There are many sources of scientific and naturalistic information that support walking barefoot and living barefoot. The following are just a few that I have compiled with the reference sources in parentheses. I have tried to give the proper credit to the source in all cases. There is a rapidly increasing collection of research that supports barefooting and demonstrates the health benefits of going barefoot. While this website is not a barefoot running site, I have also included quotes supporting that activity as well.

  1. By walking barefoot over open countryside, early man was inadvertently enjoying the benefits of reflexology, a therapeutic form of foot massage. (Self-Healing Techniques: Reflexology, The Complete Guide to Natural Healing)
  2. Both ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures extolled the healing effects of reflexology on the entire body. (Same source)
  3. Benefits of Barefoot Walking − The best treatment for feet encased in shoes all day is to go barefoot. One-fifth of the world's population never wears shoes -- ever! But when people who usually go barefoot usually wear shoes, their feet begin to suffer. As often as possible, walk barefoot on the beach, in your yard, or at least around the house. Walking in the grass or sand massages your feet, strengthens your muscles and feels very relaxing...If you can cut back on wearing shoes by 30 percent, you will save wear and tear on your feet and extend the life of your shoes. (Natural Foot Care, Stephanie Tourles)
  4. Observations from countries where barefoot activity is the norm indicates that planter skin eventually becomes robust and permits extremely long duration of barefoot locomotion at high average velocities, without sign of damage to plantar skin, or for that matter other lower extremity injuries. (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Steven Robbins & Adel Hanna)
  5. Modern athletic footwear provides...comfort when walking, running, or jumping. However, when injurious plantar loads elicit negligible perceived plantar discomfort, a perceptual illusion is created whereby perceived impact is lower than actual impact, which results in inadequate impact-moderating behavior and consequent injury. (Robbins, Hanna)
  6. The foot is inherently durable, and, when (barefoot) it can endure running without signs of chronic overloading, because a vigilant system restrains shock. The use of modern athletic footwear....renders the lower extremity susceptible to injury because of the design flaws introduced by the preoccupation with the optimization of plantar comfort. (Robbins, Hanna)
  7. The obvious solution to the problem of chronic overloading in shod runners is to promote barefoot running. (Robbins, Hanna)
  8. When Sir Edmund Hillary made the first conquest of Mt. Everest in 1953, his Sherpa bearers were almost all barefooted, even well above the snow line. (The Barefoot Hiker, Richard Frazine)
  9. Feet should be free and unfettered for at least 10 hours a day. (Tourles)
  10. If possible, feet should be free and barefoot for at least 12 hours a day or more every day and most days should be barefoot at least 14 hours. The optimum range for barefoot living is 21 to 24 barefoot hours per day, weather permitting. (Tom Kutscher, barefoot walker, hiker and practitioner)
  11. Practice walking barefoot on grass (to cure insomnia). (Disorders -- Cure for Insomnia, Corry Stuart's Herbal Healing website)
  12. Ill-fitting shoes are the source of most foot problems. (Tourles, and many other sources)
  13. The average temperature inside your shoes is 106 degrees (F). (Tourles, and other sources)
  14. Your feet, just like the rest of your body, need to be toned and stretched in their natural state: barefoot. You don't wear your work clothes to run, walk, or go to the gym in do you? You wear something loose and comfortable. So why would your wear shoes when you exercise your feet? (Tourles)
  15. Bare feet get the beneficial fungicidal effects of the sun's ultra-violet rays (when walking outdoors barefoot). (The Journal of the National Association of Chiropodists, Samuel Shulman)
  16. Most foot fungi require dark, warm and damp interdigital spaces for growth such as that provided by shoes and stockings on a foot. (Shulman)
  17. No instances among the barefoot (i.e. in India and China and countries with large numbers of people who never wore shoes) were found of Onchyrochryptosis, Hyperidrosis, Bromidrosis, Hallux Varus, or Bursitis. (Shulman; note these are all problems of the feet common in nations whose populations are usually shod)
  18. Shoes are NOT necessary for healthy feet and are the cause of most foot troubles. (Shulman)
  19. People who have NEVER worn shoes acquire very few foot defects, most of which are painless an non-debilitating. (Shulman)
  20. A number of reports indicate the extremely low-related injury frequency in barefoot population in contrast to reports about shod populations. (Robbins, Hanna)
  21. Footgear is the greatest enemy of the human foot. (Shulman and several others)
  22. The reports that the authors received report a low frequency of plantar fasciitis in barefoot populations. (Robbins, Hanna)
  23. The modern running shoe and footwear in general have successfully diminished sensory feedback without diminishing the injury impact, a dangerous situation. (Robbins, Hanna)
