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Who needs blue suede shoes?

April 16, 2012

I have a few barefooting heroes, mostly runners who have inspired me both with their athletic ability and barefooting advocacy. Barefoot Ted McDonald, Ken Bob Saxton and Professor Daniel Howell are just a few well known names in the barefooting community that I admire. But the one barefooter who impresses me the most is the barefoot ball of energy living right under my roof.

Several years ago when my youngest son was still a newborn, I found a killer deal on a pair of blue suede Reeboks for kids. I bought them big, knowing that in a blink my newborn would be a toddler and I wanted them for when he started walking. When the time came, I dug out those sweet kicks and tried to put them on his feet, except to my incredible disappointment, they didn’t fit. Lengthwise they were perfect, but in the width? Well, those chunky little bricks at the end of his ankles would not budge. In fact, I couldn’t find any shoes that would fit him. In desperation, I let him go barefoot. Eventually I sucked it up and spent way too much on a pair of extra wide shoes I found online. And even those didn’t fit him very well. So it should be no surprise then, that he still prefers to be barefoot. And he is good at it, too.

This kid, who will turn 4 in July, amazes me every day as he takes on any terrain—even surfaces I find crippling—with ease. Nothing slows down his little feet. He runs, jumps and bikes barefoot. The only time he wears shoes is to preschool: three hours, three times a week.

When my older two children were his age they always wore shoes. In fact, both of them would often refuse to take off their shoes come bedtime and we’d have to sneak in after they fell asleep to remove them. I have since learned that children should go barefoot as much as possible, as it helps the muscles and bones in their feet to form properly. I feel good knowing that my youngest is getting ample opportunity to strengthen his growing feet and regret that my older two didn’t have the same chance as him. I’ve also noticed that my youngest seems to fall down less than my older two did at this age. With his bare feet connected directly to the ground, he has a better sense of coordination and balance than he would if he were in shoes.

He goes barefoot everywhere… Even to the dentist.

Unfortunately, he won’t be able to keep up his daylong barefoot adventures forever. He’ll start kindergarten in just over a year which will mean most of the day he’ll have to spend in shoes. I only hope that school is a minor interruption to his healthy lifestyle and that he continues to enjoy running and playing in his bare feet when he is home. And perhaps one day, he will grow up to be a barefoot advocate and athlete, too.

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From → Kids

10 Comments
  1. I maintain a barefoot website and was the first person to hike the entire 600 miles of the Bruce Trial barefoot. Good website mate! Keep up the good work!!

  2. Elizabeth permalink

    Jack is the same. How come you didn’t mention me on your list. I know you admire me and my naked feet! lol! Jack never wears shoes. The minute he gets into the car from anywhere we have been that requires shoes, they are off before the seatbelt is clicked!

  3. And Elizabeth too! She’s my hero for more reasons than just her feet.

  4. Perhaps you could start talking to his future school now. Who knows, they may actually be open to the idea given the clear health problems that shoes cause (especially children) and his exceptionally wide feet. I would be happy to donate a book and a letter to the cause, and I’m sure The Primalfoot Alliance would help, too.

  5. If you claim it is a religious thing don’t they have to let you send him in barefoot?

  6. Good question, Chris. Probably… What religion prohibits shoes? Perhaps we need to join. 🙂

  7. Excellent blog…definitely following! I’m a college student who goes barefoot; and I tried everything as a kid in school to get out of shoes. What I got back was a ton of in-school suspension.

    • Thank you! It’s nice to connect with fellow barefooters and I appreciate the follow. Barexenolith, do you get hassled about your bare feet now that you are in college?

  8. barefootward permalink

    If the school won’t let him go there barefoot, maybe he can just wear flip flops, most schools allow those. Flip flops are better then closed shoes for his wide feet.

  9. steelgrrrlmai permalink

    If the schools are adamant, go the same route I did: Moccasins. Euro shoes are too uncomfortable for my feet, and I never liked wearing them, even as a little kid, so my Gramma used to make me pairs of plain moccs for everyday wear, and beaded ones for Wacipis and formal occasions. I now have ones with rubber on the bottom so I don’t slip on wet grass for dancing and trail running.

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