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“What Should I Put on My Feet to Go Run?”: This Could Change Society

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 | 5 Comments


I’ve often dreamed of a world where parents didn’t automatically put their kids in shoes. If only we allowed our children the freedom to go barefoot, we’d avoid all the pitfalls that plague our modern shod society.

Unfortunately it’s a tough sell.

Some parents insist that their children need the protection of shoes. Sure, sometimes that protection is important (winter), but most of the time kids are more than capable of navigating any environment barefoot without sustaining injury.

Need proof? My kids have been mostly barefoot for the last 18 months as we’ve traveled all over the US. No matter where they were, they quickly adapted to the environment. Indeed, kids ARE capable of being barefoot most of the time.

So how do we convince parents?

I take the cerebral approach through my book, clinics, and this blog. It’s resulted in mixed results.

My friend John McClung introduced what could be a FAR better method- children’s literature.

John wrote a children’s book about being barefoot, and it’s awesome! The story is illustrated by Laura Hollingsworth, a talented artist. The story revolves around a baby bear having a discussion with his mother. The baby bear is about to go outside to play and discusses what he needs on his feet to play outside. He continually brings us different varieties of foot coverings. Each time mother bear tells him he just needs his bare bear feet.

The theme- you don’t need shoes.

This is the exact same message I’ve been trying to spread for years. This book is a must-have for anyone that has discovered the benefits of being barefoot and has children in their lives. If you are a:

  • Parent with children,
  • Grandparent with grandkids,
  • Aunt or uncle,
  • Have a neighbor with small children,
  • Teacher,
  • Or work with children in any other capacity…

… you need to get this book. It very well could be the best tool we’ve had to spread the idea that barefootedness is a good thing.

Great work, John!

Buy the book from Amazon here!




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  1. Michael Peligro
    January 9, 2013

    Here’s the excerpt from wikipedia on parasitic worms:

    “Populations in the developing world are at particular risk for infestation with parasitic worms. Risk factors include inadequate water treatment,[2] use of contaminated water for drinking, cooking, irrigation and to wash food, undercooked food of animal origin, and walking barefoot. Simple measures can have strong impacts on prevention. These include use of shoes, soaking vegetables with 1.5% bleach, adequate cooking of foods, and sleeping under mosquito-proof nets.”

  2. Michael Peligro
    January 9, 2013

    Unfortunately here in the Philippines (which is a hot and humid tropical country), if you go barefoot, lots of deadly parasitic worms will get through your feet (hookworm, pinworm, etc…). If kids get infected, they’ll be malnourished.

    Perhaps going totally barefoot is only safe in cooler climates such as yours. Here in the tropics, we use rubber slippers or shoes.

  3. Michael Wall
    January 5, 2013

    I agree with Randy. I wear my 4mm Huaraches everywhere but work (I’m a teacher). Now that it’s cold out, I wear them with toe socks. No one even blinks an eye because they’re black and I have black socks. I’ve even worn them out to nicer restaurants and Christmas parties.

    I don’t work for Xero Shoes at all. I’m just a customer and huge fan.

  4. Randy Kreill., Beavercreek OH
    January 5, 2013

    Melinda, I’d suggest a Spibelt with a pair of 4MM Xero brand Huaraches … this way you can use them whenever needed…lightweight, small. I’ve run as far as 50 miles in a pair and have finished a few marathons and 50K+ diestances.

    Xero doesn’t really advertise, but they have a low cost, long wear product I love, and they give a referral fee to happy customers who share their enthusiasm. Click the link to shop…

  5. Melinda
    January 4, 2013

    How do you deal with going out (stores, libraries, etc.)? My three are largely barefoot but keep shoes in the car to wear into the above places.