Monday, July 30, 2012

Barefoot Bliss

Barbara: Here’s a wee topic for a summ’a rumination. Bare feet.

I have always been a shoe person. As far back as I can remember, I’ve had some kind of shoe on my tender tootsies, whether it’s the comfortable shoe to walk in, the sexy shoe to go out in, or the at-home slipper to laze around in. I have liked the sense of comfort, the seeming strength, the inherent safety of a shod foot. Also, living in Canada with our cold winters, a cozy slipper is almost imperative.

I remember being shocked years ago when I read an article written by a dedicated jogger who had taken to the new trend of running in “barefoot sneakers”, thin runners that are made of skin-like plastic that are so much like bare feet they sometimes sport individual toes. These shoes are designed to mimic the actual barefoot experience without the inherent risks of running with no protection. This was the first I’d ever read about the supposed advantages of running barefoot—the article cited all the studies that have proven that the human body is safer when it does what it was designed to do—ie, running naturally—rather than being misdirected by all the arch supports and heel adjusters and weight calibrators of our famous running shoes. The writer waxed on about her own amazing experience running in these barefoot sneakers: her chronic knee pain had disappeared, she enjoyed the experience of running so much more, and she was running faster too. For some reason, this new piece of information lodged itself in my mind and held my curious, if still shoe-obsessed, attention.

Then a few months ago, as I mentioned here, I read a fascinating book called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. Among his many other collected bits of neuron-facts, he also mentioned the neural advantages of the bare foot. Believe it or not, there is an important brain-map in our feet (for anyone who has ever had reflexology or massage of the foot, this is probably no surprise), and this brain-map is linked to our gross motor skills. There is a whole chapter in the book (thanks to intense studies by neuroscientists like Michael Merzenich) that describes the importance of this map and how we can redesign the brain, in both good ways and bad, depending on the kind of stimulation (or lack thereof) that this map gets.

I recalled that old article about the benefits of barefoot running when I read how Merzenich blamed the loss of gross motor skills as we age to a decrease in sensory feedback … from our feet. And why? Because we wear shoes—all the time! Shoes interfere with the stimuli to our brains that keep us agile and mentally “on our toes”. The artificial flat surface inside our shoes literally dumbs down the challenges that uneven, imperfect, unusual surfaces would normally stimulate in these brain-maps. To add to this, as we get older, we often start using walkers, canes or crutches, and these further dull any messages our feet might send to our brains. Then to make it worse, we begin to watch where our feet our going (ie down stairs or across the room), further dulling this important neural activity.

The good news is that the more time we spend barefoot and not watching where our feet are going, the more we will maintain—and even develop—the brain-map in our feet!

How could I resist this call to de-shod??? Now I pull off my shoes the moment I get home, and yes, I have even given up my at-home slipper. And, yes, yes, I do notice a difference. Maybe not in my gross motor skills, but definitely in the sensual pleasure of feeling the ground beneath my bare feet. The texture of my smooth kitchen tiles, the grain of the backyard deck, the warm nubbly-ness of the driveway asphalt. It is divinely pleasurable. And maybe even a way to get—and stay—smarter and more agile. I don’t know what will happen when it gets cold again, but I am hoping I can get used to a be-socked foot and avoid the always be-slippered one. We’ll see. In the meantime, this is foot for thought.

Deb: Oh how I loved the foot for thought, Barb. Again, you with the hitting the nail on my head. Or dropping the other shoe. I have always always been a shoe girl. My friends have teased me about it, my not wanting to be barefoot. We are right now, up at our beach house rental as we did last year. And last year at this beach house, my shoe wearing ways were turned on their ear. I was walking along the beach with sandals on, natch, and suddenly I took them off and found myself barefoot for the rest of the trip. When I returned home I found myself barefoot and happy about it. But not all day. At night and first thing in the morning my moccasins must be worn. I also have a weird thing that my feet cannot feel too DRY. It gives me the creeps. And if one foot gets wet and the other is dry, I must get the other one wet or it creeps me out ... uh oh, I’ve said too much.

