Around a year ago, El Robertson decided to ditch her shoes and opt for a barefoot lifestyle.
The 25-year-old, from Bristol, now lives her daily life shoe-less and says her feet have never been in better condition.
‘Going barefoot was an awakening of how I should be and how well it works for me,’ explains El – who hasn’t bought a new pair of shoes in two years.
‘I feel like it is quite misunderstood as people always tell me how it’s dangerous and irresponsible.
‘Although, I feel more secure and confident without shoes on, I’m also able to get proper feedback from the ground. My feet are a lot more grippy than shoes on the rocky ground.
‘I always almost go barefoot. I have a few pairs of trainers if wanted to look nice or fashionable but for every day I will be barefoot or wear barefoot shoes.’
El now calls regular shoes ‘foot prisons’ and admits she won’t ever buy another pair again – although adds that she’s sometimes forced to wear them.
She continues: ‘When I go supermarket shopping I have to wear shoes though, as shops don’t like me in there barefoot. I have been into my local Asda and have been asked to leave and put shoes on.
‘I think the bottom of my feet are probably cleaner than what’s on the bottom of some people’s shoes. I don’t feel embarrassed but I think other people don’t like it, maybe some don’t like seeing my toes when food shopping.’
El has even noticed drastic changes in the appearance of her feet since going barefoot.
‘I don’t think I will buy another regular pair of shoes again,’ the 25-year-old says.
‘I’ve not had one blister since going barefoot and I never get hotspots on my feet, only when I put shoes on now I get hotspots. Blisters, arch support, and ankle support are things of the past.
‘When you look at most people’s feet, their little toes are so curled in and it’s not natural, it’s what shoes have done to people’s feet.
‘When I stopped wearing shoes, my feet widened and my toes now have gaps in between each of them, because I was a barefoot kid anyway I have always had wide feet but the main thing is how my toes have spread apart, there is also a big pad of muscle in the arch and mine is now a thick strong muscle.’
El has been sharing her journey over on her YouTube channel ‘Els Ventures’ – and even climbed Mount Snowdon barefoot.
She’s now encouraging others to consider it, too.
El adds: ‘I don’t blindly follow social norms, if it is sensible then I will follow it but I try to think about the things and assumptions people make for us and how we should live our lives.
‘I feel like we should make decisions for ourselves rather than being told what to do by following someone else’s opinion.
‘I find it very liberating, I enjoy to shock and impress people and by being barefoot it’s the easiest way to do that.
‘Also the confidence it’s giving me in my own feet is unbelievable.’
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