For as long as I can remember, I’ve been self conscious about feet. I don’t like other people’s feet, and I’m always starting at mine, picking over every minute imperfection. Given that I danced throughout most of my childhood, I could always find something wrong with my feet. I took a liking to modern in high school, and all those barefoot pirouettes left me with some pretty gnarly callouses. I even have a distinct memory of my high school gym teacher telling me not to dance-and continue with pointe specifically-because it would “ruin my feet.” What did he know?

Since I no longer dance regularly, only one physical activity has proved to be ruthless on my feet. Running. Ever since I started running, not only did I need to keep my toenails short and come to terms with callouses, but I also had to deal with dead skin and so much of it! My feet are always peeling, like a lizard shedding its skin! I love getting pedicures now more than ever because I’m far too lazy to get rid of all the dead skin myself. However, no matter where I go to get a pedicure, I always hear some unsolicited comment about my feet.

I’ve heard everything from “what did you do”? to “you have a lot of callouses on your feet”! Maybe I just have bad luck and am a victim of poor customer service, but I’m sick of the foot shaming. Running is not something to be ashamed of. Throughout my half marathon training, I had to pop blisters and keep it moving. The fact that my feet have been able to carry me through so many tough workouts and races is an accomplishment. It’s something that I’m thankful for and proud of. I am not embarrassed by my dedication and hard work.

Foot shaming needs to end. Not only is it rude and unnecessary, it further perpetuates the idea that feet should be dainty. Your feet should be whatever you need them to be. Right now, I’m hoping that my feet with lead me to PR. Dead skin, blistered skin, short toenails, or freshly pedicured, I’m hoping to get there. And I would prefer to get there without all the commentary.

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