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Start Going Barefoot

Carefully, slowly transition to barefoot living one step at a time to ensure a positive experience and a lifetime of comfortable, healthy feet.

If you've spent a significant part of your life in footwear, it's going to take some time to take your feet back. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all. Have a chat with your doctor first to rule out any other serious medical issues that need attention.

The main rule to starting any barefoot activity is to take it SLOW.

This is for two reasons:

First, it's going to take time to get used to all of the sensations that you feel in your soles. Many people complain that their feet are "too sensitive" to go barefoot, but that's probably because they're not used to feeling anything with their bare feet. Although your feet have some of the highest concentrations of nerve endings in your whole body, your shoes have been keeping your feet from feeling everything but the insides of your shoes. What's more, you need time to become more aware of your surroundings. Because bare feet are more vulnerable, you need to start learning the position of your whole body in space -- not just everything above the ankles.

Second, you need to build up the health and strength in your feet and legs. Imagine what an arm or leg is like after it has worn a cast for several weeks to heal from a fracture. It's scrawny. It's stiff. The skin isn't as healthy as it should be. Your feet, having been confined in shoes for a long time, will be much the same way -- even if not quite to that extreme. Consider a simple strength training program to help these efforts along. You might also need to take care of some other issues like ingrown toenails, athlete's foot, etc. You will want to start getting these issues cleared up as soon as you can.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." A good way to approach barefoot activity is to go one more "step" beyond what you're currently used to and with which you are comfortable.

You don't want to try too much too fast, or else you might end up rejecting the benefits of barefoot activity because it's too overwhelming or you even get hurt!

An example of how to start: If you never go barefoot inside your house, sit on your couch or in a chair and remove all socks and shoes. Take a couple of minutes to just feel the floor. Bend your toes and flex your feet. Rub your feet a little bit with your hands to help them loosen up and relax.

As you become comfortable with the new step forward that you've taken, try the next step after that and so on. Don't force it. In the example above, the next step would be to walk barefoot around your house for a while. You may find that you become a lot more comfortable and bold with barefoot activity than you ever expected! We hope that you discover that your feet are amazing and capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.