healthy and natural
barefoot activities

barefoot and healthy

foot sensation trails

foot gymnastics

barefoot parks

barefoot in nature

barefoot prosperity

barefoot galleries

barefoot park
design guide
for landscape architects




Lorenz Kerscher,
Penzberg, Germany

Barefoot in Nature

Establish a sensory connection to the earth!

Make use of the sense of touch in the soles of your feet!
The feeling in the sole is almost as highly developed as that of the palm of the hand! Just like animals and plants, you will once again share the sensation of warmth and coldness, the roughness of a dry ground or the freshness of dewy grass.

On bare feet you relax and improve your body awareness:
Body awareness training is central to all relaxation techniques. We too often use our minds and do not feel sensations. Going barefoot in nature is so simply and easily done, and nor recognized as a relaxation doctrine. But it equals their benefits in bringing together body and mind! What you feel with the feet is far from the brain, but close to nature, and is a healthy counterbalance to overcome internal strains and stress.

Going barefoot protects the environment:
It preserves plants and the earth, does not make noise -- and without shoes we develop a vigorous environmental instinct:

  • A barefoot person always keeps eye contact with the ground. Thus plants and animals can be avoided and will not be not harmed.
  • A natural reluctance to avoid scrub, thorns and the sharp edges of reed grasses teaches barefooters to respect sensitive ecology.
  • Barefoot hikers want to see what they step on; therefore they avoid cross-country marches, which might damage the environment. They prefer to stay on low grass, sand or earth and seek pleasant ways through fields, forests and meadows.
  • On gravel or in swampy areas barefooters tend to move very carefully, therefore they are no danger for hidden animals like birds breeding on the ground.
  • Worn-out shoes cannot be recycled. So it is much better to save leather and minimize waste!
  • For barefoot walking over longer distances, natural ground (i.e. lawn, earth or sand) feels much more pleasant than pavement, asphalt or concrete. With shoes on our feet, we were dull to the gradual loss of natural ground during emergence of our urban environment. But our bare soles cannot ignore what happened! Those who like to go barefoot, should stand up for  unsealing the earth and thus saving one of the most important natural ressources.

The essence is: free to your feet!
The feet can enjoy their freedom very intensely. No doubt, in special situations the feet need to be protected, but this should not result in lifelong confinement! Being barefoot should be part of an active lifestyle and open you new experiences. Be courageous and regain your well-being and self-confidence!

Going barefoot is so easy:

  • You need not become a fakir who walks on nails and hot coals. Just keep your feet away from stubble-fields, sharp-edged stones, piercing reed, and as well as from extremes of temperature! With gradual conditioning, however, the feet can learn to adapt to various surface and weather conditions. Nevertheless, beware of trying too much too soon!
  • Usually the ground is warmer than expected, for it collects solar warmth better than the air. Even on sunny days in early spring it feels pleasantly warm! On the other hand, the ground can be quite frosty in the early morning hours after a clear night.
  • To start off, short outings on pleasant ground are just the right activity. Within a few weeks, the soles become tougher, your rhythm and motion more harmonious and the sensation becomes wonderful! Soon the soles will have developed sufficient stability to walk on field and forest paths, and even to resist flat pieces of broken glass.
  • Thickened skin at the edge of the heels may become too rough. Therefore lotion or lanolin should be applied regularly to prevent cracked skin.
  • If the sun is intense, the feet may need sunscreen.
  • A well conditioned sole is unlikely to suffer injury, if you avoid stepping on thistles, reed grasses, thorny plants and flowers attracting bees (like clover). Broken glass may hide along streets and around sport facilities, barbecue places or bathing areas. Be more cautious, if your soles are not yet toughened, and especially if you are allergic to insect stings or if you have not had a tetanus vaccination!
  • When running, the impact on the soles can be substantial -- therefore the ground should be free of sharp stones and splinters. Be cautious when jogging in unknown areas!
  • Some strips of adhesive or bandages should be in your pocket. Usually you will need them to treat the blisters of your shoed companions!
  • If performing heavy labor, you should wear appropriate shoes. This is advisable for example when moving heavy loads, caring for horses, lawn-mowing, or hiking in high mountain areas. But then shoes must be sturdy enough to protect your feet!
  • Where poisonous insects, animals, or plants are known to exist and may hide from you, barefoot hiking requires peculiar caution.
  • Dirt is easily washed away, and this takes much less time than healing blisters due to poorly fitted shoes.

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