  24. Barefoot-adapted (locomotion) differs from...shod subjects in that those barefoot adapted "grasp" with their digits when they walk. (Robbins, Hanna)
  25. The ideal situation to the running related injury problem in shod populations lies in barefoot locomotion, since protective adaptations seem to be optimized for this state. ...Once adapted, the foot is extremely durable. (Robbins, Hanna)
  26. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the 1960 Olympic Games Marathon running barefoot. Not only did it not hurt him, he won again (shod) at the 1964 Olympics. (Olympic facts, many sources)
  27. Athlete's foot does not occur among people who traditionally go barefoot. It is moisture, sweating and lack of proper ventilation of the feet that (cause) athlete's foot to grow. (American Academy of Dermatology)
  28. For barefoot walking over longer distances, natural ground (lawn, earth, sand) feels much more pleasant than asphalt and concrete. When shoe soles were invented as barriers between mankind and nature, there (were) no more obstacles to building up "desert-like" towns (i.e. with artificial surfaces that are not pleasant to be barefoot on). (Lorenz Kerscher, Going Barefoot in Nature website)
  29. Being barefoot may well be part of an active lifestyle open to new experiences. You invest some courage in this liberty and regain a lot of well-being and self-confidence. (Kerscher)
  30. The flat feet of little children have to form proper arches (upon) growing up. This is greatly assisted by going barefoot which helps avoid damage to the back, the knees, and the hips. (Kerscher)
  31. Even at an advanced age going barefoot strengthens dozens of muscles, tendons and joints and restores the natural beauty of healthy feet. (Kerscher)
  32. Ideally, you can find playgrounds, parks, and sports facilities where you can practice natural (barefoot) walking. (Kerscher)
  33. Children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot. (Dr. Lynn Staheli, M.D. pediatric orthopedist, The N.Y. Times, Aug. 14, 1991)
  34. Going barefoot has the potential to protect the invertebral discs from deformation and slipping...A rough path is the ideal training ground for ...dystrophies of the feet that damage the knees and cause dorsal pain! A barefoot person automatically shifts the body weight to the outer edges of the feet, where the skin is less sensitive to stones etc., and thus actively compensates for flat feet. (Kerscher)
  35. The average person who walks barefoot has much healthier feet than the average person who wears shoes. (Dr. Paul Brand, Professor of Surgery, LSU Med. School)
  36. Direct contact with the ground has a great deal to do with preventing fractures of the ankle. In India, Dr. Brand saw no ankle fractures except those who wore shoes. (Parents for Barefoot Children website, referring to Dr. Paul Brand's research)
  37. The barefoot walker receives a continuous stream of information about the ground and about his own relationship to it, while a shod foot sleeps inside an unchanging environment. Sensations that are not used or listened to become decayed and atrophy. There is a sense of aliveness and joy which I experience walking barefoot that I never get in shoes. (Brand)
  38. In the Olympic Games, Indian and Pakistani teams have won several gold medals in field hockey while playing barefoot, and have had an impressive injury-free record. (Parents for Barefoot Children website; note -- these barefoot teams competed very successfully that way until the influences of the major shoe companies won out -- they now compete shod)
  39. Children should be allowed to go places where it's safe to walk barefoot as a way to improve their posture. (Janet Perry, M.P.T., physical therapist)
  40. Nerve endings on the bottom of the feet sense the ground beneath and send signals to the brain that help it determine how and where weight should be distributed with each new step. Shoes alter that feedback to the brain. (Parents for Barefoot Children website)
  41. It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying its natural grace of form and ease of movement, head to foot. (Podiatry management article, as cited by MaryJane Butters of The Salt Lake Tribune)
  42. It is commonly believed that athlete's foot is highly contagious -- that you can easily catch it from walking barefoot in a locker room. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Experiments to infect healthy skin with athlete's foot have failed, and often one family member may have it without infecting others living in the same house. (American Academy of Dermatology)
  43. Going barefoot helps children develop stronger and more coordinated foot muscles. (Dr. Carol Frey, Clinical Prof. of Orthopaedic Surgery/as per Parents for Barefoot Children website)
  44. Our cross-sectional study suggests that shoe-wearing in early childhood is detrimental for the development of a normal and high medial longitudinal arch. The susceptibility for flat feet among children who wear shoes is most evident if there is associated ligament laxity. We suggest that children should be encouraged to play unshod.... (The Influence of Footwear on the Prevalence of Flat Feet, Udaya Rao and Benjamin Joseph)
