Grin and bare it!



My sister on our frozen lake in Sweden - look at her bare feet!!!


As you know, my sister is here. What you may not know is that she is totally bonkers! (Well, it does run in the family…) When I asked her for an interview, she agreed to reveal a little known secret. So here it is: an exclusive interview. Never seen before (well, not on this blog, anyway).

You see, she is a member of a society. A bare society. One that encourages nudity. Of the feet. “Did you know that we are born with our own shoes? They’re water-proof and free with leathery soles!” That’s how my sister describes the joys of living barefoot. All the time. So keen is she that she is now a member of the Society for Barefoot Living.

So, how did it all start? Well, her husband started running without shoes on in order to cure his Achilles heel problems. This was last September. One sunny day, my sister wondered what it would feel like to walk on the streets and woods without her shoes on. She never looked back.

She loved the feel of crunchy twigs, springy moss, hot pavements, cool shop interiors, smooth floors, rain and cold snow under her feet. These days she drives barefoot, shops without her shoes on and walks barefoot as much as possible – or as much as her courage allows.

I wondered what the benefits are. “It’s healthy and a good way to exercise your feet. It takes ten years off your life.” When she first started barefooting (that’s a technical term), she wondered why her feet were bright pink. “Er… that’s your circulation,” her husband explained. Apparently, she hasn’t had circulation before, poor thing.

“My feet are tingly all over. It’s fun. You can feel everything!” And – here’s the clincher (well, apart from the looking younger bit. Barefooting is, at least, cheaper than Botox.) “I feel like a child again!”

And – if you think about it – most of us went barefoot as kids. I know we did – and the anklebiters refuse shoes and socks as soon as the weather allows. (I’ll let you into a little secret: I never ever wear shoes indoors.)

Do you remember the feel of sand between your toes, mud oozing over your feet or the freshly-scented feel of grass? Liberating. Carefree. The feel of childhood.

Go on – try it out! You know you want to…

59 responses

  1. SirPe

    Well, she is grinning, and her feet are indeed bare… I just worry a bit about the risk of frostbite!


    March 26, 2009 at 17:41

  2. Mother of the cousins

    yahoo, love the blog, love the interview! oh boy, the snow sure did clean off all the mucky grit. thank goodness.


    March 26, 2009 at 17:42

  3. Mother of the cousins

    NO chance of frostbite at these temperatures.


    March 26, 2009 at 17:43

  4. SirPe

    And she’s not wearing her ice-pick thingies! That’s two safety violations at once! :-p


    March 26, 2009 at 17:43

  5. Dean

    Greetings from sunny Hawaii,

    I am so proud of you! Barefoot in the snow in Sweden. Keep up the good work and stay bareofoot 🙂


    March 26, 2009 at 17:49

  6. Not that I’ll be trying the snow thing any time soon. But I totally agree with her. Nothing feels better than going barefoot. The first thing that I take off when I come home from work is my shoes…(bra second) I have never in my life worn shoes in the house. I can’t even fathom why anyone would. And as soon as the snow melt…that’s it for me…no more shoes whenever possible. My hubby thinks I’m crazy because I never wear them outside..and when I’m gardening and step on something sharp…he’s always saying “well if you’d put some shoes on that wouldn’t happen” But how can you garden with shoes on??? If I could I’d never wear shoes again…but I’d lose my job so I guess I’ll still have to buy a pair now and then!


    March 26, 2009 at 17:54

  7. Mother of the cousins' cousins

    We’re born with our own clothes too – also waterproof!
    Don’t see you trying that one 😉


    March 26, 2009 at 17:58

  8. I have never heard of such a thing? Will it get rid of my wrinkles? I may just try it!


    March 26, 2009 at 18:04

  9. Your sister is the Anti-Imelda! I’ve heard of people walking (and seen it) on glowing embers, but this…? Brrrr…


    March 26, 2009 at 18:06

  10. Marco

    Barefoot is the best way to go ! Alison is very brave to do if on the snow !


    March 26, 2009 at 18:13

  11. Barefoot in snow?! 😮
    Tell your sister to be careful if she ever goes to Härnösand. Never seen so much crushed glass & big shards on the streets in any other town.

