Ben Smith Barefoot In The Grass

There’s No Substitute For Barefoot

Now that summer’s in full swing I’m spending less and less time in shoes. That’s really how I like it. It’s easy to get used to wearing shoes. We tell ourselves that minimalist shoes are a good compromise. But what I notice every Monday when I have to throw my minimalist boots on again, is that there is no substitute for barefoot.

It’s the loss of sensation and the loss of use of my toes that make me feel disconnected from the ground in shoes. There are no differing textures or temperatures in shoes. And even in my beloved Five Fingers I can’t grip and balance with my toes as well as I can barefoot.

When you first start going barefoot, lots of things poke the bottom of your foot and it hurts. At least you think it hurts. In many cases, it doesn’t. Your foot just has the sensitivity turned way up because of shoe soles.

After a 2-mile barefoot hike in the woods, there was very little that caused me any problem to step on. That’s because the nerves in my feet readjusted their sensitivity. Now to be fair, I also have well-conditioned feet. And you’ll probably need some adjustment time before you try something like this hike. But my feet aren’t anything the average person couldn’t attain.

I fight wearing shoes every chance I get. Walking barefoot is one of life’s simple pleasures.

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