Monday, May 17, 2010

(I’m going) Barefoot in the Park

A big article in my local newspaper yesterday proclaimed the benefits and joys of running barefoot. It seems new studies are coming out showing that countries in which runners go barefoot, or wear shoes with minimal support, have far fewer foot problems and are much swifter.

A podiatrist was interviewed for the article because he’s a big believer in barefoot running, and he said that the human foot is an architectural marvel. The arch is incredibly strong, with an astounding support system of muscle, bone, joints, tendons and ligaments. But when we bolster up the foot with all kinds of support, we actually weaken not only the arch, but the entire foot and ankle. In other words, we have shoe-dependent feet, which is not how nature intended us to be. We were made to be shoeless.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going WHOO-HOOO! YES!! You see, I have a dirty secret. Okay, make that dirty feet. I am a barefooter.

I go barefoot all day when I’m at home. And since I work out of my home office, I’m at home a lot. I wear socks on only the coldest winter days. When people come to my house, they usually look dismayed, as though they don’t know what to make of me and fear that they, too, will be required to take off their shoes and socks. (They’re not). I know people who put on shoes as soon as they wake up in the morning and don’t take them off until they climb into bed at night. My feet get claustrophobic just thinking about it.

I do put on shoes at home for dressy occasions, lest you think I’m a complete social misfit. But if I’m writing, or if I stroll out to my mailbox at the curb, or pull some weeds, I do it barefoot. It makes me feel like a kid again, completely in touch with nature. And now that my bunion is all gone, and my foot is strong again, I don’t have to be ashamed of the oogly foot.

I guess you could say I have the world at my feet -- or at least under them.

Would you be brave enough to venture outdoors in your bare feet? Would you run barefooted? Are you a morning-to-night shoe person, a barefooter, or somewhere in between?

Kate, doing the happy feet dance