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Shoes? No thanks.

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"Barefoot In Store"

Unacceptable. Entirely unacceptable.

For one thing, this picture was taken in a store. In a store. You don’t walk around barefoot in a store. In my opinion, you don’t walk around barefoot anywhere, except maybe the beach. Maybe. I don’t walk around barefoot in my home, but I also don’t wear shoes. I wear socks or I wear slippers that never see the light of day. I’m kinda funny that way.

This picture was not taken in some beach town. No, no, no. This is just ordinary town, USA, where apparently some people think it’s fine and dandy to walk around without footwear.

There’s another issue that’s well worth mentioning…the issue of how unsanitary it is to walk around barefoot. People spit on the ground. Humans and animals urinate and defecate on the ground. Some vomit, others bleed. Then there’s bacteria that you’ve probably never even heard of. And glass and rocks and dirt and…ugh. It’s disgusting. I don’t even walk around my house barefoot. Yes, I’m serious.

Do I even need to mention that we — as in we shoe-wearing folk — don’t want to see your filthy dirty bare feet? As grossed out as I was while covertly taking this picture, I couldn’t look away for the life of me. It was like an awful barefoot train wreck.

Editor’s note: In light of some people thinking I’m being judgmental or hypocritical, I want to clear up that I’m not attacking this woman for being barefoot. It’s the notion of going barefoot in public that makes me go, “Ew.” I am also well aware that there are germs (tons of them) all around us. I don’t touch door handles (anywhere), I wash my hands constantly (borderline obsessively) and I sanitize (yes, sanitize) my toothbrushes, cell phone, and remotes on a regular basis. Just to be clear. I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m just trying to point out that this is kinda gross. And unhealthy. And, maybe make a few people laugh. I don’t intentionally (or unintentionally, hopefully) hurt people’s feelings. I’m, truth be told, empathetic and sensitive. If I offended you, I apologize. If I didn’t, enjoy to your heart’s content. Please note that I will NOT monitor comments that are disagreeable, because I believe 100% in free expression of ideas and opinions and open communication. 

104 comments to Shoes? No thanks.

  • Christy

    LMBO! Loved the post!

  • AvonbyKellyM

    I dont find it acceptable to go out to a store or business barefoot. Yes the beach or outside in ur yard Or house or swimming pool is fine but not a place of business. Especially a place where food is sold. At least put flip flops on lol. I dont mind infant and young toddlers with no shoes so long as they r in a cart cause shoes are bad for them. i walk around my house and yard bare foot all the time. My house is clean and i wash my patio and walk ways everyday. My yards gets sprayed with soap every couple weeks cause it is good for the lawn so it grows better. I read it in a all natural gardening book lol.

  • Liz

    …Really? This is so incredibly judgmental. While it is considered socially inappropriate to not wear shoes in public, she obviously didn’t care. You have no right to judge somebody in this manner. How would you feel if the same were done to you? I don’t imagine you’re perfect. The human race managed to evolve to where we are today, and I’m sure a significant portion of that time didn’t involve shoes. All of the people who post about how they spent their childhood playing outside probably didn’t wear shoes much of the time either. They survived. And unless there are cuts on their feet or sharp objects on the ground, I doubt there is much of an issue in regards to sanitation. I don’t think she’s going to lick her foot or anything. I would like to point out the MULTITUDE of things much dirtier than the ground: doorknobs, purses (you sit them everywhere and studies have shown the enormous amounts and varieties of bacteria present), money (did you know that most money has traces of cocaine? not to mention bacteria). I bet your carpet (or hardwood/tile floors) re disgusting from wearing shoes that have touched the exact same ground that you derided the woman from touching with her feet. Food for thought, especially if you like to sit on the carpet or you have kids.

    I must have liked your blog for a Rafflecopter giveaway requirement, because I would not have liked it otherwise. And you must not be very keen at all to blatantly ignore the many things less sanitary than floors. Honestly,I find this post “Unacceptable. Entirely unacceptable.” And hypocritical. I won’t bother unliking your page, since I’ll probably have to relike it again in another giveaway.

    • Crystal

      You…you are an angry lady. I have a great idea, take your hippy ass to Facebook and unlike her page.

      • Liz

        I am not particularly angry, most people find me the opposite. I just find myself irritated when I see people post things like this and ignore common decency and logic.

