then, I realized that it wasn’t forbidden or shameful and that I had imagined a lot of false things about how people would see my barefeet. So, I decided to try during the day among the crowd. It took several years to be enough self confident to do it.
I was surprised to see that 75% of the people did not care at all (though some of them glance down). Among the others, some are very enthusiastic: smiling, giving words of encouragement, asking questions or even trying it themselves for the first time right then and there. It happened with girls in their early 20’s in the street. So, it is the opportunity to meet people easily. Some few others do not tolerate it : insults (rare), jokes (mostly from teenagers) or even difficulties to enter shops (too bad for them I went to another).
French law does not forbid barefooting in restaurants or bars. But, private policy of an establishment can force you to wear shoes (ask for the internal rules in case of doubt). At least, do not be shy, after all if someone dare to tell you “you seem strange”, gently answer that what is bizarre is to use shoes where they are not necessary.
To become a barefooter remember the skill of moving barefoot you had when you were younger and that you still have inside of you. Learn to know yourself and you will get a lot of satisfaction. With a little bit of practice and training most grounds will become walkable and will enable you to experience nice feelings, very enjoyable. It will help you to forget erroneous ideas. Barefooting is not at all S&M. It is a pleasure of natural foot massage.
Is it dangerous ?
As any sports activity, there are risks. I am not a doctor but I can advise you against barefooting anywhere if you are hemophiliac or diabetic or if you suffer from some skin or toe disease. But of course, to walk barefoot is good for you too in a safe environment. It is your responsability to know what you can do. When you buy a new pair of shoes, why suffer to make them fit your feet ? Speaking of barefeet is not talking about doing something that will hurt but rather a means to deliver your feet from shoes suffering. So, what is dangerous for your feet ? To let them suffer into shoes because you think they protect you (wrong 95% of the time) or walking barefoot freely?
Most of the people think it is dangerous. Of course, it is not as safe as protective shoes. But you could harm your hands on a thorn or get sick from touching a public handle : for this reason, do you wear gloves as often as shoes ? Walking barefoot is not as different. So at this point, I conclude that shoes do not really protect your feet but weaken them. Mycosis and odours are the consequence of what is supposed to be a safe environment ! Moreover, it is now well known that feet are not feeling comfortable with high heels. Do you still think it is harmful to walk barefoot ? Of course, if you wear shoes all the time and you decide to become a barefooter, there are precautions to take and also a minimum of training to follow. Trying anywhere and wherever you want is not always peaceful. But this website is here to help you.
Do feet get dirty ?
Of course, they do. It’s particularly true when walking in a city. This is natural to have a black sole when barefooting and it can also be fun to compare the color with other friends. Some barefooters are very proud of their stained soles whatever their color: grey, green or black! At the beginning, you will often look at your sole and then you will not think about them anymore.
Of course, it is suggested to wash your feet regularly (more often than most shod people). I don’t think that shod people are cleaner: do they wash their shoes as often as I wash my feet ? Certainly not. And what about the attractive side of mycosis and perspiration due to wet socks in a closed environnment? It is better to have “dirty” soles than blisters and mycosis in narrow shoes !
Another thing worth knowing, when you have black soles because of pollution of the streets, even after several washes it will not disappear completely. This is the proof you are a real barefooter !
Do you risk to have hard skin or calluses ?
Don’t worry ! You will not become a kind of monster with Big feet and a sole as hard as concrete !!
The skin does not become that hard but remains really soft and it thickens.
Actually, the main change is the sole color.
To avoid calluses, use a moisturizing cream so your feet will stay smooth and very strong (sole skin becomes like a soft leather, so you don’t have to fear gravels or little thorns)
Is there a country where barefooting is common ?
Yes, of course. A country like New Zealand. See here: “In most establishments, drinks are remarkably affordable, and cover charges are either nonexistant or minimal. In some of the better clubs reasonable dress standards apply, however in the day the mood is usually extremely causal, with even barefeet accepted (a common kiwi choice on hotter days)”
What about driving barefoot ? Is it legal?
France, United States, England: See News blog, Search for “questions” or “driving”
Other countries: it would be of a great help if you let me know.