Parents write . . .
- Experiences with allowing their children to go barefoot.
- Comments on the Site
- Questions for other parents
The latest additions are at the bottom of the page
Sharon M. (Illinois; 3 children, ages 2, 5 and 7) writes:
I love this web site but I am so sorry that it is necessary to have it. I was A kid in the late 60s early 70s, we went barefoot in when it was warm just about anywhere but school, to stores, to visit friends and relatives, to the library, and always around the neighborhood. No one made A stink about it, most kids did go barefoot at least some of the time. Why can't people just let kids enjoy childhood anymore? I still let my kids go barefoot as much as they wish but, I get so tired of stupid comments like "did you lose Your shoes" "Cant Your parents afford shoes for You poor kids". And then making A big deal about kids feet getting dirty, SO WHAT ! ...... My God, can't people remember back just A couple of decades, when A kid could go barefoot without A fuss. Kids going shoeless is not only healthy but just plain fun and it doesn't cost A dime.
Greg K. (Kentucky; 2 children, ages 8 and 13) writes:
The site is very informative and well done. I think you have a great thing going here. Of my two kids, my son is the one who is becoming almost as avid a barefooter as me. Far be it that my 13 year old daughter would be caught dead in a store barefoot, whereas my son even attends church with me barefoot. I have opened discussion with my sons elementary school regarding attending barefoot. In our area, each school sets up its own policies, and I think I might actually have a "foot in the door" as I have the Principal on my side, just waiting for the committee to vote on it, perhaps my son will be able to barefoot to school this fall. Anyway, your site is great, if you feel I can be of any help or use to you, please feel free to contact me, good luck.
Lydia T. (BC, Canada; 6 grown children, ages 23
to 37) writes:
I let my children go bare foot (and naked) whenever possible. I let them have the choice and they chose freedom until social pressure inhibited them. They are beautiful healthy adults, with strong minds and independent thinking. I thank you for you efforts. I think the electrical connection with the earth also helps keep their minds peaceful and sane. Thank you again. "Whenever Possible" means: Only the danger of broken glass and such should limit the freedom of the feet. I love your picture on your first page
Bob P. (Texas) writes:
Wow what a great site, this is very well done and the info is great.... it is a very valuable tool for parents who are interested in this type of info. I have added to my favorites so I can refer to it from time-to-time. I have a 10 yr. old son and a 8 yr. old daughter. My son is an avid barefooter and my daughter is bare at home but not real keen on the idea out in public. I don't force her to go barefooted as I don't force my son to wear shoes......
Lorenz K. (Germany; 2 children) writes:
It is really an important job to inform parents about the benefits of going barefoot (not only) for children, and this site is a very important mosaic stone in improving public awareness of the natural basis of health. I bookmarked it in the barefoot chapter of my homepage. (Also see Lorenz' German Language Site Familienleben auf gesunden Füßen "Family Life on Healthy Feet")
Some days ago I read in the newspaper that two thirds (!!) of german children have deformed feet! Although in Germany bare feet are widely tolerated, parents tend very much to overprotect their children and usually do not allow going barefoot. They intend to minimize slight risks like bee-stings or stepping into thorns and unwillingly provocate the risk of life-long consequences of deformed feet like damaged knees and hips and chronical dorsal pain. My own experience is that going barefoot can cure pain from deformed intervertebral disks. At a progressed stage of disease this does not help to escape the surgeon, but I am convinced that dispensing with shoes from childhood on is the optimal preventive strategy!
I wish you much success in doing the best for your children.
Rich P. (California; 1 grown son) writes:
I raised my son as a barefooter... that is, I never ordered him to go barefoot, but I certainly never told him to wear shoes, either... just let him do what he wanted, and gave him factual information (such as on your site) whenever appropriate. Of course, I set a good example for him by going barefoot myself as often as possible. Keep up the good work!
Bill K. (Maryland; 2 children, ages 7 and 9) writes:
VERY NICELY DONE!!
I encourage my own kids to go barefoot as much as they can. I envy my nine year-old son's straight, well-spaced toes (mine have been slightly "ruined" by shoe wear as a youngster :-( ) and want him to keep them. They've been wearing open toed sandals to day care this summer and shed them upon arrival at home. The reason you don't see too many barefoot children anymore is, as your page indicates, because of the shoe companies' marketing practices, which have encouraged kids to search for/have the "coolest" shoe. I've even heard of kids being attacked for the purpose of stealing their Nikes/Reeboks/what-have-you. Amazing...