        You seem quite angry yourself. I do not comprehend how I have a “hippy ass.” I assumed that my ass was just like everyone else’s. Is it because I’m a college student that you assume such? I most certainly was not alive during the traditional “hippy” era, but I know many people of the older generations seem to view college students in the same light.

        As I stated in my post, which I assume you read, I will most probably have to relike her page in order to fulfill the requirements of some giveaway. To unlike and then relike it again seems silly, regardless of whether I enjoy her content.

        I apologize for seemingly offending you by expressing my opinion.

        • I don’t really want to belabor this, but saying I “have no right to judge someone in this manner” and that I’m a hypocrite (how I’m a hypocrite is beyond me) comes across as somewhat “angry.”

          Where do you get that I am “ignoring common decency and logic”? I never ignore either of those things. In fact, I think that I exhibit both of those consistently.

          I think it’s pretty logical that walking around in public in bare feet is not healthy or sanitary. A lot of people don’t want SHOES traipsing all over their carpet because of all the dirt and germs and whatnot that they pick up off the ground. Yet you think walking barefoot is perfectly safe.

          OK, I guess we can agree to disagree. But I don’t think that judging the content of my entire blog based on ONE post that you disagree with is really fair.

          I never called this woman a name or disparaged her. It’s the idea of going barefoot in public. Period.
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          • Liz

            How is that angry? As a human, you do not have a right to say that somebody’s opinion is wrong. I don’t see her feet hurting you. Yes, it may make you uncomfortable, but seeing people defend homophobic opinions makes me uncomfortable. It’s just an example, but a person is entitled to their opinion, regardless of your own personal beliefs. I said that you were hypocritical because people could say the same of your tendencies to “obsessively” (your words) sanitize and cleanse germs. People could criticize you for doing the opposite of what this woman does, and thereby lowering you ability to fight off illnesses since your immune system is not exposed to as many germs.

            In reference to common decency and logic: you violated common decency by refusing to admit that this woman is allowed to do what she pleases, as long as it is within the realm of the law. And in reference to logic: you can’t seem to admit that people have survived for thousand of years in worse conditions than this. It’s fine. It’s not like she’s making you do it. In you post you talked about how “You don’t do that.” when referring to walking around barefoot in a store. You are implying that this person is wrong and that their opinion is invalid because it does not comply with societal norms. This society believes that all people should be perfect and skinny, and if they’re not they’re unattractive. Imagine someone saying “Unacceptable. Entirely unacceptable.” in regards to a person who is overweight. This is the crux of my point, and why I respectfully disagree with your post.

            I wish you had a tag for personal posts so I could actually read them without having to scour pages and pages of giveaways. I’m always interested in reading about other people’s stories and lives.

            I like how you edited your post to back up your position and defend yourself. Agreeing to disagree seems like the best decision at this point.

  • Vicki

    Um…I thought there was a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” law in every state. There has been in the 3 states I’ve lived in. But in answer to your question, I don’t think you should go barefoot anywhere except on the beach or in your home. Sandals are ok if your feet are well taken care of. I HATE seeing feet that are rough and/or dirty. Just grosses me out!! Either give yourself a pedicure or go to a salon and get one…stop grossing people out please!!!

    Oh, and I can’t stand seeing feet on a car dash or sticking out door window. Yuck!!

    • Mike

      “Um…I thought there was a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” law in every state. There has been in the 3 states I’ve lived in.”

      No there wasn’t. There isn’t a single state in the US with such laws.

      • Robster

        Mike is correct. There are NO laws prohibiting going barefoot in public (as if we need such an idiotic law). Also, there are NO laws prohibiting driving barefoot.

        Ya know, frankly, this sort of ignorance bugs the hell out of me. Perhaps I don’t like seeing your hands hanging out of the window of your car, or seeing you sign and dance behind the wheel at a stop light. You don’t want to see someone’s feet and will get all “grossed out” by it, but if someone said you were too fat, too skinny, ugly, had gross looking hair, nasty hands, smelled funny, complained about you wearing sweatpants in public, etc., I would bet money that you would be indignant with anger at how judgmental and arrogant the person is.

