Advocates say walking barefoot will strengthen your foot muscles and correct your posture, but how true is it?
We have heard various supposed benefits of walking barefoot instead of relying on support from footwear.
People who vouch for the benefits of walking barefoot claim that it’ll help to build strength in foot muscles, correct our posture, improving the feet arch, and the body’s balance.
In short, it’s believed that walking barefoot helps to restore our “natural” walking pattern and this will help prevent foot pain.
The benefits of walking barefoot were similarly echoed by a local barefoot training specialist, Ng IMiin, when she was filmed by the Malay Mail.
These beliefs and claims are not new and it has spawned “natural” barefoot shoes (also known as minimal shoes in some places) over the years such as Vibram FiveFingers and Xero Shoes.
Recently, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin was spotted strolling barefoot in Jakarta, Indonesia. Martin was in Indonesia with his bandmates as they performed at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on 15 November.
It’s not confirmed whether he subscribes to the benefits of walking barefoot, but he has been spotted more than once preferring to forgo footwear as he walks around town.
Should you walk barefoot?
Walking barefoot at home is usually fine. However, opinions differ when it comes to walking barefoot outside the home.
This is because none of us can control what’s on the ground outside our homes. If we walk barefoot on the city streets, we run the risk of stepping on sharp objects such as broken glass, rocks, sticks, and hypodermic needles.
We could also step on a lot more than sharp objects such as spit and gum. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites could enter your body if you suffer cuts on your feet.
According to podiatrists, going shoeless for an extended amount of time hurts your feet more in the long run and could alter the biomechanics of your feet for the worse.
This is because going shoeless places an extended amount of pressure on the feet, which can lead to foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis.
In addition, you can also develop bunions and hammer toes.
Does that mean we should never walk barefoot?
As with everything in life, observing a balance (and using common sense) is the key.
Even IMiin, an advocate for walking barefoot, still puts on shoes when she has to use the public restroom or cross areas with construction going on.
She said in the video that she doesn’t walk barefoot all the time and carries a pair of shoes with her.