No shoes

Today was no shoes day at Southern; an incentive to raise awareness that many children around the world do not have shoes. Now, this is obviously a problem for many people - poor children in colder climates, children who must walk in hazardous areas where they can cut their feet or become infected, etc. You all know that part of it.

However, I want to focus on the flip side of the issue - the fact that it is actually healthier for your feet to walk barefoot!

You may not be aware, but "...the skin on the soles of your feet resists abrasions and blistering, and going barefoot is beneficial to the musculoskeletal structure of your feet and ankles. Kicking off your shoes can help prevent a host of foot injuries: bunions, heel spurs, and bone deformities, among others. Shoes act like casts, holding the bones of the foot so rigid that they can't move fluidly." Wearing shoes actually causes your feet to lose the ability to support themselves! [source]

Furthermore, running barefoot is also better for you! When you run with shoes on, you are encouraged by the extensive padding in your shoes to land with a jolt on your heel, after all, you can get a longer stride out of it, and it's easier. As you can imagine, this isn't good for your body - all that jolting will eventually cause repetitive stress injuries and other problems. Here is a great article, much more recent than that first page, about the benefits and methods of running barefoot.

So, who is better off, the person in Africa, who has no shoes, runs all day on bare feet, and is, on average, much healthier than us, or the person in the U.S. with a plush lifestyle which allows his body to atrophy and degenerate to the point where if he had to go without a car, or a bike, or pavement, or perhaps shoes, would likely injure himself in at least one of many possible ways?

Perhaps we should be lobbying to clean up the places that are dangerous to walk barefoot, instead of putting the bandage of shoes on the problem. My opinion is, the more "necessities" we impose on people of developing nations, the more they become like Americans. Is that really what is best for them? How about we clean up the mess that our commercialism has made, instead?

What do you think? Lets here your opinion! :)


Caitlin said...

I think you have some excellent points :)
check out this research from Harvard University:

Ali said...

If it was socially acceptable (and if I didn't have winter to deal with) I'd go barefoot all the time. Maybe I'll have some opportunities to be barefoot next year...

Joel said...

Well, besides your egregious generalization about about the health of Africans, I think that I agree with a lot of what you have to say. Except, my feet get cold really easily. Perhaps if we didn't have so much air-conditioning... :)

Johonn said...

I know; I wrote a little where I could have written a lot... Clearly not all Americans would find it beneficial to go barefoot year round, and Africans do have other hardships that may or may not related to their barefoot lifestyle.
My point remains that it is often healthier for your feet to be more used to going barefoot than wearing shoes. :)

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