Nothing is like going barefoot. It can be searing and painful if you step onto a paved road in the midday sun. But it can be cool and comfortable if you’re walking in the grass, or on a ground cover, like clover or mint. But a lot of people hate going barefoot. They may be worried about stinky feet, or soft soles, or any number of other factors. June 1st is National Go Barefoot Day, and we are advocating for naked tootsies. So, kick off those shoes. Fling those socks. And step into a new comfort zone.
National go barefoot day was created by the people at Sole4Souls. After the tsunami disaster of 2004, they collected donations to bring shoes to people in need. Now, this special day has grown into a global movement to support this charity and over 300 million underprivileged children who receive shoe donations today. If you want to contribute, use #GoBarefootDay on social to help bring awareness to the cause. Visit theSole4Souls website to donate dollars, shoes, or time to run your own fundraiser for them. Walk barefoot today as a way to appreciate the hardships of people around the world who don’t have a single pair of shoes, much less dress shoes, workout shoes, walking shoes, and work shoes. Rather than taking a walk in someone else’s shoes, use today to take a walk in someone else’s experience.
Get fitted for shoes. If you’re gonna wear ‘em, make sure they fit. Most people around the world are wearing shoes that don’t actually fit. This is partly because we don’t get properly fitted and partly because our feet change size. Even though your feet stop growing while you’re a teenager, they never stop changing. Many men increase an entire shoe size in their lifetime. For women, this can happen during pregnancy.
Getting fitted doesn’t just mean you stand on that contraption at the shoe store and let it tell you whether you are a size five or a size eleven. Ask about your arch. Some people have the arch of a size eight foot, but the length of their foot is a size seven. That means they’ve probably been buying size seven shoes, and the arch support has been in the wrong place their entire life. Some people have wide feet or are wider at their toes and narrower at their heels than the average sole. Or you might be the other way around and be wider at your heels than the average foot. Don't forget to head to a running store where their put you on the treadmill and use computer software to detect the way you walk. They'll be able to suggest better shoes depending upon where your weight is distributed and how you are striking your foot with each step. Knowing about the real size of your foot can help you make important decisions about work shoes and sports apparel. These are the shoes we spend the most time in and experience the most activity. It’s critical for the health of your feet and your overall body structure that you choose shoes that will be the best fit.
Get a pedicure. Yes, guys get them too. In fact, most professionals have non-glossy clear polish so guys can look well manicured with a healthy sheen that isn’t so shiny it screams, mani/pedi. Paws and claws are one of the places where bacteria like to live. The type that causes foot odor can live between toes. Or they can live off the dead skin that isn’t getting scrubbed off in the shower. Having a pro do some of the work can get you barefoot and Spring-weather ready in no time.
Give a massage. Most people who get massages ask their therapist to work out the kinks in their back or tackle the knots in their shoulders. We do carry a lot of stress there, but the truth is, our feet carry an enormous amount of stress and pressure every day. You might get a massage, but giving can be so much better. Most people are especially thankful for foot massages because of the unexpected relief they feel. It can be nice to face the person and chat while you work on them. You might even sit on the couch and Netflix while you work on each other’s feet. Working on someone else’s feet can also be an act of kindness and love. Make a friend feel cared for. Create a mutual foot massage on the couch date night. Or head to the bookstore and study up on reflexology.
There’s a lot of shame around feet, but honestly - you can’t catch bad feet. So, work on someone to show you care for them and then wash your hands. No big deal. Worried about your own feet? Stop foot-shaming yourself. Wash them and invest in agreat anti-odor powder. Plus, on barefoot day, putting toes in the sun can actually kill most bacteria and lead to healthier feet.
Whether you’re running through the grass at the park with your dog, walking along the beach, kicking up your heels at a BBQ, or kicking off your shoes under your desk at work, give the barefoot thing a little extra thought today. And then do something nice for yourself or someone else, to celebrate those roots.