Apr 23, 2013

dirty feet

I've started walking barefoot lately, when I can and when I feel like it.
I usually choose to take off my shoes after school and walk home with bare feet.
It fels incredible after all day in sneakers and I love the connection with world around me.
Transitioning slowly from all-time-shoes-wearer to more natural way of walking takes time and I'm still not 100% there...more like 20%....
...but I want to share what I've learned so far ...

-it's overwhelming 

when you decide to go out of your house with bare feet for the first time, it is overwhelming.
Take a slow walk and try to go alone. It takes time to adjust to all the new sensations and the information your mind is constantly getting from your feet, and for me, this goes better when I take my time, and when I'm patient with myself. No need to rush.

At first, it all seemed like a noise, too much noise, and my mind wasn't used to it. After few days and few tries of walking with bare feet  I've started to listen and actually hear what my feet were saying.

There's grass growing among the stones in one part of the city - now I can feel it and it's my favorite part of the walk home.
It's not tall or extremely soft, it's not grass you would notice, just short leaves, who found their way to live in our concrete jungle.
But first days of barefoot walking all I could feel was "screaming" from my feet. "smoothstonecolderthanconcretebeforenowwehavesmallstonesgrasspricklyconcretesidewalkwater!"
It takes time to stop being overwhelmed.

-my feet get dirty

Yes, after dry day spent walking barefoot in the city you'll have dirty feet. It used to rain all the time few weeks ago and my feet would be almost crystal-clean after I got home. We have stone-pawed streets here and they were pretty clean from the rain-water, plus when you walk barefoot, the ground gently rubs against your soles and the top layer of your skin is brushed off.
Now in dry weather, I often get home and I can see the points on my soles where I step the hardest, because they get smoother and less dirty than the rest of my feet.

That's why, I usually wear shoes on the way to school, because I have to wear them at classes and it would just seem yucky to put on socks and sneakers if my feet would be dirty like that.

My feet get dirty and there's small child inside me, who enjoys this greatly.

-my legs stopped hurting.

You may have noticed I have really high arch on both of my feet (pes cavus). I'm supposed to wear special orthopedic insoles, which support the arch of my foot etc. And I DO wear them when I wear shoes.
But my legs hurt when I walk longer. The side of my shins gets impossibly hard and hurts the same way as when you have cramp in your leg, no matter how long I try to stretch my legs before walking.
(if anyone has any suggestions/ideas why this is happening and how to stop it, please DO share!)
When I walk without shoes they don't hurt.
I'm not an expert, but from what I've noticed myself, this might be caused by the way I step down when I'm wearing shoes and when I'm barefoot.
I step on the front of my foot first and then put my heel down, getting most of my weight on the front part of the feet when walking barefoot. this helps when walking on the street, because you feel the ground before you step down with your full weight and it gives you time to react and adjust the step if there's some stone or sharp glass under your foot. And it works.
When I wear shoes, I tend to step heel-first. - WRONG, I know. I've tried to pay attention to the way I walk and walk the right way even with shoes on, but the way your foot can move in shoes is restricted. There's difference. In shoes, the arch of the foot is pretty much fixed, with very small spectrum of possible movement.
That's why I find it easier to walk correctly without shoes.

and the most important thing is...
- It feels good. 

For me it feels like the right thing to do.

one more time - I'm not an expert or doctor or something...I'll be a vet in a few years (completely different story) ..so all I said/wrote here is just my personal feelings, things which work for me, might not work for you, but they may help someone.
If you have any questions - feel free to ask - like always :)


  1. Have you read Born to Run? it's about running but can be applied to walking, without shoes and how 'bare foot' builds up muscles which we have, in our 'shoeness' have 'forgotten' to use.

    1. I didn't read it but it's on my "to read" list...the problem is, I don't have much time to read in free time with all the studying I should be doing :D

  2. I just recently got back into barefootwalking since the departure of the aweful cold, and just now got home from the river park near where I live. Barefoot walking does take time to get use to, and it helps to have a reliable area where there's nothing super dangerous to step on like thorns, glass and what not.

    Given a few more rounds of walking, and I think I'll be able to start up jogging again without serious damage (yes it can be done!). One thing you may have noticed is extra foot pain not just on your soles but on your ankles. From what I've heard, walking barefoot does exercise the feet in ways that shoes don't allow.

    Yes it does feel great! When I was working at the college near the river park, I would be trapped in shoes for 8+ hours. Going to the park afterwards was a glorious, warm foot massage!