    About the notebooks: no, they’re not like exercise books, they’re more like couch potato books. They sit in front of the computer all day eating chocolate. Actually – they’re similar to the spiral bound books in size but I’m thinking of making larger ones, maybe A5. Keep an eye out 🙂

    ♥ visit me at


    March 26, 2009 at 18:28

  12. Well, as I sit here barefooted, my usual state of being whenever I’m in the house, I think back to my childhood of going everywhere barefooted. I don’t let my children do that. I’m not sure why except for risk of injury and disgusting things they might come into contact with. They can do it in our yard or up and down the street. Just not the city over.

    Interesting about the Achilles Heel injury. I have Plantar Fascitis (inflamation of the supporting muscle in the arch of the foot) from irreversible nerve damage in my legs and feet. I am told to wear arch inserts and running shoes at all times. (Yes, even SITTING here.) I don’t because I am bohemian at heart. Any thoughts from her on healing that issue through barefooting it? I’d love to know.

    BTW, she DARLING!!


    March 26, 2009 at 18:34

  13. she’s (ay-yi-yi)


    March 26, 2009 at 18:34

  14. I can’t go without shoes or boots – I love my Rocket Dogs too much. That photo of your sister made me shiver.

    Have a great time chatting away


    March 26, 2009 at 18:46

  15. I’m afraid I can’t participate in the barefoot experiment. I’m such a germaphobe, I hate the idea of my bare feet touching where other people’s bare feet have been prior. I can’t wait to check out your link to the Society for Barefoot Living. I’m learning something new – fascinating!


    March 26, 2009 at 19:29

  16. Morag

    Excellent, Fi. Although I’m disappointed you didn’t throw her out barefoot and lock the door, as I’d hoped. She looks far too cheerful in this pic. I must find another way to torment her!



    March 26, 2009 at 19:40

  17. Amy

    Agree with whoever mentioned it earlier- we’re born naked…doesn’t mean that’s how we should be walking around the rest of our lives…although I do ADORE the feel of grass under my feet in the summer…and sand at the beach…I missed that your sis is in town, lucky girl- wish my sister could visit…enjoy her visit!!!!


    March 26, 2009 at 19:50

  18. Mother of the cousins

    Robynn’s Ravings: yes, do check out the SBL website. They have articles on health for your feet if barefooting, and there are plenty of members who barefoot precisely because they have suffered from plantar fasciitis. It is meant to help.
    It has helped my athlete’s foot and varicose veins, eg good foot circulation at the moment!


    March 26, 2009 at 19:52

  19. Blue

    Okay, I have claustrophobic feet (self diagnozed) which means I rarely wear socks. I dont like socks. I kind of despise socks. I dont even like them during winter time. And IF I do wear socks thats the first thing (after my shoes) that I take off after being outside. But barefooting????

    I do remember sand between my toes etc etc because that’s how I walk around on vacations and during the summer…but in the city? I remember being a kid and stepping in fresh doog poo on the pavement. Not something I’d like to repeat…


    March 26, 2009 at 20:43

  20. We always ran around barefoot when I was a kid – I remember how tough our feet were by the end of the summer. It was great (except for when I stepped on bees.) I have a friend with MS who prefers to go barefoot, because she can feel everything so much better.


    March 26, 2009 at 20:59

  21. I barefoot it when I am home as I just like comming in and kicking off my shoes.
    My kids too rarely wear shoes or if they do they sloth around in Thongs or crocs…Comfy and loose.

    But I would hate walking dirty pavements and the like…I actually hate dirty feet!


    March 26, 2009 at 21:25

  22. She looks great to me! I love going barefoot a child I never wore shoes in the summer. Think of all the money and decisions she saves by not being a shoe whore! Lady Fi, If you gave up your shoes could buy more earrings! 🙂


    March 26, 2009 at 21:34

  23. Barefoot Yankee

    Please visit the SBL website. We’re not loons….in all honesty, we’re probably the sanest group on the planet. Ok, ever since we let Alison in we can’t say that anymore, but for the most part we’re not crazy.
    Yes, your feet will feel better, but so will your back, your mind, well, every part of you will be invigorated. Trust me. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and it’s a lot more sanitary than keeping your feet in those foot coffins most of you wear.
    Good job …pretty good for a newbie!


    March 26, 2009 at 21:39

  24. Barefoot Yankee

    Hey, how come I end up with a crazy looking, pointy toothed little avatar??? 😉


    March 26, 2009 at 21:40

  25. amy

    I think that is so cool about your sister being a bare footer. I love to be barefoot, but during the summer. Your sister must have some tough feet on her!


