Social Question

Val123's avatar

Do you insist that your children wear shoes at ALL TIMES?

Asked by Val123 (12704points) June 1st, 2010

I didn’t. I grew up barefooted. I don’t get people who deny their kids the chance to feel the grass, and the way the drying mud crackles on the soles of your feet—it tickles!

Our feet were meant to be bare. That’s why there are more nerve endings on the soles of your feet than in any other part of your body!

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43 Answers

Val123's avatar

HELP!! I didn’t want to put this in the General Section! I wanted it in the Social Section!

lillycoyote's avatar

I better have a serious answer then on topic answer then. When I was a kid our pediatrician told my mother it was better for our feet if we went barefoot as much as we could so we did. I don’t know if he was right.

Draconess25's avatar

Click “Edit Question” & you can change the section….I think

The only reason my mom made me wear shoes is so I wouldn’t get muddy footprints on the floor. My girlfriend Rachel refuses to wear shoes.

hearkat's avatar

Walking barefoot develops the structure in the foot better, so we have greater flexibility and muscle control. I remember my ex-husband had always worn shoes and he was amazed at all the things I can do with my feet!

So to answer your question: No. My son ran around the yard barefoot all the time. If he was going beyond the yard, I had him wear shoes, though.

SuperMouse's avatar

I do not insist my children wear shoes everywhere. I let them run around in bare feet in the park, at the beach (or lake) and when they are playing in the yard. I also make them take their shoes off in the house.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I was never allowed to wear shoes in the house, but my parents never insisted that I wear them when I went out in the yard. In fact, I went out in the yard barefoot almost all the time. Either that or I would wear flip-flops.

Generally, though, I would wear them everywhere else.

poofandmook's avatar

I read somewhere that shoes actually damage your spine and severely reduce muscle development. Feet were meant to be bare. The problem is, when feet were created, there wasn’t concrete and broken glass and hypodermic needles to worry about. Arch support and all that crap is bad for your feet. Flip flops are especially horrible for your feet because you instinctively need to grip them with your feet while you walk, which is totally awkward for your foot even if you don’t notice it.

That being said, I wear flip flops and shoes. Though, on two occasions, I’ve had to walk barefoot through midtown Manhattan. Took me days to get my feet clean. But they didn’t hurt nearly as much as those stinkin heels did!!

Val123's avatar

@Draconess25 I tried that…I didn’t see it come up..

Great answers guys!

skfinkel's avatar

Bare feet when possible. Yes!

rebbel's avatar

If you still want to move it to social i think you can contact a mod who can do that for you.
I never was barefoot when i was young, actually wasn’t barefoot ever, until some years ago when, in Greece, saw lots of children move about without shoes.
I started to do it too, but it was pretty hard because my feet were much too ‘fragile’ to walk on grass, asfalt, gravel, even sand.
It tickled and sometimes was painful even, but after some weeks my feet got used to it and it really is a very natural feeling i find now.
You are more in contact with Mother Earth, as it were.

Seek's avatar

My son is 21 months old. I’ve never bought him a pair of shoes.

He gets hand-me-downs from a friend 6 months older than he is, and has worn those shoes… maybe a total of six hours in his entire existence.

When he was a little baby, he’d scream if his feet were touching anything – socks, blankets, whatever. He wanted to be free. Now, he says “shoosh?” and wears my shoes around the house, but will take off his shoes within five minutes. I give up. As long as he learns to wear shoes when he goes to college, I’m happy.

Val123's avatar

Another thing that I don’t understand is why parents put those gosh awful, flat bottomed baby shoes on kids who are just learning how to walk. It’s got to be like having boards strapped to your feet!

Seek's avatar


It’s worse than that. My feet are permanently disfigured because my mother kept me in hard shoes that were too small for most of my young childhood. It causes me pain very often, and it’s nigh on impossible to find shoes that fit comfortably.

I highly recommend that parents let their children go barefoot as much as possible in their formative years, and if they must wear shoes, to check them often for comfortable fit.

Val123's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wow….I am sorry….what was your mom’s problem?

