Sometimes the best way to unwind is to kick those shoes off and relax after a long day. It is a liberating feeling to release feet from the stiff confines off their shoe prisons and rest them on the nearest couch, table, chair or desk. While no one would object to lounging around the house barefoot, some may strongly object to walking around barefoot in public.
While some students at Pepperdine embrace the no-shoe lifestyle, this choice can potentially lead to negative impacts on the individual and the people around them. For the sake of the community around them, Pepperdine students should not walk around campus barefoot.
First, going barefoot around campus can put stress on the feet and body. Walking around barefoot for long periods of time puts pressure on the ‘pronation’ of the foot which can lead to support problems, according to an article written by Sam Brodsky for Metro US, published in June 2018. Podiatrist Dr. Miguel Cunha, quoted in the article, said pronation helps absorb shock and distribute weight with each step taken. “A natural pronation rolls inward at 15 percent as it comes in contact with the ground and supports body weight,” Cunha said.
Walking barefoot often on hard surfaces can alter the pronation, or natural movement, of a foot. “This imbalance may increase the progression of underlying foot deformities,” Cunha said. These deformities can lead to things such as bunions, hammertoes or painful conditions such as arch or heel pain, shin splints, posterior tibial tendonitis and Achilles tendonitis, Cuhna said.
Along with distortions to the foot, going barefoot in public places can also spread health risks to other people around you. Walking around barefoot can expose your feet to harmful bacteria and infections which can contaminate areas of campus.
Fungal infections can occur by walking anywhere fungal spores grow, including public gyms, swimming pools, public bathrooms and college dorms, Mary Brophus wrote in her article “Four Gross Things That Can Happen When You Go Barefoot,” published Feb. 8, 2018 by Men’s Health. The best way to avoid the potential development and spread of these infections is to simply wear shoes.
On the other hand, some argue that there are benefits to going barefoot. Dr. Bruce Pinker, podiatrist and foot surgeon, said that walking barefoot more closely resembles our natural walking pattern in an article published by Healthline. Other benefits may include pain relief, stronger leg muscles and improvements to balance.
While going barefoot in public may seem liberating, it can be hazardous to the individual and the students around them. Please do not come to class barefoot and put your feet up on the desks; it is really unsanitary. At the end of the day, a Pepperdine student should just ask WWJD?
He wore sandals.
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