THIS is Why You Should Ditch the Shoes and Go Barefoot!

Katherine Crofton/DW Staff – Stop and think about all the places you walked today. Was a public bathroom one of them? If so, I’ve got bad news. Public bathroom floors contain about 2 million bacteria per square inch. For some perspective, toilet seats only contain about 50.

The soles of your shoes seem even nastier when you consider that every day, we walk where thousands of other people have walked.

Who knows where they’ve been. They could’ve just spent a day on a farm. And believe me, you do not want the sort of filth that lives in the mud on a farm to be following you around.

What sort of filth is it?

Common bacteria found on shoes include e.coli, c.diff (causes bad diarrhea or colon inflammation if not treated), meningitis, and plenty of other species. In other words, not the sort of stuff you’d let your baby roll around in or put in their mouth. And yet, that’s exactly what happens when you don’t take your shoes off in your home.

Researchers found that more than 90% of the bacteria you wear on your shoes will transfer to tile floors in your home. Carpeting is even worse.

There are many cultures where, unlike in the U.S., taking off your shoes before entering a home is not only common but expected.

I worked in South Korea for over four years as an English teacher at a public school and observed special areas right inside Korean apartments that are set lower than the rest of the home. These areas are for people entering your home to kick off their shoes.  We need to adopt this tradition here in America. We need to take off our shoes before we enter our homes for some very important reasons, ones that go even beyond bacteria.

There Are Toxins, Too!

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There are a ton of toxins from the outside environment that can be easily be brought into the home via shoes. A government-funded study found that pesticides like weed killers that are applied to lawns can be tracked into your home on your shoes up to a week after the chemicals have been applied.

What does the study recommend to avoid this? Removing your shoes, of course.

Another reason to ditch the sneakers at the door – it damages your floor!

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All the dirt brought in with your shoes gets ground into your flooring, causing wear and tear.

So if you want your flooring to last, it is best to keep your shoes by the door. You can also clean less often because no one will be tracking all that dirt and/or sand in.

Walking Barefoot Helps Your Foot Health

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Believe it or not, walking around barefoot at home is good for your feet. In fact, when the weather permits, I only wear sandals outside so I can get them off faster when I get home. There is nothing like walking around your home in bare feet.

Also, children who go habitually without shoes have stronger feet, more flexible feet, are less likely to suffer flat feet, and develop fewer podiatric deformities.

It goes much deeper than this. Check out David’s videos on how to STAY GROUNDED. First he discusses his transition to walking barefoot…

A discussion with David Wolfe about the importance walking barefoot from 2009.

Seriously! Leave your shoes at the door!

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27 comments
Mark - September 14, 2015

Great article. Wearing shoes in the house is really a terrible thing to do. We never wear shoes or socks in the house but due to the English climate(cold) we do wear slippers.

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SusanInSFL - September 14, 2015

David Wolfe, I love your article and the FACTS. Sadly, those who do not choose a healthy, toxic-free life feel the need to somehow justify their bad choices. The comments on the Facebook post are a shining example of how far filthy people will go to try to denigrate those who really care about their health and the wellness of their family and pets.

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    bassman21 - December 19, 2015

    Nonsense. These germs and “toxins” are in such small amounts it makes no difference. You are not licking the bottoms of the shoes and these things don’t all magically come off. Also foot fungus can be spread by bare feet and for some it’s uncomfortable. I have been wearing shoes my whole life indoors and I’m very healthy. I have not been sick for 10 years. People like you end up in the ER because you have a weak immune system from hiding from germs.

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      Khan - March 9, 2016

      We’ll have a full squad of grief counselors standing by when we show video of a baby playfully chewing on its parents toes and even their sandals. Imagine the sheer horror of watching a baby do that – it will take weeks of therapy just to get through the emotional processing.

      Reply
C K Thiruvathukal - September 14, 2015

I need a pair of indoor shoes. I never wore shoes inside until my doctors told me I had to during to severe pain. This is a reminder that I need some light indoor shoes. Good article.

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    Edser9 - September 18, 2015

    you mean, slippers?

    Reply
Izstaria - September 14, 2015

Usually it is laziness to not take off your shoes at the door. Most of the world if not all, take off their shoes at the door.

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    bassman21 - December 19, 2015

    No they don’t. Much of Mexico and south America wears shoes indoors. In fact it’s customary in some parts. The USA was like this till people started indoctrinating them with this nonsense. Spain, Italy and parts of European also wear shoes inside. Barefeet is a sign of laziness. I get way more done with shoes on.

