Shoes vs. Bare Feet

Posted by Roger Baronat, June 24, 2009, 9:56 am

Barefoot Running - Woman  Barefoot Running - Man

Everyone knows what shoes look like, so no need for pictures of ‘em here.

Bare feet are another story. Actually, it’s this story, or this post, or . . .  the point is we don’t see much of bare feet, except for our own or those of our significant other. Some may ask, “What is a significant other?” And others may ask,  “Why is it we see their bare feet so often?” I say, “Neither of those questions have much to do with our topic and most people know the answers anyway.” We need a question for which most people do not have the answer. I have it!

What is an “insignificant other?” There’s a question that begs an answer, but we can discuss that in another post. It’s totally off-topic. How about, “Why do we see so few bare feet during the course of our daily living?” And now we do a little Family Feud dialog with “Survey says!” And the answer just pops out at us with no delay whatsoever. Shoes!

Yes, shoes! That’s why we don’t need any pictures of ‘em cluttering up the bare feet above. We don’t see much of bare feet, but we do see a whole lot of shoes. And rightly so. Shoes provide us with a very important service.

They protect us from the dangers to be found on the ground. Some may ask, “What dangers?” I say, “Glass shards for one.” Others may ask,  “What are shards?” I say, “Don’t ask.” Just know they are very sharp and very tiny and very nasty. And none of us want them embedded into the bottom of our feet. Another clear and present danger of bouncing around barefoot is the increased odds of our stepping onto sharp rocks, or sharp pieces of metal, or sharp pieces of wood, or sharp . . . the key word here is “sharp” and basically that’s why we wear shoes. To protect us from turning the skin on the bottom of our feet into a tangled mess of blood, dirt, and raw flesh that would not only give us great pain but would also expose our bodies to infectious diseases and other unpleasant things that would lead to our untimely demise. In a word, survival.

On the other hand, if we could find a place devoid of dangerously sharp objects, then running around barefoot could be beneficial for us. Stepping onto, or into, unsharp objects cannot really harm us. What can a little twig, or branch, or leaf, or smooth pavement, or dirt, or mud, or grease, or rainwater, or sand, or rotted food, or animal dung do to us? A little push into our skin? We can bounce back from that with no trouble. A little grime? We just wash it off with a little soap and water. No problem.

And the benefits are tremendous. Blister reduction. Fungus reduction. Increased muscle flexibility, better posture, increased stamina, and a difficult-to-define, overall happier feeling when we can wiggle our toes in total freedom from oppressive confinement.

Humankind has walked on the various surfaces of this planet for a very long time, and wearing shoes, when the weather does not require it, remains a relatively new idea. Perhaps going barefoot is better.



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