Joined: 08 Jan 2003
|Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:55 am Post subject: 7 Good Reasons to Take Your Shoes Off / 7 Good Reasons to Take Your Shoes Off
|Footloose and Fancy Free!
Sometimes there is nothing nicer than getting home from a gruelling day at work, kicking off your shoes and relaxing on the couch. There is something symbolic about the taking off of the shoes, representing the end of the working day and the beginning of a relaxing evening.
Not only is it pleasant to walk around barefoot (especially on long grass or a deep shagpile carpet!) but it is healthy too.
Here are 7 great reasons to take off your shoes:
1. It is healthy for your feet
Going barefoot can help you avoid various health problems and deformities such as back, knee and hip damage. Being barefoot means that blisters and ingrown nails are far less likely. Walking barefoot is the natural mode of motion and you have less chance of damaging your intervertebral discs. Ethnic groups who are barefoot all the time are known for their healthy feet. The soles become thick and tough after a while so they can walk on all surfaces comfortably. In fact, one fifth of the world’s population never wear shoes! Walking in sand or in the grass massages your feet and strengthens leg and foot muscles. Air can circulate freely around the feet which is soothing and healthy. Humans did evolve without shoes, after all!
In the Far East, you can find ‘reflexology paths’ which you walk down in bare feet. This massages your feet, stimulating the reflexology points in them, and is as beneficial as a reflexology massage.
Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, thrive in humid conditions, such as the inside of a shoe.
2. It is polite
When you visit friends, for example, it is nice to take off your shoes (unless you have stinky feet, a verruca or fungal infection of course!) for a few reasons. First of all, you remove your coat because it is unnecessary indoors, so why not your shoes? It shows you are less likely to bolt out of the door and you are not going to trail in the dirt on the bottom of your shoes all over their carpet or flooring.
In countries such as Japan and Thailand, it is compulsory to remove your shoes when entering a building. Some rental clauses in Japan forbid you from wearing shoes inside. This is to protect the tatami (floor matting) and because there is no reason to walk dirt into the room. Many Japanese floors are made of materials too soft to withstand shoes but very comfortable for bare feet. In Germany, it is common to have a little room between the front door and the rest of the house where you remove and leave your coat and shoes.
3. Your feet will look better
Well shaped and tanned feet look better than pinched-looking, pale feet that have been crammed into tight shoes for too long. Ill-fitting footwear can cause bunions, blisters and a great deal of pain. Even comfortable, sturdy shoes do not result in such nice-looking feet as though which are often bare.
Walking barefoot trains the leg and calf muscles gently and naturally. It is important for children to develop their foot arches properly and if a child wears unsuitable footwear, even for a short while, it can permanently damage and misshape their feet.
4. You can save money
If you do wear shoes, try to wear them for 30% less of the time. This is not only healthier for your feet but the less you wear your shoes, the longer they will last! Re-heeling and re-soling costs money, as do new shoes, sandals or boots.
If you choose to go barefoot for nearly all the time (which many people are opting to do these days) you can save a great deal of money. You might have to spend some of your savings on scalpels and tweezers to get bits of glass and gravel out of your feet but tweezers are cheaper than shoes!
5. It can be enjoyable
There are organizations set up, such as barefoot hiking groups, which encourage the practise of walking barefoot. Hiking barefoot can be an interesting experience because you will enjoy feeling different textures under your feet – grass, warm pavements, sand and soil. Sports are often done barefoot for either safety reasons or because it makes it easier.
Water sports such as sea fishing, swimming and windsurfing are usually done barefoot because you slip less and if you do slip on a fishing boat, for example, it is better to tread on someone’s foot with your bare foot than with a heavy shoe on! They will think so, anyway. If you are doing a sport where your feet will probably get wet, it is more pleasant to be barefoot than in soggy footwear and your feet naturally grip surfaces better than most shoes.
6. Religious reasons
Some religions require you to remove your shoes for certain events. For example, you must take your shoes off before entering a Buddhist temple because it is a sign of respect.
Hindus regard leather, which many shoes are made of, as an impure substance. They also have some sort of prayer room in their houses and view wearing shoes in there as disrespectful to God.
Like Buddhists, they generally remove their shoes before entering the house. Remember, though, that in Thailand and Arab countries, it is a sign of disrespect to show the soles of your feet.
Has anyone in heavy shoes ever accidentally (or purposely!) trod on your toes? Unless you are outside in the snow or in an upmarket cocktail bar or restaurant, footwear is never completely necessary. Some people can even walk through fire in barefeet - and do so for pleasure! You can break someone's toes if you tread on them in heavy shoes. Being barefoot is safer. You won't trip over your shoelaces either!
So there you have it – take your shoes off and experience the soothing feeling, knowing that your feet will be healthier and thank you for it!