62 comments:

  1. Im diffiently a barefoot girl . I love to walk,jog,or even play barefoot. I dont even wear shoes in the winter i wear flipflops. I feel weird wearing shoes,and have not owned a pair of actual tennie.shoes since i was in high school. . So barefoot i will be now and forever.

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    1. That's actually amazing that you haven't owned tennis shoes since high school!

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  2. Whenever I'm not in classes or work, the first thing I do is take my shoes off. I think shoes (and socks) are some sort of punishment for your feet. I remember at home sometimes I would walk the dogs without bothering to put shoes on. I've got tough soles, that's for sure! :D

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    1. LOL. HELL YEAH... For me my big feet make it more uncomfy!!! LOL Ive got sores all over my feet but I'M A TOUGH SOLE GIRL! So I love it when my feet are NAKED!!!

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    2. I'm not ready to face the great wilds of the urban sidewalk with no shoes, but I certainly love to putter around my safely glass-free/debris-free home/yard!

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    3. I too enjoy walking the dog barefoot : )

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  3. Im with kelly its a punishment to wear shoes

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  4. I don't mind walking barefoot, if I know the ground is clean. Unfortunately there are some who take joy of brakeing bottles and what not, so one must be careful.I rarely wear shoes in my backyard. I remember when I was a kid I loved not wearing shoes. Also in this country we do not wear shoes indoors. We take them off when we come in to someones home. When it is -30 C outside the flip flops are not very practical outside ;)

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    1. Ha! No kidding. It's interesting that the custom there is not to wear shoes in the house, even in winter. Curious to see how I will fare in this dept come winter...

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  5. Firstly...WHERE DO YOU GET THESE AWESOME FACTS?!?!!?!?!?!!!!! And secondly, FHEW!! Coz I am a shoe girl..IN MY HEAD! Good to know.. And what I mean by "in my head" is that I love shoes...but I dont get the ones I love in my size. I've got big duck feet. My size is 10, I guess. But even then shoes are a bit uncomfy coz The shapes of my feet are wider around the toes. So I LOVE 'EM.BUT CANT HAVE 'EM... And now you gave me a WONDERFUL Belief (Well, ok EXCUSE) to hang on too.

    And IDK if you know this but We Hindus have a lotta beliefs (Not all of them) that end up being useful. Well people describe them now in superstitious ways but they were told that it was superstitious just because "THE FACT" was too much to handle. Well, back then atleast. We have this belief that when we enter our house we should leave our shoes near the door because your house is a sacred place. Although not a lotta us do that now. Its much better in cozy slippers. Not for me! I feel better barefoot. And I have sores in my feet. Still feel comfy barefoot. There is also a belief where when we dance we almost always do it barefoot. I do it barefoot too. And some castes have beliefs that make them go barefoot everywhere they go. Good to know, it all makes sense now. I wanna say something to those people gazillion years ago who realized this fact and made these beliefs.... "You guys, THANKS FOR BEING SO AWESOME!!!"

    And I'm more with comfort. I can say I'm a barefoot girl too... Love walking barefoot on the beach...hmmmmmmmm... LOVE IT. Even if I'm on vacation and I'm in someplace cold. I'm barefoot the whole time I'm in my hotel room. I remember this one time when we were at this hill station and it was IDK 10-12 C outside (I know that must be "cute" for Canadians!). And the flooring was complete marble and untouched for the whole day so it was ICE COLD! And I was still going barefoot, even though with every little tiptoey step I went "oh gosh...oh gosh...oh gosh....damn its cold...DEAR LORD ITS COLD....".

    BTW Deb, its nothing. I always HAVE TO keep the volume of my television or music player in even numbers. I even eat tictacs and stuff in even numbers.....odd numbers creep me out. Now Ive said too much...Hmph----HA! LIKE I CARE....LOL. NOTHING TO LOSE! EVERYONE KNOWS I'M WEIRD, BY NOW....OH WELL!