Seek's avatar

She was a bad parent. Enough said.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t do shoes until the child can walk completely on their own. My son started walking at 11 months, but it took another month for him to stop falling. He didn’t wear shoes until 13 months old..And only when we’d go out (he was born in July, so by this point he was walking all the time and it was colder)
No shoes in the house. He can take them off at the park or whatever. I don’t allow no shoes when playing on indoor playsets (we have one at a local mall). But really, he has a pair of sneakers, sandals and crocs. He mainly wears the crocs, but I’ve seen him fall pretty bad because of them, so sneakers for really active play. (he’s almost 3.)
He just played outside in no shoes…I don’t mind that. We’re near a parking lot though, and I worry about glass or sharp rocks.

Jeruba's avatar

I let them feel the grass, the dirt, the tree branches, the mud with their feet. When it came time to put on shoes, there was a struggle. My older boy actually quit walking for days when I shod him. I should have done it gradually, starting earlier.

Val123's avatar

There are a couple of kids that I watch occasionally, and if I ever suggest they go outside barefooted, they almost go into melt down! They just can’t fathom it….

LuckyGuy's avatar

We don’t do shoes in the house, but almost always have something on outside.
Hey! Deer, dogs, and ducks defecate ‘dere!

charliecompany34's avatar

i hate being barefoot

charliecompany34's avatar

@Val123 ok stuff like water at poolside, water in the bathroom, kitchen floor, carpet, any bare floor, cold floors, grass, asphalt driveways, rocks (ok sand is OK), but any surface makes me feel like the ground i’m walking on is unstable or gritty to the point where i’m like—“ok i need my house shoes on.”

i hate going over people’s houses who have that damn “no shoes” rule because their carpet is bleach blond white. ok, i’ll respect that—i know i know; i’ll take off the shoes, but can i pleae wear something on my feet while i’m in the kitchen?

i do cooking demos at people’s houses and i cook on other sites like i would cook in my own kitchen—with something on my feet. it’s my security blanket. it just feels right.

Val123's avatar

@charliecompany34 Boy! I find that hard to fathom! I’m always barefooted, except when it’s cold. May I ask…did your Mom insist that you wear shoes, or is this just something you’ve always felt?

charliecompany34's avatar

but to answer the question because sometimes i just jump right in: maybe two of my three sons walk around barefoot. one just loves to be naked down to his drawers and the other is too lazy to find some socks. but i always say get some socks on just to be safe. small shards of glass perhaps, tiny pebbles, cold floors, the threat of walking blindly into a bedpost or table leg. just have something on to buffer the brunt of pain that will ensue.

been there

Val123's avatar

@charliecompany34 I’ve been there too! My feet have toughened up so that I don’t notice pebbles or even glass, and as for stubbing your toe well…that’s more likely to happen in the dark when you’re trying to find your way to the bathroom!

Thanks for your input here!

MissAusten's avatar

I only insist my kids wear shoes if we are going someplace other than the yard or the beach (or in the house, of course). They love to be barefoot, and don’t even like to wear socks or slippers. When they were babies, they didn’t wear shoes until they started walking, and even then it was only when their feet needed protection from either the cold or sharp objects. I’d read that not wearing shoes when learning to walk was better for their feet.

My middle child absolutely hated to wear shoes as an infant and toddler. He’d ball up his toes so I couldn’t even get the shoes on his feet. He started walking when he was 10 months old, and there were times when it just wasn’t safe to let him run around with bare feet. The only thing he’d wear were those booties with traction on the bottom. It drove my mother-in-law crazy! Eventually he decided shoes were OK. My other two had no problem getting used to wearing sneakers once they had the hang of walking (and they all walked early, at either 9 or 10 months).

We have these elderly neighbors who every summer comment on my kids not wearing shoes to run around the back yard. One day, they brought me some shoes their grandkids had outgrown. I think they worried that my kids were barefoot because we couldn’t afford shoes. It’s the only logical reason they could come up with for my kids being barefoot. Too bad the shoes they gave me smelled and were full of mouse turds. I keep telling them, “They just like to be barefoot!” Heck, even I go barefoot in the yard all summer. They just don’t know what they’re missing with their feet encased in those clunky orthopedic shoes!