        I’m not a barefooter, but I have know people who are (I’m a serious sandal wearer though). I actually envy these people because they are so free because they are able to brush off the ignorant and shallow expectations from society, especially one that is so trivial as those related to footwear. When they can shed your shoes and be perfectly fine with all of the silly and petty comments made by people like you and the OP, I’m sure they are truly happy people.

  • I am hardly perfect. But I don’t think this is “judgmental” toward this person in general. It’s about being barefoot in public. As far as people playing outside as children “probably didn’t wear shoes,” that’s quite an assumption. I played outside all the time. I never was barefoot. Same goes for my brother and my multitude of cousins. And friends. And neighbors.

    And, I respectfully disagree regarding sanitation. The ground is disgusting. In my house, we don’t wear shoes, for that reason. And, I have written several times about germs and bacteria and how doorknobs and countertops and faucet handles and so on are disgusting. I’m not a germophobe but, trust me, I am pretty in touch with germs and bacteria. I wash my hands all the time. after touching money, before using the bathroom, after using the bathroom, before touching anything in my kitchen, after I touch laundry (even transferring it to the dryer)…so I’m kinda aware of the presence of germs all around us. And, the ground, I’m pretty sure it’s disgusting. So, I’d say I’m pretty “keen.” I’ve written about these things before. Including my toothbrush sanitizer. And my cell phone sanitizer.

    And, the last thing I think someone would call me is a hypocrite. We all have our issues…including me.

    I posted this because I think the idea of anyone being barefoot in public is yucky.
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    • Liz

      Perhaps because I live in Alabama my perception of shoes in relation to the outdoors is strange. The climate is wonderful and people enjoy wearing flip flops or sandals. People also enjoy curling their toes in the grass. It’s not like there are many sidewalks. I don’t believe that proximity to the beach or the coast should change what is considered socially appropriate in terms of attire. But, because society is strange, it inexplicably does. Perhaps because you live in Philadelphia you have different regional standards. The cultural differences across the United States fascinates me.

      We don’t wear shoes in my home either, primarily because we don’t want to stain the carpets. Do you frequently moisturize your hands? They must be dry after dozens of handwashings per day. I, too, wash my hands regularly, but I also recognize that it is impossible to get rid of germs completely. The ground can be gross, but we shouldn’t fear it.

      I prefer to wear shoes as well, because I don’t like feet and I find enclosed shoes much more comfortable than their open counterparts. While the ground is gross, I don’t find being barefoot an automatic death sentence. If the law requires you to wear shoes, then you should do it. If it doesn’t, then it is a person’s own choice in the matter.

      Being aware that germs exist and knowing how to disinfect things is not a sign of keenness. A person can still be keen and know none of those things. But I’ll let you define the word in whatever way you desire. The English language is what the speakers make of it.

      • Oftentimes, it can be a regional issue, I agree.

        Yes, my hands are dry. Ha ha ha. You’re quite clever. However, my mother had a highly infectious disease (twice), my son had cancer as well as C-dif, and I’ve had three surgeries in the past two months. So, I wash my hands a lot. Wow, I must be an idiot.

        For the record, the English language IS the English language. Speakers don’t just “make” it into what they want. Words have definitions and that’s what I go by. That happens after spending years as an editor, journalist, and communications person.

        I never said being barefoot was a death sentence. I never said to “fear” the ground. But, if it makes your comments better to misconstrue what I’m saying, then so be it. It’s a free country!

        I don’t understand the repeated animosity toward me, but wow. Have fun.
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        • Liz

          Are you attempting to get me to pity you? I never said it was a bad habit, nor did I imply that it was stupid to do so. In many cases, such as yours, it is required. You appear to be offended by something I said without malice. What if I said that I was orphaned as a child when I saw my parents being shot in front of me? And then my brother died of AIDS? Would you feel differently? I did not call you an idiot. You, yourself, did.

          I have to disagree with you in regards to the English language. Does “gay” mean the same thing today as it did one-hundred years ago? The English language evolves with the people who speak it, regardless of whether it is considered correct. “Cool” is another example. And dictionaries are revised to demonstrate the changes in language. I doubt we have the same dictionary today as the one Noah Webster wrote. After all, who decided what the definitions were? Frankly, in this instance, you are wrong.

