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Children and Bare Feet: A Parent's Perspective

Updated on April 16, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

I spend all my time with my son, and researching how to spend that time better and in a more healthy manner for us both.


Let's try to keep this one shorter, and a little sweeter, without taking away the authoritative voice it carries. This article was inspired by an old woman I ran into on our walk to the park today, while we also practiced social distancing which this article is not about. She had the gumption to not only judge me for not wearing my shirt, but to tell me I was wrong for not making myself and my son wear shoes. Let's delve into this, shall we?

The Happenings

I take my son for a walk whenever it is sunny and warm enough to do so, much like the day today, but today was different. We came across an old woman who had just gotten off the phone with her mother, or so she called the other person on the line, and in my friendly fashion I said, "Good morning!"

She got that confused/disgusted, raised-lip scowl on her face and forced out an angry, "Good morning..." retort that I wasn't about to indulge any further and kept walking. As I walked away she asked after me, "Are you a Southern California boy? You need to be wearing clothes!"

I turned around while my son played in the grass and responded, "Born and raised! Grew up on the beach, so if the sun is out the clothes come off!"

She shook her head and her look of disgust turned to one of contempt, she stated angrily, "You and your son should be wearing shoes!"

I went on to explain, as she continuously shook her head and tried to raise her hand up toward my face in a shoosh/talk to the hand movement, the science behind not wearing shoes because when you do it reshapes the bones, causes certain muscles to atrophy, and makes it harder to be barefoot for long periods of time. I also explained the long-term positive effects of it and how I used to and still play sports and it improves my performance while in shoes.

After my thorough explanation, she asked condescendingly, "Oh yeah, where'd you read all that? My doctor says not wearing shoes is bad."

I wasn't about to bury her in her own level of ignorance so I just said, "Okay, well it is an interesting science if you ever want to Google the benefits of not wearing shoes. However, I don't advise it at your age! It is more for us young folk, and those who have done it all their lives and trained to withstand the higher impact! Have a good one!"

At this point I turned and began to walk away and she turned out to be a last word freak, shouting after me she said, "Well people don't pick up their dog poop around here, so you better watch your kid more closely!"

Had she not been a frail old woman, and on an equal physical level as me, we may have shared a much more heated conversation.


Bare Feet Are Happy Feet

Here are a bunch of anecdotal and factual resources to touch on for barefoot walking and other activities to do while barefoot.

If you ever approach someone, especially me, please make sure you come in guns blazing because I'm ready to defend everything I do with science and proper practices. I would never willingly put my son in danger of physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or emotional harm. Most people know what the heck they are doing, and those that don't usually aren't out at the park barefoot, shirtless, tanned, and in great shape.


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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      Hahaha! Shauna, when I came home and told my girlfriend what occurred she said just about the same thing as you, though not quite as kind or concise as what you said. I'm happy to hear you are one of those who live the barefoot life! I feel going barefoot for most of life is so important! Thanks for reading!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      13 months ago from Central Florida

      What a nosy bitch! I'm barefoot all the time when I'm not at work. I've been going barefooted all my life and I'm in my 60s. That woman needs to learn to keep her opinions to herself.

    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      13 months ago from Central Florida

      Of course and thank you for the follow.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      Hello, AB, always excited to have new followers, especially new followers who love to live the barefooted lifestyle, hahaha! Thanks for reading!

    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      13 months ago from Central Florida

      Hi Kyler, AB here, brand new follower, looking forward to reading more from you.

      I am in complete agreement with you on this.

      Barefootin' is freedom at its finest!

      My greatest childhood memories were made...without shoes!

      When I get home from work, the very first thing to come off, are the confinements of those doggone shoes, even though I'm a Florida girl and practically always in flip flops...they have to go! lol

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      Hahahaha! Thank you, Paula, keep living that barefoot life! Always happy to see you in the comments!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      13 months ago from Carson City

      Hey there, Barefoot Dad...Good for you. You You handled that situation quite well. It's amazing, isn't it, how there seems to be an "expert" on every corner, just dying to tell us what we should & shouldn't do? In the meantime, they can't get anything right in their own lives!

