22 May 2011
i can't stand wearing shoes. in elementary school i got in trouble for running around class sock foot.. in high school i always had to kick off my shoes under my desk. to this day i'm known as the crazy hippy that walks home from work without shoes. as soon as i'm out the door the shoes come off and are strapped to my backpack.
the climate zone i have made myself a home in happens to experience winter. it's a long 6 months of footwear. the transition has become much easier since the introduction of my new favourite pair of shoes [if you can even call them shoes!] my Vibram FiveFingers. technically they're trail runners, but i use them in town as well. they get a lot of attention.. and nicknames ranging from things like 'ninja slippers' to 'monkey shoes'. they're pretty well a glorified toe sock with a super thin flexible sole, which allows freedom of movement for your feet and a bit of extra protection.
even still.. shoeless is preferred.
you could run a google search or ask an oldskool podiatrist, and you will find that being barefoot is generally much better for your overall health than constantly cramming your tootsies into a shoe. i know i feel better... it takes pressure off of my lower back, and of course i feel much more 'connected' than when i'm wearing shoes. i'd rather feel the ground beneath me, even if it means paying a little more attention to my step. after a while, paying more attention to your surroundings in general becomes second nature, and life seems to happen much more 'in the moment'.
all that being said, i'm not suggesting tossing out your shoes and running free completely just yet.. walking unshod takes some getting used to. if you have worn shoes every day for most of your life, you will need to build callouses to protect your soles. also, you will notice muscles in your legs and feet that you never knew you had, so it's best to start small and wander around the yard or neighborhood bits at a time to get a feel for it.
free your soles!