The Benefits of Bare Feet: Kick off your shoes this summer for one of our beach sports!
Fact: Humans have only been wearing cushioned shoes for about 300 years (other footwear for around 8,000).
Fact: the feeling of Wildwood beach sand between your toes automatically makes the owner of those toes 80% happier and more chill.
Ok, so the second fact is a little editorialized. But ask any Jersey shore lover and they’ll likely agree.
At Morey’s Piers, we love the feeling of sand between our toes. Who doesn’t? We love it so much we’ve devoted an entire arm of our summer calendar to beach sports of all kinds.
But did you know that going barefoot could actually be good for you?
According to Healthline, exercising in the sand can make you stronger, strengthen foot arches, increase your range of motion, and burns more calories than non-beach exercise. Sand sports can improve balance and agility; in fact, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Public Health, reported that beach volleyball players have a lower rate of injury than indoor volleyball players. An excuse to ditch the treadmill for a spot along the boardwalk? We’re listening!
Sand can also act like a massage for feet, activating venous and lymphatic circulation - a fancy way of saying it gets your blood flowing. It can even act as a do-it-yourself beauty treatment, exfoliating your feet for a low-budget pedicure. Proponents of “earthing,” connecting your feet to the ground, swear that being barefoot connects humans with electrons in the Earth we’re missing when we create a barrier with shoes. Walking barefoot can decrease inflammation and reduce stress.
Mark Scarpa, Beach Sports & Events Manager, puts it a little more simply.
“Every kid loves to jump and play in sand,” he says.
And it’s not only kids who have the chance to play our beach sports, since most of our events accept adult teams, too. Teams also receive ride passes, which means that playing on the piers is part of the weekend.
Mark loves our beach sports events for the way they highlight fun, not just winning. “Sometimes youth sports can be really competitive, and there’s a lot of focus on winning and moving on to the next game,” says Mark. “With these events, people can play the sport they love, but also have a lot of fun with their family and friends on the boardwalk. We want them to focus on being at the water park and hanging around the pool, then break for the game, and get back out there.”
John Steeple, who coaches the Langhorne-Neshaminy Soccer Club, has brought teams to BeachBlast for many years.
“The best thing is really that time together,” says John.” It’s not about the soccer. It’s the few moments where you get everyone together; the parents, the kids.”
Though the game is important, the piers and parks are providing off-the-field - or, off-the-sand, bonding for the team.
“Obviously the piers are huge,” says John. “They love that. They love the nightlife on the boardwalk. They’re bonding. It’s a whole weekend experience, centered around soccer.”
How does Morey’s prepare for beach sports? Beach Blast sand soccer uses a standard beach soccer ball. The Casey Powell LAX teams use a smaller net, and Sticks in the Sand beach hockey balls are slightly softer than a standard field hockey ball. Other than that, we keep it no-frills and simple, Mark says.
“Some players bring sand socks, but they usually end up taking them off,” he says.
The learning curve to playing on sand can be a benefit.
“It’s definitely a different game here on the beach,” says Charles Caruso, Beachwood Soccer Club.
“When we first started playing here, we didn’t know how to play on the beach. Now you have teams that actually practice beach soccer. It’s just so much different. To us, that’s the exciting part of playing here.”
We’re especially excited for the first-ever Morey’s Mania Beach Wrestling Tournament, which will be held right on the beach in front of PigDog Beach Bar. Not an athlete? Grab a drink and watch the fun from the bar deck. Mark says the public aspect of our beach sports events is a big part of the fun.
“We’ve had people happen upon one of our beach games and ask what’s going on,” he says. “next year, they sign up to play themselves.”
Repeat players are not uncommon.
“Since we’ve been doing this for around 8 or 9 years, we actually have people who participated in a game when they were on a youth team come back when they’re 24 or 25 and play,” Mark says. “People come back with their families, and it becomes a tradition they look forward to all year.”
We also have some new additions to the calendar this summer including a Volleyball Tournament with Great American Volleyball and Jersey Shore Spikefest, one of America’s fastest-growing sports that is inspired by volleyball and four-square.
So, if kicking off your shoes and being barefoot on the sand is your thing, then be sure to check out our great lineup of beach sports we have coming at you this summer!