These Feet Were Made For Walkin’

…and that’s just what they’ll do…

I have been blessed with a very curious nature.  My entire life, I have always questioned the world around me.  This is part of what makes me a good listener – I’m attentive and interested to find out more, but this is also part of what makes me stick out like a sore thumb.  Sure, in my teenage years my questioning of authority came across as youthful rebellion, but it always came from a genuine place.  “Why?”  Because you said so?  That’s not an answer.  Over the years, I have been challenging more and more of what is “normal” in this world; always pushing onto these ideas the logical rationale of Why.  So, what does this have to do with the title? Well, for some time now I’ve been interested in a concept that I began to try out this morning – going barefoot.

Here comes the question: Why do we wear shoes?  I’m not interested in the history of fashion and walking in human filth, I’m talking about right now in south Orange County.  God didn’t design my feet to wear shoes, so why do I?  Style and social norms are the only real reasons.  When I was first finding my own sense of style, I often told my friend Joe, “…comfort over style.”  Yet, if you know me, you know that I’m certainly no slob.  The key to that statement is practicality.  If an article of clothing is painful or hindering, it should be done away with.  My jeans, t-shirts, slacks, ties, and suspenders all fit a certain style, but never at the expense of my physical well-being.  Shoes, however, so negate the foot’s natural movement, that the good can’t outweigh the bad.  Indeed, I have done quite a bit of reading on the topic, and it seems to be very widely accepted that walking barefoot is the best thing for the body.  In a brash moment last night, I decided to start a personal test with my morning walks.

I walk around without shoes at home, but my feet aren’t very accustomed to being bare outside.  This morning I went on my regular 30 minute walk, and I went barefoot.  I found golf clubs sticking out of someone’s trashcan, too good to let go, so for the last half of my walk, I was quite the sight to behold: a man walking through the neighborhood, unshaven for a few days, barefoot, and carrying 4 golf clubs.  After I returned home and went into my room to stretch, I noticed that each of my feet had two blisters on them.  However, sitting here now, both feet planted on the ground, I can already feel the blisters fading away.  It will take time to build up my skin’s thickness, and there is no doubt that I will learn to walk correctly (something that’s not possible while wearing shoes), but that’s what makes it an experiment!  Like I last posted Sammy’s lyrics – “Whether I’m right, or whether I’m wrong…” there is no reason not to try :-).

Perhaps I will live the rest of my life sans footwear, or perhaps I will return to wearing shoes for every occasion, but only time and logic can tell.  When I have my own children, one of the greatest things I will do is to encourage them to constantly question their world with a healthy curiosity.  The point is never to be strange just to be so, or to fight just to do so, but to find the best way of living – even if it doesn’t quite mix with what’s “normal.”

Having a dad that wears nice pants, fitted dress shirts, suspenders, ties… and no shoes can only reinforce that idea for them ;-).


About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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9 Responses to These Feet Were Made For Walkin’

  1. David says:

    Got here via Art of Manliness. Very interesting experiment, and I'd be interested to see how it turns out.


  2. Mark says:

    Thanks for stopping by! I'm interested to see how it turns out, as well :).

    I'll probably post a follow up after I try it a few more times, and if it's going well, I'll no doubt update from time to time on my progress.


  3. Good for you for choosing to go barefoot – the curious mind is what helps civilization advance. I started the same thing this year, and have now progressed to 4 mile barefoot runs over mixed terrain, including gravel. It's the best! I don't think I'll ever go back, at least when there's not snow on the ground.



    PS – I threw a blogpost guide together on my site for going barefoot. Check it out if you'd like. You'll have to search for it.


  4. Mark says:

    Thank you, John! That's the one nice thing I realized about living where I do and attempting a barefoot lifestyle – our "cold" doesn't even come close to producing snow 🙂

    I checked out your guide. It looks interesting… and helpful!


  5. Congratulations on taking the plunge! I think what you will find is that the longer that you experiment with being barefoot, the less satisfied you will be with traditional shoes. My hunch is that by the end of your experiment, even if you go back to some form of footwear, you will have much different taste in shoes!


  6. Briggity Brak says:

    while i love the idea of going barefoot, i feel the need for shoes is more an issue of safety than anything else. stepping on glass barefoot can be awfully nasty.


  7. Mark says:

    Indeed. I have since moved away from the idea for practicality – though I am still intent on purchasing a pair of FiveFingers shoes to walking/jogging.


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