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Going Barefoot is Good for Your Health

The above picture was taken in March 2007. It was a warm late winter day, and although there was still snow on the ground, puddles of meltwater were everywhere. Our yard was still a mess at this point, so the boys were allowed to dig pretty much wherever they pleased. They decided they needed to make a BIGGER puddle – but once the water had filled in, it was just too cold to play in. No worries! Little brother stayed in the mud hole while his big brother brought warm water in a kettle from inside (note:  boards on ground because big brother didn’t want to walk in the icy mud).

Going barefoot is good for your feet

If I was a licensed daycare provider, this would have probably gotten me arrested, but luckily I am a mom and and still allowed to let my kids get dirty, wet, and cold. AND THEY LOVE IT! They are almost always barefoot. (If you’d like to learn more about barefoot kids, visit Parents for Barefoot Children. The site includes history, health benefits, and ideas for fun activities to try barefoot.)

Human beings were meant to have contact with the earth. So often in our daily lives, society expects us to wear shoes. That said, when we can go barefoot, I think we should. In an article from SixWise, they discuss some of the many health benefits of going barefoot:

The book (“Take Off Your Shoes and Walk” by Simon J. Wikler D.S.C.)also describes a study performed from 1957-1960 that examined whether a mother’s objections to letting her child walk barefoot influenced the health of the child’s feet. It was found that children who were allowed to go barefoot often had:
* Less deformed toes
* Greater flexor strength
* More ability to spread the toes
* Denser muscles on the bottom of the feet
* Greater agility than those who had never gone barefoot
* A wider range of hip circumduction and more flexibility of the gluteal and hamstring muscles, which gave them more ability to touch their toes when their knees were held stiff

The article also points out how walking and running barefoot strengthens the feet, helps prevent varicose veins by increasing blood flow in the legs, increases relaxation, and “grounds” you, linking you to the “life force” or “chi” of the earth. There’s an entire movement dedicated to this final component, commonly referred to as “grounding” or “earthing”.

I found the scientific study results on grounding to be very interesting. The photos on this site show obvious, visible results within the body. The most recent research article posted, “Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes” states:

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Earthing the human body influences human physiologic processes. This influence is observed during night relaxation and during physical activity. Effect of the earthing on calcium–phosphate homeostasis is the opposite of that which occurs in states of weightlessness. It also increases the activity of catabolic processes. It may be the primary factor regulating endocrine and nervous systems.

In layman’s terms, their study shows that earthing affects your body, whether you are resting or active. It builds your bones (which plagues many of us as we age). It can give you more energy, and help your body’s natural systems work better.

I love any option that can help your body to heal itself for free! It feels good, too.

One of the saddest parts of the end of the gardening season is less barefoot dirt time for my tootsies. It’s just getting too cold for me to spend too much time with naked feet outdoors, at least most days. I do try and get out from time, and still go barefoot or stocking feet inside most of the time. I do go outside barefoot year round, but in winter I just can’t stay out very long!

feet in snow
My big ol’ feet, barefoot in the snow…brrrrrr….

Do you go barefoot? Like my grandma always said, “Try it, you might like it.” 🙂

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  1. Women’s shoes never fit right & it used to be when you asked for a 10 1/2 or 11 wide dress shoes, the salesman would laugh you all the way to the door. Boots were even harder to find till i gave up & just wore men’s. I still go barefoot most of the time. I’m a dirty old lady & proud of it πŸ˜‰

  2. May I add another comment? My neighbor, who just retired from Chicago is amazed that I walk around barefooted even in the snow. He thinks it is unhealthy and worries about stepping on something unpleasant. My reply is this; I wash my feet after being outside, do you wash your shoes after walking? Your feet sweat, sweat attracts bacteria and fungus. Is that not just as bad as stepping on something?

  3. I am 71 years old, I grew up barefooted and to this day, I absolutely hate wearing shoes. As a kid, we were poor but not starving. My brother and 4 sisters were given one pair of shoes a year. The shoes were for school or church.
    Today, I walk around my house, yard and garden barefooted. If I am mowing I will wear a pair of old worn out sneakers, just for safety. Otherwise, I only wear shoes when I absolutely have too.
    I have never suffered from any ailments, Yes, I have stumped my toes and stepped on thorns, but my feet are healthy strong and tough.

  4. What a great and fun posting. Barefoot is definitely best. I started going barefoot as much as possible back in Nov of 2012 after having pain in the tops of my feet for over a year. The pain went away in less than 2-weeks and I haven’t looked back since. Since then, I’ve gotten into barefoot running and I run an informative page on facebook called Barefoot 4 Life. The .org should get you there as well if anyone wants to check it out. Again, great post. Keep em bare!

  5. I read a lot about brain research, and apparently walking barefoot is good for the brain because the extra work done by the feet (more sensitive toe movements for balance, etc.) actually generate more neurons and better connections between neurons. While created for the purpose of walking, this extra brain matter can be used for other cognitive activities.

  6. It’s nice to go barefoot, except our free range chickens and dogs just leave too much poop around…. I’m just not that natural…. nor do I have a foot wash by the back door…. but on the nicer days when it’s relatively poop free, sure….

  7. I’m a runner and have only recently found the benefits of going barefoot…and I do have to say I enjoy every second and every little jab of pain I’ve gotten over the last few months. I plan to run the Bellin Health 10K in June barefoot, and even possibly the Fox Cities Marathon barefoot, or with Vibrams on…Truly love the feeling, nothing like it.

  8. I always loved going barefoot. I can't where we live now, too rocky and we have some terrible thorny things growing. I never wear shoes inside unless it is very, very cold!

  9. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
    Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    If you have grain-free recipes please visit Wednesday night for a grain-free linky carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge starting Wednesday!

  10. I am always barefoot! Inside and outside the house. I even prefer to drive the car barefoot so I never put on shoes when I need to drop someone off or pick someone up. πŸ™‚ Shoes just annoy my feet! My fiance and I are trying to do workouts 5 times a week, but the shoes hurt and rub my feet so bad I'm tempted to walk barefoot/stocking foot, except I think I'd get weird looks around the walking paths we go on. XD

  11. Alas, I have big feet, and most shoes in my size are either ugly or fit poorly, so it makes going barefoot all that more appealing. πŸ™‚ I have a friend who is considering taking a shoemaking class, so when/if she does, I may have to hire her to make me some comfy shoes.

  12. We go barefoot "in" (inside and outside) our house. During late spring through early fall our feet are always dirty. We love it!
    Shoes, although I love shoes have a nice selection, they are over rated. πŸ˜‰