Free Your Soles

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You learn a lot when you're barefoot. The first thing is every step you take is different. - Michael Franti 

I was recently having a conversation with a friend where I learned that he felt that bare feet and open shoes should only be things worn within eye shot of  beaches, river or other forms of water. I was totally shocked. Granted I shouldn't have been because my father and late grandfather were not men who ever went barefoot let alone wear sandals, but I still found this utterly amazing and unsettling. I kept trying to probe him as to why, he even sleeps in socks every night., his response: "Men shouldn't wear open toed shoes. It's one principle that I have that I actually keep." I almost fell out of my chair... WHAT WHY? HOW?
As a person who prefers to be barefoot as long as possible this was unimaginable, even if his theory only applied to men. And he felt that dudes have ugly feet and that's all. Still baffled I began to think about all my times barefoot. In the summer I am always barefoot and frequently keep a spare pair of shoes in my car just incase I forget. I grew up spending time around beaches and maybe that was part of the influence but I also used to adventure barefoot into the woods. And I am still known to crawl into bed exhausted on a summer evening with blackened and somewhat sandy feet as I can't get them clean enough- even after showing.
Luckily going barefoot is good for you. Walking barefoot, is sometimes known as "earthing." Earthing means walking barefoot on soil, grass or sand (meaning: any natural surface). It has gone from being a counter-culture trend, to a scientifically-researched practice with a number of remarkable health advantages, such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.  The health benefits come from the relationship between our bodies and the electrons in the earth. The planet has its own natural charge, and we seem to do better when we’re in direct contact with it.
I will continue my barefoot habits and even if there turns out to not be scientifically proven to better for you. I still enjoy feeling sand and dirt beneath my toes and dewy morning grass or the jumping from rock to rock feeling the cold smoothness under me.