Bare Feet in the Office?


This summer in my podiatry clinic at Botanica I have been asked by some clients about bare feet in the office.  You wouldn’t believe some of the myths I’ve hear.

No you can not transmit a fungal infection through the air conditioning!

Wearing well fitted footwear is really important in today’s society, we are no longer acclimatised to barefoot walking so it is important to make sure that if you choose to take up bare foot running which is becoming increasingly popular you should gradually introduce it and don’t go all out straight away.

Barefoot running can cause impact fractures and other problems in unacclimatised people as you will take shortened steps and end up hitting the floor with the middle of your foot instead of the heal.  However, this blog is not about running, it is about the office so lets get back on track.

There are many benefits to being barefoot, firstly your feet can breath in their own natural way allowing any minor abrasions etc to dry out and heal naturally.  However, this same process can make already dry cracked feet worse.  It can also help prevent certain smells which would normally build up over the course of the day.

As well as the benefits, there are some draw backs.  firstly, your colleagues may not be happy with it and this can secretly divide the office. who want to sit next to the person with the smelly feet.

More importantly though there are health and safety risks like drawing pins, sometimes broken glass or just small hard objects will be both very painful to stand on but also can lead to more serious complications if a wound gets infected.

It is very important to consider the benefits of wearing shoes.  Insoles can keep the body in the best possible position to help relieve a myriad of muscle and bone related problems and prevent pain and damage caused by a bad gait.  If you have any such problems, Rosemarie Newman, my esteemed colleague, specialises in Gait Analysis and Biomechanics and is happy to give basic advice over the phone but as with the nature of biomechanics a full assessment needs to be undertaken in order to give full personalised advice. Rosemaries contact details can be found in the Gait Analysis page.

Last and by no means least, if you are in a customer facing role, it is alleged that bare feet scares off customers.

In short, keep appropriate footwear on at work and take a gentle short walk in the park on the grass in in your lunch break without your shoes on, but be sure to watch out where your walking.   After a long day you could pamper your feet with a Gehwol foot rub to re-energise and refresh.