Most of you probably never read my guest post at the Blackbird Press on barefooting, as it has nothing to do with this blog. But for those who did, I figured Iâd offer an update, even though it still has nothing to do with this blog. In the original article, I discuss the reasons why barefooting appealed to me — most notably, because itâs non-conformist, and that kind of thing tends to give me the jollies.
Iâve continued to go mostly barefoot since then. From April to October, for the last two years — basically, as long as itâs not freezing out — I go completely without footwear.
As I already mentioned, one of my main motivations (as childish as it is) for initially picking up the practice was because it was different. I liked the surprised glances, the amused comments, the feeling of being a rebel. And I believed in it: I believed that shoes are largely unnecessary and often hurt more than they help; that shoe manufacturers make a buck convincing us we need things like âarch support;â and that weâve been fooled into thinking our feet are inadequate.* As a matter of principle, I went vacationing in metropolitan areas without shoes, walked into grocery stores and movie theatres unshod, and argued for far too long with my sister about whether or not we actually need special running shoes to go running.
I still believe in all those things, but my attitudes and practices have shifted over this last summer. The thing is, no matter how much I think itâs an impediment to our freedom to require footwear in public places, being asked to leave Starbucks because of my bare feet has kind of lost its bohemian charm. I just want to be able to stand in line with my husband as he gets his coffee fix without being hassled. I donât always feel like launching into, âIs this for my own safety or yours?â when we have plans to head for the free museum right after our ice cream stop.
But I still believe in my feetâs perfect ability to support my weight and movements without footwear. In fact, I attribute my complete lack of hip- and back-pain throughout this pregnancy somewhat to my barefoot lifestyle: I believe that going without shoes promotes better, more natural posture, especially when your body is morphing in all kinds of new ways. Iâm convinced that all those intricate bones, tendons and muscles in our feet are best able to accommodate our weight when they are in direct contact with the ground and able to move freely as God designed them to work. At 8Â½ months pregnant, I can still walk the two miles to the library and back without discomfort.
Also, my feet no longer sweat or stink as they once did. That alone is reason for me to keep it up.
So hereâs what I do now: I keep a pair of flip-flops in my car. When I arrive at a grocery store or whatever, I slip them on before I go in. I take them off again when I return to my car.
Or when I walk or bike up town to run errands, I throw a pair into my bike basket or my purse, or I just hang on to them. I can slip them on as needed.
I didnât wear them to work (my boss didnât even notice for the first six months), I donât wear them to peopleâs homes, to the park, or to walk my dog. I only put them on before I walk into a public building like a grocery store or restaurant.
Iâve come to accept shoes as an important accessory for being socially accepted. Theyâre not useful to me in any other way except in winter to keep my feet warm. Iâve decided itâs OK to conform sometimes, even when I think the policy is stupid, if it makes life a little easier and doesnât hurt anyone.
So Iâve found a middle-ground for my barefooting lifestyle. So far itâs working well for me.
*I do understand that some people have inadequate feet and this requires some kind of protection or support. My flat-footed husband gets sore feet with or without shoes long before I do, and itâs probably just the way his feet are. I just donât think the general population needs arch-support.Â If that was the case, why didnât God just include that in his design?