1) It strengthens your feet
Walking barefoot helps strengthen every muscle in your feet and lower legs. Once they are strengthened it helps you to enhance the function of the rest of the muscles in your body.
How many times have you heard personal trainers and therapists talk about the importance of strengthening your core? Yet how many of them mention the importance of strengthening your feet? Strong feet are a vital part of having a strong core. Your feet and ankles hold up the all the muscles, bones and joints in your body. If you want to strengthen your body and for it to move well than you need to start with strengthening your feet.
2) It improves balance
Feet have thousands of nerve endings that are constantly providing feedback to and from our brains that help us stay upright and balanced. When we wear shoes some of these messages are blocked or inhibited which means that we lose some of that crucial communication between our feet and our brains.
Going barefoot allows all those sensory nerves to deliver the information needed for our bodies to stay upright and balanced. Good balance helps with nearly any sport or recreational activity, and maintaining good balance reduces the likelihood of falls and injuries caused by uneven surfaces.
3) It also improves your posture
Feet are the foundation of good posture. Whilst posture involves the whole body, good posture starts at the bottom with your feet. If you are trying to get rid of your hunched back or rounded shoulders, or build strength in another part of your body than a great place to start is with your feet.
Strong feet help to strengthen your core, and once you have a strong core you are able to support and elongate your spine so that you can stand taller and lighter.
4) It has less impact on your body
When we walk without shoes we step lighter which puts less pressure on the muscles and joints in our feet and thus the rest of our body. Shoes block our natural feedback to the ground resulting in a heavier step and more pressure on the body.
5) It connects you with Nature
Feeling the Earth beneath your feet stimulates your other senses into action. Have you ever noticed that when you take your shoes and socks off and feel the sand between your toes, you suddenly have a heightened sense of the taste of salt in the air? Or the way you hear the wind? Or the smell of flowers nearby? Suddenly you can see with more clarity.
Being barefoot and thus having a heightened awareness of all your senses helps to keep you in the present moment. As you notice all the things around you with more clarity, you are less likely to have a wandering mind. This is a really simple way to practice mindfulness.
6) It FEELS GOOD!
Finally, it feels great to have your feet in the open air. You feel free and your sensory nerve endings delight in feeling every bit of dirt, sand, the coolness of water, or the heat of a rock.
Going barefoot feels wonderful and is great for you. It is important that if you are used to wearing shoes all the time that you ease into your foot liberation slowly. Try being barefoot for small amounts of time and build up from there.
So go and find your nearest beach, river, patch of grass or dirt and get those shoes off. Or take your shoes off now and feel your feet against the floor as you finish reading this post. The great thing about being barefoot is that you can do it anywhere.