What's Up With No Shoes?
Turns out that there are many good reasons to skip the shoes and go with what nature gave you.
In short, I believe that our feet are a stunning piece of biological evolution and are better designed to serve me in walking than anything humans have made. Shoes act as handcuffs for my feet and limit their vast abilities in helping me get from place to place.
Here are just a few reasons why I choose to go barefoot a good part of the time or wear zero shoes.
Design: Shoes greatly limit the ability of our feet to function at its fullest. Limiting micro muscles, losing sensory input, and not allowing the foot to bend are just a few ways shoes take away from the foots extensive capabilities.
Impact: When I walk with no shoes I tend to use a mid-foot strike over a heel strike. This enables my foot to act as a shock absorber for my whole body.
Connection: No shoes mean I feel the ground around me, which helps me connect more with my surroundings.
Speed: Hiking becomes a step-by-step process without shoes. With shoes I can stroll aimlessly without paying attention to the next step. I just can't do that with no shoes on.
Grounding: While this might be pseudo-science, the effects of earthing or grounding (exchange of charged ions with the earth) seem to have at least a beneficial placebo effect on me.
Reflexology: Again, I'm unsure on the validity of claims that reflexology (massaging pressure points affects different parts of the body) makes, but there might be something to them.
While I like bare feet I don't always have that option, so for a few years now I have been wearing Xero Shoes which are as close to barefoot as I have been able to get. I made these myself a few years back and they have served me quite well, showing surprising little wear after hundreds of miles of walking/running.