Ten Reasons to Spend Time Walking Barefoot

Bare Feet are Happy Feet

My daughter's and my feet after walking barefoot at our local botanical garden
My daughter's and my feet after walking barefoot at our local botanical garden | Source

Introduction

It's Spring! The weather is finally warm enough to wear sandals. But why not take that a step further?

There are many long-term health benefits to throwing off your shoes and sinking your feet into grass, mud or beach sand.

Often referred to as "Earthing" or "Grounding," walking barefoot has grown in popularity. More people are taking off their shoes to walk closer to the earth. Scientists have noticed and have conducted research to confirm the health benefits to growing a personal relationship with the earth's energy. Below are some of the ways that humans are nurtured by Mother Earth.

Tiptoe among the wildflowers

Don't forget to breathe in their freshness
Don't forget to breathe in their freshness | Source

1. Strengthens Your Skeleton

Your skeleton benefits from time spent without wearing any shoes. Your feet move and flex differently when they are bare than when they are encased in footwear. The contact that your feet have with the earth when you are barefoot supports the skeletal system and keeps it aligned properly. Your body is strong when your skeleton is strong, so throw off those shoes and give your bones a boost!

Walk Barefoot among the Flowers

Blood vessels expand like flower petals when we walk barefoot in a garden.
Blood vessels expand like flower petals when we walk barefoot in a garden. | Source

2. Breathes in Fresh Air

Another benefit for taking a walk barefoot is that the walking itself boosts the respiratory system. But we don't just breathe through our mouths and noses. We absorb oxygen through the pores of our skin. Reflexologists know that the soles of the feet are the source of greater health if they are stimulated in healthy ways. The best thing that we can do for our soles is to let them breathe in the elements directly. Walking among trees and gardens is one way to breathe in the sweetness of flora at the same time your feet are feasting on the delights of the dewy green grass.

Many paths there are....

Choose a place, kick off the shoes, and be free!
Choose a place, kick off the shoes, and be free! | Source

3. Blood Vessels Expand

In addition to benefits for your skeletal and respiratory system, walking barefoot enhances the flow of blood in your body. The energy from direct contact with the earth wakes up your blood and expands your arteries, capillaries and veins. Your blood begins to move through your heart and vessels more effectively. Your blood pressure is lowered and your arteries remain clear of plaque.

4. Sleep Quality Improves

After an extended period of time walking barefoot on the earth your body will begin to enjoy better rest when you sleep. Your sleep will become more restorative and you will wake up with more energy than you've had in the past. You may even begin to remember your dreams more, and those dreams may be sweeter and more vivid than before.

5. Gives a Boost to your Metabolism ~

Walking is exercise and exercise boosts your metabolism. Walking barefoot could become so habit-forming that you may not notice how your body is beginning to shed those excess ounces, even pounds. All of the chemicals in the body become balanced and you become less susceptible to diseases, especially type 2 diabetes.

Walk a wooded labyrinth...

...an earthy spiritual practice.
...an earthy spiritual practice. | Source

6. Offers Freedom from Stress ~

In addition to all of the systemic benefits to your body brought about by walking barefoot, there is another benefit that is physical and psychological, perhaps even spiritual. Walking barefoot on the earth releases stress. Your mind and spirit expand along with your blood vessels. You keep more of your natural energy because walking barefoot gives you the energy you need to accomplish what you intend to without depleting your personal resources. This release from stress happens more quickly when your feet absorb the energy of the earth directly than when you are wearing footwear while you walk. The basic enjoyment derived from walking barefoot enhances your feeling of well-being, which keeps you free from stress.

7. Increases your Immunity

Walking barefoot boosts all of your bodily systems and builds healthy cells over every inch of you, inside and out. At the very basic cellular level your body benefits from walking barefoot. As a result, your immunity is boosted at that same basic cellular level. You become and remain healthier than if you walked with your feet kept in footwear. Your body's ability to fight off a variety of germs is enhanced and you feel good more days of the year.

