Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Go Barefoot

I have been remiss. Between the traveling, the freelancing, the podcasting, and the social media blitz I’ve been on of late, I haven’t had a chance to film and upload a Trigger HAPPY Thursday for you. So I’m fixing that now.

Today’s happiness trigger may seem a little wonky, but I promise that, once you try it, you won’t want to go back.

Let me start by saying that one of my favorite possessions is my pair of black five-inch heels. I bought them when I was in a production of Dead Man’s Cellphone with the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival back in 2009, and I’ve only ever pulled them out on special occasions. There’s a part of me that has always equated heels with adulthood, and my latent shoe fetish was fed by the many years during which I watched Sex and the City  growing up.

If you’ve read my blog or seen the ugly photos on my Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, what have you, then you know that I have been dealing with a chronic ankle injury for the last two years (the end of May will be the official two-year anniversary of that fated four mile run that has led me down the chronic pain rabbit hole). And, due to that pain, I have not been able to wear heels in two years. (The exception: I wore wedges to my sister’s college graduation and pumps to an audition. Both times, I paid for it.)


This is from a “can’t wear shoes” day

Not only am I unable to tolerate heels, but I also cannot wear any shoes that press against my ankle bone–and on particularly sensitive days, I can’t wear shoes period.
Which leads me to today’s trigger: Go Barefoot.

After reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Connection and doing some research on the phenomenon known as “earthing” or “grounding,” I stopped sweating the fact that shoes cause me physical pain, and started using my affliction to get in touch with the ground.

If you’ve never heard of earthing, I won’t go too far into the details, here, but, to quote, “Earthing” [i.e. Direct contact of the body with the earth] “generates a powerful and positive shift in the electrical state of the body and restores natural self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms.” In other words, going barefoot can naturally trigger happy.

There are a whole bunch of products, like mats and shoes, out there that can give you similar benefits by facilitating the same transfer of electrons as if you were in direct contact with the Earth, but I figured I’d just cut out the middle man and embrace my unshod feet.

Now, since I am a member of a society that operates on the principle of “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” I figured I’d at least have to pay lip service to sandals. I went to my nearest dance shop and bought a pair of Capezio Sandasols, which cover the balls of my feet but leave me mostly unrestricted. I started by wearing them only indoors, but I started acclimating myself to the outdoors–where you get the actual benefits of earthing–by taking longer and longer walks with my dog. While I don’t wear my un-shoes while commuting in the city, I did wear them all over Austin, Texas and I wear them when I’m home in San Jose.


Going mostly barefoot at Paleo F(X)

There’s something very freeing about being (mostly) barefoot. My little un-shoes look enough like sandals that I don’t get too many questions, but they’ve definitely caused a stir. While they’re not going to get me preferred seating at the next black tie event, they’ve given me the opportunity to practice using the muscles in my feet and legs that will help me stabilize and rehab my ankle more effectively–and I have the added bonus of being able to feel the grass between my toes.

Sometimes, it’s the littlest things can help trigger HAPPY–do you think you’d ever try going barefoot? Have you ever tried earthing?

Stay hungry,


4 thoughts on “Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Go Barefoot

  1. I think you are great, love your writing…
    I so wish I could have people like you around…
    People around me think I am crazy with my primal / paleo stuff…:-(
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Chantal! I know how frustrating it can be to field the unending office lunch inquisitions (“What do you mean you don’t eat bread?”) or try to justify why you can’t work a 12 hour day every day (“it’s bad for my adrenal fatigue!”)

      That’s why it’s so great to connect with people who understand online. Just know that I’m here for you! Sometimes it’s easier to get through the day just knowing that there are other people out there who understand…

  2. Hey, shoe-less is great! I’ve started switching to wearing more and more minimal shoes and had unequivocally happier feet and legs.

    But I thought I’d leave a word of warning too–I got a delightful case of hookworms by going barefoot in my own backyard a couple of years ago, so maybe something that covers your whole sole isn’t the worst idea. Maybe ballet shoes? I know barefoot advocates and mainstream medicine often assume parasites don’t happen in “civilized” places like the US, but my lab results suggest that isn’t true. 🙂

    Best of health to you and your bum ankle.

    • Haha, yeah…I’ve definitely considered the parasite thing (especially as a dog owner, I’ve seen them bring in all kinds of creepy crawlies from the yard). It’s a risk–ballet shoes could be a good idea too. I just try not to wear anything that might cut into the side of my foot. Anything with super-strong elastic can be an issue for the pain (which is why I like my little half shoes, because they are comfortable without being tight). Thank you for the suggestion though–might have to look into it!!

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