Richard J. (California; 2 children, ages 4 and 7) writes:
I had a wonderful day today, thought I would share it with you. I kept my children home with me today, and we decided to have a little fun. We started out around lunch time. We went to a Carl's Jr. restaurant for a bite, and I was not hassled even though they have a 3NS sign on the door (YES...I was barefoot, as were my children) I was in line with my kids for about 10 minutes, and was seen by two different employees,and not one comment. We even had our order taken by one of the managers, without incident. After lunch, we headed out to a local Park/Zoo, called "Happy Hollow". I have never been here without shoes, so I didn't know what to expect. Needless to say, we entered without any comments. We spent the entire day Barefoot in the park....it was GREAT!!!! I believe we may have even inspired others to go barefooted. We saw several families over and over throughout the day while in the Zoo section of Happy Hollow. When we later ran into some of these families, I was happy to see most of them with bare toes. I even saw a couple of other dads with their shoes off. Anyway...this was an uneventful day as far as being hassled goes. I hope I get to do this with my kids more often ... I think they will have wonderful recollections of days spent barefoot. Hopefully it will be a lifelong pursuit and enjoyment. ...
Keo H. (Hawai'i; 1 grown child) writes:
Growing up in Hawaii, it's just natural for a lot of us to go barefoot. But a while ago, as happens every so often, some people got together and decided that our kids should be required to wear shoes to school. To make a long story short, the parents not only raised hell, but all of the kids went to school barefoot. Even the ones who NORMALLY wear shoes. The subject was closed at once. Should this happen again (and no doubt it will!) we shall do the same thing. To us it's like taking away a "way of life" with a lot of us. We also don't like what we consider silly rules made up by silly people and/or being told what to do/not to do. Amazing...
Robert D. (Virginia; 2 grown children) writes:
Growing up in southern New Jersey in the 1950's-1970's, I have fond memories of many summers spent barefoot as a youngster & teenager. There were less "taboos" regarding this among my peer group (the local vernacular for those of us from this part of the state was "pineys" , i.e. hillbillys), and we played the part to the max! My parents, and especially grandparents were extremely supportive of us going barefoot during warm weather. My grandpa insisted he never saw anyone who went barefoot alot with crooked toes or athletes foot! (I agree...) I used to get razzed when I went to HS in the warm early year carrying my shoes, but oh well...c'est la vie! We revelled in the fact that soles of our feet were literally "tatooed" with the local black sand by the end of the summer. No amount of scrubbing would get it out. A local put-down by our more well-shod and uptight neighbors was to call us "blackfeet", but we wore the name like a badge of honor!
My own boys also never had any restrictions on them about going without their shoes, and they have healthy, well formed feet as a result (I'm convinced of that!) They were raised in the "tennis shoe crazy" era; so the peer pressure was always on. Nevertheless, they went without as much as possible.
I also engage in Civil War and Nineteenth Century reenacting, and the scenarios we do and people we portray involve many of our members going barefoot quite often. You can see some of our antics by following this link
Jack S. (Utah; 7 children, 19 to 37) writes:
I grew up in Africa in Rhodesia and I thoroughly agree with all I have read in your site. Please keep it up. I have posted some reminiscences of my youth and fiction about Africa on my website. They all include people going about life in bare feet.
Diane M. (Ontario, Canada; 4 children, ages 11, 9, 5 and 5)
Shoes have always been optional in my family just as hats and gloves are optional.....if the occasion or the weather warrants them, they are available. Pity the poor children (pity the poor adults) who will never know the exquisite feeling of mud squishing between bare toes, who hesitate to climb trees for lack of purchase that strong bare toes provide, who never will feel the dew on the grass or the stimulation of the amazing variety of textures that snow allows us. The skin is the largest organ the body possesses, the sense of touch is already greatly restricted to the feeling of clothing on the body, cutting off the ability to fell the earth beneath my feet makes me less a part of the planet that sustains me......and my children.