Miles of Smiles

Joining in our children's play increases the smiles we enjoy each day.
Joining in our children's play increases the smiles we enjoy each day. | Source

Feet touch the earth as hearts touch each other ~

The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes
The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes

A book-length list of the many reasons in favor of walking barefoot more often. It may be more fun to involve the entire family.

 

8. Extra Joy in Parenting

There are no people on this earth more closely in touch with the benefits of walking, running, and playing barefoot than children. My daughter runs out our front door without wearing shoes on a daily basis. Not only that, she invites me to do the same.

A Mother-Daughter Adventure

This past Mother's Day my husband, daughter, and I visited our local botanical garden. My daughter took off her sneakers in favor of walking in the grassy puddles and mud that were left behind by heavy rains the day before. She asked me if I would join her and I agreed. I walked a good half mile that way with her before it was time to put our shoes back on to walk to the car. She eagerly described her wonder at the sensual delights of walking barefoot in wet grass and mud. She also shared some of her thoughts and the games she was creating in her head as we walked. Our mother-daughter bond was strengthened, as it is every time I join her in her favorite forms of play.

Sense of Renewal

When I did put my sandals on, my feet felt like they were humming with joy from their frolic close to the earth. They feel that way after I walk our community's wooded labyrinth barefoot, too. There seems to be a vibration that shimmers across the soles of my feet and I feel more grounded then.

9. Improved Relationships

Both familial bonds and our bonds of friendship with people outside our immediate families are strengthened by walking together in beautiful places. We cannot help but relax and give in to the playful side of our human nature when we are barefoot. Sharing such moments with others we are drawn to keeps us healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Spending time together keeps our bonds with others strong.

Gardens of delight to walk through barefoot ~

A small section of Tower Hill Botanical Garden
A small section of Tower Hill Botanical Garden | Source
A neighbor's beautiful garden in our co-housing community
A neighbor's beautiful garden in our co-housing community | Source

10. Financial Health is Strengthened

Finally, there is another aspect of our lives that becomes healthier as a result of our time spent walking barefoot in nature. Such experiences are free! There is no membership fee charged by Mother Earth for the blessings she gives those who gratefully receive them. Think about how much money we can save if our habits toward healthy activities increase and our trips to the mall decrease. What would you do with all of that extra money saved, including the credit card interest avoided?

The Benefits of Beauty

Our annual family membership to Tower Hill Botanical Garden is $70. The garden is located only 15 driving minutes away from our home. But those are 15 quality minutes of driving a very beautifully scenic route. The tension and stress melt away before we even arrive. If we visit once a month, the cost of admission is $2/person. The daily cost of admission for non-members is $12 per adult and $8 per child. We visit very often.

See you at the playground, park, or garden!

Happy Feet Loving the Earth

Are you ready to kick off those shoes?

How much time to you spend walking barefoot in a week?

  • None ~ "I never walk barefoot."
  • Some ~ "I walk barefoot about 1 or 2 times a week."
  • Always ~ "I walk barefoot almost daily."
See results without voting

© 2014 Karen Szklany Gault

More by this Author


Comments 22 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Wonderful and oh so true. Great hub


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Rarely does a title make me smile, but this one did. Love the spirit of this article....if that is your daughter she is a doll. Well, she is even if she isn't your daughter. :)


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Thanks for stopping by, Eric. Great to see you here. Hope all is well with you and your family. Make sure you keep kicking off those shoes with your kids!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Thanks, Bill! Glad my hub could make you smile. Yes, that is my daughter, and thank you for your kind words. Keep those feet close to the earth, where your heart is. :0) Great to see you here!


parrster profile image

parrster 2 years ago from Oz

You know, I remember walking around barefoot when young, watched my own kids shun shoes and heard of the benefits, but never returned to the practice as an adult. Maybe I'm just a wimp, but I find so many surfaces outside uncomfortable to walk on. After reading this, however, I'll have to reconsider. voted up and interesting.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Hi Parrster. Great to see you here. Go agead and give it another try. I hope you find a surface that works for you. Good rmthing beach season is around the corner. Let me know.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