  45. The best lateral stability can be observed in the barefoot condition. (Lateral stability in Sideward Cutting Movements, Alex Stacoff, et al)
  46. In general, most doctors will confirm that spending time barefoot is very healthy for the feet... We are surprised that so many podiatrists are not promoting more barefoot activity. Since this has been proven time and again to reduce foot problems, we sometimes wonder if there is some ulterior motive. A good percentage of podiatrists make a large income from the fitting of custom "orthotics." ...But the foot is still held unhealthily immobile and unventilated after such efforts. The obvious alternative is to minimize time spent in shoes. (Parents for Barefoot Children website)
  47. One of the saddest results of the all too effective propaganda in favor of footwear for the forest bound is that there are a substantial number of people who genuinely love going barefoot and do so almost everywhere, but have nonetheless been convinced that they could never dare go barefoot in the woods. The truth is that forest trails are actually much easier on bare feet than paved streets, and generally safer than public beaches, and anyone who has gone barefoot in a forest will tell you that there is no nicer nor better place for going barefoot. (Frazine)
  48. Bare feet...act as a highly sophisticated sensory system adding immeasurably to the pleasure of hiking...Things are much different for shod hikers, whose feet only pay a price for the pleasures of their more privileged senses in corns, calluses, bunions, blisters, and "hot spots." (Frazine)
  49. Walking is the number one exercise for your feet as well as your body. Barefoot walking is the ideal. (Tourles)
  50. Barefoot walking is the natural and normal way to go. (Dr. J.C. Coetzee, Asst. Professor and Director of the foot and ankle division of Univ. of Minnesota, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery)
  51. Your feet are stronger (as a result of barefoot living). They become more dexterous. Any fungal problems just plummet. (Robert Juengst, as quoted in St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/14/2002; note - Juenst is a 24/7 barefooter and has been for many years)
  52. Similar to shoes bare feet also get dirty, but they are easier to wash and cleaner than shoes or feet that have been sweating in shoes all day, according to barefooters. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/14/02)
  53. There is nothing more unhygienic than a foot inside a shoe. Shoes track in more bacteria and dirt than a bare foot will. (William Rossi, D.P.M., former podiatrist and currently consultant to the footwear industry)
  54. Shoes and feet aren't compatible. No matter what the brand, the price, the quality, the style, it has a negative effect on the foot. (Rossi)
  55. It's completely natural to walk barefoot. In fact, it is quite healthy and good for your feet to do so. (Paul Lucas, website)
  56. Having your feet free of confining, hot, sweaty shoes, open to the air and sunshine, able to wiggle your toes, able to feel the various textures and temperatures of surfaces as you walk, is wonderful. It is one of life's most simple pleasures and is part of what it means to be human. (Lucas)
  57. Walking barefoot on grass is one of the best exercises that there is. Barefoot grass walking ranks number one overall as the best exercise using the KERS exercise ratings system. (Tom Kutscher)
  58. Our feet connect us to the ground and they are therefore a connection between our earthly and spiritual life. They ground us literally and figuratively. They are our base and foundation and our contact with the earth and the energies that flow through it. (Reflexology, Inge Dougans & Suzanne Ellis)
  59. Take time to stop and appreciate all that is about you. Smell the earth, the trees, the leaves. Absorb their energies and send them yours. One of the contributing factors of our isolation from the rest of nature is the insulation of our shoes. Whenever you can, go barefoot. Make contact with the earth. Feel it; absorb it. Show your respect and love for nature and live with nature. (Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, Raymond Buckland)
  60. Our feet represent our contact with the world around us. Carrying our full weight, they exchange energy with the earth, like the roots of a tree, endowing us with feelings of connectedness with the can do a lot to assist your groundedness by spending as much time as possible barefoot. (The Sensual Body, Lucy Lidell)
  61. Once you have started hiking barefoot, it is a very good idea to do all of your hiking in bare feet. (Frazine)
  62. The Greeks, from their Bronze Age beginnings until their absorption into the Roman Empire were certainly acquainted with shoes, but most of them -- quite regardless of circumstances -- preferred to go barefoot. (Frazine; note -- Richard Frazine's book "The Barefoot Hiker" has some interesting historical information on barefooting)
  63. Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person. Natural gait and shoes are biomechanically incompatible because all shoes automatically convert the normal to the abnormal, the natural to the unnatural. (Why Shoes Make "Normal" Gait Impossible, William Rossi, D. P.M.)
