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Down to Earth: How Barefoot Shoes Can Reconnect You to Nature (and Change How You View the Rest of Your Life)

Mitchell Wilson


Mitchell Wilson


Feb 9, 2023

Down to Earth: How Barefoot Shoes Can Reconnect You to Nature (and Change How You View the Rest of Your Life)

Knife blades.

That’s what my feet used to feel like - as if they were going to rip in half.

My dad used to give me hell growing up for being flat-footed.

He’d make fun and say things like, “you don’t have an arch at all”. I believed that it was an issue to be solved.

I was constantly ‘training’ my feet to have an arch and then undoing it all as soon as I took off my shoes.

It wasn’t until I went with my natural foot shape that my life changed forever.

Now there’s no more pain, my feet are crazy strong, and I’ve got more balance.

Once you go barefoot, you don’t go back.

Down to Earth 🌎

Barefoot shoes are blowing up.

Well, at least on my family’s shoe rack. 

Between my daughter, partner, and myself, there are over a dozen pairs of Vivo’s alone. Not to mention all the other sandals and boots.

The whole fam’s gone barefoot. 

Most shoes are overkill. Instead, barefoot shoes allow you to actually use the advanced nerve endings of your feet for a more wholesome relationship to all that you stand on.

Barefoot shoes have thin soles that provide the minimal necessary protection from direct contact with the ground. The wide toe boxes let your toes wake up & wiggle. 

I’m happy I got into barefoot shoes when I did because any earlier and I wouldn’t have been willing to based purely on looks alone. They used to look hideous. It was all science and no style. (Remember those five-finger shoes?)

Nowadays they look just as cool as any other shoe.

Initially, when I got my first pair of barefoot shoes, I was a 50/50 mix of excitement and skepticism. I mean, humans have been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years - wearing shoes that more mimic nature made a lot of sense. It sounded too “duh” to be true, but when I finally gave them a shot it opened my eyes to what I had been missing all along.

I felt the ground!

My feet were giving my brain more information to work with. It was almost as if I had just gained a new sense. Rocks, sticks, cracks in the sidewalk - I could feel it all

It was super weird and I’ll admit, it hurt at first. But not in a “this can’t be right” kind of way. It was more of a surprise that my feet (because they had lived a cushy life) had devolved into little bitches. 

I had to learn how to walk again. I was striking my heels way too hard in the beginning. I had grown used to having a piece of cushion between reality and I. Now I was being checked. 

Luckily, it only took a week or three to adjust my gait and the painful heel strikes disappeared.

Whereas before barefoot shoes, my feet felt like they were going to rip in half, now they’re whole.

No more knife blades. 

My shoes used to lift me away from the ground and squeeze my toes together, now my feet are terrain-informed and building up natural strength.

I’m more down to Earth - literally.

Natural Flavors 🧂

We all know that guy in college who never wore shoes unless the taco place required it.

Don’t go that far.

It can even be a slight change of moving down the barefoot spectrum.

Start with zero drop shoes, ones that are flat and don’t elevate your heel above the rest of your foot: think Vans, Converse, & the like.

As your body adjusts, you can gradually start wearing shoes that get you closer and closer to the ground.

More soulful soles if you will.

Less Cushion 🪨

Most people are just heads on sticks, totally disconnected from their nervous system.

Really, most people are disconnected period. From their food choices, relationships, digestion, finances, health….everything!

My barefoot journey started out by reducing the cushion between my feet and the ground, but now I’m applying the same logic to other areas of my life.

For example:

  • To connect with our food more, we got egg-laying chickens.

  • To connect with our neighbors, we started a reciprocal loop of favors.

  • To connect with our elderly, we moved back across the country to be near family.

Less cushion, across the board.

The last thing the world needs is a more sedentary, cushioned lifestyle. 

Getting closer to nature in any regard is what the world needs.

Starting with your shoes and enhancing your relationship with nature is one of the most practical and simple ways of doing so.

Connect with the nervous system through your feet and you’ll be more connected with nature.

Give your feet a chance to wake up and bring the whole system online - head to toe.

Build top-tier mental wealth

Let's keep your soul off airplane mode.

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