Going Barefoot

I’ve been making a point to go barefoot this summer.

When I was young, I was always barefoot. It was that or shoes. I don’t remember ever having sandals or flip flops as a kid. Perhaps I had a pair of jelly shoes for summer (it was the early ’90s after all), but otherwise I only had real shoes. I never had a pair of slippers for inside use, and I hated the feeling of walking around in just socks, so that wasn’t an option. It was a binary decision: shoes or bare feet.

I remember gingerly walking across our gravel driveway because I didn’t want to bother putting on shoes. I don’t remember having dirty feet, although I’m sure they always were.

The summer before I started high school, I started running. I had always been a non-athlete in grade school, but I found myself having too much energy to sit still. The energy would build and build, until I’d finally go outside and run laps around our yard, barefoot (and I learned the hard way that including a stretch of road in my laps would do a number on the bottoms of my feet).

As I got older, I started wearing sandals and flip flops and even—to the horror of my 12-year-old self—got quite comfortable wearing slippers and socks around the house. The past several years, I wouldn’t go barefoot because my feet would get dirty, even inside because of the dogs tracking dirt onto our wood floors.

 

Barefeet while camping this summer.
Barefoot while camping this summer.

But this summer is a return to dirty feet. I kick off my sandals when I get home and walk around the house barefoot (An aside: It occurs to me that this is probably why I’ve become more diligent about sweeping the floor every day. Aha!) If I’m walking into the yard to get something from the garage or my car or look at something, I try to keep my shoes off. I walk gingerly across the gravel driveway when I need to. And occasionally I go into the garden with bare feet—when no shovels or hoes are involved—and get really filthy.

Over the weekend, I took several long walks to the lake and back at our new property and quickly realized that it was more comfortable to make the trek barefoot than in my flip flops. I appreciated not having to curl my toes up to keep the damn things on, and the ground was nice and soft underfoot.

The other morning I had a chance to do the same walk before work. I kicked off my “minimalist” work shoes (a cheap pair of flats that are almost as much ballet slippers as shoes), rolled up my pant legs, and walked to the lake and back barefoot through wet grass. It was nice, but the recently cut grass stuck to my wet feet. I decided to stay barefoot for the commute to work to let my feet dry off, and I was five miles down the road before I realized that I’d left my shoes behind entirely. Oops! Luckily I had my running shoes in my gym bag, so I didn’t have to turn around.

What about you? How often do you go barefoot?

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