          I have not demonstrated any animosity towards you. The closest that I have come is saying that the name of your blog is inaccurate. And you appear to have taken my comment about your dry hands too seriously. It was an innocent comment and a legitimate question in regards to hygiene. I’m sorry you seem to think that I have a vendetta against you. I do not. I am merely replying to your comments as I read them, not trying to insult you. If I wanted to do that, then my posts would be in a much different tone with more crude vocabulary.

    • I agree, Vicki. However, there is no law that one must wear shoes in public places. It is usually the rule of most establishments, though. Some might think it is a health department code while some might prefer to limit their liability. Like it or not (not you…everyone reading this), there are risks to being barefoot. Cuts, abrasions, bruises, infections, parasites, etc, to name a few…at the same time, I “get” that there are benefits to being barefoot, but, in my opinion, they don’t outweigh the appeal of wearing shoes.
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  • Ronalee Duncan

    For the record, I think you are pretty “Keen”.
    I love to be barefoot, but I live on the beach, so it is totally acceptable for me to walk around without my shoes. I do wear shoes when walking on the street, mostly because that ground hurts my feet. It grosses me out to even think about walking into a store barefoot, although I walk the tiled floors of the walkway at our condo all of the time. Hmmm, now I am grossed out just thinking of that.
    I want to know how that lady kept the bottoms of her feet as clean as they are. The bottoms of my feet get so black if I walk on pavement.
    The first thig that I do when I get home is take off my shoes. I do not like shoes in the house. I wear my socks or slippers because the tile floors in our home feel icky on my feet. If I have been barefoot outside I wash my feet. (darm black feet)
    Even in our beach town people are supposed to wear shoes in the store for health reasons.
    Ok, I have rambled enough. p.s Thank you for the giveaway and the plunger that will help my home to be germ free.

    • Thanks, Ronalee…I agree with every single word you said. (And thanks for calling me keen LOL) I also do not like being barefoot anywhere. When I get out of the shower, I hate being barefoot til I get to my bedroom. (And, yes, my bathroom floor is CLEAN) I’m a little spazzy about feet, I admit. But you will never catch me barefoot in the house. For instance, a repairman was in here fixing my dryer the other day. Couldn’t exactly ask him to take his boots off. But the entire time, I couldn’t stop glancing at his boots and thinking about all the germs he was putting on my rug. Blech!
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  • Crystal

    I work at Sheetz. People try to come in with no shoes all the time. People try to bring in their dogs. I can’t stand walking around the store cause the floor is ALWAYS sticky…and I’m wearing shoes. I can’t imagine walking around that place barefoot. I don’t care how judgmental I sound. People who walk around in public places without shoes are effing disgusting.

    • Ugh. I don’t know if you can get MRSA from walking around barefoot, but if you have one cut or scrape or what-have-you on your foot, any bacteria can get in and cause HUGE issues. Can you imagine getting a blood-borne illness because of being barefoot? Ick.

      There are organizations whose sole mission is to send shoes to 3rd world countries because being barefoot is SO bad for your health. Granted, they have public waste issues and parasites that we don’t encounter, so it’s not an equal issue…but the same sense of sanitary practices is there.
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  • Kristen

    Ughhh! Sometimes I’ll run out the house to my car or something like that with bare feet, but would NEVER walk into a store bare foot!

  • shannon

    I am a flip flop wearing kind of person. I wear them in my house all the time. I can not stand grit on my feet. This is totally unacceptable she should have had some kind of shoes on her feet.

  • Carla Garcia

    I hate shoes… hate them. I wear flip flops and sandals year round. My 7 year old was shocked to learn that I own a pair of sneakers because he’s never seen me wear them. LOL. that said, i will NOT go ANYWHERE barefoot. I kick my shoes off the moment I go inside, but won’t set foot outside without them. I do have clinically diagnosed OCD with my focus on germs. I HATE touching money. I’ve actually done some therapy regarding it and was ok touching it for a while, but still avoid it if I can. I don’t touch doorknobs, shopping cart handles, don’t use public restrooms, ect. It’s totally gross to me. Anyway, sorry folks, you’ll just have to look at my disgusting not so pretty feet. You’ll be lucky if I put a touch of polish on my toes. LOL you’ll live!

  • Still Blonde

    WHO WOULD EVEN CONSIDER THIS? It’s not sanitary and against health department codes.

    • GOOD POINT!! I don’t think anyone at this store said anything, because it’s just so awkward. Do you say, “Sorry, we can’t make you a sandwich until you have shoes on?” I mean, really. What do you say?

