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To Bare Or Not To Bare?

Ah, you’ve waited all day for your Pilates class. Finally, you can let go of the day, kick off your shoes and… put on a special pair of socks? Some studios have strict policies regarding one’s feet. No socks, no service. Period. Bare feet are forbidden. Our studio has no such policy, never has, and probably never will. As it is, you’re free to bare your soles and you’re free to slip them into your studio-dedicated shoes, or into a gripping pair of ToeSox, and we feel everyone is ok with this, we’ve had no complaints, and no reported incidents of athlete’s foot, plantar warts, or any other fungal infections.

Most everyone here is daring to bare. Why is this? Is everyone truly comfortable during their workout with their bold bare feet, or are you worrying with every step that you might walk out with a little something extra? Are you wondering about your partner’s feet as you strive to hold a perfect plank? Or maybe during the warm-up routine you’re looking around the room examining (judging) the cleanliness of everyone’s feet right down to the last pinky toe. We are pretty sure you, in fact, are not giving it a second thought. Maybe you will now? If this does make you start thinking about it, and you wonder why it hasn’t bothered you until now, well that’s ok. Let us know if you have any concerns. Our feet, though, deserve some freedom, they need it! Pilates intended his exercises to be performed barefooted, and there were no ToeSox back in the day, but he also emphasized hygiene. Encouraging showers after a workout, as well as instruction on just how to shower, as he writes in Return to Life Through Contrology, “While conceding the fact that nowadays practically everyone of us routinely indulges in daily baths, experience has nevertheless taught us that only a small minority really achieve thorough cleanliness thereby, from our point of view…” He goes on to promote the use of a good stiff brush (without a handle) to stimulate circulation, clean out the pores and remove dead skin cells. “…So brush away merrily, and heartily too!” We encourage this as well!

Rest assured hygiene IS on our minds here at Mind and Body, things are washed, including the loops on the reformers/wall system, we do require the mats be cleaned post-workout. We’re clean but not obsessive. It does seem to be a cultural thing in America – we are obsessed with germs. In some ways it makes sense and in other ways it may be working against us. Over-the-top vigilance has the potential to drive one crazy and make enjoying the moment or participating in things that involve other people and their “cooties” very challenging, and a feat all its own. Where do you stand on this issue? Do you stand with bare, or with covered feet? Let us know, we want to hear your thoughts, and I’ll leave you with these: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ― Mahatma Gandhi “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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