Why walking barefoot like Drew Barrymore is actually good for you

After the actress went barefoot and braless for a walk in New York City, we look at the health benefits of baring your soles

Why walking barefoot is good for you, Couple on the street under the rain, woman walking barefoot
(Image credit: Marc Bruxelle / Alamy Stock Photo)

Drew Barrymore decided to ditch her shoes and her bra before going on a walk in New York City. And while many of us squirmed in horror at the thought of her standing on broken glass or stubbing her toes on the sidewalk, there are actually some health benefits - for the mind and body and soles - to be had by going shoeless.

Drew, 46, recently opened up about her time in a psych ward when she was a teenager and spoke of having reconciled with her mom after years of estrangement as they both now have "respect and maturity." But while seeing Drew walk shoeless takes us back to those carefree childhood days, we look at the health benefits.

And while best running shoes for women and even the best walking shoes we own, have a built-in support to cushion your feet as you walk, they can also prevent you from using certain muscle groups that can actually strengthen your body, according to Dr. Bruce Pinker, board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon.

So it could be worth trying it out. Although if you're too nervous to let your actual skin touch the ground then you could wear one of the best walking socks to keep you a bit more comfortable.

Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, foot and ankle specialist and orthopaedic surgeon with Hoag Orthopaedic Institute, explained to Healthline, "The most straightforward benefit to barefoot walking is that in theory, walking barefoot more closely restores our ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as our gait."

What are the health benefits of walking barefoot?

Improved balance

Better movement

Stronger leg muscles

What are the dangers of walking barefoot?

While walking barefoot around the house is relatively safe, outdoors opens up a whole range of potential risks that could pose a danger to your health.

Dr. Kaplan explained, “Without appropriate strength in the foot, you are at risk of having poor mechanics of walking, thereby increasing your risk for injury." So it's important that you consider this when you’re beginning to incorporate barefoot walking after having spent most of your life in shoes.

He also advised thinking about the surface being walked on. While it may be more natural to walk or exercise barefoot, without additional padding from shoes, you are susceptible to injury from the terrain (like rough or wet surfaces or issues with temperature, glass, or other sharp objects on the ground).

You also risk exposing your feet to harmful bacteria or infections when you walk barefoot, especially outside.

How to walk or exercise barefoot safely in 3 steps:

1. Start slow

2. Try doing it indoors

3. Practise outdoors on safe surfaces

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Celebrity Writer with more than 13 years experience in newspapers and magazines. She is currently Senior Entertainment writer for Goodto.com, womanandhome.com and Myimperfectlife.com

Before joining Future [formerly TI Media], Selina spent two years as a Showbiz Freelance Writer, worked as a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine. Selina previously spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she was awarded a O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her getting into a spin on the ice, planning her next Mini adventure or making memories!