When my second born son was 11, he put himself through a personal Barefoot Challenge. He even went the extra mile and videotaped his daily accomplishments. I found this piece of footage he put together once he got used to running in the sharp, dry grass.
THE BAREFOOT CHALLENGE
For my son, this meant walking on hot pavement, climbing our maple tree, riding his bike, and even ordering food from a local (outdoor) restaurant. We did draw the line with any building or storefront that required shoes, but for the most part, he was barefoot for 20 days straight.
It was difficult at first, as we have dry, thorn-filled grass all around our house, and our summer days heat up to over 100 degrees (he completed the challenge in July). But he did it. For an 11-year-old, it's all about troubleshooting how to get from our home to the store a couple of miles away. But he also gained, according to the health experts, a stronger body, less joint pain, better posture, more mobility, and greater health.
Take it one step at a time...
Whether or not you plan to walk 20 days without shoes, you can get a head start on strengthening your feet by walking barefoot around the house as much as possible. One of the most interesting studies (not yet proven) showed that going barefoot reduces inflammation. Inflammation is now the number one cause of disease in the 21st century. One possible solution may be grounding or earthing, the process of reducing inflammation by walking, standing or even sitting barefoot on the ground. According to this view, our bodies carry an unwanted negative charge. Direct contact with the ground allows us to discharge free radicals.
I'll leave that to you to investigate if you'd like. There are plenty of books on the topic of grounding. In the meantime, many of us with children prefer to allow our kids some outdoor play time without putting on shoes before leaving the house. The benefit of feeling grass, earth, water, and concrete make it totally worth it.
Now that your feet are getting stronger, let's make them soft!
Our Foot Rub Lotion Stick works to smooth over cracks, splits, callouses while acting as an anti-fungal treatment.
Here are two more ways to condition your feet:
EXFOLIATE: Walking on the beach will do this, but in case you don't happen to have an ocean within walking distance, mix 1 cup of sea salt with a tablespoon each of olive oil and coconut oil. Blend well with a fork, and then add a few drops of odor-busting, anti-bacterial essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, and lavender. Scrub the mixture onto your feet, leave on for 15 minutes, and then rinse and pat dry. (Play ocean ambient soundscape on YouTube while relaxing.)
LOOFAH: A natural exfoliating tool that you can grow in your backyard, is a loofah, the fibrous sponge that comes from a vining plant in the gourd family. Wet the loofah and use it to scrub your feet. If you're into DIY and soap making, you can actually make the loofah a part of your soap.