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      Daniel - April 29, 2016

      Laziness?? Oh my word. Wearing shoes except for what they were meant for is rather sloppy, disrespectful to the body and unhygienic. Shoe ridden feet are stinky. Cared for barefeet is healthy and elegant

      Reply
Bonita Ringuette - September 14, 2015

Just what I want, someone elses funky toe jam/athletes foot/ etc on my floor. Please keep your shoes on. I know how to use a vacuum and I am NOT a germaphobe.

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the one - September 15, 2015

Yes, shoes off at the door please. The thing I don’t understand here is this guy asks us to take off our shes at the door, tells us why its gross and unhealthy because shoes travel through so much nasty stuff. Then he advocates going out barefoot in all the same crap and walks into his house? Really dude? Am I missing something here?

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    Khan - March 9, 2016

    Have I mentioned that your planet is doomed?

    Reply
Giovanna - September 15, 2015

I think all schools should be barefoot too!

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    William - October 4, 2015

    We had that in my school, it sucked during the winter or when it was raining, because everybody ended up with wet socks.

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      Giovanna - December 20, 2015

      Why didn’t they put their shoes on before going out side – that’s what we do at home?

      Reply
    bassman21 - December 19, 2015

    For safety reasons kids need to have shoes and socks on. Not sandals or flip flops, shoes and socks. If there is a fire, you can’t have 500 kids in the cold in their barefeet. Also do you really want to walk in a school bathroom with no shoes on. Lets stop with this barefoot nonsense. Shoes are a heath and safety issue. Civilized societies wear shoes.

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SilenceIsConsent - September 18, 2015

Most cultures around the world remove their shoes at the door. Many Americans have a no shoe policy too.

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JB - October 8, 2015

Either way. What evs.

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dksun - October 19, 2015

What about people who have pets? I don’t want what they bring in picked up by my bare feet.

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bassman21 - December 19, 2015

Nonsense. I have been wearing shoes in the house most of my waking moments since I was a teen and grew up around others doing it as well. I go years without getting sick. Some people are more comfortable with shoes on, some people have to wear them for medical reasons, some people’s feet get cold easily and it’s much more convenient to have your shoes on during the day. I love being able to leave at a moments notice. Also children will be more likely to go outside and play if they have shoes on during the day. It is also easier for you if you need to leave the house You are also getting them used to have them on.

This is just hippie nonsense, gemaphobia and people with foot f e t i s h. There is no evidence that people that don’t allow shoes in their home live any longer or a any healthier. In fact hiding from germs may be making you and your children more sick. So lets stop with this no shoes nonsense. I’m not taking my shoes off.

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    artemis133 - January 30, 2016

    Wow, why the hostility? This is a helpful and informative article!

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      bassman21 - January 30, 2016

      Because people are trying to change the traditions and norms in society to suite them and they’re using false information and fear to do it.

      This all started with the hippie movement in the 60s. Hippies were known to walk around in their bare feet which lead to the no shoes, no shirt, no service signs we all see in businesses. They were dirty people that went weeks without bathing. These same people spread lies that shoes will harm children’s feet online in the 90s and 00s, so now most parents keep their babies barefoot which in turn makes them hate shoes when they get older. Now they are telling people they will have a healthier home if no one wears shoes indoors. Seriously look up barefooters. It is a movement to move people away from shoes. Do a search online for ‘children and barefoot’. You will see a plethora of junk science websites telling people how harmful shoes are too children when it is the wrong shoes that are harmful. These are the same healthy living sites that promote no shoe homes, homeopathy, alt medicine and so on. It is hippie nonsense to regress our society.

      Reply
        Khan - March 9, 2016

        Sorry for the interruption – just need to have you check your spelling and grammar – “…society to suite them ” – I think you meant “suit” not “suite” … and “…telling people how harmful shoes are too children …” – I think you meant “to” not “too”… and by the way I should mention that your planet is doomed.

        Reply
CommonCents - January 5, 2016

being grounded to the earth is actually very important to health. We are electrical machines, ask any neurologist, cardiologist etc…

ask Nikola Tesla….Nikola Tesla said,. “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy,frequency and vibration.”

not being grounded leads to chronic inflammation.

Especially important for people in the north with long winters where we aren’t outside barefoot on the beach or grass.

I think this is a very important factor in the SAD, seasonal affective disorder, in addition to getting less vitamin D from daily sun exposure.

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CommonCents - January 5, 2016

what are links to good grounding sheets, pads etc??

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RedBlood84 - March 25, 2016

I live in Malaysia and there isn’t such a thing as wearing shoes indoor here. Given all the animal craps, public bathroom trips and other nasty stuff outside, this wouldn’t even be a discussion. And for one person here mentioning bringing foot diseases into the house, really. Then let me tell you, all my lifetime here, no one gets infected like that here. Really.

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Desculţ Dinu - October 1, 2016

I don’t use shoes. I like to live barefoot (my happiness) !

Dinu (from Romania)

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