Comment from: Michael Blanchard [Visitor]  
Michael Blanchard

Nice to see you here on birthdayshoes, Michael. Your comments on terminology and also what I would call barefoot fanaticism resonate with me.

On terminology, clearly we're still working out how to refer to activities in minimalist footwear, such as Vibram Fivefingers. As applied to running, folks talk of primal, natural, minimalist, and barefoot running (i'm probably forgetting some), and often using these terms interchangeably. I'm not sure any of them is perfect, and while I do distinguish between running barefoot and running in shoes (even when those shoes are VFFs), I think these distinctions may fade over time for all but the most avid participants. If you're an avid cyclist, you might care what tires another guy rides on. For most people, the guy rides a bike, and that's all you need to know.

The other element of your comments that piqued my interest was the mention of "hard-core barefooters" who believe any shoe is "an affront to feet." I think your take is much more reasonable, pragmatic, and ultimately correct. The idea that there is no place for shoes would be like saying there's no place for clothing, or shelter. Shoes exist to protect our feet. The key is that's all they should do: protect. They shouldn't alter the function of our feet anymore than a shirt alters the function of our arms. I wear a shirt so I don't get cold or sunburned, and I sometimes wear shoes so I don't burn, freeze, crush, or otherwise injure my feet. Sometimes I take off my shirt, and sometimes I take off my shoes. To me, the key is to wear only as much shoe as necessary for what you're doing. Sometimes that's no shoe at all, but not always.

See you guys around.

04/29/10 @ 12:41
Comment from: Barefoot Benny [Visitor]  
Barefoot Benny

Michael, it's good to know that one of the faces of the barefoot movement is not some doped up hippy. Your sensible approach and reasoning for going barefoot is important in getting the message across to the masses. Keep up the good work!

-Barefoot Benny

04/29/10 @ 23:10
Comment from: Barefoot Steel [Visitor]  
Barefoot Steel

Michael, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your interview and I love your reasonable approach in promoting bare feet. Mr. Blanchard's comment above really stated nicely pretty much what I had thought to say myself as a comment. I definitely couldn't have said the same any better.

I began to discover the benefits of barefoot living a little over 15 years ago after an unfortunate accident that messed up my lower back and pelvis. Under the advice of a couple of doctors, I started going barefoot "absolutely every moment possible" and found it was the best prescription I've ever had. Not only did my back pain and pelvis discomfort reduce to almost nothing, I found myself free of the chronic colds I suffered before allowing my feet to be free. Basically, when I wore shoes all the time I was always sick with a cold; since my accident I've gone barefoot about 80+% of the time and I haven't had but one actual cold in over ten years. Even my toes, which had begun to show bunion deformity as a result of my footwear (cowboy boots), have returned to almost full normal alignment and continue to realign themselves.

While I wear shoes, flops or sandals in any place where footwear is required, or to protect my feet in certain areas, I keep them bare as much and whenever possible and it has completely improved my quality of life. Along with all the health benefits I've seen, it also just downright feels good and natural for them to be bare.

Again, I thoroughly admire your approach toward advocating a barefoot lifestyle. Keep up the good work!

05/18/10 @ 13:22

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