I looked into it, and it turns out she was right. It has been found that there are many benefits to going barefoot - and it is being recommended that people lose the shoes as often as possible. I found that people who go barefoot regularly (even people carrying extra weight around) have far fewer foot problems and far less foot soreness than those with shoes. Apparently, shoes are not traditionally made to fit a foots natural contours, and after time, wearing shoes causes damage to the muscles in the feet. Additionally, wearing shoes causes a relaxing of the muscles in the feet and ankles, causing humans to be less able to carry their own weight around.
Going without shoes is supposed to be beneficial to emotional health as well. We have a huge amount of nerve endings in the soles of our feet - and they are meant to help us gather information about our immediate environment. Shoes put a barrier between us and the world, lowering our awareness, impacting our ability to respond to environmental changes, and ultimately leading to feelings of depression. On the flipside, stress, depression and fatigue can be relieved simply by removing your shoes!
There is even a Society For Barefoot Living (http://www.barefooters.org/), a group of people who have chosen to go barefoot as a lifestyle choice. Also, there is the running barefoot website (http://therunningbarefoot.com/), for the growing number of runners who have given up their Reeboks.
While I was looking for information on the health benefits of going barefoot, I found many products available for those making this lifestyle choice. You would think that going barefoot involved the simple decision of whether or not to wear shoes, and would cost next to nothing - but no! Seeing as we are a capitalist society - as long as there are willing consumers, I guess anything can be sold, .
This is one of my favorites: