One couple has the internet gagged after they took multiple trips to the mall with their feet completely exposed to the elements.
American TikTok user Christi Fritz (@christifritz) went viral after she shared that she and her husband live life on the edge, soles not included.
It all started when she posted a video late last month that vlogged her day shopping with her husband where she announced she will no longer be wearing shoes from that day forward.
“I think there are so many benefits of going barefoot outside and we want to take advantage of each and every one of these,” she said in a video that’s garnered over 11 million views as of publication.
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“There’s going to be people that think it’s kinda crazy and look at us weird but the benefits are totally worth it,” she continued.
After getting dirty looks from strangers and being banned from some stores the couple got creative and took things a step further by cutting out the soles from all their shoes so they could continue their barefoot journey uninterrupted.
Fritz believes that going barefoot grounds her and helps connect her to the Earth, claiming it’s a sort of “foot yoga.”
Internet users were quick to remind the couple that they were gallivanting in a dirty mall, not in nature.
“You feel connected to nature while in a Sephora?” one user asked.
“I don’t even like walking barefoot at home,” someone else said.
NOT WHAT THE (FOOT) DOCTOR ORDERED
Toronto Chiropodist Laura Desjardins, who helps assess and treat foot conditions, told Now Toronto that when it comes to being barefoot in public places, it’s a hard pass and not recommended by foot practitioners.
“The number one reason is due to potential dermatological infections. The other reason is also a risk for foot injuries,” Desjardins said in an email statement on Friday.
“Walking around barefooted, especially in places where other people are walking around barefoot, can lead to picking up common infections such as fungus or plantar warts. These are common things we treat in our practice on a daily basis. Not only that there is also the potential risk of stepping on glass and hurting yourself,” she continued.
Desjardins says a healthy person doesn’t commonly pick up major infections when having contact with the floor ,however, if there is an open wound or a little break in the skin, the bacteria can get into the area and become a soft tissue infection.
As a result, she also advocates for anyone who has an immunocompromised condition to avoid walking around barefoot in public to reduce the chance of susceptible infection.
WHAT ABOUT THE BENEFITS?
“There are some health practitioners and philosophers that think walking around barefoot is good for strengthening the foot and preventing injuries. Walking around barefooted is OK in small doses on the proper surface and a softer surface,” Desjardins added.
She goes on to say that as a society we’ve evolved to concrete and hardwood floors and have moved away from soft grass and ground, which makes shoes that much more important than ever.
According to Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, a foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon who spoke with Healthline, there are many benefits to walking or exercising barefoot including better control of your feet, improvements in balance and body awareness, relief from shoes (which may cause deformities) and stronger leg muscles, which support the lower back region.
However, he agrees that it’s best done at home and not outside.
When it comes to Fritz’s claims of overwhelming health benefits and apparent “food yoga,” Desjardins says if your foot is not properly adapted to walking without shoes all day it can lead to dry calluses and stress fractures.
“Every step you take you are losing moisture and socks help to keep the moisture in the foot. The foot doesn’t simply strengthen by just walking around barefooted; it needs to be properly put through a strengthening protocol which can take up to a year to safely adjust,” she said.
A couple went viral for walking barefoot in public – Here’s the reasons why a Toronto foot practitioner says life sans shoes isn’t it