Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barefoot Experiment: Lessons Learned, Questions Asked

Continuing on, as promised, with my thoughts on life without shoes: What are some of the problems with going barefoot? What kinds of things have you had to work around that you didn't expect?

Obviously, there are some problems with going barefoot. If there weren't, I like to think most people wouldn't wear shoes. It turns out that shoes are deeply ingrained in our society. (Wow, really?) I'm speaking of what is generally referred to as the Western World, here, as that's where I was born and where I continue to live.

What kinds of daily activities are different for barefooters? Well, visiting people is different. You know the ritual. You come in the door, scan for a pile of shoes and promptly add yours to the pile in an effort to keep the carpets clean. But what if you can't take your "shoes" off? The most popular and clever solution I've heard is baby wipes. You can wipe your feet off at the door and enter without leaving black foot prints all over the place. Brilliant! In my own home, I'm lucky enough to have exterior water faucets at every entrance. I now wash my feet whenever I come in the house and whenever I leave the house. Especially on my way out to visit someone. My feet get hardly any dirt time when they go from a clean puddle to the car to a clean driveway. It also helps to have a few extra layers of skin on the soles of my feet, so I can scrub them off on the sidewalk and door mat before going in.

Other fun observations: Not all floor tiles are the same temperature. Exposed aggregate driveways are rougher than crushed gravel. Lotion that claims to soften feet actually softens your feet (whoops!).

I'll sign off with a question I've started asking people in response to them claiming bare feet were dirty...

When's the last time you washed your shoes?