  64. In shoe-wearing societies a visibly faulty gait can often be corrected and made normal, but it can never be made natural as long as conventional shoes are worn. It is biomechanically impossible because of all the forced alterations from the natural foot stance, postural alignment, body balance equilibrium, body mechanics and weight distribution caused by shoes....Does all this suggest that the only means of retaining or regaining the natural state of the gait is to go barefoot?... Yes. (Rossi)
  65. In medical libraries I read a number of studies which, together with what I had seen, proved to me that habitually barefooted people do not acquire our foot problems. In the following years, I traveled through Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Haiti. Besides having sturdy toes and muscular feet, the people who were barefooted did not have fallen arches. They had uniformly excellent posture -- and none with whom I spoke ever experienced being chronically tired. (Take Off Your Shoes and Walk, Simon Wikler, D.S.C., podiatrist)
  66. There is no question in my mind that the major cause of foot trouble is the type of shoes we wear. (Wikler)
  67. Running barefoot is associated with a substantially lower prevalence of acute injuries of the ankle and chronic injuries of the lower leg. (Michael Warburton, physiotherapist)
  68. All shoes flex 30 to 80 percent less than normal at the ball (of the foot). This obviously creates flex resistance for the foot by the shoe. The foot must now work harder to take each of its approximately eight thousand steps (daily). The required extra energy imposes undue strain and fatigue on the foot. (Rossi)
  69. It is well known by both common experience and clinical testing that infants are able to walk with much more confidence and stability barefoot than with shoes on. In fact, the same can be said of adults. (Rossi)
  70. In a research study, of 109 children whose mothers objected to their kids going barefoot, 9 had very poor feet and 44 had poor feet. Only 6 had good feet and none had excellent feet, i.e. about 6 percent total were good or excellent. Of mothers who had no objection to their children going barefoot (52 kids total), only 2 had poor feet and none had very poor feet, while 29 (i.e. 56 percent) had good or excellent feet. (From Wikler's book, in Parents for Barefoot Children website)
  71. If you had the occasion to examine as many feet as I have, you would instantly be able to detect those who have had the opportunity to go barefoot as children. The suppleness and strength in their feet makes their appearance distinctive. "You went barefooted often as a child" I frequently tell people I have never seen before. They look at me surprised, but invariably say, "Yes." I add, "You never tire easily, do you?" The answer is almost always, "No, never." (Wikler, Parents for Barefoot Children website)
  72. We should learn the pleasure and painlessness of going barefoot. (article published on the history of footgear in the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research by Steele Stewart, podiatrist)
  73. San Francisco-based podiatrist Arlene Hoffman says that barefoot hiking can be a step in the right direction for foot health -- provided there are no related pre-existing medical conditions. (reported by Earth Island Journal, Fall 1997 issue)
  74. Human beings delight in pleasing their senses...Yet, for many, the human foot -- described by Leonardo di Vinci as "a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art" -- languishes for hours on end in dark, constrictive shoes. (same)
  75. A walk barefoot on the beach or grass brings the feet into contact with the earth and energies that flow through it, and provides a revitalizing, energizing, and natural message. (Reflexology, Inge Dougans)
  76. Society has gone nuts in the last twenty years. What was once an innocent pastime of kids is now looked at as some horrible breach of morals by some idiots. What most kids did all summer in their bare feet, in utter comfort, and (with) a lot of fun, is now seen as impossible without the "right" shoes. (Rob Whiting's "Barefoot Rob" website)
  77. Your foot was...designed from the ground up -- it was produced by millions of years of evolution -- TO BE BARE !!! (same website)
  78. My personal experience is that it takes only about ten to fourteen days if you try to barefoot one or two hours a day (i.e. outdoors) to train your feet to an extent so that you should be able to walk on pavement, sand, forest floor, grass, gravel, and plain dust and dirt without feeling pain. (Andreas' Barefoot Page website)
  79. Barefoot walks help tone the muscles of the feet, keeping them young and strong. An early morning barefoot walk on cool, dewy grass is refreshing and invigorating for the entire system, not just your feet. ("Walking Barefoot", website)
  80. Do walk barefoot as much as possible to help the bone structure of your feet function according to its natural shape. (same website)
  81. Take your shoes off whenever you can to give your feet as much air as possible. (same website)
  82. (In order to learn to walk naturally) the first thing to do is to lose the shoes. Have no worries about your tender feet. Walking naturally is gentle on them even off the trail. ("Walking in silence", website)
  83. Walking is one of the best base chakra exercises. The connection you make with the ground (note by me -- this is best done barefoot) with each step helps balance the first chakra's energy while strengthening and toning your legs and respiratory system. (Auras and Chakras, Fiona Toy)
  84. When the Muladhara (base) chakra energies are balanced or unblocked, this can manifest as greater physical vitality and a sense of well-being...We feel more grounded and more in control of our drive and life direction. (The Chakra Workbook, Anna Voigt). (Note -- as per Item 83, barefoot walking can help provide a sense of groundedness, and I believe this can help in the unblocking of chakra energies).
