Bare Feet

Cora - Mill Valley, California
Entered on November 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in bare feet. In class, I often take my shoes off and cross my legs on my chair, letting my toes breathe. I will even walk around downtown barefoot. After cross country practice, I take my shoes off to do sprints on the field. Whenever I get the chance, I love to be without the restriction of shoes.

Each year, a cross country race called the Stinson Relays kicks off the season, where everyone runs a two-mile relay leg on the beach. I love running barefoot on the beach, and in previous years, I had envied the few others who had run the race without shoes. This year, many people warned me that running barefoot could give me bad blisters. However, I decided that this possible risk was worth the freedom of bare feet, so I took off my shoes and jogged to the starting line.

I sprinted off along the beach, arms pumping and feet pushing off the hard sand closest to the ocean. I was running steadily next to a girl from another team, breathing evenly and appreciating the way my feet rolled across the packed sand, from heel to big toe. A wave washed up especially high on the sand, and I splashed right through, not veering from my straight course. The cool water lapped around my ankles, and I had suddenly become a part of the blue expanse of water that gently moved to my left, without a visible destination. The girl I ran next to quickly jumped further up on the sand, trying not to get her shoes wet. Once the wave had rejoined the rest of the ocean, her circular path had placed her behind me, and I did not see her for the rest of the race.

Again and again, I splashed playfully through the waves that increasingly disturbed our path as we ran along the beach, unable to hold in my laughter as other girls shrieked and jumped to the side to keep their shoes dry. My legs turned over easily, and I felt free from the restrictions of shoes and everything else in the world. At the end of my race, my time was the fastest on the team, although I am usually the sixth runner. My feet were blister-free, and I felt exhilarated from the liberation that running barefoot had given me.

I believe in feeling free. I believe in a connection to nature. I believe in simplicity. Being barefoot gives me all of these things. If I never took the risk of being barefoot and maybe stepping on glass or getting blisters, I wouldn’t experience the tranquility that bare feet bring.