Rarely do people walk barefoot anymore. I often hear people say that they walk barefoot all the time at home, but I am talking about walking outside barefoot, climbing on rocks & trees, stepping on uneven surfaces and even running or hiking without shoes.
Unfortunately we protect our feet so much from the world we live in that our feet provide very little information to our brains and you may feel more “unstable” without supportive shoes on. The use of orthotics has skyrocketed, but unless you were born with a malformation, you probably developed your foot problems over time. Babies clothed in the newest Nikes or other popular brand are definitely cute but at that early age in life, shoes already start to alter the receptors in the feet and alter biomechanics like your stride or gait.
The first step to training your feet to return to their natural healthy status is to introduce them to the natural environment. A variety of surfaces is best and starting from a comfortable surface such as grass and then moving your way up to more harsh surfaces such as rocks is the next step. You can walk on grass, mud, sand, concrete, asphalt or sharper rocks as you work your way up to feeling comfortable being barefoot.
After a short amount of time of practicing walking barefoot (hence the 30 day challenge), your brain and feet will begin to work together once again and you will actually start to feel safer being barefoot. Each step you take will bring you more confidence and your stride and gait will improve naturally as you avoid artificial clunky shoes.
So if you haven’t started your 30 day challenge, go outside, find some natural terrain and get your brains connected back to your feet.