OK, funny story, even though this answer is so long. My daughter likes being barefoot indoors so much that her kindergarten teacher had a problem getting her to keep her shoes and socks on at school. She said every time she turned around, my kid would be peeling her socks off and stashing them under her desk!

Val123's avatar

@MissAusten LOL! I agree that there are times when shoes are called for, but anymore it seems to be turning into the same over-protective parental state that we seem to be slipping into.
When my daughter was little she had some moccasins, and they were the BEST. I’ve never found kid moccasins like that again.

poofandmook's avatar

I have “house shoes” too, but the problem is, I wear them everywhere. My beloved adidas slides. I wear them all spring/summer long. And I love that these are the only sandals that it’s cool to wear socks with. A nice white pair of no-show socks and my precious slides. I buy a new pair every summer, and with good reason; my previous year’s pair are pretty worn and cruddy at the end. I will even wear them in the winter with socks and sweats if it’s not snowy or wet on the ground. But they’re what I grab when I need to run downstairs to the basement or outside for a second. I don’t like going barefoot on the other floors of the house.

I <3 them.

JLeslie's avatar

We rarely went barefoot outside growing up. When we did, it was because we got away with it. My mom was worried about stepping on something that would hurt our feet, glass, nail, you would think I lived in a junk yard. Meanwhile, I remember vividly playing in the park one day and a girl who lived in our building screaming out because she stepped on a long needle (not a sewing needle, some sort of needle from a tree or something) it must have been a half inch ino her foot and another inch sticking out. I remember my mom pulling it out of her foot and carrying her into the building. We were always barefoot indoors though.

My husband’s family NEVER is barefoot inside the house or out. Seems to be a Latin American thing. When his neice and nephew used to come to my house I would have them remove their shoes at the door. One day his mom, their grandmother, came over to my house, and they took off their shoes and she began to scold them. I stopped her. My husband’s brother thinks it is germy to have barefoot in the house. The truth is many more germs are on the floors of people who keep their shoes on. I guess if you switch to house shoes at the door it would be ok.

Val123's avatar

@JLeslie HA ha! Can’t win for losing, aye! Great post!

JLeslie's avatar

@Val123 A few months after tha incident with my mother-in-law I was at her house and the kids ran in and tracked some outside inside, and she said, “maybe JLeslie is right.” I give her credit for giving me credit. LOL.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Im pretty sure my penis has more nerve endings than the soles of my feet. I just had to put that out there.


Only when they go outside. There’s just too many hazardous things that can be lying around on the ground should one of my children inadvertently step on it——-broken glass, sharp rocks, dog doo, bugs, poisonous materials, etc. At home they’re barefoot all the time. ——-Mr. Shiny Shoes. ;)

YARNLADY's avatar

No, we hardly ever wear shoes unless we are going shopping. I give my 3 yo grandson a choice he can wear shoes or go in the grocery basket seat – he usually chooses shoes. I keep a pair of explorer shoes for him to slip on in case he wants to play in the wilderness part of the yard.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Moved to Social Section.

augustlan's avatar

My mom used those hard baby shoes on me, but as soon as I was old enough to run around outside without her (much younger in those days!) I ditched my shoes. Until one summer when I was about 8 or 9 and stepped on a metal bottle cap which got stuck in my big toe, and, like, 5 bees over the course of the summer. Being stung on the foot is no fun. After that I opted to wear shoes outside unless I was at the beach. Until one summer when I was 13 or so, and got a huge chunk of wood stuck in the bottom of my foot from walking on a brand new deck/dock at the beach. Boy, I thought the bees hurt… that was nothing compared to getting multiple shots of local anesthesia in the arch of my foot so they could cut the wood out! This was on the first day of my beach vacation, too. :(
I’ve been pretty attached to my shoes ever since! I even wear shoes inside, but they’re comfy clogs (my house shoes).

