Is Walking Barefoot on Concrete Bad for Your Feet?
You’ve worn shoes almost all your life. And maybe from the time you took the first baby step to this very moment, walking barefoot on concrete has never really been your thing.
The question is:
Why would you throw away your walking shoes for concrete floors just to hit the ground barefoot? And what’s the hype and benefits of going shoeless for if you’ll suffer from chronic joint injuries in the end?
I need you to understand one thing:
Walking on concrete floors barefoot is a doubled-edge sword. It has its health benefits and potential risks. And it’s important to understand both sides very well.
So is walking barefoot on surfaces like gravel and concrete good or bad for your feet?
In this article, you’ll learn about:
So without further ado, let’s get started.
The Idea of Going Shoeless
Shoes provide the comfort you need to get from point A to point B.
They also give you the confidence to walk in public without worrying about the curious onlookers who find walking without shoes on unreasonable.
And as far as safety is concerned, your footwear can protect you from accidental bruises, possible burns, deep cuts, and dangerous parasites that hide in gravel and concrete surfaces.
But shoes aren’t always as perfect as you think them to be, at least not 100%.
They can limit your feet’s flexibility, mobility, and strength. And they can cause Morton’s neuroma, flexible flat foot, hammertoe, or even bunions.
Going shoeless, on the other hand, can give you a more natural gait and improve your feet’s motion.
It can easily lower the chances of hard heel strikes and lessen the force of collision between the concrete ground and your lower leg.
The Most Ridiculous Myths about Barefoot Walking
I’m sure you’ve read many crazy and funny things about walking on concrete without your shoes on.
But many of these claims are straight out myths that don’t make any sense.
Here are some of these misconceptions, as well as why they just don’t add up.
1. You Need Shoes for Support
Some people believe that you must wear shoes to support the rest of your body when walking.
But your feet alone are strong enough to support your body’s weight without additional help.
And if you think about it, footwear is a modern concept brought about by an evolution in fashion.
In fact, people didn’t even wear shoes back in the day. They walked barefoot most of the time and never experienced some of the most common foot problems today.
2. Walking Without Shoes Can Cause Stomach Ache
I can’t even explain how ridiculous this sounds. Not to mention that there’s NO conceivable connection between abdominal pain and walking shoeless.
Your stomach can ache because you ate something bad, due to an infection, or because of psychosomatic reasons – like stress. And not exactly because of what you do or don’t wear.
Walking, preferably without shoe, is in fact good for your abdomen.
It improves digestion and ensures proper bowel movement, especially after a heavy meal.
To put this into perspective, walking actually helps to prevent stomachaches, not cause it.
3. You Will Get Sick if You Walk Without Your Shoes
In the real world:
- Adults take off their shoes before getting into their houses and actually walk without them indoors.
- Families and friends tend to play ball games barefoot on grass in picnic sites.
None of these people ever gets sick because they walked shoeless. So the assumption that you can get sick simply because of walking barefoot is false.
Quite on the contrary, walking barefoot outside can boost your immune system and increase your resistance against illnesses.
It also gives your body the opportunity to naturally absorb electrons that help to neutralize radicals in your system.
4. You Can Catch a Cold if You Walk Without Shoes
While this claim isn’t anything new, I’m sure you find it amusing and misleading at the same time.
No one ever gets a cold simply because he/she walked barefoot. And you won’t either.
People don’t get sick because they walked on chilly or wet surfaces.
In fact, you only catch a cold due to a viral infection and other factors like emotional stress, extreme fatigue, and nose allergies.
5. You Can’t Get in Stores or Restaurants Barefoot
There’s not state health code or insurance policies that requires you to wear shoes in public areas.
So it’s up to you to decide whether you want to go to a park, a café joint, or grocery barefoot or in shoes.
In rare cases, private enterprises may set their own dressing code, including the need for shoes.
But such rules often have no direct link with any state law or health code.
6. You Will Get Hookworms if You Walk Around Barefoot
Many of us live under the assumption that you can get hookworms by walking shoeless.
But the chances are extremely rare in the real world.
You can only get hookworms if you go shoeless in areas with open sewers.
But who really would walk in such an environment without protecting their feet anyway?
Both developed and developing countries are doing everything possible to manage open sewers. So an issue like this is presumably nonexistent.
The Benefits of Walking Barefoot on Concrete
1. It Helps to Improve Your Posture
I don’t want you to have a wrong perception about shoes.
But it’s important to understand that walking in them for long, say up to 12 hours a day, is rather unhealthy.
At the very least, going about in shoes for this long hinders you from using tiny muscles and tendons in your feet.
The muscles and tendons grow weaker over time. And then they fade away, eventually.
Your feet end up growing weaker over the years, resulting in bad posture and possibly foot problems.