      I wonder if she had injured her foot on something if she would have grounds to sue. Hmmm. I say probably yes, based on my law school experience, because while she wasn’t supposed to be allowed in the store due to her bare feet, employees did not enforce the rule. Damnit! She’d probably get paid! Argh.
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      • Melinda

        I’m not sure about states other than Georgia, but the Supreme Court of the state of Georgia ruled that a patron who could have exercised reasonable caution in protecting himself cannot sue the owner of an establishment for such an injury. This was Robinson vs Kroger in 1997.

        I know of many barefooters that take this one step further, carrying a card-type contract in their wallet, releasing the pertinent company of any barefooting-related injuries.

    • Melinda

      No, it isn’t against any health code laws or policies. It’s possible that it conflicts with the store’s private policy, which is their right to enforce. However, at that point it is the responsibility of the business to enforce said policy.

      It is also unlikely that her feet have come into contact with any surface that a pair of shoes would have been able to avoid. Unless she’s putting her feet on the counter or touching her feet and then the food *before* it’s prepared I don’t see how this is less sanitary than a pair of flip-flops or sneakers.

  • Dawn

    Isn’t it, “no shirt, no SHOES, no service” …?? I don’t even like to see kids in stores without shoes!

  • Frances

    lol. Think you might be a little OCD? I’m well aware germs are all around, but I don’t worry too much about most of them — just the bad ones. I relish in walking outside barefoot especially in the grass — I wouldn’t go the store that way, but I’m not opposed to people who do. Its not like I put my feet in my mouth. They get washed. If I have cuts or scrapes I wear shoes outside.

    • Um, NO. I don’t have a mental disorder known as OCD.

      I’m not a compulsive hand-washer, I simply wash them at appropriate times. I’m not afraid of “germs,” per se, I am concerned about disease and infection for myself and my family. I kinda have this thing about getting MRSA. It’s a tad annoying. But, hey, that’s me.

      It’s weird how people think that as long as you don’t suck on your feet, you’re fine.

      I stand by my opinion…walking around in public with dirty bare feet is pretty gross. If you disagree, make your point that having black-bottomed feet as you stroll around in public is perfectly fine. Don’t just take cheap shots.

  • Nikki

    I wear knee socks to bed year round (even in sweltering heat), so I can’t comment at all on your sock habit. :) I do go barefoot around my house, and wear flip-flops in the summer out and about, but I don’t run around stores without something on my feet. Like you said, that just doesn’t seem sanitary. For some reason, though, I can’t sleep without the knee socks! We all have our little quirks. That’s what makes us all so interesting. Or weird. I’m probably weird. I’m totally okay with that, though!

    • Thank God you said it first, Nikki. LMAO.

      I am a sock freak. I never ever ever go to bed without socks. It could be 95 degrees out and I have socks on.

      Sure, I wear cute flip flops in the summer, to the store or wherever as well.

      But socks…oh boy. LOL.

  • Julia

    I’m with you – it’s one thing to go barefoot in your own home, but to be out in public is a totally different story.

  • Nikki

    I don’t understand how people can walk in public places without shoes. (Remember all of those scandalous pics of Britney Spears w/no shoes?!)

    Still Blonde has a point-it does violate (what I imagine is MOST state’s) health department code. Not to mention…it’s just icky.

  • Yeah that’s really gross. Was she possibly buying shoes?….did something happen to her where she had to run out of her house with nothing but what she was wearing and she was there at the business to buy shoes? Geez, I’d love to give excuses for her. Its gross and like you said unhealthy and frankly just stupid.

  • Tina

    I go barefoot into Target all the time. I do it because it’s very sensual and it feels good. If other people have a problem seeing me barefoot, then they should deal with it and look elsewhere. I get grossed out by obese people but keep my comments to myself. I’m petite 5ft 1in and sometimes get compliments about my barefeet from employees and even customers.

  • Kim

    Wow. Kristen. You started quite the controversy here didn’t you?!

    Whether barefoot or not is your thing isn’t really the point. Barefoot in a public location that serves food is just gross and rude to others.

    If you want to go shoe less at home or outside fine. That’s your business. If you’re someplace that affects others. Please practice common hygiene and be so kind as to put on a pair of flip flops like the rest of us.