  85. To strengthen your feet, go barefoot, triangulating (note -- this is placing the weight of each step evenly on the heel, smallest toe and big toe) as you pad around your home. (Yoganetics, Wyatt Townley)
  86. The human foot is a marvelously adapted machine, and clearly more capable of effective barefoot running than most people appreciate. (Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Biological Anthropology, Harvard)
  87. Laboratory studies show that the plantar arch alone returns at least 17 percent of the energy of the impact. Running shoes have largely replaced our arches, but they are neither as effective or as durable. Barefoot runners can clearly do as well as shoed runners, but it takes time to develop the strength in the foot to use our natural arch fully. (Lieberman)
  88. According to Dr. Benno Nigg, founder of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Calgary, barefooting puts fewer demands on the energy supply of the human body, costing around three to five percent less oxygen than running with a (pair of) normal running shoe(s). Another benefit is that it incorporates more training for the small muscles in the foot and lower leg when running on grass, which is typically associated with fewer injuries. (Zoie Clift, The Barefoot Route)
  89. Barefoot running is typically considered more 'natural.' However, one should include not only the bare feet but also the more natural surfaces. We are not (usually) trained for barefoot running, thus any changes should be slow. (Dr. Benno Nigg, University of Calgary's head of their performance lab; note -- this website by Tom Kutscher advocates barefoot walking exercise totally on natural surfaces)
  90. If you support an area (of the body), it gets weaker. Use it extensively, it gets stronger. If I'm training you as an athlete, I'll get your legs, your ankles -- to get the muscles and sinews stronger there. You don't get shin splints when you have flexible power in ankles. Run barefoot and you won't have all those troubles. (Arthur Lydlard, a legendary New Zealand running coach)
  91. When researchers examined the effects of different types of footwear on people with knee osteoarthritis, they found that going barefoot puts less stress on knee joints than wearing foot-stabilizing walking shoes or clogs. (Salynn Boyles, reported from WebMD website in CBS News article Shock Absorbing Shoes: Bad For Knees?)
  92. I walk in my bare feet every day (i.e. all the time) -- we need the energy of the earth. (Kachora, a Yacqui healer and shaman who was in his upper 80's when this interview was done; quoted in Vision Magazine article Kachora: Yacqui Healer, by Sydney Murray)
  93. Studies have confirmed...and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body. It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the Earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles...have disconnected most people from the Earth's electrical rhythms and free electrons. (James L. Oschman, Ph.D. -- Can Electrons Act As Antioxidants? A Review and Commentary)
  94. I am very spiritual & try to embrace everything this world has to offer; its different scents, tastes, sights, & feels. I enjoy the different feelings of this world, such as the sand between my toes, the pavement on a hot day, the relief when stepping onto a cold tile, the blades of grass, the soft dirt, the squishy mud, etc., etc. It just FEELS GOOD to me. What's so wrong with that? (Danielle Chillemi, from her Barefooting blog - Why Barefooting Is For Me; note -- thousands of barefooters including myself and many others in the Society for Barefoot Living, would echo and agree with Danielle's remarks)
  95. I bet you're thinking to yourself, "Well, yeah, that sounds great & all, but what about glass & gross stuff on the ground?" This is another thing I love about barefooting. My amazing body has made my feet evolve & adapt to these new obstacles. The skin on my soles went from delicate to tough. It's like Mother Nature is protecting me. "Natural Footwear," I call it. The skin on my soles feels like stiff, soft leather now, & it protects me from small pieces of glass & sharp pebbles. (D. Chillemi) (note -- this level of natural toughening of the soles takes time and there are different degrees of barefoot toughness. Some very experienced barefooters with very tough feet can easily walk unaffected on broken glass, but others cannot.)
  96. Going barefoot was common for American boys in the 19th century and earlier periods. Shoes were expensive, especially for a family with many children. As 19th century shoes could be uncomfortable, many boys appear to have preferred going barefoot in the summer. Even in the early 20th century it was still quite common, especially in the southern states and rural areas. At this time a variety of social and economic factors combined to discourage children from going barefoot. Going barefoot declined as America became more urban, especially after the 1940s. (It) became seen as a sign of poverty...Going barefoot was much more common in rural than urban areas. It was also much more common for younger children, especially boys to go barefoot. Both boys and girls went barefoot, but we seem to see more boys than girls in the available photographic record. (Barefoot Boys: Country Trends from Historical Boy's Clothing website)
  97. We were born with toes for a reason. Mother Nature, or God, or The Higher Power...whatever you want to call it...made us perfect. He/She/It gave us everything we need. Shoes were not included in that. I do not believe that God said, "Ok, I'm going to create these humans, & every body part will function well except for their feet. They will have to figure out that they need to invent & wear shoes." No, no. God made us perfectly. Every inch of us. (D. Chillemi) (note -- Even if you are an atheist I think you can appreciate the brilliance of what Danielle has to say here. We evolved over millions of years and our barefoot ancestors were able to physically survive and even thrive just fine without footwear as their feet adapted to their wide-ranging environments.)