I keep my barefoot walking around and outside the house and just out front. And, of course, the beach. I guess walking elsewhere, you'd have to toughen up a bit. Those little stones can hurt!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Yes....beach sand, grass, and a carpet of pine needles are my favorites, but I usually keep my sandals on when I walk paved pathways and gravel. ~:0) Thanks for stopping by, Dolores. Great to see you here!


greeneyedblondie profile image

greeneyedblondie 2 years ago from Maine

I ALWAYS walk around barefoot. The only times I have shoes on are when I go out in public. Although I've been wearing shoes more regularly outside since my family put woodchips on the ground all around the house. Don't want to get splinters in my feet!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Awwww...hope there are some patches of grass and other soft places left for you to walk barefoot....like this beach this summer? Have fun...and thanks for stopping by!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 2 years ago from Canada

Oh my goodness, I love this article! I stayed barefoot in the summer for the first 12 years of my life, unless we had to go to town. I never dreamed it actually had any real benefits, other than the fact that it used to feel amazing! Thanks for writing this!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

You are very welcome, Prarieprincess. It does feel amazing, doesn't it?... and somehow keeps me feeling young. :0) Thanks for stopping by and reading!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

You are very welcome, Prarieprincess. It does feel amazing, doesn't it?... and somehow keeps me feeling young. :0) Thanks for stopping by and reading!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina

What a COOL hub, SM I am wondering how old your daughter is and loved that there was an invitation sent to you to join her in this barefoot freedom!

I loved the photos and all of your listed reasons. Thanks so much. I am sharing this here and pinterest. UP/U/I/B/A


twoseven profile image

twoseven 2 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

I love it! I've always loved being barefoot. I grew up in the mountains and we were outside barefoot a lot of the time. Thanks for sharing all the benefits of being barefoot!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Denise ~ Thank you for stopping by and reading! So glad that you enjoyed this hub. Often, my daughter is the person in my life who keeps me so young at heart and keeps me on the path of healthy living. :0) For safety's sake, because HP is so public, I won't disclose my daughter's age...but she is moving into "tween" territory in the next couple of years. :0) Thanks so much for sharing and "pinning" my hub! :0)

Twoseven ~ Thank you for stopping buy and reading...and I'm glad you enjoyed my hub. Just love being barefoot in the summer...especially in the grass while I am watering our gardens and on the beach! :0)


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica

I know three Rastafarians who do not wear shoes. Everything that you've said in this article is true. Those who wear barefoot are more in touch and in love with nature.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England Author

Thank you for stopping by with your supportive words. Enjoy your time without shoes....for in some ways it is a time where we are in closer tough with our innocence....Wishing you a peaceful and restorative summer!


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 17 months ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

Cool - that is one thing I have never done much of all my life - even as a kid I do not recall walking barefoot often..... and I know all you write is true.... I shall do more of it - glad summer is coming - barefoot in the snow would not likely be as good an idea LOL - thanks for sharing this


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 17 months ago from New England Author

Hi Neil ~ Yes, isn't it wonderful that Spring is here and Summer is coming! Wearing less and less footwear is something we look forward to. My daughter has already made the transition to barefoot frolicking. She just doesn't want to take the time to put on footwear when a friend comes calling...~:0) Still too cool for me to walk around barefoot...but it won't be long. Enjoy the warm weather with your feet close to the earth when you can! Thanks for stopping by to read and share your thoughts. ~:0)


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 5 weeks ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Karen:

Great article and yes I think we have pampered our feet over the years. I love walking barefoot. There is nothing like feeling the cool of the earth creep through the soles and re-energize you.

As a sailing lover you will be pleased to hear I bought a small live aboard last fall. It has been a summer of learning fun as I never sailed before. Loving it so far, the peace is wonderful.

Hugs from Alberta


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 5 weeks ago from New England Author

Hi Rolly ~ thank you for stopping by to read and leave your thoughts. Now that I actively walk our local labyrinth more often than before, I find myself barefoot more often ~ and it feels wonderful!

Glad you now have a craft to practice sailing with. I hope you have many chances to enjoy the peace and beauty of the world of water. Sounds so heavenly!

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