    March 26, 2009 at 21:56

  26. Mother of the cousins

    guess what? the snow cleanses all dirt and grime off the feet. Doormats also clean off feet after muddy walks. And finally, a good old scrubbing brush or brillo pad, soap and water (in the bath) does wonders!


    March 26, 2009 at 22:05

  27. Mother of the cousins

    Barefoot Yank, you sure are a crazy looking, pointy toothed little … dinosaur. I can’t possibly be crazy, my sister takes that credit. But yes, I am doing well for a newbie barefooter. Look bloggers, I’ve only been doing it for six months. Coming along just nicely. All you wannabee barefooters, think about doing more of it this summer, you will just LOVE it.


    March 26, 2009 at 22:22

  28. Po

    Hehe I go barefoot all the time, in South Africa it is pretty common to out barefoot. It freaks the Brits out though!


    March 26, 2009 at 22:24

  29. Mother of the cousins

    To Far Side of Fifty
    Please don’t encourage my sister to find an excuse to buy MORE earrings ….. they’re already coming out of our ears….


    March 26, 2009 at 22:26

  30. We don’t get as much snow and ice here in the Netherlands as y’all up in Sweden, but I was able to walk on the ice a bit this winter. It’s great to be barefoot all year long; as long as you keep your core temperature up (I dress up warmly from the ankle up) it’s amazing how well the feet will stay warm even in the snow. And people, don’t be put off by the visible dirt, most of what you see on ‘dirty’ bare feet really isn’t harmful. There are *lots* of bacteria on surfaces that are touched by many people; door knobs, railings, handles of shopping carts, etc… and with our hands we transfer those germs to our face and/or food (even if you wash up before dinner, who never eats a cookie or snack without washing). Our skin itself, on the other hand, is made to keep pathogens out, so any dirt on the feet just sits at ground level without doing any harm. Also the inside of shoes is one of the worst places bacteriologically! Research has shown that a sharp injury sustained through a thin shoe sole is extremely likely to get infected while injuries sustained barefoot rarely are. So much for judging ‘dirt’ by visual signs. 😉 As for my personal ‘mileage’; I used to get colds from early fall until late spring, but in the 13 years of going barefoot I’ve called in sick once -for two days. Try it! 🙂


    March 26, 2009 at 23:14

  31. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).


    March 26, 2009 at 23:46

  32. My feet have been coddled for too many years. Barefeet on me? Only at the beach.


    March 26, 2009 at 23:51

  33. Blogdog

    Little man has always insisted on going barefoot – its a real battle to put shoes on him when necessary and after living in Belgium for five years, we all got very used to going barefoot – any house we visited insisted on shoes off at the door, so we’ve tried to instil that on our Irish relations since we came home but its not been easy! Little man was bouncing in the rain all afternoon barefoot on the trampoline in the garden with Clive – nothing like it!


    March 26, 2009 at 23:56

  34. diogenes1960

    that is the smile of someone who is about to fall over and beg to be stretchered off that damnable snow


    March 27, 2009 at 00:37

  35. She’s pretty brave to walk barefoot on snow!! We used to run around barefoot as kids in India, and it is fun, especially on grass and sand.


    March 27, 2009 at 01:01

  36. Wow your sis looked like you. She is brave to walk bare footed in the snow. I am bare footed in my house. It is our culture not to wear shoes in anyone house over here. It would be seem so rude. Have a nice weekend.


    March 27, 2009 at 02:10

  37. i have always hated shoes. one summer i worked in a state park, icky heavy boots. i had to wash the trash can lids (whatEVER), among other things, and did that barefoot. i think i offended one of the junior rangers because he told me ‘in the real world’ one didn’t take their shoes off at work. well, the joke’s on him because my first ‘real world’ job was teaching english in a junior high school–in japan. i took my shoes off every morning! (ok, granted, i wore slippers, but still, what a jerk he was! LOL)

    i don’t wear shoes in the house, and i can hardly wait for warmer weather…


    March 27, 2009 at 03:00

  38. I go barefoot as much as I can. I love the feel of sand or grass under bare feet. Except you kind of live in a cold climate………


    March 27, 2009 at 06:36

  39. Blu

    Yikes……..I could never do that, especially in a house with a big dog in it!