    • Apparently I did…I never imagined that people had such strong feelings about feet. Sheesh.
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    • Melinda

      There are degrees of exposure to bacteria and viruses (virii?) whether one is shod or not. If someone is touching the bottom of their foot or shoe, and then food for public consumption, then the concern for common hygiene is a valid point. However, this scenario is not limited to those without shoes. The same could be said for those who rub their eyes, cough, take money from their wallet, touch a door handle, etc.

      I believe there is great wisdom in calling for an adherence to common hygiene. I do not, however, see the causal link between wearing a pair of flip-flops and an improvement in the general public’s sanitation habits.

  • Bryan

    If someone actually researched the issue they would find that the health codes are mostly non existent and a myth. is it tacky?, gross or offensive? I guess that’s for each of us to decide on our own. Frankly, while I wouldn’t do it, I could care less if someone else does. I don’t really find it rude or anything like that and it’s probably no more gross than the beach actually. I would assume that there is just as much bacteria. It’s all psychological. There are cultures that are barefoot as a lifestyle and they just don’t seem to have the problems with their feet that we do. Old people who never go barefoot are the ones with the foot problems not the barefoot types. Really, some of you with the foot phobia’s need to give it a rest.

    • I don’t think people who find dirty, bare feet offensive or distasteful have “foot phobias” (which needs no apostrophe, by the way).
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    • Bob

      I honestly find people with ugly faces offensive, and disgusting to look at, and do not want them in my stores.. But I keep my comments to myself.

      Oh and, how would you like it, if I said

      “Black people are disgusting, they walk in the store and its just gross. They should not walk in a store that sells food because that is just unsanitary, there is so many laws against black people being inside a store.. ewwww” How would you react ? You would react all offensive because that is an extreamly racist comment. However, Racism is not the point. I could replace “black” with any other type. The point is, that statement is FILLED with false information. Nothing about that statement is true, but I would say it anyways thinking it is true and spreading my hatred around. You would still call me a racist and wrong for doing so. So this is what I ask you. Replace the word “black” with “barefooter” Is the statement true now ? Not at all it is still filled with lies. Next time you go posting how disgusting something is and how it violates laws, and how gross it is. Think about other people.

      Research the situation. Dont sound stupid. Posting how it violates something it does not, shows your Ignorance.

      Be Mindful of others feelings. You posting how their feet is disgusting, shows how Intolerant and Hateful you are towards others, How would you like it if someone told you that your hands are disgusting and you need to wear gloves ?

      Let others live how they want to live. Posting that people need to cover their feet shows you want to live in a Dictatorship. If we all let others live how they wanted to live, wars would not exist

      I don’t go barefoot to the stores, out of respect to the people who do find it disgusting, and in turn I don’t tell all the gross looking people that they are disgusting. I greet them, say Hi and have a plesent conversation. This post is a prime example, why the United States is the worst country on this planet. So much Hatred, so much Ignorance in this post it upsets me. KNOWLEDGE people KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Educate yourselves! The more EDUCATION you get the power powerful you will be! Research a topic before spreading lies, look something up if you do not understand it. Do not just take the word of Joe Schmo down the street that says something. I could walk up to you and say eating a taco at midnight is against the law. Would you believe me ? You probably would because you are IGNORANT. So Change that!

      • I never said she was disgusting. I also didn’t say it violated laws. I don’t need to research how I feel about someone walking around barefoot in the store. I think it’s unsanitary and I think dirty, black-bottomed feet are gross. That’s my OPINION.

        I’m not intolerant or hateful.

        So, if my opinion is that people should wear shoes while in public, that means I want to live in a dictatorship? Well, if that’s the case, at least we’d get some semblance of order and rules.

        I’m neither ignorant nor do I spread lies. Most people, as well as businesses, are under the impression that it is a health code or regulation that you must wear shoes. How about politely educating people. I never, in my post, said, THIS VIOLATES HEALTH CODE REGULATIONS!!!! HOW DARE SHE!!! And, when someone pointed out that it is NOT a regulation or law, I conceded she was correct (and, no, I didn’t research THAT issue, because it was never part of my post or argument to begin with). However, it does violate the rules/dress code of just about every business around. Likely for reasons related to liability or sanitation, but that’s just a guess. It’s probably not because they don’t particularly “like” dirty bare feet.

