by Pallas Hutchison
For the first few years of doing massage, I went through a long series of sneakers and shoes. Some squeaked as I moved. Others cut into my ankles or had so little traction, I'd slip along the carpet when I lunged into the deep strokes. One pair was so big and clunky that I tripped over my own feet. The task of finding the right shoe to massage in seemed impossible.
Eventually, I lost the shoes altogether and started massaging with just my socks on. By sticking to basic black or dark grey, I still kept my appearance professional. My feet and ankles were happy. Problem solved. At least, it was up until about two years ago when a client jokingly complained that my socks were boring. It hadn't occurred to me that my footwear, or lack of, would matter to clients.
I know it's a little odd but I love socks. The funkier the pattern, the better. My current favorites are poly-fleece slipper socks that my sister got me a few years ago. Not only are they delightfully tacky prints but they fit my little feet perfectly and they're thick and warm.
I dug out a fun pair of socks and brought them to the office to wear for his next appointment to see if he'd actually notice. He did. At each of his weekly sessions, I'd try to outdo the previous pair in brightness or tackiness. Other clients began commenting on the fun socks and now I wear them for all of my sessions. It has grown into a running joke with existing clients and, to my surprise, a great ice-breaker for new clients.
There is some controversy among the massage industry around our selected footwear. Some claim that we make ourselves appear less professional by eschewing shoes. Others, like myself, feel that barefoot is unprofessional and possible unhygienic but stocking-clad feet pass muster. What do you think?