Q7: Don’t you have to stare at the ground all the time?
Not at all. At first, new barefooters may feel like they need to, because the feelings and sensations that are coming from the soles of their feet are so new and not something they are used to feeling. There may be a fear that with each new step, something hurtful might be right there on the ground where they are about to place their foot. But as we gain more experience in walking around barefoot on different surfaces, we soon discover that, though there are infinite variations in the roughness of the surface, there is really very little chance of actually stepping on something that will hurt or injure our bare foot.
Not that we don’t always need to be aware of what’s on the surface we’re walking on or what we’re about to step on – even more so than when wearing shoes – but that is accomplished by learning to scan the terrain ahead of us generally using peripheral vision. We soon learn to be able to look ahead at the scenery, other people, or whatever we want to look at when walking, while at the same time are also able to scan the ground a few yards ahead in order to be aware of what our bare feet are about to encounter.
It’s kind of similar to driving an automobile. Our eyes watch the road where we’re driving, but at the same time, our eyes are able to see and our brains become aware of other things going on in traffic – without directly looking at them – that might affect our actions at the wheel.