zenhabits : breathe

the barefoot philosophy

“Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.”
~ Kozan Ichikyo

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter or identica.

Yesterday morning I ran a few miles in my Vibram Fivefingers, designed to mimic barefoot running (see my guide to barefoot running).

And then I took off the minimalist Fivefinger shoes, and ran completely barefoot for half a mile. It was liberating.

Later, I walked for a couple of hours, taking my sandals off for a good part of the walk. Today I walked barefoot once again. There’s a sensation to barefoot walking that is light, free, simple, joyful.

Imagine walking barefoot on thick grass, or cool night sand. These are wonderful sensations that shod walkers cannot enjoy.

Going barefoot, I realized, is a perfect metaphor for my philosophy of life: the barefoot philosophy.

When you go barefoot, you become naked, you simplify, you become a minimalist.

It’s a hard philosophy to explain, because others often judge it as weird, hippy-like (as if that’s bad), unpractical. It’s very practical, and while it may indeed be weird, it’s also beautiful.

It’s the simple life, in a nutshell.

The Barefoot Philosophy, in Bits

To embrace the Barefoot Philosophy, you don’t actually have to go barefoot. Again, it’s a metaphor for how you might live your life, and these principles can be applied to anything you do.

How to Live a Barefoot Life

The above philosophy is fine, and might appeal to some, but what you want is a practical guide, no?

I’m not going to give it to you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, nor is it desirable to live the life prescribed by someone else. The whole point is to do it on your own, without buying one of my books or doing it exactly as I do.

Live this philosophy, in small bits, and see if you like it. It takes some time to adjust to this approach, but it’s lovely in the end.

Some things to consider and try, though:

post inspired by Adventures of a Barefoot Geek & Barefoot Ted, among others


If you liked this guide, please bookmark it on Delicious or share on Twitter. Thanks, my friends.


If you’re interested in a simple life, check out my ebook: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.

Or find more of my other books and ebooks.



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