A Barefoot Tale: Update on The Challenge

As people around campus are starting to learn, warm weather for me means NO SHOES!!  It’s been over a month since I’ve started the experiment, and things have gone better than expected.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

1) The ground is NOT waiting to attack your feet!  Now, to be totally honest, I was somewhat worried about stepping on something sharp when I started.  The first time I crossed the road near my dorm while barefoot I was waiting to be sliced to pieces.  And yet, I wasn’t.  A month later and I’ve only gotten one thorn-induced splinter (and that only because I was walking through a patch of thorny bushes…enthusiasm does not equal invincibility!).

2) I can FEEL the difference when I wear shoes!  I have always struggled with joint pain (specifically ankles, knees, and hips) along with shooting pain in the arches of my feet if I stand too much at one time.  But I was never more aware of this than the miserable Monday I wore shoes after a sunny weekend of bare feet toward the beginning of this project.  Without shoes, even carrying my 25-30lb backpack around all over campus doesn’t hurt me at all!  But a day in shoes kills.

3) People are more receptive to the idea than you’d think.  Sure, I still get my fair share of weird looks.  I’m occasionally scolded, and there are just those stinkers who are silly and unsupportive.  But for the most part – people either don’t notice or don’t care or both.  Several girls in my dorm even ask me how it’s going every time I see them.  They’ve taken to calling this THE BAREFOOT CHALLENGE.  

4) Even though people usually don’t mind ME being barefoot, they are very rarely willing to join me.  I’ve had so many tell  me that they were jealous of my “freedom”, but when I offered for them to try it out, they’d back off and make excuses.  I swear, it’s as easy as just TAKING YOUR SHOES OFF and WALKING AROUND.  Not hard.  I promise.  But, when you do find people willing to join:

5)  Support is awesome, and kind of contagious.  I have several friends who regularly barefoot (one who’s just as, if not more, faithful than me).  Now you see TWO or THREE crazy barefoot kids walking together across campus, and all of a sudden it’s not just the one weird loner.  It’s a thing or whatever.

6)  Barefoot sandals are easy to make, super gorgeous, and let you get away with a lot more than you normally would.

7)  Asphalt is a lot hotter than it looks or feels, especially when you’re walking across a lot of it.  You can actually burn and blister your feet, as a friend and I found out.  When in doubt – shoes can be a really good thing.

8)  Fungus and disease aren’t going to eat you alive.  Public bathrooms are one of the places I still absolutely always wear shoes.  But I’ve gone barefoot almost everywhere else on campus.  No gross foot problems so far.

9)  Society has fed us weird ideas about feet.  But once people start trying out a different mindset, light bulbs start to go off.  Try it out.  Read The Barefoot Book by Dr. Daniel Howell.  You’ll see what I mean.

And that’s it for now!  As it continues to get warmer, I plan on keeping up the shoelessness as much as I can.  And for anyone willing to try out THE BAREFOOT CHALLENGE – just kick your shoes off and go places.  Talk to people.  Have fun.  And best of luck to you.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 14:27:48

    Great article. I was captivated by #2 and thankful…I think I will try to see if it helps my joints…kind of hard to do at the farm with all the rocks though. Also, pleased to read #8 especially the part about always wearing shoes in public rest rooms. Hugs to you honey.


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