Why Walk Barefoot?

Nottingham Barefoot Walk

Why Barefoot?

Aside from the numerous health benefits associated with walking barefoot, The Barefoot Walk was conceived to draw people’s attention to the fact that there are millions of people around the world today who have no choice but to walk in bare feet.

By walking with us at The Barefoot Walk, you are helping to raise money and awareness for those less fortunate than most of us here in the UK. And it’s good for you! There will be shoe-bins on site so please bring your old and unwanted shoes to the event with you and we will get them to people in parts of the world who really need them. Last year, we sent over 30,000 pairs of shoes to Africa with the help of the National Police Aid Convoy.

Health Benefits

Walking barefoot results in a more natural gait. People who are used to walking barefoot tend to land with the forefoot or mid-foot, eliminating the hard heel strike and generating much less collision force in the foot and lower leg. A 2006 study found that shoes may increase stress on the knee and ankle, and suggested that adults that walked barefoot may have a lower rate of osteoarthritis, although more study is required to elucidate the factors that distribute loads in shod and barefoot walking. A 2007 study examined 180 modern humans and compared their feet with 2,000-year-old skeletons. They concluded that, before the invention of shoes, humans overall had healthier feet. A 1991 study found that children who wore shoes were three times more likely to have flat feet than those who did not, and suggested that wearing shoes in early childhood can be detrimental to the longitudinal arch of the foot. Children who habitually go barefoot were found to have stronger feet, with better flexibility and mobility, fewer deformities like flat feet or toes that curve inwards, and fewer complaints. Walking barefoot enables a more natural gait, eliminating the hard heel strike and instead, allowing for a rocking motion of the foot from heel to toe. Similarly, barefoot running usually involves an initial forefoot strike, instead of on the rear of the foot, generating smaller collision forces.

Nottingham Barefoot Walk

(Left) plaster cast of an adult foot that has never worn shoes displaying natural splayed toes (Right) cast of boy showing damage and inward-turned toes after wearing shoes for only a few weeks

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