Maria S. (2 children, ages 1 and 1) writes:
I just wanted to thank you for your material on letting children go barefoot. I had an argument with my mother earlier this week, during which she insisted that my one-year-old twin girls start wearing shoes during all their waking hours, since they have started walking. She assured me that they would have all kinds of foot and leg development problems, otherwise. My mother-in-law bought them a bunch of shoes, when they first started
crawling, for the same reason. I did not have the research, but I knew instinctively, as I told both of them, that a $5 piece of canvas and rubber from Wal-Mart could not possibly be superior to the incredible human foot, evolved over millions of years to be the optimal bipedal locomotive device. Having visited the Parents for Barefoot Children website, I now have the expert's opinions to back me up, and you can believe I e-mailed a bunch of it to my mom!
Oh, I do hope Mom won't feel too guilty, when she realizes that my younger sister's numerous foot problems (bunions, ingrown toenails, crooked bones, etc.) were probably caused by those ridiculous corrective shoes they used to stuff her into! Thanks again.
Tammy B. (Pennsylvania; 5 children, ages 2, 5,
8, 9 and 11) writes:
LOVE this website! I am a firm advocate of going barefoot. Has always driven my parents nuts when I was a kid and my husband nuts as an adult. I am one of those people who will run out barefoot in the snow to get the mail, take care of dogs etc. I try to let my kids know its OK to go barefoot however .. their daddy was brought up to ALWAYS wear shoes . But, the younger 2 in particular have picked up my habits of taking off shoes as soon as we get home, running outside barefoot etc... whereas my older ones INSIST on putting shoes on like their daddy.
Wanted to say THANKS for this wonderful website!!
Martin L. (South Africa; Teacher)
As a teacher I'm also required to coach sport and because I work in a small school I have to coach sport for children ranging from pre-school to grade 7. Since this involves early childhood development as well as senior primary children, the only way for children to develop both large motor skills (running, jumping, crawling etc) is for them to practice and exercise barefooted.
Children develop their fine motor skills by writing and manipulating other instruments such as paintbrushes and scissors, and by folding paper and playing with clay (play dough). We don't slap a pair of gloves on their hands, do we? So why should they not train barefooted? Track and field athletics is especially conducive to barefoot activities; and at inter-school competitions which normally require school colours, the children may arrive, perform, receive any trophies, awards or medals, and then leave barefoot since bare feet are considered part of the dress codes.
Quite apart from doing most sports in their bare feet, children have the option of attending school shod or unshod. Most choose to come barefoot, and those who don't will remove their footwear as soon as the parents have dropped them off at school. There is no pressure on those who wear shoes just as there is none on those who don't.
In South Africa, we are blessed with a wonderful climate and most of us take advantage of this by going sans shoes. There is no danger of cut feet from glass because we tend to be more careful. Sometimes the ground can get hot but then you walk in the shade or on the grass. The only fear I have for our children is that they are becoming "too cool" and have to have some form of fashionable sneakers. If they become too indoctrinated by the advertisers, then their carefree barefoot days might be numbered.
"Whenever Possible" means: All the time. Rain or shine, winter or summer.
Lynn H. (Indiana; 1 child, age 15
This website is absolutely wonderful! Thanks for all of the great info and encouragement. The only "shoes" we'd gotten for our son is a pair of flannel baby booties w/ cloth bottoms (winter time) as I'd known that hard bottom shoes are a definite no no. After reading this, my resolve to keep him barefoot as much as possible has been much strengthened (I'll just direct my in-laws to this website next time they make an ignorant comment about my son being barefoot :-) I plan to go barefoot too as much as possible as I have foot problems probably caused by having been shod in hard shoes as a youngster. My son just started walking several weeks ago and I think his amazing agility and balance he's already demonstrating is due to being barefoot the majority of the time.
"Whenever Possible" means: Anywhere the child wants to go barefoot
Bjorn O. (Sweden; Teacher) writes:
I am a teacher from Sweden. Let the kids go barefoot if they want! Shoes are only necessary if the weather is bad. If you ask a child, when the heat is on, "do you wanna go barefooted?" The answer gonna be "YES!" ... IN SWEDEN ANYBODY CAN GO BAREFOOT AND NOBODY EVEN CARE! A Swedish child can came to school barefoot (in the warmer months) without any problem. You were not born to wear shoes. Do you have a pair of mittens on your hands all day long? No, if the weather allow, go barefoot!