Walking without shoes, on the other hand, gives you a completely differently and positively overwhelming experience.
In fact, walking is one of the exercises that improve your posture and enhance your natural gait.
After 3 weeks of going shoeless, for at least 30 minutes a day, you will gain the ability to walk more naturally, while easily protecting your feet from possible injuries.
And if you make this kind of walking a daily habit, you’ll be able to take smaller, safe strides and make your walking experience natural.
2. It Helps to Enhance Blood Circulation
Your favorite pair of shoes may be good enough to help you walk around with ease.
But they don’t actually give your feet the freedom to bend, rotate, or flex.
Without shoes, you get the freedom to move your feet in a three-dimensional way, hence putting them to some serious workout.
The more barefoot walking you do, the stronger your feet become and the more blood flow improves.
And in case you don’t know yet, improved blood flow helps with varicose veins, healing, as well as temperature regulation.
3. You Enjoy the Real Freedom of Walking
There’s barely any contact between your feet and the ground when you walk in shoes.
So it’s impossible to feel the amazing texture of the ground. Going shoeless, on the other hand, offers you the exact opposite experience.
In fact, you are able to connect with the ground, allowing your feet the freedom it needs to enjoy a real walking experience on different surface.
As time goes by, you begin to develop a better understanding of your trail.
You’re able to watch where you place your feet as you walk every step of the way. Eventually, the tendency to go about without shoes becomes natural.
4. It Improve Your Nervous System
Did you know that you experience a simulation in the pressure point of your feet every time you walk without shoes?
The feeling is tremendous and it can be quite fulfilling.
More importantly, it further stimulates your nerves and veins, helping to improve the nervous system of your body.
Going shoeless is probably one of the best explanations for the reduction of foot pain causes by varicose veins, particularly in diabetic patients.
5. It Helps to Reduce Chronic Pain
Every ground you walk on has electrons that can enrich your immune system.
But your body can’t absorb these charges if you walk in shoes all the time.
Taking off your shoes and walking around a few minutes a day also helps to increase oxygen levels.
This goes a long way in helping to minimize acute and chronic knee pain.
The Disadvantages of Going Shoeless on Concrete
Walking shoeless in your house is completely safe.
But I don’t want you to think that walking without shoes outside will benefit you the entire time.
There are dangers involved, too. And it’s important to know these drawbacks before you take off your shoes.
1. Walking Shoeless Can Cause Discomfort
Walking on concrete without shoes will subject your feet to discomfort, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
If you don’t know yet, concrete floor is a tough surface, close to 5 times harder than asphalt.
It puts too much pressure on your heels as you walk around.
And this could possibly increase your risk of foot injuries.
2. You Subject Your Feet to Risk of an Injury
It’s unfortunate that our streets are not as safe to walk on without footwear as they used to be in the past.
Not a day goes by without noticing pieces objects like broken glasses, debris, bottle tops, and nails.
These objects are dangerous because they can cut through your skin and cause an injury.
And when you think of someone stepping on your toes, especially if they’re wearing silhouette, you really wouldn’t imagine walking barefoot in the busy streets.
Or would you?
3. You Will Get Ridiculed
This doesn’t just doesn’t sound nice.
Or does it?
Only it happens to many people from to time.
When people look at you because you don’t have shoes on, they’ll sneer and possibly shout at you.
And believe me when I say that it doesn’t feel right when someone shouts, “go get some shoes”. It rather makes you feel embarrassed.
In my point of view, the harassment can be quite bothersome.
But Can You Walk Barefoot on Concrete Without an Injury?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
So I’d say it depends on the nature of the surface you intend to walk on and just how well you understand the trail.
If the concrete environment has tons of tiny objects like broken glass and nails, then going shoeless becomes such a big risk to take.
But if you have a better awareness of your trail and you constantly watch where you put your feet a step after the other, getting by without wearing your regular footwear shouldn’t really be a problem.
I should warn you, though.
Going around without shoes isn’t something you want to make your daily habit.
I had rather you go shoeless occasionally just to enjoy the health benefits.
And be conscious about the environment as well as the people around you. Because, if you ask me, the last thing you want for yourself is to look like some Stone Age persona who’s still living under a rock.
Let’s Wrap this Up
Walking barefoot isn’t as easy as taking off your shoes and plunging yourself outside ready to put your feet to some serious workout.
At the end of the day, this is an exercise. And it requires time, patience, and discipline.
Now, I don’t expect you to walk without shoes the whole day, every day. So make sure you do this exercise in moderation, both at home and outside.
To put this into perspective, 15 to 20 minutes of barefoot walking on a daily basis can help you to enjoy the all the physical and health benefits we’ve talked about, while protecting your feet from discomfort and injuries.