Nellies go barefoot for their well-being

MBOMBELA – Laerskool Nelspruit celebrated Nellie Barefoot Day on Friday, an initiative organised by sport coordinator, Duane Henn. Teachers, administration staff and pupils were encouraged to leave their shoes at home for a day.

Henn said the barefoot movement is two-fold. Firstly, it is physical.

When kids are barefoot, they train muscles which don’t develop when they wear shoes all the time. This is extremely important for sport as children can walk and run with a natural gait,” he explained.IMG_0932 (Medium)

“The second part is in the classroom. If kids are barefoot, they feel a sense of belonging and are more comfortable as they feel included. One teacher said her pupils are less inclined to move around or misbehave.”

It does seem the health and developmental advantages of not wearing shoes outweigh the advantages of wearing them around the clock; protection from dirt, thorns and sharp objects.

Also read: Nellies se singspan gee hulle alles 

According to, “The American Podiatric Medical Association now recommends keeping kids out of shoes for as long as possible, because they know shoes weaken and deform the feet. Keep them out of shoes and kids stay healthy. Not only that, but the act of feeling the ground strengthens their senses and helps remap the brain.”

Henn added that shoes are generic and that manufacturers make shoes for children based on adult versions.

“My feet and your feet are shaped differently. That is the problem. Also, shoes, especially sport ones, are incredibly expensive. Parents are bullied into buying the latest brands at ridiculous prices,” he said.

Shoes aren’t all bad, but for everyday life, you don’t need them.”

Long-distance legend Zola Budd’s career was deemed unusual by some as she mainly trained and raced barefoot. Perhaps the Olympic athlete and world champion was simply decades ahead of her time.

Philippa Francis

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