I never put shoes on my kids until after they walked well (except for little mary janes for pictures). They were raised to take their shoes off when inside, and I don’t make them wear them in the yard, either. Anything farther away than that, though, and they have to wear them.

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan Wow. You learned the hard way.

Val123's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 That would be the automatic assumption, but think about it….in nature we are designed to go barefoot. The soles of our feet are our advanced warning system, and it’s really important that they be sensitive. I think in the natural it’s probably more important to the survival of the individual to have the greatest number of nerves on the sole of the foot, whereas the other isn’t really necessary to the survival of the individual, but only to encourage procreation. Which nature feels is really important too!

All in all it seems to be a matter of opinion more than anything because I haven’t found any scientific answer to the question. If you google it, the answer seems to be the one you gave, but all of those are on thing like and Google Answers which is often just people stating their opinion without any links.

My source, which isn’t much better, came from a Trivial Pursuit game a long time ago! The question was asked, everyone started giggling of course, and as I thought about it, the logic above came to mind, and according to TP it was correct.

I’d really like to find a definitive scientific source on this. Is what I’d really like!

@augustlan Ouch! Man, I’ve stepped on toothpicks and had to extract them, tore open a gash in my foot by running and stepping on some thick piece of small tree that had recently been mowed over (more than once!,) glass in my foot, bee stings, you name it! Never occurred to me to put on shoes tho! Urm..maybe that’s why they made you a mod and not me. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Val123 I kind of agree and disagree. In nature, if we were barefoot all of the time, we would have thick calluses on the bottom of our feet. Once, during a pedicure a woman shaved the bottom of my feet. I was hesitant when she did, but the woman sitting next to me said the reason she went to that salon was because they shaved the bottom of her feet. The next few days my feet were sore, and honestly it took months for me to feel like my feet were normal again. Having been a dancer, and someone who worked in retail on her feet all day for many years, and rarely having any sort of foot soreness or pain, I could not understand why people want soft moisturized looking beautiful feet. Dancers pray for calluses. Now, when I hear people complain about the bottom of their feet being sore, I always ask if they get pedicures that remove all of the rough stuff.

I went through that whole story to say that shoes keep us from having to produce thick callusses, if they fit well. I would guess that even in cavemen days they possibly made a simple shoe, maybe much like a moccasin, that would not change our foot or the arch, but still protect us from getting cut or stepping in something bad. My theory is nature is there as a symbiotic presence. It is not just what we are born with, but what we utilize in nature to preserve ourselves.

Val123's avatar

@JLeslie I agree totally with everything you said! There are many ways that we humans have “improved” over nature, including shoes and clothing in harsh climates. But the original reasons for nature providing us (and all other animals) with feet that can take it hasn’t changed. It can’t change in just a couple of million years. So the theory that there are more nerve endings on the soles of your feet than anywhere else sure sounds good! If not as fun as nerve endings in other areas!

mattbrowne's avatar

No, only when we were using public sidewalks, streets, buildings etc. At home, in the garden, at the beach, swimming pool etc they decided. Only exception cool season of course.

Val123's avatar

Funny…yesterday the city guys were workin in our driveway and yard laying new gas pipe. I parked all our vehicles out in the street along our house. When it was time to bring the cars in, I trucked across our rock driveway, and out into the street. I couldn’t get the first car started, so I trucked back down the street and across our rock driveway to get the keys to the Buick to turn it around to jump the dead car. All this barefooted, in 89 degree temps, which is hot enough to warm up the black top fairly well, but not like, screamin’ blister hot when it’s 103, and you find your self jumping like a stung flea from minute shadows to white pedestrian crossings all the way across town.
Anyway, being the Nice City Guys that they were they wandered over to see what was up (and as it turned out, it was a good thing they were Big City Guys too, because we had to push the dead car into the driveway in the end, and I stood by, in the street, ready to help push if needed. Still barefooted.) One of the guys kept looking at me, and finally said, “Isn’t that pavement hot?”
I said, “Uh, fairly warm!”
Then he looked at me oddly again and said, “You didn’t even flinch when you went across your driveway…”
What can say?! I’m Mondo Woman!

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