  98. Renee McAden's decision for her cross country team to practice barefoot evolved for one simple reason: Time wounds all heels, especially if shoes are involved. "We started this two years ago and we haven't had a single injury," said McAden, the Abilene High (Texas) girls cross country coach. "Running barefoot strengthens the aches and ankles, and it's eliminated all of our shin problems. It's been good for us. We haven't had one ankle sprain." (Ted Dunnam, Barefoot Practice Has Paid Off For Lady Eagles, Abilene Reporter-News)
  99. Drivers wearing stilettos, thongs and other inappropriate shoes are responsible for up to 10,000 car accidents (in AUSTRALIA) a year. NRMA insurance research director Robert McDonald said such footwear often became dislodged or caught in the pedals. (Sharri Markson, Drivers in Shoe Warning, The Courier-Mail, Queensland, Australia) (note -- Driving barefoot is legal and was even recommended in a Time Magazine article dated May 19, 2008; refer to more on this topic in the SBL website. According to the article; "Mr. McDonald said the number of accidents caused by drivers wearing bad footwear was becoming common. Shoe dislodgement is difficult. A couple tenths of a second could mean the difference between stopping and having an accident," he said. Mr. McDonald said driving barefoot was safer than wearing bad footwear). (note -- McDonald did recommend low heeled and thin soled shoes, but most 24/7 barefooters agree that barefoot driving is actually safer than any type of footwear as the grip on the pedals is optimized).
  100. Most exercise programs outside of yoga and Pilates classes require athletic shoes. Training to walk, run and jump with a highly supportive shoe does not allow full articulation of the toes and ankles. Stretching the toes, increasing circulation and mobility throughout the feet and ankles, and using the most intrinsic muscles of the feet to land gracefully enhance coordination and grace. Barefoot workouts help to develop muscle strength in the feet, legs and hips. (Laura O' Reilly, WillPower & Grace is a Barefoot Workout, The Daily Record, Morris County, NJ)
  101. Yanni Papastavrou regularly runs nearly nine miles from his home in Leyton, east London, to University College in central London. He is one of a growing number of "barefooters" who are claiming that kicking off your trainers (i.e. training shoes) can change your life. Barefoot runners and hikers claim on websites and blogs that removing their footwear cured anything from bursitis to herniated discs, knee, ankle, and foot problems. Do these people have a valid medical point when they say trainers are bad for you? Professional athletics coaches have long used barefoot running as a foot-strengthening exercise, and runners such as Zola Budd and the two-time Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila competed shoeless. (Lucy Adkins, Barefoot in the Park, The Guardian, London; note -- refer to Ken Bob Saxton's website for much more information on barefoot running)
  102. Having direct skin contact with the ground is very, very healthy to your body. Think how good you feel when your bare feet touch the earth. The rapid repudiation of free radicals that results from free electron flow from the earth is the reason why people feel so good when they go barefoot outside. (Sleeping-Earthed website; note -- there are a lot of other reasons why it feels good to so barefoot, but I agree that this is probably one of those reasons)
  103. Studies have demonstrated that just eight hours a day of earth contact were able to provide the following benefits: (1) reduction of inflammation, (2) normalization of cortisol levels, (3) improved sleep, (4) lessened stress and irritability, (5) decreased pain, (6) improved flexibility, (7) hastened muscle recovery following exertion, and (8) neutralization of free radicals to a far greater degree than is attainable with antioxidant supplements. If you can't remember how good it feels to be barefoot outside, then we urge you go outside and spend several hours with your feet on the ground. You can feel it. (same website)
  104. Shoes may detrimentally increase loads on the lower extremity joints. Once factors responsible for the differences in loads between with-shoe and barefoot walking are better delineated, modern shoes and walking practices may need to be reevaluated with regard to their effects on the prevalence and progression of osteoarthritis in our society. (Dr. Najia Shakoor, MD & Dr. Joel Block, MD, Walking Barefoot Decreases Loading on the Lower Extremity Joints in Knee Osteoarthritis)
  105. Barefoot walking significantly decreased dynamic loads at the knees. There was a 11.9 percent reduction in the peak knee adduction moment while walking barefoot compared with walking in shoes (P< 0.001). (Shakoor, Block)
  106. Similar reductions in dynamic loads were observed at the hips during barefoot walking. (Shakoor, Block)
  107. In summary, this study identified substantial differences in gait biomechanics and joint loads during barefoot walking and walking in shoes in a group of subjects with symptomatic knee OA (osteoarthritis). It appears that patients with medical knee OA undergo significant reductions in joint loads at their knees and hips when walking barefoot compared with when walking in their normal shoes. (Shakoor, Block)
  108. Athletic shoes may actually be making your feet lazy, weak and more prone to injury. As a result, barefoot training is gaining more attention among coaches, personal trainers and runners. While exercising without shoes may sound painful, the idea is that your feet need a workout, too. Proponents believe running barefoot changes a runner's form and body mechanics to prevent some common athletic injuries. (Wall Street Journal, Is Barefoot Better?)
