It’s still summer. Let’s give our feet a hand!

August 13, 2023

(Thomas Froese)

(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, August 12, 2023)

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Today I’d like to give some advice to Canada’s soccer players. But first let me say that I’ve decided to finally start that rock-‘n’-roll band. We’ll call ourselves “The Barenaked Feet.” This is because “The Barenaked Ladies” is taken and “The Barenaked Men” conveys certain images that many people, especially women, will just laugh at.

I’ve also decided to fire the cleaning lady. I called a family meeting. “Dad’s starting a band, “The Barenaked Feet,”” explained the children’s mother. “And he’s firing the cleaning lady.” The children (who aren’t really children; one is now quite tall and hairy) gave me strange looks. This is because I’m not musical. And we have no cleaning lady. I’m the cleaning lady.

The house cleaning, or lack of, goes with the bare feet. Which relates to the soccer players. But everything goes back to my father. “Son,” he said. “Shoes are bad for your health. They block the earth’s magnetism.” So I grew up running around in bare feet.

I had some doubts, but, even so, avoided north and south poles where the earth’s magnetism is strongest and able to pull wandering boys into China.  And even now, during morning walks with the dog, or during the high-powered meetings I have on this topic with corporate heads of this newspaper, I’ll still slip off my footwear for a good morning airing-out of the feet.

(Okay, in truth, corporate heads haven’t yet agreed to meet with me. But my father, a therapeutic massage therapist who practiced for 60 years, was very much a barefoot advocate. And, funny enough, the first newspaper I worked at had a relaxed managing editor who loved walking around the newsroom in her bare feet.)

But back to house cleaning. For the happiest feet, I suggest simply letting your home’s dirt gather as high as possible. You might also bring in truckloads of dirt to grow grass right inside your house. Morning, dewy grass is especially helpful according to the Barefoot Movement. This is a new wave of barefooters encouraging more of us to live like Shoeless Joe, especially in our anxious and medicated time.

So ditch your shoes now and again. You’ll feel more relaxed. You’ll have better posture. Stronger feet. More traction. Earth’s dirt can even heal your wounds faster. This is the emerging story on going shoeless, also called “grounding” or “earthing.” It relates to the healing nature of earth’s magnetism. This is the new, old science. Go figure. Dad Froese wasn’t crazy. And if you want to earth at home? Now you can buy dirt pads for, say, the home office.

Now I’m not one to give unsolicited advice. But about Canada’s soccer players. Does anyone maybe want to rethink some basic foot training? I mean there’s a reason Australia hosted this summer’s World Cup and then knocked out our beloved Canadian women. Australia is the western world’s leading barefoot culture. Down Under, if you wear anything, you might wear just a thong. (No, not that thong. This thong is a thin rubber sandal.)

Yes, Australia, Canada’s warmer cousin, is one relaxed, sure-footed, nation. Going shopping? Go shoeless. The movie theatre? Shoes are optional. Going elsewhere downtown? Same. Uptown? Come on, dude, be earthy. Be grounded. What’s with the shoes? Sure, shoes are still often worn, especially in big cities. But who founded today’s Barefoot Movement and hosts its podcast? Paul Thompson, a podiatrist based in, you guessed it, Australia.

Now we still have some summer ahead. So isn’t it time to give credit where it’s due? Let’s give the world’s feet a hand. Give them a song. I’d call it, “Don’t worry. Be happy, feet.”

And in our everyday world of body parts, if you think of yourself as just a lowly foot, don’t worry about this either. Roll with it. We all have our place. The truth is, the party wouldn’t be complete without you. In fact, without you, nobody’s going anywhere.




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August 13, 2023 • Posted in ,
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2 thoughts on “It’s still summer. Let’s give our feet a hand!”

  1. Nice read. I always love to walk with my bare feet. Much to the surprise of my judgemental neighborhood. Whether they think I am crazy or not, atleast I am not alone in this.
    Glad to know that I have many other ” earthed”, or is it ” grounded” colleagues elsewhere.
    A ” barefoot get together” would be in order.
    Thanks for the piece

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