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  • Karen

Shoes Required! Beware of the foot risks that might lurk in these 4 places.

As a reflexologist, there's not much about feet that I find cringey. However, if I see people going barefoot in unsafe environments, like the ones below, I start to feel queasy. Some of these places may seem like common sense to you, but I have witnessed shoelessness with my own eyes.

  • The Beach Bathhouse. I understand not wanting to put any type of shoe on when you're at the beach. Not to mention how difficult it is to get your kids cleaned up and into shoes every time they need to use the facilities. Putting feet that are wet, sandy, and hot into shoes--even flip-flops--just feels yucky. But that bathhouse bathroom floor looks even grosser to me, so if only from a visceral perspective, I have no idea why you would want to walk barefoot in that muck. Please don't think of the beach bathroom as an extension of the beach itself. They are public restrooms and should be treated as such, especially as it relates to donning the appropriate footwear.

  • The Gym Shower. I can hardly bring myself to acknowledge it...but someone very dear to me takes barefoot showers at the gym. I do want to say that I appreciate the fact they clean up before they come home. However, I cannot understand what is so difficult about using shower shoes. To this day, you will not catch me shoeless in a gym shower where many people have come and gone and where fungus, like athlete's foot, loves to hang out. Germs delight in a warm, moist environment so I'm not sure if there's a place more attractive to them than the gym shower. Even if it's just to humor me, I hope you will wear some sort of shoe or flip-flop in the gym shower from now on.

  • The Parking Lot. Whether you're tailgating at Gillette Stadium or in your own driveway, your feet are in treacherous territory and should be well-protected. The biggest concern I have as a reflexologist in these types of environments is that you will injure your feet. Sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots are typically made of materials that can get extremely hot--even when it doesn't feel that warm out--and burn the sensitive soles of your feet. Additionally, these places are a safe harbor for numerous miscellaneous, and sometimes difficult-to-spot, sharp or hard objects that can pierce your foot's skin. Call me paranoid, but even when you have shoes on, you should be keeping your eyes on the ground in front of and around you, scanning for common foot perils such as broken glass, rusty metal, and hazardous liquids.

  • The Dance Floor. First, I will confess that I've done my fair share of barefoot dancing, at parties, weddings, and maybe even at a club...but that was when I was young and foolish and didn't know so much about feet. From getting spiked or stomped on by another person, to getting a bad blister or tearing your foot skin, going shoeless dancing is almost a surefire way to get hurt, sometimes very badly. That doesn't mean you have to dance in pain all night or, worse, sit out the fun because your dress shoes have worn out their welcome. Once the formalities of an evening are gone, and people are just living it up to the music, I believe it's completely kosher to slip on a pair of flip-flops or any more comfortable shoe. I try to squish them into my purse or leave them in the car. These days, sometimes an event host provides a change of shoes for you because they know what I know....dancing barefoot (in public) can be dangerous!

These are just a few places that Foot-Joy recommends you don't try the barefoot thing. While there are many reported benefits to walking (and even running) barefoot, we encourage you to please use caution and stay aware no matter where your feet take you.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have any underlying health concerns, such as diabetes, it is critical to consult your physician prior to walking anywhere barefoot--even in your own home. Foot-Joy Reflexology is not a medical professional and does not provide medical advice or diagnosis.


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