I spent today at the local apple harvest day handing out raffle tickets to win a $50 gift certificate to our local running specialty store. I love this particular store and have purchased many items in the past. Today though the irony struck me, I was raffling off a chance to win conventional running shoes while standing barefoot on the pavement. I have really come a long way with barefoot style and I no longer prefer shoes but would rather be barefoot or in a minimalist shoe. In addition, I find it interesting that the longer I stood barefoot the less my feet ached. I moved around, felt the pavement under my feet, and received new sensations while standing on different shapes in pavement.

One person asked, are you worried that being barefoot you might pick up bacteria from the ground. I answered no and thought that is a dumb question as there is most likely more bacteria in her soggy shoes (it was raining off/ on all day) than on the bottom of my mostly dry feet. I later reminded myself that the reasons that people originally wore shoes was to a) protect the bottom of the feet from cuts and punctures and b) to protect feet from temperature extremes. Today our shoes are way too built up and shoe companies continue to worsen the problem by putting more and more material between our feet and the ground. I digress.

So, I normally ask, why are we afraid of being barefoot? But I will ask it this way now, why are we so afraid of taking off our shoes? Is there some magic to wearing something that constrains our feet from natural motion? Do the shoes magically prevent anything? I have found that shoes make my feet ache more than not wearing shoes, I can stand longer without shoes and my feet stay dryer, which I assume carries less chance of picking up bacteria?

I will end with this thought to ponder. I have spoken to countless people who after a hard day of work on their feet do one thing in common: they take off their shoes.