All or at least most of us took our first steps as babies in bare feet. However, over the years, our feet became accustomed to footwear and as a result, some people need to train themselves to walk barefoot again.
When you start going barefoot, it may seem like a big step for some of you, but trust me, once you get over the initial phases, you will start asking yourself how you ever were able to go about in shoes and socks. As I mentioned before, I developed a passion for going barefoot at age 9, but for some of you getting a later start, this may seem kind of foreign.
Take Baby Steps
In the movie “What About Bob?” Richard Dreyfus who plays a shrink advises Bill Murray his patient who drives him over the edge, to overcome his phobias by “taking baby steps”. This consists on concentrating on one fear at a time instead of trying to do everything in one shot. The same is true in barefooting.
Going Barefoot Begins in the home
If you are new to going barefoot, the home if is the first place to start. A lot of people do enjoy going barefoot in the home, but if you are used to wearing slippers, leave them in your closet. If you go about in socks, pull them off and start going barefoot. The first few times will seem a little alien to you, in fact you may feel as if you are naked. Don’t mind the feeling – you are starting something new and like everything else you will soon get used to it.
A good motivator for this is to keep any footwear out of sight. Stash your shoes away in your closet and socks where you can’t see them. Do this especially when you have company over. Let your family members and guests see that you go barefoot at all times in the home. Invite your co-workers or business associates as well and stay bare.
They may even start asking you if they should remove their shoes. Even though I don’t implement any kind of shoe rule at home, I often have guests or even workmen ask me if they should remove their shoes. You may want to implement it if it makes you feel more comfortable, but be forewarned that your guests may feel uncomfortable about it – but hey – it’s your home!
Going barefoot socially
As your friends, family and associates will get used to seeing you barefoot in the privacy of your own home, this will help pave the way for them to see you barefoot outside as well. After you’ve been doing this a while, you will start to wonder why you ever had anything on your feet while indoors, in fact, any kind of footwear whatsoever will feel so foreign that you will feel compelled to remove your shoes and socks at any place you please, including work. This is the signal that you are ready to take the next barefoot baby step.
Begin by leaving your socks in your drawer. If the weather is cold and you still need time to adjust your feet to the climate changes, you can invest in a pair of lined boots or fleece shoes that you can wear sockless in the winter. Wear them only when your outdoors and when the weather is below the lowest temperature you can tolerate bare. Still, In the back of your mind, continue to tell yourself that this is temporary and you will soon be going barefoot both indoors and outdoors. For now, your goal is to go barefoot socially as much as possible.
It is important to reiterate that a key thing is to remember that there is absolutely nothing unmannerly about baring your feet. Whenever indoors, go barefoot whether it’s just you and a friend or even if there are 100 people in the same room all wearing shoes and hosiery. Being the only barefoot person may feel odd at first, but after a few times, those feelings will begin to disappear and others will stop making comments.
When visiting others, most people don’t mind if you remove your shoes in their home. If you feel it may be polite to ask permission to remove your shoes, do so. Chances are your friends or family will not mind. If you are more comfortable doing this in socks, limit yourself only to the first few times just for experimentation, but then start going sockless and kicking off your shoes so you are barefoot.
I’ve mentioned in other parts of this site, that at times during the winter or to accommodate my spouse, I’ll come to a gathering in footwear. Being the only sockless person there, my footwear comes off within the first 5 minutes and I make every effort to dispose of it where it is completely out of my view and everyone else’s as well. While everyone else remains fully shod, I’m padding around in my bare feet for 2 hours until someone – often it’s my wife – notices I’m barefoot and then realizes that I’ve been barefoot the entire time.
After a while, you will also get to the point where the idea of shoes and especially socks will be enough to make your toes cringe that you will feel like barefoot is the only proper state podiatrically.
Going barefoot professionally
If you work in a fully casual environment, now that it is known that you go barefoot socially, there is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same at work. If your workplace dress code is more corporate casual, go sockless everyday and if shoes are necessary, make sure it comes off your feet very easily. Set a goal that in a week or two, you’ll be going about your entire day in bare feet. In a fully corporate environmemt, you may need to get others used to seeing you in socks. Wear loose fitting socks that you can slip off of your feet underneath your desk, so that way you can work at your desk barefoot.
This may be a big hurdle depending on what you do for a living (see going barefoot at work), but if you can get enough people used to seeing you in only socks, it will only take a few times to cross that psychological barrier (for both you and your associates) into bare feet. Remember that the key thing in these scenarios is to perform your job exceptionally well, be as accommodating as your bare feet will allow you to. At first your boss and colleagues will make comments but soon they will disappear. There will be jokes made so keep your sense of humor and smile a lot.