  109. My (bare) feet don't get dirty because I walk through so many different environments. It cleans them off. My feet look dirtier when I wear flip-flops because they get sweaty and dirt sticks to them. (college student Tessa D'Arcangelew, as reported to Kelly Neukom, No Shoes No Problem, Occidental College weekly)
  110. Reflexology paths are widely available in Asia where people walk daily (note -generally barefoot although sometimes in socks) to enhance health and well-being. These paths are usually made of natural stones set into concrete in a variety of shapes and patterns, providing the user with the opportunity to stimulates different reflex points on the feet. A recent study in older adults in Oregon shows that walking on indoor "cobblestone" mats decreases blood pressure, improves balance, and improves measures of mobility more than walking for the same amount of time on a smooth surface. (Reflexology, King County, WA, public health website)
  111. Free from the constraints of shoes, (Dr. Irene) Davis said, musculature in the arches benefits. "When you're barefoot and you don't have any support under the arch, especially when you are hiking on uneven terrain, your feet have to work really hard to stabilize you. If you don't have something underneath it supporting it, the foot muscles are going to have to work harder. So I really think that hiking and even just walking barefoot helps to strengthen the muscles of the arch." (Darren Richardson, Barefootin', note -- Darren is a very experienced barefoot hiker and Dr. Davis is a professor of physical therapy)
  112. Barefoot hiking not only provides exercise for the arches, it also works muscles in the lower extremities in ways that shoes can inhibit. Someone who regularly hikes five miles in boots with no appreciable soreness, for example, might have sore legs or feet the day after hiking two miles barefoot, not unlike the morning-after aches and pains someone would experience early on in a weightlifting program. (Richardson)
  113. Shoes actually do more harm than good for your feet in the form of support-based atrophy. Without the aid of soles, our arches must support themselves, and like any part of the body, stress leads to the development of strength. So many people suffer from all kinds of foot trouble that could be solved by simply strengthening their feet through walking barefoot. Also, toes are free to expand to their natural breadth, thus preventing shoe-related foot disfiguration. (Keven O'Toole, Barefoot Living)
  114. Bare feet are healthier. Our feet sweat more than any other part of our body, and shoes prevent that moisture from evaporating, thereby creating the perfect place for bacteria to thrive. In the dry, open air, it is impossible to get smelly feet. (O'Toole)
  115. You can feel the floor and connect with the earth more easily without shoes. The flow between you and Mother Earth becomes stronger. The longer you practice walking with this connection, the more your heart will be softened and opened, and the more you will feel nurtured, solid, and taken care of by the earth. (Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk and meditation teacher, Walking Meditation, Sounds True magazine)
  116. Going barefoot makes you feel more connected with nature, that you're part of a bigger universe. Natural surfaces feel better. After hiking in shoes, your feet feel hot, sweaty, and tired. After hiking barefoot, your feet feel cool and refreshed. (Jim Guttmann, Barefoot Hikers of Minnesota)
  117. As it turns out, researchers have found that students can retain more knowledge if they study while listening to classical music, eating peppermint candy and -- get this -- do both in their bare feet. Hey, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do -- especially this barefoot country bumpkin of a mom. (Janelle Watson, Free Your Mind and Your Toes, Central Shenandoah Valley NewsLeader)
  118. Walking barefoot is especially good for (reducing) knee pain, stiffness in the joints, and back pain. A study (in India) showed that the incidence of arthritis and varicose veins are much lower in villages, probably because they walk barefoot. Digestion also improves drastically by the acupressure effect of barefoot walking. (Manjushree Abhinav, Walk Barefoot for Health and Happiness, Bangalore Citizen Matters; note -- she is a writer, filmmaker, and barefooter)
  119. Synthetic-soled shoes are electrically insulated from the Earth. Insulated materials are non-conductive while most natural-soled shoes are conductive, as are bare feet. The majority of persons on Earth routinely wear shoes or footwear with non-conductive synthetic soles rather that the natural-material soles (such as leather) which are electrically conductive. So with bare feet or natural soles, one is electrically grounded or "earthed." As mentioned in the book Earthing (by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker), Marika Sboros (a health news editor in a leading South African business and financial daily) commented on this (in May 29, 2013); "It is only since the Second World War that we have become disconnected from the Earth - literally - by wearing synthetic-soled shoes. The resultant insulation may represent the largest medical experiment ever undertaken, which billions of people unknowingly participate every day. Who among us realizes that the massive, unintended consequences may be compromised health?" Any potential benefit from earthing is negated when one wears synthetic-soled shoes, while the maximum earthing benefits are obtained from being barefoot on the Earth. Note - this website is not endorsing any type of footwear and is not in any way discouraging the use of synthetic-soled shoes, but recommends that users of these products, and occasionally that includes myself, should be at least be aware that they electrically disconnect the users from the Earth and eliminate natural earthing benefits via the feet when they are worn.