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    1. Yeah, Deb's comment had me howling. I had no idea she had this little "thing" with her feet. Now you with the numbers. You guys are adorable!

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    2. Aww... YOU MADE ME BLUSH! But seriously...I've got a lotta weird things like that!

      And sweetie... you posted your reply at 12.12 !!!!!! WOOOHOO!

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  6. Well I am most decidedly NOT a shoe person. Every winter I long for the days when I can put my slippers away and prance around barefoot. Ok I don't know about prancing but you get what I'm saying.
    I spent summers as a kid climbing trees and bare feet gave the best grip, running across gravel didn't hurt and I had better uses for my shoes such as using my rubber boots as buckets to catch tadpoles and frogs while wading through puddles the cool mud squishing through my toes. In winter I still wouldn't wear shoes or slippers indoors and I preferred to wear my mukluks with their soft fur lining rather than "proper" boots and socks whenever I could.
    I wear shoes a lot more often now and walking across gravel makes me wince but I still prefer to kick off my shoes whenever I can and do. In winter my feet always seem to be cold now so I'm almost always wearing my moccasins but they are the only thing I can stand wearing for very long. I like my feet naked.
    Now I need to go catch up on the past two weeks of posts after being on holiday. Had a great time off, despite some cruddy weather the big part of our vacation which was going to watch my daughter play in the Manitoba summer games was great. Her team came home with the gold medal and huge smiles on their faces after an amazing final game which went into double overtime.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Erin, congrats to your daughter and her team!!!! so exciting. With the Olympics on -- and me being such an Olympics hound -- I can relate to the excitement even more. Thrilled for you that it made such a beautiful holiday too! xoxo

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    2. Wow, Erin!!! CONGRATULATIONS to your daughter's team!!! What a superhuge big deal!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. I've always been a barefoot gal as well for as long as I can remember. I find that my internal temperature tends to be dictated by my feet. During my massage treatments, I hate to have my feet covered. And, I find if I wear shoes too often, I tend to trip over my feet, and try to roll on my ankles.

    But, bed is beckoning me. Working the overnight, 10-hour shifts are messing with me again. :)

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    1. Argh, poor Jo. Feeling for you... I've also started to push my feet out of the bedtime blankets because I like the coolness. Normally though I think of my feet as being cold. But maybe with the extra stimulation on bare feet, that might not be as much of a problem going forward???

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  8. Deb, talking about things which creeps yourself out ... for me, it's when the front of my knees feel slightly sweaty, and not having any air moving on them. *shudder*

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    1. Okay, I hope, like Deb, you don't mind if these idiosyncrasies make me chuckle a bit :)

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    2. Not in the least. I realize that this is a particularly odd one. :) And, I've been trying to cope as best I can considering that in the middle of the night, the humidity has been reaching 97% at times...

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  9. I love this post Barb! I stopped wearing shoes in the house after living in Okinawa. More recently, I have become barefoot girl. Part of this is because of how my kids spend most of the day barefoot, even when it's cold! They inspire me. I also spend time every day barefoot outdoors (mostly in my garden or hanging clothes to dry) and it is very energizing! And Deb, I understand that wet foot, dry foot thing...I'm sure there's a name for it, but I just call it my symmetry thing.

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  10. Interesting post. I have had so many issues with my feet in the last few years. I am always barefoot in my house and have been for most of my life. I was never a shoe person. But inheriting bad feet runs in my family and I got the genes so I must wear only certain shoes now and can't go barefoot outside anymore. Feet we need you more than you think now with all the brain mapping. Who knew?

