Yesterday I wore some old warm work boots I hadn't worn in a long time. I had hurriedly put them on on the way to a chilly event. I go barefoot most of the day, and I've been doing some balance exercises that have probably made my feet a little wider (a stronger foot is sometimes a wider foot).
The boots were, for the first time, horribly tight. They pushed my toes together on either side, immobilizing them. Many shoes do this, of course, but I wasn't used to it any more. Not to exaggerate, but it was sort of as if someone had tied up 10 of my limbs.
As I stomped around with my bound up toes, I thought about how it's not a noble act to go barefoot, or to bypass pointy shoes for wide ones. In my case it's as selfish as anything. I love having movable toes. I love every single one of the joints in my toes and I want their freedom. I like to think of all the joints in my feet and toes doing their jobs, sharing the load, so that nobody has to work extra hard and get worn out. It could even be a kind of greed---I'm greedy about range of motion. I want all the range of motion my toes can have.
I still own some pointy-toed shoes, and I know I may some day again smush up my toes for a random occasion. But for now, my toes are free, and I love them more for what they went through last night. Size 8 work boots free to a narrow foot.