We get a lot of weird looks, whether we are around our apartment complex playing catch, hiking with the kids, or just out and about in the stores on occasion. We go barefoot, a lot. We are not a bunch of hippies but we do have a very distinct parenting philosophy. We are barefoot parents.
By that I mean we go barefoot and encourage our children to go barefoot as often as possible as well. We also wear minimalist/barefoot shoes and yes….. my wife and I do have a pair of five finger Vibrams. This isn’t something we go around shouting from the rooftops, it is something we talk about when people ask why we do it. Going barefoot seems to make people uncomfortable. I am not entirely sure why. As an example, my son and I went to the store barefoot to grab a few snacks for a hike later and what we got were weird looks and a few smirks.
As parents, my wife and I have decided to take a barefoot approach to not only our children’s but our own feet as well. This was a dilerberate act, as shoes on kids can cause issues for their tiny feet. As for adults, it is a way to rehab the feet. Our feet have 100,000-200,000 exteroceptors in the sole of each foot. The feet give amazing feedback to your body on how to adjust not only your feet but also adjustments to the rest of your body as well. Your feet are your foundation that the rest of your body rests on and it is imperative that you have a great foundation to work with.
Strapping your childrens feet, which have no bones at all at first, into shoes is detrimental to their foot health and their ability to sense the world in which they live. Your children learn by touching, feeling, seeing, tasting, and interacting with the world around them, this includes with their feet! Let them explore the world unshod, their feet will toughen up and they will be able run along rocks, gravel, twigs, and things you wouldn’t believe that most adults can’t.
As for you parents, you should consider taking off the shoes and consider going unshod with those barefoot and crazy kids of yours as well. It will take a little while to build up your foot strength as well as a tolerance to the differing terrain you will encounter. As an example we went hiking a few weeks ago and my son and I hiked the majority of it barefoot. We hit a part of the trail that was almost like gravel, lots of small rocks littered the trail, my son was able to bound, run, hop, skip, along while I found it extraordinaily painful. I haven’t reached the level of comfort I want with my barefoot walking but my son has certainly found a level of comfort that I strive for.
This isn’t to say that we go barefoot all the time. There are times, like in the city, where we do not go barefoot to avoid things like broken glass and other hazards. In times when we don’t go barefoot we wear minimalist shoe’s. I have Lems primal 2’s as well as pair of Lems Boulder Boots and a pair of five finger vibrams. My wife has a pair of Five Finger Vibrams and a pair of TadEevo’s. My son and daughter have a pair of Vivobarefoot Mini primus. We are happy with each one of these pairs of shoe’s. I would recommend each one of these to anybody wanting to transition from regular shoe’s to a more minimalist shoe.
Our parenting philosophy or our children going barefoot goes hand in hand with the other half which is for our children to be outside often. They learn best when playing as this allows them to test their limits and work on an internal structure from which they can build upon as they grow.
Do you go barefoot? If not why not? Comment below to let me know! If you found this useful or entertaining please consider subscribing to email list or find us on facebook Shawn The Liberty Parent.