Barefoot Jack's Story
Some 20 years ago my feet began to itch. They were not sweating when over worked as most feet do. My solution was to wear sandals. As a professional this was a fashion inconvenience. Wearing a suit with sandals was a curiosity that needed constant explaining. To lessen the effect I dressed more casually, but it still required an explanation. On marrying a TV personality, it was just a matter of time before my solution would be tweaked. I bought a pair of socks and it felt like my feet were dead and cold. It was winter in Buffalo and although the outside air was cold, going inside provided instant relief without socks. This was the beginning of my journey, my appreciation of feet.
While in Boston for a party, my wife was desperate. We went into a shoe store. After trying on many styles, I had no luck until I noticed the shoes the sales woman was wearing. Her suggestions were not helpful, but her witness saved the day. Custom made Dansko shoes had a leather upper that was smooth throughout. The leather was friendly with no socks and it provided natural aspiration. This solution was a social compromise, but not the end of my story.
Then came an epiphany. Feet are designed to feel the ground. On my first barefoot outing my body freaked as if I forgot something essential like breathing. Until now, if I was upright, I had something on my feet. Even in the house I wore shoes with arch support. Now I am walking out bare naked, down the hot blacktop and the gravel driveway, to the public highway for a run. It was only my feet that were bare, but I felt completely exposed. I ran to a nearby park and I simply could not go further. Shannon, who accompanied me on my run, said she is going on to do another 5 miles and suggested I go back and get a bike to catch up with her. With my feet screaming stop, I was sure there was something seriously wrong. She asked me to show her the bottom of my feet, I couldn't look as I was sure there would be carnage, but they were fine. Shannon laughed and ran off. Though they looked pretty good, years of isolation had taken their toll. It was as if I was living all these years blindfolded, and frightened when exposed to the light for the first time. Yes, the sensation is not all fake. Walking barefoot comes with responsibility like any freedom. There are things to avoid, like sharp objects, but it is surprising how well feet handle all the natural stuff like rocks, dirt and mud. I made it home just fine. See my blog entries to follow my progress.