There are so many benefits to going barefoot! 

"With kids, it's even more important that they get abundant barefoot time because the proper development of natural gait patterns and deep body stabilization depends on the super-sophisticated feedback systems that come from the nerves sensing the ground and the brain.

This happens in two ways:

1. There are nerves that interpret the shape of the ground by how the bones in the feet bend at 33 different points (joints). This creates a mental image in the brain (similar to how a dolphin uses sonar to avoid obstacles). Wearing shoes prevents any motion in these joints (except the ankle) and leaves the shoe-wearer "blind" to the environment. This is what makes stiff shoes the worst when it comes to natural development.

and, P.S. This goes for adults too.

2. There are nerves that are sensing other things about the environment. Things like temperature and terrain. These nerves, designed to convey abundant information are now stuck just reading the inside of your shoes. And what is that environment like? Damp and smooth? Ew. The more you expose these nerves to the same input over and over, the more their information gets put on auto-pilot, into a part of your nervous system called an inter-neuron.

More about the inter-neuron: You know how when you walk into a room with a fresh baked pie, it smells delicious, but after a few minutes you don't smell it anymore? Your brain moves information that is constant into a different part of your brain to free it up for other things, so the more similar your environment, the less your nerves work to perceive. And the less they work, the less healthy they are.

This is why it is important (for everyone, not just kids) to walk on different terrain, on a different path, in different weather. Carrying different weights, wearing different shoes, and eating different food.

Habits are not great for biology.

Anyhow, this is why everyone - kids too - need lots of time to *feel* with their feet.

Make the house a no-shoe zone and encourage the exploration of different areas sans footwear."

Excerpt from THIS BLOG POST by - Katy Bowman, Biomechanical Expert

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