What is ‘going barefoot’ challenge? Experts warn against viral trend

“We’re not Flintstones,” warned a Michigan-based foot specialist as a viral trend of “going barefoot” is gaining traction on social media.

Dr Sari Priesand, a foot specialist at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical centre, Ann Arbor, USA, urged TikTokers to “keep their shoes on” after users started posting videos wherein they walk barefoot in public places. The trend is in response to Margot Robbie’s iconic foot scene in ‘Barbie’.

The trend became viral after influencers like George Woodville, also known as The Barefoot Guy, with 500K followers, posted videos of going shoe-less as part of a therapeutic practice called grounding in order to reconnect humans to their planet.

Another Ohio-based influencer, Christie Fritz, removed the sole of their shoes and posted videos of them going for shopping in places where shoes are mandatory. Others have posted videos of walking barefoot in snow and other extreme conditions in apparent bid to get their clips viral.

Priesand warned that going shoeless can put a person’s feet at risk as they can get injured by sharp objects or get infected by nail fungus or human papilloma virus.