About 63% to 72% of people do not wear the right shoes for their feet, according to a 2018 study. There is evidence that shows that it is better to ditch those shoes and walk barefoot, the way your ancestors did long before shoes were created. So it looks like it’s better to spend time out in nature than shop for another pair of shoes.

Bright Side takes a step into the world of barefoot walking to understand the advantages of taking off your shoes and feeling the ground directly under your feet.

1. Reduces bunions and hammertoes

In order to avoid bunions, it is advised that you walk barefoot so you can strengthen the foot muscles and allow the feet and toes to be in their natural position.

2. Allows for good strength and stability in the muscles

A lot of shoes have excessive cushioning and support that make you feel more comfortable when walking. However, this padding can prevent you from using certain muscle groups that can actually strengthen your body, according to Dr. Bruce Pinker, a foot surgeon.

3. Increases your body’s awareness of your surroundings

This is especially important for babies and little children who are just learning how their bodies work. By allowing them to walk without shoes, they are more likely to get better sensory information from their feet to their brain. Adults can benefit from this as well.

4. Improves sleep

Walking barefoot outside is part of what is called earthing or grounding. It is when you have contact with the Earth’s surface electrons. Earthing was shown to have improved sleep for people who have trouble sleeping, in a particular study.

5. Reduces stress

The same study also proved that earthing can reduce stress. All participants in the test study reported that their stress levels had either been greatly reduced or disappeared entirely.

6. Boosts energy levels

Getting in touch with nature can be relaxing and hence recharge your energy. Taking some time to be in nature can give you the energy you need to get back to modern society.

7. Allows for better control of your foot position

Walking barefoot more closely restores your ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as your gait, according to Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon with Hoag Orthopedic Institute. As such, the positioning of your foot as it strikes the ground will be better than when you wear shoes.

8. Improves balance

Walking barefoot is better than wearing deeply cushioned shoes when it comes to balance. People’s feet become less sensitive as they age. If they have also lost touch with the ground, they might become more prone to falling, says evolutionary biologist Daniel E. Lieberman.

9. Keeps your knees, hips, and core in proper alignment

Your knees, hips, and core will be better aligned without shoes because the cushioned soles of sneakers, for example, push out your pelvis and change your natural posture. In fact, no matter which shoes you wear, they will shape your knees, hips, and core a little differently than the natural state.

10. Reduces pain and inflammation

study on the effects of earthing showed that it can reduce pain and inflammation. It appears that contact with Earth’s surface serves as an effective “battery” for you.

11. Strengthens the immune system

One of the many studies on earthing has shown that it does have a great impact on your immune system. People who did earthing while exercising during the research suffered less pain and had a shorter recovery time than those who exercised normally.

12. Reduces the risk of heart disease

Earthing increases the surface charge of red blood cells, which reduces the clumping in the cells. When the blood thickness is reduced, as a result, the risk of heart disease is also reduced significantly.

13. Improves the ways the body works to sustain life

There is evidence in studies that earthing improves the nervous system, the blood flow, and the very way your organ systems, cells, and tissues work together.

Have you ever walked outside without shoes? Knowing these benefits now, would you try barefoot walking?