    I stumbled upon this recently


    March 27, 2009 at 08:44

  40. I’ve been going barefoot since I was born, it’s great fun:)


    March 27, 2009 at 10:10

  41. Great post. The only time I walked barefoot was in Belize, when we lived on the island, but you’ll never guess what happened. I got such a pain in my heel, there’s a name for it, that the Doctor told me to wear a small heel. I swear it got so bad, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with heel pain.
    On another subject, I wanted to ask you if you know much about guest blogging? I have a literary PR guy from San Diego, who’s agreed to guest blog. Do I ask him to email me the post and then copy and paste it in my blog? What about comments? Does he answer them by clicking on the comments on my blog? Thanks.


    March 27, 2009 at 16:05

  42. I’m eternally barefoot but not in the SNOW! How long before you got the wretched tingling/burning feeling?! You’re made of stronger stock than I!


    March 27, 2009 at 16:38

  43. Huh. Barefoot in the snow. I’m not totally persuaded.


    March 27, 2009 at 16:45

  44. m-i-l of mother of cousins

    “It’s healthy and a good way to exercise your feet. It takes ten years off your life.” ie – you die 10 years earlier due to infections picked up on feet.


    March 27, 2009 at 17:00

  45. Lady Fi! I’m here dear but didn’t see any response about plantar fascitis. I read through her post about bacteria and what not. Is that the one you meant? Just let me know. 🙂


    March 27, 2009 at 17:09

  46. I must admit.. I am jealous that your sis is there.. I want mine to come to DK soooo much…
    but I just keep hoping!


    March 27, 2009 at 19:28

  47. Makes me want to interview my sister to discover her deepest secrets …
    I was a journalist in another life and I think back now about how many personal questions I asked of people in the course of my reporting.
    June in Oz


    March 28, 2009 at 00:16

  48. I love barefooting too. But in the snow?!!! You’re right, she is bonkers!


    March 28, 2009 at 00:25

  49. Oh wow. That’s interesting. I have flat feet though and my arches hurt when barefoot. They seem to like some support.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.


    March 28, 2009 at 01:48

  50. I grew up on a farm and never wore shoes. My mother’s most vivid memory of my first day of kindergarten are of the copious tears I shed when she forced me into a pair of shoes and explained that I would have to keep them on ALL DAY. Wah!!

    I got used to shoes, but still love going barefoot whenever I can. 🙂


    March 28, 2009 at 02:06

  51. I had an anatomy teacher in college who said that “bare feet are happy feet”. I agree. Unless it is cold. Or wet. Or rocky…


    March 28, 2009 at 04:00

  52. I also have plantar fascitis – which came about from never wearing shoes as I was working at home. Now I have no choice but to wear them. Those with plantar fascitis MUST wear supportive shoes or it will only get worse – much worse 😦


    March 28, 2009 at 15:10

  53. Um….OK. But on a frozen lake! Aren’t there limits? Does barefooting give you immunity to frostbite???


    March 29, 2009 at 01:56

  54. Mother of the cousins

    It has to be said I was not standing on the lake for very long. Five or ten minutes maximum. When the snow covers over the tops of the feet, they get cold very quickly. Others who have been doing it for years have no problem. A lot of people can hike half hour in the snow (but not me).
    Look up research on plantar fasciitis. There is medical evidence to go barefoot for it, Patti, as well as evidence to wear support.


    March 29, 2009 at 15:57

  55. Patti,

    Thanks for telling me the name, I’d forgotten, plantar fascitis. My Belizean Doctor told me to wear sandals with heels too, or it would get worse. It only helped after I came back to the US and wore shoes again. Weird, isn’t it?


    March 30, 2009 at 01:53

  56. I never knew going barefoot could have such great health benefits! I’ve lived in really hot places, and I can remember burning my bare feet when I was young growing up in Arizona. YEOWCH! I do go barefoot in the house – does that count?


    March 30, 2009 at 21:44

  57. oki

    I tried the snow.. it made my feet ache, I’m not tough enough yet. @A@;;
    YET! :3


    April 7, 2009 at 07:25

  58. Uh.. that must be very cold. Great idea for a pic BTW.


    July 8, 2009 at 23:23

  59. barfuessler

    Great! I am also barefoot all year round.


    April 10, 2012 at 16:09

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