Monday, November 2, 2009


The other day while reading this fabulous NYT Michael Pollan article about food TV and how people don't cook anymore I came across an article on foot health. Curious, I read it to see what advice they would give.

Some of the advice was good: don't wear high heels, walk a lot to strengthen your feet, don't be obese.

The NYT article did not mention walking (or running) barefoot as being healthy for legs and feet. However, there are many sources who believe this is a good idea, here are some:

- MDA's article How to Strengthen Your Feet
- Barefoot hiker and runner Barefoot Ted 
- Barefoot Sensei at Exuberant Animal 
- The amazing Erwan Le Corre's MovNat (eye candy alert!)
- Cool site Birthday Shoes

I'm curious, what do YOU think?

I have always loved being barefoot. In high school I had to wear horrible uniform shoes to school. Instead I walked barefoot around campus which almost got me expelled (they were very strict with the uniforms). I walked barefoot all over the city. Yes, sometimes I got glass in my feet and my soles were dirty.  I did break the bones in my foot twice - from jogging on hard surfaces wearing running shoes (stress fracture)...can I say I hate jogging?

But friends suffered worse consequences than that, maybe from wearing shoes all the time? Many of them already have foot problems - flat feet, athletes foot, bunions, shortened achilles, etc etc. My mom has plantar fasciitis and let me tell you it is horrible. I'm afraid of something like that!

Now I wear shoes most of the time out in the world because I grew up and cared a bit more what people thought of me. I wear high heels because they look nice and I am short! But I always take off my shoes as soon as I get home. I like to walk barefoot outside too, and sometimes run/sprint/hike barefoot.

Vibrams and that sort of thing, I don't know if I can do it. They are just so funny looking! Plus I don't think I like things between my toes...maybe I have to try them, but I'm afraid then I will want to buy them...and then I will have to wear them! ;)

What about you? What do you think about the need to wear shoes?  Do you wear Vibrams or other funky non-shoes? Do you go barefoot a lot? Do you have foot problems...what do you do about it?


  1. I go barefoot all the time

    I wear funny shoes vff's

    I think barefoot is very important

    I have gotten faster since running barefoot

    I like your pics


  2. Hi! I hate high heels, they are like Chinese foot-binding in my opinion. I'm too much of a clean freak to go barefoot very often, but I live in flip-flops. Good thing I live in warm California! I couldn't wear those funky shoes either, ugh.

  3. Hi Marc - thanks for your comments! The Vibrams are actually really appealing for hiking. I like the ones with the strap across the instep so they'd stay on. Do you recognize the sand? haha!

    Carrie my dear, I didn't know you are a clean freak? I have to wear heels or I just feel SO short! I'm wearing flats today though. :)

  4. I guess I've been hiding my germ-phobia pretty well. I am the queen of hand sanitizer! You wear heels very well, I just kind of clunk around and look uncomfortable. :)

  5. Carrie, you're silly! :)

  6. I love being barefoot. I went into the bank the other day barefoot. I got a few odd looks, but no one said anything to me.

    As long as I'm not incarcerated for going places barefoot I will continue to do it. Weather permitting of course.

  7. Hiya Dan! Into the bank? Wow!
    Yes I'd think where you are the weather would start getting a little chilly soon for going without shoes. I'm a wimp though! Haha!

  8. I agree with Marc; get some Vibrams. I chose the Sprints since they are open on the top, but have the strap across the top as well to keep my foot in. The Classics are open without a strap - just a pull rope in the back. They do take some aclimation, but are comfy and work the foot.

  9. Hiya Dove! Vibrams..never heard of them besides as the soles of my hiking boots. I love being bare foot but now living in Alaska I have cut waaay back on that. It's cold!

    I used to wear high heels daily back in the day (before I met you). I have permanent (so seeming) callouses on my feet (between the toe pads on my soles and on the back of my heel) from this torture I inflicted upon myself. Yet I do still wear heels for rare special occasions.

