hygiene, health & bare feet
Going barefoot is hygienic - even in most public places - and is good for the body in healthy individuals.
Most people want to be healthy, but many don't consider their health from head to toes. If they do, the decisions they make about foot health are often made based on urban legend or footwear marketing messages. One common message: Bare feet are gross and it's bad to go without shoes.
We've seen the comments on Twitter. They go something like this: "I'd go barefoot all the time if it wasn't so unhygienic," or even "This guy is walking around the library barefoot. So disgusting!"
Experts say that the best way to prevent the spread of disease is good hand hygiene. The reason for this is how often our hands touch infected surfaces and then touch our faces. While it may seem gross to go barefoot, it really is of little concern unless you regularly put your feet up to others' faces or in your mouth. In all seriousness, be more concerned about who washes their hands rather than who goes barefoot.
Many people think they can't go barefoot because they "need" arch support or someone -- even a doctor -- told them that it's bad for their ankles/knees/back/whatever to go barefoot. In all reality, wearing shoes creates a need to wear shoes: People think their feet are weak and that they must wear shoes. When they do, the muscles in their feet don't have a chance to become stronger so they do become weak. It's like an arm after wearing a cast. The muscles atrophy from non-use, and the joints become stiff from being immobilized. The same principles apply to almost any kind of shoe you wear.
One concern that is often raised when we talk about barefoot activity with others is the issue of "sensitive feet." Yes, bare feet are sensitive -- but so are bare hands. The difference is that our hands are used to sensation because we use them. When people put their feet in shoes almost all day every day, they're never allowed to learn how to feel much of anything. Any barefooter will tell you that your feet get used to sensations when you go without shoes long enough, and that those sensations become comfortable.
We who regularly live without shoes have found that our feet in their innate condition function very well.
Bare feet may come in contact with various surfaces, but we don't get sick because we don't put our feet up to our faces. Our feet are stronger and more flexible than they used to be. There are, admittedly, no studies to verify these claims, however we have found that using our feet in their innate condition -- barefoot -- makes the most sense.
Going barefoot has a lot of benefits and prevents many issues that are caused or exacerbated by footwear. At the top of the list is comfort. Admit it: Taking your shoes off at the end of the day makes you feel better. Being comfortable helps decrease stress. Again, feet that are allowed to stay out of footwear are stronger and more flexible. They also avoid problems that are caused or made worse by footwear such as corns, callouses, bunions, smelly feet, nail fungus, ingrown toenails and many more.
related: facts about safety when barefoot