Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Shoes optional in summer

May 4, 2006

My friends and I all went barefooted in the summer.

I think most kids would go without shoes if they had a choice. The sensation of mud squishing through your toes, or the soft green grass or sand at the beach are just a few pleasant memories I have of going barefoot.

The foot is designed to give us perfect balance.

Incorrect sizes or styles of shoes cause many foot problems. I have read that many knee and ankle problems will disappear with walking without shoes.

In 1944 when I went to work at the dairy, I had to wear heavy rubber boots which had no support and caused a lot of pain. Dr. Trent designed an arch support for me out of leather strips to wear in my dairy boots. Dr. Trent was married to Betty Pulley and lived in the big stone house on the hill overlooking where Towne Center is now located. He had an office in Leavenworth and was an excellent foot doctor.

There are many sports that are played barefooted: beach volleyball, beach soccer, gymnastics, dancing and martial arts, just to name a few. In sports like long-distance running, most athletes run in shoes, but Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia set world records running marathons with and without shoes. In the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he ran barefooted and won the marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 17 seconds. He did not intend to run that way but had to because his shoes had not shown up. Some American football place kickers have also played with a bare kicking foot, citing better control over the contact between their foot and the ball as the reason.

Many religions and cultures remove their shoes when approaching holy places. Even some children and adults we know take off their shoes when they enter their homes.

Ken Bob Saxton, a famous marathon runner from Michigan, does not recommend anyone running barefoot, but it works for him. His Web site runningbarefoot.org is loaded with information about running barefoot.

I realize most things we do now require shoes, but isn't it fun to think about that mud squishing through our toes again?

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