    I leave Wednesday and will be gone from home for a long time - I'm going to miss my kitchen!


  10. Hi Andy! Yes, the sprints are the ones I would choose because the strap across the top seems useful. I typically have a problem with shoes slipping off my heel so I don't think those others would stay on. Well maybe I'll try them on and see...

    Shelly baby! Hehe! When I hear Vibram I think of my hiking boots too! ;) Weird that you have calluses between your toes from heels...that sucks!
    Have fun on your travels! xoxo

  11. Hiya,

    Not that it is pressing, but just wanted to clarify: not between my toes but on my foot pad - in between the pads...oh never mind! ;)
    Maybe I'll see you on a beach - don't forget your sunscreen....

    I looked up the vibramsff - looks sci-fi! -Shells

  12. hehe! Well, you will just have to show me! On the beach! In the caribbean!!!!!!!!!! Woooooo!!!

    Love you! xo

  13. Oh wait- now I get it- on the middle of your foot? Duh! :)

  14. I am on the vibram bandwagon - love them. I got the KSO b/c I found the sprints uncomfortable on the top of my foot.

    Note of caution though - I seriously messed up my foot doing beach sprints at the beginning of August. If you feel any pain, don't try and gut it out like I did. I am still not back to normal (boy I miss sprinting too).

    If you buy Vibrams, I recommend going a bit larger as they seem more comfortable and appear to hold up better.

    I also have a pair of Nike Free 5.0s. Not nearly as librating as Vibrams but still much better than normal sneakers (e.g. very flexible and light).

  15. Hi Mark! Sorry to hear about your foot! Did you snap a little bone or tendon? I did that, and it HURTS! I remember it hurt every time I had to put my foot on the clutch while driving! OW. I hope yours gets better soon.
    The Nike Frees are cool!

    Thanks for leaving a comment!

  16. After a month a pain, I went to the doc - xrays didn't show anything. It hurt to walk, drive, etc.

    It's healed enough now so that I was walk on it w/o too much pain. We're taking the kids to Disney World at the end of the month and it needs to be back in tip top shape by then!

  17. I've spent the last two years in the tropics either barefoot or wearing simple flip-flops. Nobody has shoes here, I haven't even seen a shoe store! Kids go barefoot all the time my school, it's too bad that we've rejected it as "dirty and unacceptable" in Western culture (well the barefoot kids have super dirty feet, but hey who cares). My feet are noticeably stronger and my balance is better then ever before. Now in three weeks I'm going home to frigid Canada and I'm not looking forward to wearing shoes or even (gasp) winter boots again!

    I stumbled across your blog through a comment you left on Caveman Food, and just finished reading it from start to finish (over a couple weeks). Loved it! I went primal a couple months ago and can't imagine eating anything else. I've bookmarked some recipes to try when I get home, but I had your roasted chicken yesterday and it was fantastic. You're delightful, which makes your blog thoroughly enjoyable, keep up the great posts!

  18. Hi Dan the Man! Thanks so much for your super nice comment!!! And even better, now I can read your blog - it's amazing! Please don't go home, stay in Tonga so I can live through you!

    It is interesting how many places in the world kids (and adults) don't wear shoes. It's sad that poverty causes this, but it's probably better for their feet for the most part.

    Let me know what you think when you try the recipes! :) Have a great day!

  19. I have not bought vibrams yet, but i did buy aqua socks or shoes and with low rise black socks have not gotten any second looks. They have the same floppy-ness and will give you an idea if what to expect from vibrams without the toe socks you will probably have to buy with with the vibrams. Here is a link for you an aussie women doing the vibram thing...she does emphasize going slow....i have another friend who did it to quick and her feet hurt also...those tendons and muscles on your feet need to be conditioned just like everything

  20. Hi Anonymous,
    Thank you for the comment and the link. Very true that it is a good idea to go slow at first! I have noticed that when I wear heels too much, when I then walk barefoot or in flipflops all day my feet ache!

    Have a great day!