Guest post by Renne Gardner
You’re not a lifeguard. You’re not barefoot survivalist Cody Lundin. Unlike lifeguards and Mr. Lundin (co-star of the Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival), you are likely to have an office job where shoes are mandatory, but the Manolo Blahnik high heels pinch your toes. And the Oxford dress shoes are rubbing the back of your foot raw.
What’s a barefoot runner at the office to do? Why unshod your feet and let your little piggies roam free, of course!
Barefoot at your desk
Shedding one’s shoes is not a problem under cover of desk. Early in the morning, at lunch time or a half hour before quitting time are ideal times to do a little walking and all the toe scrunching, tennis ball massaging and ankle flexing to knead out the minor aches and pains and strengthen your feet for more adventurous forays into the aisles and office corridors. If you have a private office, even better – just close the door! This (and many other tactics) are explained in the running barefoot book, which also offers insight into the shodless lifestyle.
Have a plan and stick to it
If you venture out from under your desk or out of your office, don’t just wander around. Wandering around the office barefoot without a destination or a plan will only increase your chances of an awkward close encounter with your boss. Start small – to the break room or water cooler and back. To your friend’s work station and back. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Do not deviate.
In addition to a planned route, socks are recommended. Your bare feet will be noticed as they stand out in stark contrast to a suit, so keep the socks on. Men’s dark colored socks generally match the dark color of their shoes. So, from a distance, men in dark colored socks will not be conspicuous. Women’s hose are a different story, however. But the solution for you gals is simple: borrow some socks – that match your outfit – from your husband or boy friend.
Despite your best efforts, you may get caught “violating” the office dress code. Always be ready with a good excuse when you are questioned. “Doctor’s orders” is probably your best bet. But equally effective is the twisted ankle from tripping on the office hazard of your choice: torn carpet, tangled computer cables or coffee spill in the break room. For the ladies, the broken heel needing time for the glue to set is a time-tested explanation. And for those who can pull off a convincing look of exasperation, just furrow your brow, look straight ahead and claim, “You DON’T want to know!”
Convince the boss
If your boss can be convinced of the benefits of barefoot running or walking, he or she may better understand the need to lose the shoes. A social situation outside of the office is a great opportunity to pitch the benefits of bare feet. If the boss is a runner, he or she will have most likely have injury stories, which will be opportunities for you to explain how barefoot running can help keep a runner injury-free. Emphasize the effect that over-padded running shoes have on foot plant and increased joint stresses. You could make a convert, or at the very least, a sympathetic boss could be your ticket to worry-free barefoot office strolling.
If none of these suggestions work and the need for barefoot walking and running is too intense to be restricted to your free time out of the office, then there are just one thing left to do. Heed the siren call of a job as a lifeguard or working for Cody Lundin. No dress code for your feet. In fact, no shoes required at all!