More time spent at home over the past couple of years likely also means less time wearing shoes, especially if you do not wear shoes inside the house.
We talk a lot about minimalist shoes and mimicking barefoot posture with our shoes, but what about actually going barefoot most of the day? For those of us who work from home, we might have suddenly found that we spend the majority of our day barefoot.
How does going barefoot all day affect our body? Read on to find out!
Benefits of Walking Barefoot
You already know that the Lems team is a big fan of barefoot life. We may be a minimalist shoe brand, but we also love to kick off our shoes and give our feet some freedom as much as we can.
Incorporating more barefoot time into your day can be beneficial in a number of ways, including:
- Enhanced proprioception (body spacial awareness)
- Improved balance
- Faster response to stimuli
- Stronger feet and ankle muscles
- Improved posture
- Increased circulation
- Less inflammation
Reasons Not to Wear Shoes in the House
Wearing shoes indoors is not as common around the globe as it is in North America, and there are plenty of good reasons to kick off your shoes as soon as you step inside, including:
Less frequent cleaning - no matter how well you wipe off your shoes, there will always be lingering dirt on the soles. And if you live somewhere with frequent rain, cleaning mud and wet floors constantly is no picnic.
Shoes collect toxins - When you think about all of the chemicals used to make a city go round–fertilizers, gasoline, anti-freeze, coal tar pavement, and other contaminants– it makes sense that they can all collect on the bottoms of your shoes. If you wear your shoes indoors, then you’ll track them around your house, as well. Gross.
Shoes foster bacteria - A study conducted by a microbiologist at the University of Arizona revealed that shoes can contain bacteria that cause infections like E. Coli, meningitis, and diarrhea. The soil and plant matter your shoes pick up can be a breeding ground for such diseases.
Walking around barefoot strengthens your feet - Spending the day in shoes teaches your feet to rely on cushioning and support provided by the shoe, which can cause the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the foot to weaken. When you walk around barefoot, those muscles get to do the job they were intended to do.
If you must wear shoes in your home, don’t wear outside shoes inside. If you prefer to wear shoes indoors, dedicate those shoes only to the indoors. Our Drifters would make ideal indoor shoes as they slip on and off easily.
Remember, just like everyday outdoors shoes, your indoor shoes will need to be replaced at some point.
Ease into Going Barefoot All Day
Problems tend to arise when people go from wearing shoes all day long, à la pre-pandemic, to suddenly going barefoot all day long, à la work from home life. Just like switching to zero-drop shoes, a slow transition into barefoot life should happen over the course of several weeks.
When someone is used to wearing shoes for most of the day and then suddenly goes barefoot, the tendons and ligaments of the foot become fatigued easily and can stretch more than usual.
This quick switch can pain and discomfort or result in injuries like:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Morton’s neuroma
To minimize the risk of injury or discomfort, build strength with daily foot strengthening exercises.
Potential Hazards of Going Barefoot Indoors
The main reason shoes were invented in the first place was to protect the feet. You might think your home has fewer foot hazards than the outdoors, but there are quite a few common threats that could cause significant injury or pain to the feet.
- Dropping kitchen items on bare feet (like a knife, eek!)
- Stubbing toes on furniture
- Stepping on toys (dog or kid) left out
- Slippery floors while wearing socks
If you choose to go shoe-free inside your home, just be aware of the potential hazards and stay clear as best that you can.
Tips if You Work from a Standing Desk Barefoot
Once you become a barefoot pro, if you work from a standing desk or spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen while cooking, here are a few tips that will add some comfort to your shoe-free indoors life.
- If you work from a standing desk, use an anti-fatigue mat to relieve some of the pressure off your feet
- Add rugs to surfaces where you stand often
- In the kitchen, you can get a standing mat for the sink and oven if you spend significant time standing there.