Patricia C. (North Carolina; 3
children, ages 7, 2, and eleven months) writes:
My children are barefoot by choice. They certainly own shoes, I just don't force them to wear them. My two-year-old, especially, refuses to wear them. I have actually received many lectures from strangers in stores, malls, etc. about my child's barefoot condition. I always reply that I was told by their pediatrician that bare feet are healthier for kids. my feet were ruined by the tight, heavy shoes that were in vogue for children in the time period that I was born in (late 70s)...my toes are squashed together and my feet are flat. my barefoot kids have healthy, beautiful feet that will carry them anywhere. Barefoot is best...it's been medically proven.
"Whenever Possible" means: Unless safety issues preclude it. (extreme broken glass that I can't carry the child over for whatever reason, temperature extremes)
Faye B. (Oregon; 5 children, ages 35,
34, 33, 32, 4) writes:
Last year, my husband was reading this book entitled 'Pain: The Gift That Nobody Wants' which was written from the perspective of the most famous hand and foot surgeons. What does all this have to do with going barefoot? Well, somewhere in the book he makes the statement that the worst mistake parents make is making their children wear shoes! My husband pointed it out to me, because of the author's authority on the subject, and knowing what an advocate I am of going barefoot, and the flack I get from others for letting our 4 year old go barefoot....even if it's cold outside!...lol. "Whenever Possible" means: They should be allowed barefoot, unless they're wanting to walk on broken glass! (Or a similar dangerous circumstance)
Annette B. (Sussex, England;
2 children, ages 9 and 10) writes:
I have greatly enjoyed you web site. My partner and I spend a lot of time unshod. He mostly wears shoes only to the office. I admit to really only going around the house and on holiday barefooted. The kids have had no pressure to wear shoes or go shoeless. My son, the nine year old has hardly worn shoes since last summer (1999). He wears them on school trips and that is about it. My daughter has just started wearing them to school this week after a break since Easter. It is quite fun watching people do a double take as they see us out. Our holiday in Germany, this summer, got us lots of looks and some favorable comment, especially about our Barfuss Kinder. No real hassle from the schools either. I was asked to send them to school with shoes. Both kids just carried them in their bags, that was last April! End of story.
Kim E. (Kentucky;
2 children, ages 11 and 13) writes:
As a child, we always went barefoot, I'm only 35 right now. As a house rule, we have never allowed our children to wear shoes or socks in the house. We run a vegetable farm as well in which my two daughters love to work in barefooted. Because of athletes foot, I do not allow them to wear old shoes. As well I do not allow them to wear new shoes when playing around dirt or the garden. Therefore, they must either work in bare feet or slip on sandals. They have just had a physical and the doctor said they looked like the healthiest feet he had seen for their age. He asked how they kept them like that, and I told him. He said the majority of foot defects and problems were from wearing shoes all the time. He went on to add that socks smother the skin causing toe nails to tighten without air. Any parents out there should try keeping their child barefoot as much as possible. Let's say no to foot problems!
Don W. (Tennessee; 2 grown
What a refreshing site to find! It was just this Christmas that I was talking to my mother about this very subject. You see I still hate shoes. Inside the house I have NEVER worn shoes. Growing up I was barefoot all summer and as much of the rest of the year as weather and school allowed. When mine were growing up I obviously encouraged them to follow in my (bare) footsteps. Both were very happy to comply. Neither are very big on shoes even today. I hope this concept will continue many generations into my families future. Congratulations and best wishes on your program. Count me a FIRM believer and practitioner in your cause!!
"Whenever Possible" means: Virtually anywhere. Absolutely any time they feel that it would be comfortable for them. It must be a child driven desire supported by parents that are willing to say OK.
Tracey G. (South
Carolina; 4 children, ages and 11,7,3 and 8 months) writes:
My kids never want to wear shoes( they follow my influence) ... it drives my family and husband WILD!!!!
I remember being a 14 year old in upstate PA. and walking to the store with no shoes...full winter gear and no shoes!!! <laughing> The old lady that ran the store would freak out! Well .... these days it's my kids people are freaking about...<laughs>. Jake (11) has soles of leather and Coral (8) is developing leather soles as we speak.<smile>.
I don't think Marlee(3) has known where her shoes are for a few weeks.<smiling> I love this site and am becoming a frequent visitor. I am glad you are here and I hope to spread the word about barefootin' to more people around me. Stay Barefoot!!! ... Tracey <aka> "Barefoot Mommie" Barefoot Children Organics
"Whenever Possible" means: Stores, playing, eating, school and whenever they feel like it!!!