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Impact Fellowship Blog

Barefootedness and Israel-Grant Rotbart

    Posted by Grant Rotbart on 11.18.21

Over the last few weeks in Israel, I have developed a strong interest in being barefoot. This may be a strange and unconventional topic to take up and especially write a blog about, which it is, but it is happening nonetheless.

            The first instance of me being introduced to the barefoot lifestyle was when I saw a video on TikTok of a person walking around wearing what I knew as toe shoes. I thought they were funny and got interested in buying a pair for myself, so I googled “toe shoes” and learned that the original and still leading brand is called Vibram and that this popular and beloved line is called FiveFingers. Then, I fell down the internet rabbithole and soon found myself watching YouTube videos and reading articles about the benefits of wearing these shoes. Then in the following weeks, I continued down the rabbithole and learned the benefits of being completely barefoot and restoring the feet we were born with.

            This seemingly outlandish topic has more significance and relation to my time in Israel than even I would have expected.  Our feet do so much for us that we often don’t realize: they let us move around and keep us grounded and stable, and when we cushion our feet with conventional shoes, we constrict them, we restrict the range of muscles from working to their full potential, and we literally place a barrier between them and the Earth. As I tried walking around barefoot to better my foot health, I noticed benefits beyond the corporeal ones. People always talk about this country and connecting to the land of Israel, and the way I found to do that is physically. Of course, I am easing into this lifestyle and am not as extreme as some advocates, but the times I have gone barefoot so far, I really just felt so much better.

            Israelis are a step ahead of much of the world in getting into the mindset of connecting to the Earth. Wearing sandals is a noticeable part of Israeli culture, and this is a fantastic gateway to barefootedness; and seeing it definitely contributed to my discovery. I encourage you to take this a step further and try walking around barefoot and feel the physical and spiritual benefits.

Grant Rotbart