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    1. I know, huh?! Amazing. Feet finally getting their fair due :)

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  11. This fits me to a tee!! I am always barefoot. My mom makes me keep socks by the doors so I can put them on before I walk onmy moms light tan carpet with my dirty feet : ) I look forward to summer just so I dont have to wear shoes : )

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    1. Oh, now there's a good tip for dirty feet syndrome :)

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  12. OK...Heres something TOTALLY off-topic. I'm sharing this coz I REALLY wanted to share this with you all. Since You girls spent that day with Mary-Jo and Red and since Deb posted those old adorable pictures... I'm kinda hooked on the thoughts of horses and old pictures. As I spent most of my childhood vacations horseback-riding. So Today me and my mom, we decided to sift through old pix, pick few of the best ones and scan them (BTW Thanks for the idea Deb!).

    Not much, we just picked...like 150 photos... Like I said, not much! ;)
    And I found a few pictures of me and they just surprised me. IDK if you remember, but I commented on the post about Red that I started Horseback-riding when I was 8-9.
    Turns out..... I loved horses since I was a baby and I started horseback-riding at the age of.....WAIT FOR IT..........

    THREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ha! LOL maybe its not impressive but its a long lost memory that, I LOVED to get reacquainted with...Aww...And I sooooo wanted to share it here! IDK why... I just felt like...

    (and I'll be posting those pix on FB soon... )

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    1. I cannot wait to see those pics, Shalaka!!

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  13. Personally I prefer being barefoot or wearing sandals :)

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    1. Which is clearly why you are so smart :)

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  14. I am absolutely a barefoot girl! My routine when I get home? Drop keys and purse on the small table by the door, kick shoes off and under that table while taking earrings out, slide hands under shirt to remove bra while walking toward bathroom to go pee. Before I got my long hair cut short a couple of weeks ago, the last step of the routine was to take my hair down out of its bun or ponytail & comb my fingers through it. Still, even with short hair, I take out any barrettes, scarf, etc. My scalp, feet, ears, and boobs go, "Aaah!"

    At work, I have to wear certain types of shoes for safety. But, at all other times in warm weather when I must wear shoes (boo!), I only wear slide on shoes like clogs so I can be barefoot again instantly. I even slide my shoes off under the pew at church.

    I'm bummed that both pairs of my Betula sandals wore out and came apart. :( Want more! :)

    I miss out on the fun of all the cute flipflops because I can't wear the kind that go between the toes. They drive my feet so crazy that I feel like I can't even walk right in them. Typing this, I had to reach down and scratch between the toes on both feet because it started itching from the power of suggestion. It's rare I can find a decent pair of non-between the toe flipflops, and certainly none of the cute, decorated kind. Ah, who cares? That's so #FirstWorldProblems, ya know? LOL

    I do not have girly feet. No pedicures. I have hard, calloused soles. My soles aren't as tough as they used to be when I was on the mats for martial arts 3 times a week. But, they are still tough. My feet have an interesting assortment of scars and a perfectly round, dark brown mole on the sole of my right foot exactly in the center. My aunt has always teased that it looks like I stepped on a drop of chocolate. I've been known to take a pumice stone to the edges of my heels on rare occasion, but only when the calloused area gets so thick and dry there's risk of cracking.

    One reason I prefer going barefoot is that the skin on my feet, esp. the tops of my feet, blisters easily, even in good, comfy shoes that fit right. I don't know why. It really doesn't take much of anything at all for me to get blisters on my feet. Annoying!

    My right pinkie toe doesn't lay right. She's a mangled, mutant little freak after being dislocated at least 3 times while on the mats (aikido). It was always just have my sensei or someone else I trusted reach down and wrench her back into place, tape her to the other toes real quick, and get back into the thick of things. Then, I full on broke her while moving house in 2001. So, she's a stubby, bent, fat little sausage who partially crosses over her neighbor. There are some shoes and socks that drive me INSANE because they crowd that pinkie toe, and I can't flex my muscles and adjust her without taking the shoe all the way off. Ugh!

    I don't wear high heels. Ever.

