Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot
Walking barefoot ensures healthy development of the feet during childhood:
The flat feet of little children have to form the proper arches on growing up. This is greatly assisted by going barefoot, which trains the muscles of the foot arches and thus helps to avoid flat feet and other deformities with all their life-long consequences, e.g. damage of the back, the knees and the hips. Obviously, ethnic groups that live without shoes have very healthy feet.
Regeneration of foot damage due to unsuited footwear:
Unnatural ideals of beauty seduce many people to force their feet into narrow shoes, which cause various deformities. But part of this damage due to fashion can be reversed regardless of age (the webmaster's own experience!). Even at an advanced age, going barefoot strengthens dozens of muscles, tendons and joints and restores part of the natural beauty and mobility of healthy feet:
Preventing trouble with the intervertebral discs:
Going barefoot has the potential to protect the intervertebral discs from deformation and slipping. As no shoes block the reflexes of the soles, going barefoot restores the natural gait. Thus impacts are reduced, the unevenness of the ground is automatically compensated for and damage of the intervertabral discs becomes unlikely. You can easily avoid deterioration of the discs due to hard heel impacts in shoes!
Note that a rough path is the ideal training ground to correct for those dystrophies of the feet that damage the knees and cause dorsal pain! A barefoot person automatically shifts the body weight to the outer edges of the feet, where the skin is less sensitive to stones etc., and thus actively compensates for flat feet.
There is another, more indirect beneficial effect of barefooting to the intervertebral discs: they are only nourished by motion (like a sponge), for they do not contain blood vessels. Unshod feet perfectly adapt to the unevenness of the ground and thus cause motions of the spine that compress and relax the discs -- and well-nourished discs will stay in shape longer without causing pain!
Note that dorsal pain costs billions of dollars per year, whereas bare feet are free!
Preventing varicose veins:
Going barefoot is recommended to prevent vein problems, because the proper motion of the unrestricted foot assists the leg muscles in pumping blood back to the heart.
Preventing the common cold:
Moderate exposure to chill stimulates the production of body warmth and the power of resistance. Sometimes fifteen barefoot minutes on a pleasantly cool and moist lawn or even a one minute joyful "snow dance" are sufficient to have warm feet during the whole night!
Who has had this good experience, will recognize that any danger of kidney and bladder trouble due to barefoot walking is pure fiction. Don't be afraid of snow! For a few minutes it feels much better than cold water.
Preventing athletes foot:
Dermatophytes of the skin and nails can only establish themselves on the constantly moist skin inside shoes. Dry skin, however, is not susceptible to such attacks! Therefore, exposing the feet to the air while walking on natural soil hampers the survival of these uninvited guests.