Being self-employed and working at home has a handful of upsides:
– I only have to shave on days that start with the letter T.
– My commute involves stepping over my dog as I walk into my studio each morning.
– I can nap on my own sofa in between sessions.
– I can fix my lunch in my own kitchen.
Among the most valuable benefits of this lifestyle though, is the ability to spend my days in bare feet.
That’s not as small-minded as it might seem.
There are many reasons why I choose to go barefoot as often as possible. Primary to those reasons is that 20 years of hard trail hiking and 30+ years of dropping weights on my feet nearly every week, I have experienced more than a few broken bones and fractures in each foot.
My first few steps out of bed each day feel as though I’m walking across a field of broken glass and carpet tacks. By the time I step into the shower each morning, the pain minimizes and the warm water from the shower is a treatment of instant healing.
With so much damage done to my feet and with that process still ongoing, I find that my feet feel best without the restriction of shoes. In bare feet, them crooked bones are free to mold to the floor and to the empty space around them.
Fortunately, I live in a warm climate. There are probably 10 days or less each year when I feel the need to wear shoes to keep my feet warm. Even on days when it’s a little bit chilly here in North San Diego County, the fact that I am pacing, stepping, and moving about all day helps my feet to stay warm.
Of course when I leave my house, I most always wear shoes. I walk for a couple of miles each day in wildlife areas with my dog where shoes are definitely a benefit. I go into restaurants, grocery stores, and other places of business where shoes are required. But even so, there are times when I do walk around town barefoot and prefer it that way when I can.
I drive barefoot most of the time.
In airports, city streets, shopping malls, and other public spaces, I walk barefoot as often as I can. I’ve often carried my shoes in my hand or if I have a shoulder bag or backpack, I’ll tie them to the outside of that so they are available should I need to put them on.
I have a very clear memory of spending a day in 2012, walking with my daughter around Chicago for hours . Every time we would step into a store or restaurant, I’d release my shoes from my backpack and put them on. As soon as we stepped outside again, I’d kick them off and refasten them to my shoulder bag. For her part, my daughter was thoroughly embarrassed by this, but I give her credit for saying nothing.
Airports are most often public municipal space, so walking barefoot through airports is legal, if not unusual. Flying barefoot is another story. I have been counseled by more than a few flight attendants that once I step from the jetway onto the aircraft, the FAA says I need to be wearing shoes. I humor them by putting them on for a moment and as soon as I am seated, I kick them off again.
When I do wear shoes, I get acustomed to them. They mold to my feet. If shoes can hurt my feet, new shoes will hurt them more. I tend to keep the old ones around as long as I can — or until people begin offerring me bottled water or dollar bills.
My feet are just more comfortable out of shoes. If I wear shoes more than a couple of hours at a time, my feet begin to hurt, them outboard toes in particular.
I might someday invent a barefoot bike pedal, but only when I have the time and money to do so. I think there might truly be a market there.
There is another aspect to this though, that has less to do with foot pain and more to do with feeling. Feeling the earth. Feeling the ground. Feeling the floors, the textures, and all the surfaces that are beneath me all day long. The term that is commonly used for this is ‘grounding’. Grounding, in this context, has somewhat of a new-agey feel to it.
Energy from the center of the earth enters my feet, travels through my body, and charges my brain — stuff like that. I’ve become one with Mother Earth.
But it just feels good that the nerves at the bottoms of my feet are being stimulated all day — as in touch with the world as my hands are, and not protected by shoes.
Just imagine wearing gloves all day.
As usual in this era of conflicting data, there’s much conflicting information on whether walking barefoot all day is a good thing or bad thing for my feet — or for anyone else’s. As usual, I don’t need to know what science has to say about my values. I just need to know what I feel.
For me, I will be barefoot as often as I can because it just feels right — for all the reasons I have listed above and for many more reasons that currently elude me.
I can’t share this in earnest though, without admitting to and apologizing for the many times that I have shouted profanities in the presence of friends, clients, neighbors, and family members after stepping on bees, dropping 35-pound weights on my foot, or stepping on one of these god awful palm thorns. I’m a cusser — I come from a long line of cussers. I just can’t help it… Jhciacb
If you have not already, please scroll up and subscribe. And please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there is this from Mandolin Orange. Enjoy…!