    In the winter, I'll wear boots if it's snowing and proper shoes when out in the nonsnowy cold. But, the second I get home, the shoe shedding part of the key dropping routine always happens. Yes, I go barefoot at home even in winter. Occasionally, I'll wear a pair of thick, soft socks for an hour or so, but I always end up peeling them off. I can't sleep in socks. My feet get so claustrophobic and irritated by socks on in bed that it keeps me awake!

    Deb, your dry feet sensations thing isn't weird at all. You are an amateur! LOL Between my son & myself, we have all sorts of sensory hang-ups.

    Don't get me wrong. I like pretty pairs of shoes. My favorites in my closet are my green Chucks w/black soles and my black leather ankle boots (which, sadly, after many winters' wear are finally wearing out). This summer, though, if I have to have shoes on, I just quickly slide my feet into a pair of green gardening clogs I got for free at a yardsale that was closing up.

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    1. My gardening shoes are green clogs! So practical for the garden. I love your coming-home routine. That's all the right kind of breathing going on there! (too bad about the pinkie toe. ouch)

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  15. p.s. Foot and hand reflexology massage? Aaahhblarghdroolblissummmmphaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhsssssssssssllllllrrrppppppgggggoooooooo....melted bliss.

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    1. Yeah, uh-huh, i knoooooooow, right?

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    2. Aww......BLISS................DAMN! Now I want one...........

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    3. Me, too! :) Maybe I need to start hinting to friends that for my 40th birthday I want a gift certificate for one. After all, it costs $40! ;) LOL

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  16. I am a barefoot kind of person. I don't really have a problem walking around barefoot. I love it. I almost never wear shoes when I'm at home. I don't feel comfortable until my feet are free from shoes. I sometimes go outside without shoes and I like it; the feeling of grass and asphalt. It's all very freeing.

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    1. Oh, yes, grass on bare feet! I've missed this sensation as I would probably only do it at home -- and we are riddled with fire ants here, so no bare feet on grass, :(

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  17. THIS is a PERFECT topic for summa tahm!

    I LOVE being barefoot, and used to spend most of my time barefoot. We'd spend a couple of weeks in New Hampshire every year and the only time sneakers ever went on was at an Alpine Slide (rules thing and all). I LIVE in sneakers in Disney World, because I really do need the support and comfort that any other kind of shoe doesn't offer me. But that's IT as far as NEEDING to wear shoes. Rules and safety were the only things putting anything on my feet in the summa.

    I've never been able to wear open-toed shoes, including sandals, because my toes are too short and my pinky toe rubs up or slips out the side slot and HURTS. I do a lot of flip-flopping locally... grocery store runs, short mall trips, beach walking. (I HATE HATE HATE sand in my sneakers, but the beach sand is just too hot to walk on barefoot.)

    I used to go shoe-shopping and buy for looks more than support. I had a WONDERFUL pair of fancy thongs (remember when "thongs" meant footwear?) with sparkles on them. NO support in them at ALL. Definitely not the footwear to wear in Vegas. Many a time, against my better judgment, but in the interest of walking pain-free, I ended up carrying them while walking barefoot. One of the BEST feelings is taking off a pair of shoes and walking on carpet, particularly when it's plush and cool and soft and Ahhhhh...

    Nowadays, as a person with diabetes, I can't go barefoot. I'm stuck wearing sneakers. My best purchase a couple of years ago was these sneaker-type things that are designed like slippers, with coverage towards the front of the foot, but nothing in the back. They're a compromise.
    I really miss bare feet. Except others'. I HATE HATE HATE other people's feet on mine or near me. Call it an anti-foot fetish. ICK!

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    1. Ha, my daughter has the same anti-foot fetish!! so much fun to tease that one. And pardon my ignorance, Dawn (or rather, please educate me), but why does diabetes require footwear?

      (PS have you ever seen the cartoon with the older women wearing their sandal/thongs like bikini/thongs??? Soooo funny)

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    2. Dawn can flesh the subject out, but in brief:

      Diabetics are prone to peripheral neuropathy and peripheral circulation issues. Wounds on diabetics' feet tend to heal very slowly and can easily and quickly develop into a much more serious, dangerous situation, sometimes leading to amputation.

