26. We’ve joined the barefoot revolution. (That’s my feet and Amanda’s feet there in our new minimalist shoes.) There’s more and more research coming out about the benefits of going barefoot more often, even when exercising or running. I for one have always liked to be barefoot in general while walking around, feeling more grounded and connected to the earth. And dirt. But I also don’t like it when asphalt burns the soles, or stepping on something sharp like glass or gross like-well, fill in the blank. Here’s some interesting info to consider… “Benefits of Running Barefoot ■Reduced occurrences of ankle sprains by increasing awareness of foot position ■Reduced reports of problems such as Plantar Fasciitis by using the body’s natural shock absorbers ■Less deformed toes (feet are not forced to be formed in the shape of the shoe ■Improved balanced because of less restriction with the toes ■Prevention of varicose veins (thanks to increased blood circulation in the feet and pump more blood back to the heart) ■Increased oxygen to feet ■Chances of over training and over straining are less because your feet will react to problems instead of them being masked by your thick shoes ■Encourages proper running technique (too painful to run incorrectly barefoot!) ■Before the rise of popularity of running shoes, there were less reports of knee and joint injuries due to running. It was the rise of the elevated heel and pointed toe that was said to have marked the beginning of athletic foot and leg injuries ■Stronger muscles in the calf, hips and under the foot ■Prevent ingrown toenails caused by foot wear ■Prevent callouses caused by foot and shoe friction ■Chances of athletes foot and odor being eliminated are greatly increased ■More relaxing. We like to kick off our shoes at the end of the day! ■â€œNatural gait is bio mechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,â€ wrote Dr. William A. Ross ■Helps straighten out the toes as well as forces sections of your feet and toes to become more developed ■Absorb more “Chi” and life energy, increasing vitality and mood ■Save money on replacing running shoes every couple months (for heavy runners) ■Save space in storing a ton of shoes Benefits of Running With Shoes (Running Shod) ■Prevent injuries from stepping on glass, rocks and other material that can puncture the foot ■Prevent you from stepping on sewage, animal waste and other disgusting items ■You will look stylish if you wear the latest running shoes and you will attract other runners ■For fast sprints and competitive track and field events, not wearing shoes may give your competitors an edge ■Performance in terms of speed and time for long and short distance runs may improve with shoes ■It is socially more acceptable to walk around in public with shoes than without shoes” Read more here.