I often love standing at a distance and watching bi-standers look down at the variety of prints in the snow Boot and shoe prints of different sizes and treads. The close together imprints of the paws of dogs both large and small then the expressions of bewilderment as they point in their knit gloves at the bare human footprints. I step into their line of sight and they realize the signatory of those prints.
The amazing thing is that I slipped and fell once since there was ice on the ground. I was wearing shoes at the time. Winter is an awesome time to go bare. I’ve seen one person so far go in flip flops, but bare feet have far more traction than rubber slabs and the contact with the ground is what keeps your circulation going.
Today a gentleman came up to me to say hi and thank you for helping him get his car out of the snow. I assume the way he recognized me was by the only visible pair of feet in the crowd. I was sitting outside yesterday when I saw him get into his car and struggle to move it out of the snow covered parking spot. My automatic instinct when seeing someone in such a situation is to help him out and give his car a push.
He was concerned about my feet – I had on my huaraches at the time and was about to remove them to give my feet better traction in the snow. He grabbed a sanitation worker who was sitting in his car, who in turn tried shoveling the car out, while I hurried to get some cardboard to stick under the car tires.
After about 15 minutes, the two of us plus another person who worked in the garage next door successfully pushed the car in reverse out of the snow bank. It’s a nice feeling when a person comes to you to express appreciation for your help.
Later on that day, I was walking over to my parked car, this time my feet completely bare and a lady stepped out of her house and stopped me. “Okay, I saw you earlier helping that gentleman out wearing hardly anything on your feet – but now those are gone too! Do you go barefoot for the feeling of being free, or do you just like the cold air on your feet?” She was really cheery about it.
“Both,” I responded. I told her that the cold air felt great and the reason why feet get cold so often is because most people in the winter time suffocate them. The feet actually release more sweat than any part of the body.” She asked me more about the benefits of going barefoot, as she he was really interested in knowing more.
She also asked if I had any sources of inspiration or if there were any organizations so I told her a little bit about the Society for Barefoot Living as well as the barefoot runners group.
“And is running barefoot really more beneficial than running sneakers?” she asked. I had just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher MacDonald and felt like an encyclopedia of information about proper running form. She thought back to a runner from about 10 years ago who outran several others in a marathon having nothing on her feet.
I told her all about the fallacy of the commercial running shoes, how they are designed with the assumption that people can land on their heels, but this in turn is an unnatural way to run and is known to cause injuries while permanent injuries for barefoot runners are unheard of.
“Is there any running shoe or walking shoe that accommodates the natural motion of the foot?” She asked. I recommended the VI Bran Five Finger shoes, which were available at the runners shop just a few blocks away. I also suggested the Huaraches, which I had in my pocket telling her how these are what are worn by the Mahabharata Indians of Mexico, which they run in for several miles.
She knew quite a bit about them, surprisingly and about tribes in the Himalayas who go barefoot all year round. She was overjoyed and concerned at the same time since we stood talking for about ten minutes, suggesting that my feet should stay in motion. “So do you put on a warm pair of socks when you get home?” she asked.
“I’m always barefoot in the home,” I replied. “The feet get really warm once indoors after being out in the cold. In fact the last time I wore socks was at a formal function back in early May.” After our conversation she was really excited and suggested that there should be an article in the local neighborhood reader about going barefoot and the health benefits.
After going back to my car where I deposited my Huaraches for the rest of the day, I was smiling knowing that there was a person who witnessed a barefoot person helping another in the cold, and even more so today after being shown appreciation for helping.
Go barefoot and make a positive difference!