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    3. OH MY GOD! That cartoon is hysterical!!
      Yes. I have seen it.
      :D


      Yep, what Rigel said, that's about it. The peripheral neuropathy can cut down the sensations to the feet. I could step on something and not feel it. It runs the risk of getting infected. Sugar feeds the bacteria, bacteria are fruitful and multiply, and everything can go straight to hell.

      After 32 years of being diabetic, I have NO complications...no neuropathy, nephropathy (kidneys), retinopathy (eyes), or any other -opathy. Might as well avoid any trouble if I can.

      (It's funny, given my psyche. I don't mind dying, but complications that incapacitate me are what I fear and wish to avoid. More "all or nothing" thinking.)

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    4. You know, I never knew this about diabetics. Thanks, guys. And, Dawn, I do relate to your all or nothing philosophy. Totally get that.

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  18. Deb, love the foot puns. lol

    I'm a shoe person. When we lived in Hawaii, we had to get use to taking off our shoes anytime we entered our home or someone elses. The Hawaiians wear slippas for their shoes year round. I never got into that. My kids still think they live there because their shoes come off the moment they get in the door. When we lived in New Mexico, our home had hard tiled floors. I had to wear shoes or my shins would hurt. I wear my shoes until they die and I usually have to quit wearing them because they start to hurt my feet. :) Only then do I get new shoes. Perhaps I should take a page from this story. Don't wear shoes in the house. It will save my shoes from wear and tear. Then my shoes and my feet will have a longer happier life.

    Just as a side (foot) note, I always wear Mary Janes. I can show off my crazy sock collection that way.

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    1. Love love love the Mary Jane! And I'm going to tell my shoe-obsessed daughter to maybe take a break from the shoes when she gets home...

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    2. I LOVE Mary Janes! They are my shoe of choice when I MUST *grrr* wear shoes. My wintertime dressy shoes are a nice pair of black, leather Mary Janes I've had for about 6 years, now. (One advantage to going barefoot most of the time is that my shoes last a long time. LOL)

      I had 2 pretty, fanciful, decadent pairs of Mary Janes, but I wore both pairs out. Wore them till they pretty much disintegrated! LOL They were Chinese cloth Mary Janes, one a burgundy pair with metallic gold embroidered flowers and one a blue pair with embroidered dragons. Whenever cold weather comes back around, I'll miss those shoes again. :(

      Hmmmm, maybe this winter I should replace my ratty, worn out favorite black leather ankle boots with a couple of pairs of new Mary Janes! Hmmm! That's a plan!

      I really adore artsy craftsy hand decorated cloth Mary Janes. I drool over them on etsy. LOL Examples of how I'd indulge if I had frivolous shoe money:

      I squeee over about 50% of the shoes in Punkie Junkie's shop, ESPECIALLY the narwhal (!!!) Mary Janes, blue owl Mary Janes, black cat Mary Janes, and ninja girl Mary Janes (size 8):
      http://www.etsy.com/shop/PunkieJunkie

      Wishing these from Em & Sprout were in my size:
      http://www.etsy.com/listing/95497649/red-fox-shoes-fox-face-mary-janes-ladies

      For many years, my favorite pair of shoes was a pair of black Anarchic T.U.K. heavy Mary Janes with pink kitty fact toes and tail heel. I used to wear them to work which definitely stood out in my boring office! LOL I miss those cute shoes every winter! Again, I wore them COMPLETELY out. Definitely got my money's worth out of those shoes.

      Oh! Just remembered! :D

      http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q68/pepsibookcat/KansasShoes009.jpg

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    3. Have you ever tried (or thought about trying) getting a plain pair of those cloth Chinese Mary Janes and decorating them yourself??? Would love to see what you'd come up with!

