SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) –What part of the human body contains almost a quarter of the bones in your entire skeleton, has more sensory nerve endings per square inch than any other, and keeping it covered may be harmful to your health?

If you guessed your foot/feet, you’re correct.

But did you know that your feet are essential to your overall health?

Covered or uncovered feet? That is the question.

Studies show measurable differences between humans who consistently wear shoes and humans who do not.

Prince William, barefoot. Image by Getty Images.

Those who go shoeless take shorter, more frequent strides and have stronger feet with fewer foot and toe deformities. And those who don’t wear shoes typically have higher arches, too.

Going barefoot even helps with balance issues.

The feet of barefoot runners strike the ground in ways very different from their sneaker-clad counterparts, and studies show barefoot running is associated with reduced peak ground reaction force, reduced peak knee flex, and decreased power absorption at the knees.

Being barefoot gives humans the opportunity to pick up electrons from the earth, too.

Being barefoot is good for your health

The art of being barefoot to pick up electrons from the bare earth, often described as Earthing or grounding, is said to reduce inflammation, prevent and treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and produce measurable differences in white blood cells and cytokines. Being barefoot can even reduce pain levels.

Scientific experimentation has determined that grounding the body during sleep creates changes in circadian cortisol secretion levels that positively affect sleep, pain, and stress levels, too.

No shoes, no service? Flying barefoot could ground you. Photo by Getty Images.

The study of how being barefoot can bring about better health is part of a field called environmental medicine.

Being barefoot makes a significant difference in the brain’s electrical activity, too. Study subjects reported mental health improvements after being grounded to the earth during sleep for eight weeks.

If being barefoot is so good for us, why do we wear shoes?

The journey from barefoot to wearing $1,000 stilettos has been no easy feat for feet.

Maybe the world’s very first shoe designer was inspired by a moment of creativity when standing on hot sands, or perhaps the cold of the ice on a frigid morning made ancient man decide, instantly, that frostbite on toes should be prevented.

But years later, after footwear has traveled the distance between function and form, it appears that shoes might be heading back in the direction of function again.

From minimalist barefoot socks that act as your shoes to shoes that give your toes literal wiggle-room, it’s easy to find alternatives for those who want to try being barefoot but are afraid of not wearing shoes.

But remember that being barefoot can have disadvantages.

Just use common sense and pay attention to where you go barefoot. After all–you only get one set of feet in this life.

So when you have the chance, kick off your shoes and enjoy being barefoot. There are real benefits to going shoeless!