Is Walking Barefoot Good For You?

Living in Sarasota, Florida we really are spoiled. The beaches are so beautiful and the sand is amazing. I just got back from a few days in Costa Rica. The country really is naturally beautiful but the beach consists of a muddy, black sand and rocks. Not exactly like Siesta Key. I also walked barefoot while climbing a mountain and then jumping into a waterfall. I know all of this sounds wonderful but I will tell you my feet hate me for it. You would think I would know better, I am a podiatrist after all, but I figured "when in Rome." You see, no one wears shoes in Costa Rica. My feet are cut, bruised and painful.
This reminded me of a question I hear all the time. "Isn't walking barefoot good for you?" The answer is a resounding, "NO!" There is no benefit to walking barefoot and in fact it can cause a host of problems. I will admit that primitive man did not have shoes so you could say that it is "natural" to be barefoot. Yes, but primitive man also did not have tile floor, cement, glass, metal and plastic debris all over the ground. Primitive man walked on the soft soil. Besides, just because something is not "natural" doesn't make it bad. Do you think it is "natural" to wear glasses?
The human life span has increased from somewhere in the teens to somewhere in the 70's if you are an American. That is a huge difference in mileage walked. The surfaces have changed, our weight has drastically increased on average. The point is that while barefoot walking may seem like a normal thing to do, it is no longer practical. Wear shoes when you are active and outside. Your feet will be glad you did. If you are looking for the right shoe for you refer to my earlier blog about picking the right shoe. Proper shoe gear can make a huge difference between cut, bruised, painful feet and healthy, painless feet

Committed to your health,

Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center

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