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    4. Those are great Rigel. Love the cats. I found that Sketchers makes nice Mary Jane walking shoes. That's what I've been wearing non-stop for about 2 years now.

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    5. B -

      Yes, definitely on my eventually crafts to do list! :) It's just a question of finding DURABLE cloth, Chinese Mary Janes. A lot of what's available for affordable import is trash. They come apart, soles wear through, etc. so quickly. Don't hold up at all.

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  19. Interesting. I turned up with foot soreness over a year ago. Got out of bed like an old lady hobbling about until things loosened up - but pretty much had sore feet and legs 24/7. I went to the doctor and other than saying if I didn't use it (my legs and feet) I would lose it (mobility) a very scary proposition for a girl a physically active as me. He really could not tell why it was happenening or how to stop it just to keep moving. Bless the Doctors, they don't know half as much as we wish they did.

    I left the quandry in the hands of a friend who as well as being an X- ballerina is now a pilates and Niah instructor and in the mean time had a conversation with an aquaitance who is a bare-foot propnet - the latter kind of lost me, on the one hand talking about all the positive energy we get from the ground and on the other seeming to spend most of her time walking on concrete. My ballerina friend said stretches and massage and definately lose the shoes when I was outside.

    I have sensitive feet and my one true indulgence is a pedicure which can be ruined pretty fast in the garden so I compromised. I wear moccasins without rubber souls and I power walk around the field. The uneven ground is an awesome massage and my feet feel way better! So I would say barefoot, ok, but try to get on to the grass or in the garden or on the beach (yeah Deb, enjoy your break!) Your feet (and apparently your brain) will thank you!

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    1. So frustrating to lose any kind of mobility. If we believe these neuroscientists, they really stress letting the injury recover and then quickly and with repetition re-train your body to get back to mobility. ie don't believe you can't do it ... or you won't do it. Good luck with the mystery ailment! And sounds like you're doing all you "ought" to be doing :)

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  20. I've never heard this mapping theory before. I always have been and always will be a barefoot girl. The freedom to stretch my toes and arch my feet whenever I please is amazing. I hate putting straight-jackets on my feet, even the pretty ones with high heels that make your butt look good.

    I run in bare feet too. It's a little gross in winter when your cold feet are slapping on wet concrete. But hey, sometimes that's the only way =)

    I guess I just love the freedom of unrestricted feet.

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    1. Wow, good for you, Aimee! Glad to read someone from bloggie-town is enjoying that practice!

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  21. Oh my....if weather were not an issue I would be barefooted or in sandals ALL THE TIME! I hate wearing shoes! LOL! I can remember even as a kid running around outside without shoes on. The second I get home from work the shoes come OFF!

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  22. An added bonus of walking barefoot in the sand (avoiding the shells, of course) is WONDERFUL calf development!

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  23. A hard human-built floor is NOT natural to the human foot, which was made to walk over earth and grass and thus be stimulated by their ever-changing surface ... hard flat floors can cause pain in the legs, posture, etc for some people, particularly perhaps those with high arches ... apparently ... recently while walking around my friend's hardwood-floored house without shoes, the soles of my feet began to hurt, a totally new experience for me. I put on good shoes and the problem went away. Anyhoo, moderation in all things, I guess, is the ticket, but I'm with Fran ... get barefoot when outdoors in suitable weather, but indoors ... be careful.

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    1. Fascinating, Kate. Thanks for this. This thought actually makes the barefoot runners that much more mystifying -- as far as I know, they are running on asphalt!!

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  24. I'm pretty sure in the long run that can't be good for your feet or the joints in the lower half of the body, no matter what's on your feet. But I'm no expert, so don't quote me. Jogging over a bumpy field would surely cause a twisted ankle, which wouldn't be so great either! I figure walking barefoot for short amounts of time makes great sense, but for an hour or two in the kitchen, say (and Deb we know you aren't doing this, but how about Colin?), the floor is literally HARD on the feet. My .02.
    Your feet may vary!

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