  120. Walking barefoot may also protect against decrepitude, believes Californian doctor John Douglas (MD), by prompting the powers of concentration. "Barefoot (walkers) must continually concentrate on where to put their feet if they are to avoid pain from sharp objects on the ground," he observes in the New England Journal of Medicine. This, he claims, acts as a 'primitive feedback system', keeping the neurons ticking over in the same way as concentrating on the daily crossword provides regular stimulus to the brain. "To the best of my knowledge people who go barefooted have little memory loss," he writes. (Dr. James le Fanu, Doctor's Diary, The Daily Telegraph, London)
  121. Karl Muller (a Swiss engineer) discovered that for the Masai people, shoes and back pain are unheard of -- and that there is a causal relationship between these two facts. Because they walk barefoot on the unnatural soft, uneven ground of their East African homeland, the Masai activate the very muscles that degenerate through walking in conventional street shoes on hard even surfaces. (Masai Barefoot Technology website; note -- the MBT website in addition to providing some good information advocates a type of footwear that they sell. My website is "barefoot only" and is not selling, advocating or endorsing any type of footwear, product or service)
  122. The concept of a barfuss trail was developed in the mid-1800s by a Bavarian priest, Sebastian Kneipp, who urged his practitioners to wade through water and walk barefoot on wet grass as a health-promoting, life-enhancing activity. He believed this boosted the cardiovascular system, regulated blood pressure and strengthened immunity. While Kneipp's claims may sound lofty, there is evidence to show that shedding shoes is good for musculoskeletal health. A 2007 paper in podiatry journal The Foot examined foot health in three different populations and compared modern feet to those of 2,000-year-old skeletons. Prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet -- and the more time we spend shod, the poorer foot health becomes. A 2006 study, meanwhile, found that when people walked barefoot, the impact forces on the knees were 12 percent lower than when wearing thick-soled walking shoes. The researchers attributed this to greater sensory feedback, which allows the body to activate its protective mechanisms to attenuate shock. (Sam Murphy, UK's First Barefoot Trail, FT)
  123. It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot. (Dr. William A. Rossi, Podiatry Management journal)
  124. According to some ancient philosophies, life-force energy called Chi (also called Qi or Prana) can be absorbed through the soles of the feet. Ground Chi is absorbed automatically and unconsciously when walking barefoot, which increases the amount of Chi absorbed by the body. It's said that you can consciously learn to absorb more Chi from the ground as you walk to increase your vitality, your capacity to do more work and your ability to think more clearly. Now there's a reason for going barefoot more often if we ever heard one! (The major health Benefits of Going Barefoot (Really!), sixwise website)
  125. Several years ago (after about three decades of on and off shod running programs on man-made surfaces) I decided enough is enough. I was fed up with sore feet, with the pressure points in my athletic shoes, with sore joints, with the stinky shoes, with the lack of air to my feet, and with the hard-surfaced, boring asphalt paths. I switched to walking barefoot on grass. I also supplemented my new barefoot walking program with a regular (but less frequent) barefoot hiking program using wooded-area nature trails. The results of this change from shod to barefoot were 100 percent improvements in every way. No more hot, sore feet, no more sore joints, no more damp, sweaty socks, no more stinky shoes, and no more boring asphalt. With every walk now I get the stimulating, invigorating sensation on my feet from a living carpet of grass and from the massaging effect of the earth. I also get fresh air on my feet and the benefit of Vitamin-D producing sunshine when the sun is out. I walk farther than even my best shod-walking days and every bit as fast, even as fast as I was in college. Once the skills are learned (and assuming all the safety guidelines are followed), it is very safe. Injuries have been very minor and rare (mostly an occasional splinter or minor cut), and have decreased as I became more skilled. (The tradeoff of an occasional minor injury for no more regular aches and pains alone has been worth it for me, but the other benefits of barefooting cannot be matched by any type of footwear). I also constructed a simulated grass track for barefoot walking in my basement for cold weather days. And I still have some athletic shoes but I just don't wear them very often (and never for exercising). So I recommend natural (barefoot) walking for anyone who is not afraid to get your feet dirty and to use them fully as nature intended. It is free, healthy, and fun. (Tom Kutscher; Refer to my article "Natural Walking for Exercise" if you want to learn more about my exercise program)