I hate shoes. If shoes must be worn I prefer flip flops or sandals. That is why I love summer so much. I typically don’t wear “real” shoes of any kind from May until October. I wear sandals all year-long when the weather isn’t too terribly cold. Living in the South makes that possible. The only exception to that rule is athletic shoes. They are necessary when you go to gym or to an exercise class of some sort or if you are a runner, of course.
I grew up in a small neighborhood on the water. I have written about it before here. When we first moved into the neighborhood there was just one circular dirt road and a lot of trees and wooded areas. We only wore shoes to school, church, and when we had to go into public. It didn’t hurt to walk on all the things nature outdoors for us. Of course, we would get splinters or scrapes from time to time. The biggest danger we faced was oyster shells. We learned quickly to watch out step and test the mud on the river bank. I still have scars on my toes from those treacherous shells. We also spent time at the lake or beach and shoes were left in the car just in case we had to stop somewhere along the way.
Back to the athletic shoes… I have always had a problem finding shoes that don’t hurt my feet or my toes. I have a medium arch on one foot and a flat foot on the other. I have an issue with my little toes that cause them to roll to the outside. I have had several bone spurs that had to be shaved. Eventually, I had surgery to take out the small bone but I still have problems with shoes. I have tried insoles and arch supports, etc. but, I have simply learned to find the shoes that cause the least discomfort.
Last year I discovered an exercise program that does not allow shoes-Karate. Everything is done barefoot. I practiced for a year and after a few weeks had no pain or discomfort with my feet. I haven’t been able to do Karate or any other fitness program for several months because of illness. I started back at a gym with a fitness program in order to rebuild my stamina and strength. I have had pain and cramps in my feet every workout session. Today, I decided to take off my shoes half way through my class. I was amazed. I had no cramping and no pain. I am going to talk to my trainers about doing as much of each class as possible without shoes.
I have been thinking a lot about getting older and what my later years might look like. Mind you when I say later years, I mean somewhere in my 90′s when I finally slow down a bit. I have decided that whether I live in my own home, with my children/grandchildren, or in a residential retirement home, I am going to be comfortable. I will go barefoot as much as possible. Oh, and I will go bra-less as well. I am sure by that time I will be ready to let go of the “what are people going to think” issues. Those “Red Hat” ladies better watch out, because I believe others may follow my barefoot and bra-less idea!