Kate Hudson, Anthony Anderson and More Celebrities Walk Barefoot Outside—Are There Any Health Benefits?

Here’s what to know before you kick off your shoes.

a collage featuring Cate Blanchett, Chris Pine, and Jacob Elordi to show some of the examples of recent celebrity barefoot outings

Blanchett: Victor Boyko. Pine: Jacopo Raule. Elordi: Alessandra Benedetti. Getty Images. Collage: Cassie Basford.

My job consists of reporting on the latest food and health news, as well as interviewing top names in the industry. One of my go-to curiosity questions is asking people about their morning routines—it’s nice to hear about how anyone begins their day, the rituals they stick by and their habits that help them start on the right foot.

I started noticing a theme– there’s a new “health trend” on the rise outside of your typical ice baths and lemon water. It’s walking first thing in the morning sans shoes.

“My morning ritual now consists of me walking around barefoot in my backyard, grounding myself as soon as I wake up,” Anthony Anderson shared in my interview with him back in November. I thought this was a surprising one-off—until I asked Kate Hudson the same question a couple of months later and received a similar response.

“About an hour after I wake up, I'll have coffee or tea and walk outside barefoot and do sun gazing, which is one of my new favorite things to do before my kids wake up,” Hudson explained to EatingWell

I’m sensing a trend, and it looks as if more celebrities are swearing by a shoe-free day: Cate Blanchett, Jacob Elordi, Shawn Mendes, Chris Pine and most recently Kacey Musgraves are walking barefoot–even in public. And TikTok has caught on to this, of course.

So what gives? Can walking barefoot actually help your mental health—and are there any other physical health benefits we should know about? Here are the answers to all these queries and what you should keep in mind before ripping off your sneakers and socks.

Are There Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot Outside?

Walking barefoot outside is commonly referred to as “grounding” or “earthing” because of the body’s physical contact with the Earth. There is some evidence that grounding may have some benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.

Research published in 2015 published in the Journal of Inflammation Research that looked at 20 case studies concluded that direct contact with the Earth may help reduce inflammation caused by injury. Another small 2012 study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concluded that walking barefoot could help lower inflammation, relieve stress and even reduce some cardiovascular disease risk. This is supposedly due to a “transfer of the Earth's electrons from the ground into the body,” but this is merely a theory supported by the authors of both studies.

While the concept of “grounding” by walking barefoot sounds promising, the research is extremely limited. Also, walking in general (shoes or no shoes) has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects, stress-relieving properties and can help lower blood pressure. So you can still reap these benefits with the support of sneakers. Not to mention, walking barefoot in public places will significantly increase your chances of injury if you step on something dangerous, so it may be best to contain this practice on your own property.

The Bottom Line

The celebrity trend of walking barefoot seems to be a comfort preference rather than a health trend with loads of proven benefits. Walking itself is a great activity for your overall health, and you can do it with sneakers. But as long as you’re not experiencing chronic pain in your feet or need the support that a walking shoe provides, there’s no real harm of walking barefoot for a limited amount of time, especially in your own backyard. Just watch you step and wash up afterward—also talk to your doctor if you have any questions prior to adding shoeless strolls to your routine.

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