        I am not the one who is being offensive here.
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  • shoe-less

    So the lady that doesn’t wear shoes is so offensive that you have to write about it. what about smokers that reek of smoke? or some that stinks of alcohol or simply to much perfume? going barefoot is not invasive like many other things that are commonly accepted: smoking, drinking, even people talking loudly about personal issues. i’m a little bias in that i go with out shoes every where i can, but that also means i know a lot more about it then you do. going barefoot is healthier then shod (obviously the human foot is designed to be shoe-less). it exercise the foot and strengthens the skin, and walking on what ever may be about is not as bad as wrapping your foot in a sweaty sock inside a shoe all day. bacteria thrives in damp warm places. so why don’t you leave those of us bare foot our freedom, we already have to fight against social stigma and ignorance.

    • I’d love to blog about people who “reek,” however, my camera doesn’t have Smell-o-vision, so it would be hard to truly relate the experience to my readers. I’m working on it, though. Then I’ll be rich and I won’t have to worry about blogging. I’m not sure how you know a lot more about being barefoot just because you go shoeless, but alas…

      Couldn’t you also argue that the human body was designed to be clothes-less?

      I know a lot about grammar and punctuation and capitalization, so I guess we’re even.
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  • Barefoot Professor

    A good book for you, perhaps, for a slightly different perspective: The Barefoot Book – 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes.

  • Barefoot Professor

    Since numerous people have brought it up, could someone please describe for me how bare feet are more of a hygiene / sanitation issue than bare hands? Also, if you could compare for me the number and kinds of microbes that live on bare feet versus those that live inside a shoe, that would be appreciated. I see a lot of visceral reactions here to a rather simple body part (which is itself disturbing), but not a lot of critical thinking. How, for example, does someone being barefoot in a store “affect others”? Especially how might it affect others more than bare hands? The scientific fact is that bare feet are much less of a sanitation issue than bare hands. It is somewhat incredible to me that we can become so disconnected from the natural use of our bodies – e.g., walking barefoot – that the sight of someone actually doing it is described as a “barefoot train wreck.” What are you so vehemently against is the natural state; what you are advocating is an unnatural condition, and shoes are the cause of nearly all our foot problems in the shoe-wearing societies. There is much more I could say on this. Indeed, I could write a book.

  • Ruth

    I understand if you don’t like to be barefoot, or don’t like to see another’s bare feet. However, I think you are misinformed on a few points.

    1. There are no laws or health codes in ANY state requiring shoes for customers.
    2. Foot fungi (athlete’s foot, etc.), bacteria, and viruses require a warm moist environment to thrive, i. e. your shoe.
    3. How exactly are bare feet more unsanitary than the bottoms of your shoes?

    • 1. True. It’s generally a dress code for the establishment, which is entirely within their purview.
      2. Basically true. If you have a cut or abrasion and bacteria enters your body, you’ll regret not wearing shoes.
      3. Not. Except that a) many people don’t wear shoes in the house (for that reason) and b) my shoe isn’t a living organism. It can’t catch MRSA or some other blood-borne infection. Also, do barefoot folk wash their feet often? Because, if not, that means they may be curling up on the couch or in bed with the scum from the streets and store floors on their feet. I don’t allow shoes on my couch or my bed.
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      • Bob

        Ignorance again..

        You do realize, bacteria does not need a “Living Organism” to live on. Yes however they require it to live their full life cycle. But by the logic you are saying, that a shoe cannot catch MRSA, then My question to you is, How can the floor have it ? Obviously the floor has to have it in order for someone with a cut on their foot to get it. So if a shoe cant, How can the floor ?

        • Not ignorance, BOB.

          Staph and MRSA are contagious bacteria that can live for weeks on counter tops, door knobs, toys, furniture, sports equipment, TV remotes, and the list goes on. How long the bacteria can live depends on the temperature, humidity and other factors.

          MRSA and Staph can easily enter your body through the lungs, nose, mouth, open cuts on your skin (SUCH AS YOUR BARE FEET), wounds and surgical sites.

          I’m not saying a floor can have/catch MRSA. I’m saying you could be infected from walking around barefoot because of bacteria that could enter cuts/abrasions, etc. that are ON YOUR FEET.

