It boggles my mind that I have met numerous people, including my wife, that have been told by doctors never to walk barefoot again. I’ve seen this directive offered in the case of both flat feet and high arches. What in the world are these people thinking?
The human body is designed to walk barefoot. Flat feet and high arches are most often the result of tight or lax muscles and/or ligaments. These are issues to deal with not avoid. There is a specific pattern that the foot and ankle should follow when walking and I have found that many of these issues arise from people walking incorrectly (more so with flat feet that high arches).
On level ground the foot should fall to the floor under the hips with the shin at a right angle to the foot. This pattern of movement allows for the correct weight transfer through the bones and allows the spring arch of the foot to both drop and lift creating the all-important spring in our step.
Most people lead with the feet so each step lands in front of the pelvis and the rest of the body has to catch up. Walking this way, and an overwhelming number of people have this pattern, eliminates the functional use of the arches. Plenty of people with good arches walk this way but for people with flat feet or high arches there can be no relief without changing their walking patterns.
Thankfully my wife didn’t listen to her doctor’s advice and credits walking barefoot with helping her feet gain strength and stability. My best advice for anyone with any kind of feet is to walk barefoot as often as possible, at least at home if not out on the street. And if it hurts to walk barefoot, change the way you walk until it no longer hurts and you will be doing yourself a service for life.