Getting Started Going Barefoot

Get Started Going Barefoot

So you’re interested in barefoot activity? Cool! We think you’ll find it to be a positive, life-changing decision.

The nice thing about going barefoot is that it’s fairly simple.  That said, there’s a little more to it than just taking off your socks and shoes.  Remember, you’ve spent a significant part of your life in footwear.  It’s going to take some time to take your feet back. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.  We’d also recommend you have a chat with your doctor first to be on the safe side.  He or she may still hold negative perceptions about going barefoot and not be enthusiastic about the prospect of you doing it, but at least you can rule out any other medical issues that need attention.

The #1 rule to starting any barefoot activity is to take it SLOW.  Just as it would be foolish for someone to walk into a weight room and try to immediately bench press 350 pounds, it’s not smart to expect your feet to do anything and everything you want them to do from the start.  This is for two reasons:

First, you need to become reacquainted with your feet.  It’s going to take time to get used to all of the sensations that you feel in your soles.  Many people complain that their feet are “too sensitive” to go barefoot, but that’s probably because they’re not used to feeling anything with their bare feet.  Although your feet have some of the highest concentrations of nerve endings in your whole body, your shoes have been keeping your feet from feeling everything but the insides of your shoes.  What’s more, you need time to become more aware of your surroundings.  Because bare feet are more vulnerable, you need to start knowing the position of your whole body in space — not just everything above the ankles.

Second, you need to build up the health and strength in your feet and legs.  Imagine what an arm or leg is like after it has worn a cast for several weeks to heal from a fracture.  It’s scrawny.  It’s stiff.  The skin isn’t as healthy as it should be.  Your feet, having been confined in shoes for a long time, will be much the same way — even if not quite to that extreme.  You’ll need to take time to regain some strength and flexibility that was lost because your shoes were doing most of the work of your feet.  Consider a strength training program to help these efforts along.  You might also need to take care of some other issues like ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, etc.  You want to start getting these issues cleared up as soon as you can.

Going One More Step

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” A good way to approach barefoot activity is to go one more “step” beyond what you’re currently used to and with which you are comfortable.  You don’t want to try too much too fast, or else you might end up rejecting the benefits of barefoot activity because it’s too overwhelming or you even get hurt!

An example of how to start:  If you never go barefoot inside your house, sit on your couch or in a chair and remove all socks and shoes. Take a couple of minutes to just feel the floor.  Bend your toes and flex your feet.  Rub your feet a little bit with your hands to help them loosen up and relax.

As you become comfortable with the new step forward that you’ve taken, try the next step after that and so on.  In the example above, the next step would be to walk barefoot around your house for a while.  You may find that you become a lot more comfortable and bolder with barefoot activity than you ever expected!  We hope that you discover that your feet are amazing and capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.

Shared from the Primalfoot Alliance

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