A Modest Proposal

I have…interesting feet. They are sensitive but by no means tender. Raised in rural Arkansas, I have done my share of barefooted living, so I can walk over most anything without major pain. Yet I find that when I walk barefoot I can feel everything intensely. One of the best parts of my day is taking off my shoes when I get home.

I took a walk barefoot outside the office today, and it was great. I started to wonder if shoes in the modern world might be obsolete. Think about this for a moment: shoes were invented a few millennia ago for terrain far more treacherous than the modern world generally provides. How many times in your day do you walk over patches of spiky branches or sharp rocks? Mostly we walk from house to car to building, and it’s a relatively safe and clean path. It might be hot or rough, but this is likely only because our feet are so sensitive from being cooped up in socks and shoes all our lives. Sure the ground is generally unclean, but which is more clean to you – dirt and dust or sweat and fungus? I think my feet smell far worse when they’ve been wrapped in a sock for 9 hours.

Sadly, though, the modern world poses a different set of threats: oil and other chemical toxins. Your average McDonald’s parking lot is probably far more dangerous to the bare foot than any forest. Still, I know that in my daily trek between house, car and office I encounter no major podiatric dangers. For white collar office workers it could happen.

Just something to think about. Go barefoot more often and see what you prefer.