      In my home, I'm perpetually barefoot, except of course during winter, at which point, I wear 2 or 3 pair of socks!! Brrrr… it gets cold up here! KEEP OUR TOES FREE!!!! LOL. Cheers, Paula

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      I think that is a very good way to live life, Donna, thank you for reading!

    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      13 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Kyler, I loved the way you handled this situation and even though she didn't understand, you taught your son to stand up for himself and that will go a long way through his life.

      I never wear shoes, no one is allowed to wear shoes in the house and no one seems to mind and my kids do the same thing in their homes

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      Absolutely, Alyssa, the science has actually, relatively recently, passed the century mark for how long it has been studied. Still in its infancy, but already some pretty amazing results in support of barefooted activity!

      Thanks for reading!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Oh my goodness.. I have so many thoughts, but let me just say, I couldn't help but laugh at your ending retort! So hilarious! hahaha!

      Anyway, I agree.. no one is interested in unsolicited parenting advice. This article brings up fond memories of being pregnant and having everyone (and I mean everyone) tell me what I could and could not do.

      That aside, I agree about being barefoot. I workout barefoot and when the weather allows, I'm playing in the yard, walking at the park, or on the beach sans shoes. I didn't realize there was good science behind it though. I'm definitely taking your suggestion and googling it!

      Thank you!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      @RoadMonkey: To be fair, I did initiate the conversation with my "Good morning" and it is infrequent to see individuals without shirts and shoes in my area. Very gentrified and uptight around these upscale suburban neighborhoods.

      I often invite conversation, so I think people should seek more to understand someone's actions than put them down for them. Nosiness can be endearing and lead to wonderful friendships sometimes!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      @Ruby: I'm happy to hear you love to go barefooted! In our latter years it is important to do so to keep the muscles, ligaments, and bones in our feet loose and healthy and going barefoot infrequently really helps with that!

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      13 months ago

      People should just leave others alone, unless they are about to walk into immediate obvious danger that they don't seem to see.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      13 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Good for you! Noisy people bore me. We are not to judge another. What's good for one person may not work for another. BTW I love to go barefooted.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      Thanks for reading, Fran! I grew up either running around naked or half-naked, and I'm in great shape! Of course I have a few injuries due to my own negligence, but my lifestyle has made me stronger and more resilient and I hope to do the same for my son!

    • powers41 profile image

      fran rooks 

      13 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      I immediately remember an old saying. " The healthiest kids were the ones without shoes or coats." Almost like they had built up immunity. Go figure. None of us should impose our beliefs on another. Good article. Thanks.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      According to the early stages of the science, it is actually a preferable medical decision not to wear shoes at a young age. What factual evidence is available suggests that adults who habitually went without being shod as a child have much better foot durability, endurance, and strength as well as much less deformations in the feet.

      I'll always advocate for no shoes and less clothing when it is sunny and warm, but even when it is cold I refuse to wear shoes. Shoes make my feet swell and hurt.

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      13 months ago from South Africa

      I remember running around barefoot as a preference when I was tiny tot.

      Parents and grandparents always shouting to put on some shoes.

      Heard in one ear then out the other.

      I continue wearing shoes to a minimal, feel its too confining and heavy on the heels by the end of the day, it's a preference.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 months ago from California

      What a coincidence, I was just thinking about you today while scrolling through all the articles! I hope your new place is suiting you well!

      I used to go rock-hopping on lava rocks in my bare feet, and when I first started they would get all sliced up. Now I can walk on nearly any surface without pain and injury! As for sunscreen we only use organic, non-harsh lotions.

      I'm only part Italian, so I only get half the benefits of having olive skin.

      Happy to see you back!

    • HousewifeHawaii profile image

      Kathryn Collins 

      13 months ago from UK

      I went barefoot all the time when young. I even remember walking up and down my grandmother's gravel driveway with barefeet. They were toughened up from the pointed rocks that made up the gravel.

      Been busy with life so not been around for a while. Just moved and settling in.

      Also trying out a site that pays for book reviews. onlinebookclub org

      Oh, and of course, sun is healthy as well. We take astaxanthin. I don't believe in sunscreen (heard it was dangerous years ago)


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