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Shoes. They're just so last season!

Now that we've all largely gotten used to plodding around in slippers and socks all day, it can feel like a tough step getting back into everyday footwear.

The shift, on some levels, might not be such a bad thing, especially given that walking barefoot has been shown to help restore our natural walking pattern (gait) and improve foot mechanics . It's also useful for ‘grounding’ and present-moment awareness, which in turn can help with managing stress and tension.

It’s a technique made famous, in part, by Richard Gere, who many will recall strolling barefoot and pensively in the park in that unforgettable scene from Pretty Woman. Watching it, we defy anyone not to be tempted to whip their shoes off, and cop a squat in true 80s Hollywood romance style!

For every dry, sunny day of summer that remains, there's a small window of opportunity to put this simple exercise into practice, for our general wellbeing as well as stress management. It can seem like a long shot, particularly when much of the mechanisms hinge on some fairly 'zen' concepts (think electrons and negative energy), but if there is one thing never to underestimate, it's the restorative power of anything which brings us closer to nature, as barefoot walking inevitably does.

Normally, we'd have had the luxury of walking barefoot on the beach, as way of shifting our bodies back into some sort of homeostasis, ahead of the autumn. In the absence of this sand-between-the-toes-and-sun-on-the-back elixir, a barefoot walk in the park might be the best way to make the current restrictions more of just that.

Just one word of advice, check the area for hazards before venturing anywhere without shoes!

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