"I'd go barefoot all the time if I could."

We hear that sentiment ALL the time! Really. You CAN go barefoot much more often -- even in public! This site has tons of resources to help society become more barefoot friendly, but you must begin with your own two feet.

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health & bare feet

Going barefoot is good for the body and the brain. 

Picture a relaxing afternoon enjoying a picnic lunch on the grass, and then getting up to toss a frisbee around. The adorable feet of a newborn baby or a small child. A group of people practicing yoga or martial arts, indoors or out. A long walk on the beach.

In these cases, we are culturally conditioned to include bare feet in our image of health, fitness, and attractiveness, and once you consider the facts, it makes sense to extend the association between bare feet and good health into many other settings and activities.  

Barefoot movement naturally aligns our bodies so that our muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments all work together properly, improving our balance, posture, propriocecption, and gait. All of this can prevent a wide variety of problems, and many people have found that remaining shoe-free during their regular daily activities is the solution that finally brought relief from pain they had been experiencing in their feet, ankles, knees, or hips, or back.

Our bodies and brains benefit when the soles of our feet come into direct contact with a variety of sensations and textures. With time, protective fatty padding develops on our feet, and our brains become accustomed to more intense sensations. A rich variety of surfaces become comfortable and even desirable. 

Fresh air, sunshine, rain, and/or people with cleaning equipment often clean the outdoor and indoor surfaces that we walk on, and most of us wash our feet pretty regularly along with the rest of our bodies. While microbes are always present everywhere on our skin, the surfaces around us, and even in the air we breathe, most of these are harmless or even beneficial to humans. Anything potentially unhealthy for us that might contact our bare feet is unlikely to remain there long enough cause problems. 

On the other hand, shoes do not get cleaned very often if ever, so dirt and bacteria can remain for a long time on the soles of our shoes and inside them. The insides of shoes are particularly effective breeding areas for fungus and bacteria, being dark, warm, and damp. For this reason, going barefoot is a great way to end problems with foot odor, athlete's foot, and toenail fungus. 

The unnatural shape of many shoes can cause corns, blisters, calluses, bunions, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails, and some of these can become infected when pressed against the bacteria on the inside of a shoe. In addition, almost all shoes contain toxins which affect the health of some individuals. 

Sometimes people will warn that you can get hookworm from going barefoot. Hookworm sure sounds gross. However, it is extremely rare and is only a risk under specific conditions in places with very warm, wet climates that lack adequate sanitation and medical care.

You probably don't worry too much about being attacked by a bear while walking in an urban park, or about inhaling a deadly virus at your local library, even though these things are serious risks in other contexts. In the same way, don't let health risks that don't apply to you prevent you from enjoying the very real health benefits of going barefoot.

We encourage you to experience free feet for yourself and see how it works for you.

Many people put careful thought into eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, etc., but haven't spent much time considering the impact of foot health on the overall health of the body. Urban legends and footwear marketing messages have played a large role in common beliefs about foot health. The truth is that the choice to go barefoot is a great part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes healthy feet and plenty of healthy movement. 

related: facts about safety when barefoot