On Going Barefoot

A little ducky duddle

went wadding in a puddle

went wadding in a puddle quite small

Said he, “It doesn’t matter

how much I splash and splatter.

I’m only a ducky after all.

                                                            Traditional Children’s Song

I’m glad to find medical advice for going barefoot.  The recent talk about the benefits of Grounding, or Earthing, makes me almost smug—because I’ve known for years that going barefoot was beneficial.  People went barefoot long before they learned to make shoes, and even then, I bet shoes only caught on in the colder and harsher places.

I found this sign on pixabay, a site for free photos.  Love it.


When I got my first summer job during my teens, I didn’t know how I could stand to go shod all summer.  I didn’t like my first summer in shoes one bit.  And I shed my shoes any chance I got.  Why would anyone want to grow up at all if it meant shoes?  I found this photo on pixabay, an internet site offering many pictures free for use.


I still go barefoot whenever I can.  At the apartment building where I live, we have a wide back lawn ideally suited to walking barefoot.  It’s a lawn where flowers grow with the clovers and grasses.  Violets stick between my toes.  Patches of bluets under pines where the layers of pine needles soften my way.

People warn me.  “Aren’t you scared what you’re going to step on?”  They tell me stories of a nephew who cut his foot going barefoot on the sidewalk by his house or a woman who sliced her heel on a can lid.  They are not wrong.  These days you have to be careful where you walk and you have to look.  Then there are some incidents that are inevitable, like the time I stepped on a ground bee and got stung.  But to me the strength of that connection to the earth is worth a bee sting.  A slice of onion or potato takes the sting out, and there is always oral niacin to get the poison out of my system.

On the farm where I grew up, as soon as the air warmed in the spring, we children begged to go barefoot.  My mother had a firm rule.  “Bring me a dandelion and you can go barefoot.”  The first brave yellow dandelion blooms came on the south side of the hen house.  We knew where to watch and we brought the first bloom to Mom.  We went barefoot all summer.  Here are two of my sisters playing barefoot on the lawn.

Childhood pictures, Mitchell's Poultry Farm 040

Sometimes we stepped in chicken poop—always a few stray chickens managed to fly over the fence.   We rinsed our feet off under the sill cock before we went inside.  Our feet grew wide and tough.  I remember the feel of the barn floor boards, so smooth to my feet, the feel of gravel and sand in the driveways, the feel of grass, and the way I had to slide my feet in the stubble that stuck up sharply after haying.  We would wade in mud puddles, squishing mud between our toes and singing the ducky duddle song.


Mom had a metal dust pan with a hole where the back of the handle connected to the pan.  My big toe fit the hole making it possible to sweep the dust into the pan while standing up and holding the pan with my toe, an action my father thought clever.  But when your feet and toes are handy, you learn to use them.  I’ve seen pictures of lusty, barefoot women tramping grapes to get the juice out.  My aunt tells of a time when her daughter-in-law had been visiting with toddlers.  Picking the children up and settling one on each hip, the mother then grabbed a toy and a sweater with her toes, brought her foot up to the opposite hand, and was ready to go, all cargo aboard.

Many people go barefoot at the beach and most of us swim barefoot.


Running in the sand can be healthful.  Our beach was not sandy, though.  We swam off granite ledges and played on Orr’s Island’s rocky shore.  We walked on barnacles that cut our feet enough to draw blood yet our feet healed before we left the shore because we had spent the time walking in salt water.


Not that going barefoot is for every occasion.  Cowboys wore high boots to protect their feet from rattlesnakes and thorns.  Although I had cousins who ran through snow to the outhouse, mostly we northerners wear shoes in the winter.

Which brings us back to Grounding.  That contact with the earth has been less and less available as we learned to manufacture shoes and sandals out of materials that do not conduct electrical and magnetic currents.  Meanwhile, the built world and its various kinds of trash have made going barefoot unsafe in many situations, not to mention frowned upon.  I was once barefoot in the foyer of my college dorm when a very proper lady looked way down her long nose at my feet.  Now it takes a doctor to tell us to do what we used to do on the natch, to find some safe places to walk/run barefoot and gain the strength and healthy effects available from the earth.  I will continue my barefoot walks in places such as my lawn and a nearby beach.  Meanwhile, around my apartment I go barefoot or wear leather slippers with no man-made sole to interfere with the flow of energy from beneath my feet.  Our floors and sidewalks are unpainted concrete.

For those who want more on Grounding, here’s a link to Dr. Mercola, who offers a wealth of information on the benefits of going barefoot.


To summarize his findings, children who go barefoot gain strength in their feet and lower legs.  Grounding often allows adults to become free of chronic pain.  Walking barefoot on the Earth transfers free electrons from the Earth’s surface into your body that spread throughout your tissues providing beneficial effects.  Grounding had been shown to reduce inflammation and improve sleep.  Wearing plastic or rubber-soled shoes or flip-flops effectively disconnects you from the Earth’s natural electron flow.

According to Dr. Mercola, “the surface of the Earth holds subtle health-boosting energy. All we have to do is touch it and become truly alive.”

Grounding isn’t strange.  “It’s actually a natural act that virtually every living creature does instinctively.”

Good grounding surfaces include: sand as at the beach, moist grass, bare soil, concrete and brick (not painted or sealed), and ceramic tile.  Feet clothed in leather still get the benefit of the earth’s energy.

Some surfaces that will not ground us are asphalt, wood, rubber and plastic, vinyl, and tar.

Choose a safe spot and try it.  If your feet are tender, they will toughen up.  Happy Grounding.


Author: Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

Anyone may walk down the road wondering who we are, how we are supposed to live, and what happens when we die. Some folks like traditional answers. Some folks don't want to spent their time thinking too much. I felt called upon to search these questions in depth and in some surprising places. Each of my books is a story or group of stories about what I found during a wide-ranging journey. My home state of Maine was a hard place to leave. But I knew I had to go. And if I didn't make it back home to Maine except to visit, I did find home in the comfort and joy of discoveries that washed away the pain that had started me on my travels.

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