FREE YOUR FEET! 5 Reasons to go Barefoot

Feet. I’m not convinced we give them enough credit, enough attention and enough love. Recently I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and reading into the whole area of being barefoot. It has truly been fascinating and is affecting our whole family.

Pilates with Priya: Barefoot on grass

Here are my top 5 reasons to go barefoot:

1. Most foot deformities are caused by wearing ill fitting shoes. Think about calluses, bunions, toes that grow at funny angles, the way your toe nails grow. So for more beautiful feet, go barefoot. Plus it is a great excuse to get a pedicure. Beautiful nails here we come.

2. Walking barefoot strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligament in your feet, ankles and calves. This can help with back, hip and knee pain. It is well known that you don’t want to put children in shoes too soon and it is best to have them in flexible, soft soled shoes to aid foot development. I’m not sure why as adults we change to stiff soles and high heels? Oh yes, because it looks good and feels safer. It almost makes sense, but I used to live in heels once too. I know you can’t go to work barefoot (unless you are me of course) but there are barefoot friendly shoes and minimalist shoes or just look for a flat, flexible sole.

3. It can help you be more aware and mindful when walking barefoot. You need to be aware of your surroundings and any sharp objects which can help you focus on your posture, your walking and your thoughts. Some find it almost a way of meditating. For me it just feels better. I spent a lot of my teenage years walking outside barefoot and used to walk around barefoot at work as often as I could… now I am paid to not wear shoes 😉

4. It is liberating. I love having my shoes off. Feeling the grass between my toes. Walking on sand. Even walking around the house and feeling how free my feet feel, how flexible they can be without the contraints of socks and shoes. Constantly wearing socks and shoes means your toes cannot spread and your feet cannot move as freely as they are made to do. Think about it. How can your foot flex, move, bent and react properly with a thick, hard sole attached to it? Since focusing on being barefoot more recently my toes literally shout at me when I constrict them in tighter socks or shoes!

5. It is free reflexology. Having your feet massaged, releasing the tight spots and stretching them out can have benefits all over the body. Having a tight spot in your foot can literally lead to a headache. Why? We  it can mean you lean in on that foot, tightening up the side of your leg. This can lead to knee pain, which can affect how your use your hip leading to hip issues. That tightness could mean you are tilted and affect one of your shoulders, working up into the neck. tight neck flexors can lead to headaches. Amazing isn’t it.

So I’m encouraging you all to FREE YOUR FEET. Go Barefoot for some time daily. Kick off your shoes in the office, take them off when you get home, go for a walk outside barefoot. If you can’t be barefoot that often look into barefoot friendly shoes and socks. I love my toe separated socks for Pilates for this very reason. I’ve a post on this coming up.


Take a look at your feet.

Your feet are complex things. There are 26 bones, 20 muscles and 33 joints in each foot. Yet we often neglect them and I’m not talking about painting your nails 😉 Our weight is carried through our feet, so really we need to turn our thinking upside down and put out feet first. For optimal all over body health our feet need to be loved and looked after. You guessed it, the walk you walk and stand can be connected to your back, so that back pain could be due to your feet.

Ideally our feet are designed to move like our hands and fingers. They are capable of similar movements. However from  a young age we put our feet in socks and then in shoes. Imagine putting your hands in mittens all day, over time your body would adapt. Your fingers would not be exercised and would lose their dexterity, your forearms would adapt and compensate. The same happens to our feet, muscles in the feet become weak and underdeveloped, muscles such as the calf compensate and are overworked.

Stand up barefoot and take a look at your feet… aren’t they beautiful 😉

1. Do your feet match? We do lots of things that are one sided – car driving for example and this can lead to the muscles developing differently on one side.

2. Toes – are they scrunched up, pulled to one side or do you have bunions? All signs you need to correct the way you stand and walk.

2. Where do you feet point? Turned in, turned out or straight? One may be facing a different way to another. You want them to be facing forward, to move you forward with the leg muscles working in the correct manner. Walking from heel to toe is only possible to do correctly if your feet face forward.

3. Toes and Foot Alignment. Stand up with your foot against a straight edge such as a pilates mat. See whether is is sits flush with the edge, if it doesn’t move it until it does. That is how is should be!

Simple Exercises:

Start walking barefoot where possible – this means no shoes OR socks. This will allow your toes to spread and your feet to feel the floor.

Shake hands with your feet. To encourage your toes to stretch out and “breathe” slide your fingers between your toes. Gradually you can work your fingers further down. I know, I NEED a pedicure.

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Pilates with Priya: Stretch your toes

Use a tennis ball or spikey ball and roll it under your feet to massage them and stimulate them.

Try out toe socks… I’m loving these beauties for my Pilates right now:

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More exercises and top tips coming up in the next blog post, a little foot series is on it’s way. So get bare footing!!