          Trying to make me look like an idiot isn’t really gonna work for you.
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      • Ruth

        I don’t have cuts or abrasions on my feet. The skin of my soles is pretty thick. Anything sharp enough to cut my feet would be a danger even if I had shoes.

        Before I took off my shoes, I did my research. I know the risks to being barefoot and I have accepted them. I don’t expect you to agree with me. I don’t even expect you to like seeing my feet. But if you were to see me in public, I hope you would at least accept that being barefoot is my choice, that I’ve carefully considered that choice and am doing what I think is best for my feet.

  • Jinn

    I realize this is an old post, but just to clear up some misinformation, going barefoot in public or in stores or restaurants is not illegal or against any health codes in any state.

  • Proof Negative

    As a business owner, I have written to my local and state health departments. There are ZERO “laws” or “health codes” about not wearing shoes to buy a product. NONE.

    Also, I have contacted my past insurance company, as well as my current insurance company. My rates do NOT raise if I allow a barefoot person, nor do they drop if you require shoes.

    Personally, if someone has shoes or no shoes, I could care less. There are some months where if it were not for barefoot shoppers, we would have been in the red. I am not going to discriminate against a customer over what they look like. Shoot, since it is not against any laws to not wear shoes, it means I myself have the freedom of choice to also not wear shoes!

    To people that say she should at least wear flip flops. Please explain what the difference is between a flip flop and a bare foot – if you sell ice cream, bags of chips, packs of gum, and smoothies. What products are you selling made of GLASS? Even so, if a baby picks up glass and puts it in their mouth, the company IS responsible!

    I’ve always wondered why people are so worried about others’ feet? No one says YOU have to not wear shoes. I would rather HAVE the freedom of choice, and make a personal decision, than to force my beliefs on others – expecially if there are no laws!

  • BFrank

    Someone above wrote, “I thought there was a ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service’ law in every state.” There is NO such law in ANY state. It is amazing how some people believe such myths. Indeed, why would there be such a law or a health code? People with any expertise, knowledge, or training in these matters – such as the medical experts within state or local health departments – know that bare feet pose no health hazard or other problem for anyone. If anyone doesn’t believe this, just call your state or local health department and ask them if there are any laws or regulations for customers of ANY business requiring shoes.

  • Own2Feet

    Kristin,

    Seems to me you are the one with strong feelings about feet, otherwise you wouldn’t have taken a picture of this barefoot woman and then blogged about how much you hate the idea of walking naturally.

    Going barefoot is actually quite healthy in just about any situation. Bare feet, unlike feet that have been suffocating inside shoes all day, do not stink. Air and light help kill any bacteria that breeds inside shoes and socks.

    Also – there are no health codes against bare feet in stores or anywhere else, not should there be. Bare feet are healthy and natural and harm no one, least of all the person walking barefoot. Many podiatrists suggest going barefoot, indoors and outdoors, as a way to avoid athlete’s foot and to build strong, healthy feet.

    You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but don’t expect the whole world to go along with you. Different stokes for different folks. Freedom of choice does not end at the ankles.

    • Admittedly, I think Feet CAN be gross. Not all feet are gross, of course. Dirty feet, indeed, are gross. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. There are all sorts of opinions out there. This is mine. No one has to agree.
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      • Bob

        I think Elbows are gross

      • Melinda

        I’m sorry that you found a “dirty” foot, as your first time seeing a barefooter. If I had had the same experience before I began a barefoot job (leading to a barefoot life), I’m not sure I would even have gone barefoot as a lifeguard.

        In her defense of having crummy soles, store floors are incredibly dusty. This may sound silly, but I imagine that I pride myself on my foot cleanliness as you do on your knowledge of sanitation. Exempting grocery stores, I’ve had very little difficulty maintaining clean-looking feet. That being said, I wash my feet several times a day with soap and water, keep emergency wipes in my car and purse, and do not touch my feet without washing my hands after. Overall, I treat them like I would a pair of shoes, with respect for what I am introducing my immune system to.

        • What a reasonable and rational explanation of your experience as a barefooter. Thank you, Melinda.

          I’m not unreasonable and irrational, by the way.

          Had I seen someone with filthy elbows, I’d have totally blogged about that as well.
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          • Melinda

            I believe *this* is the divisive issue (and most misunderstood point) of the post. The non-barefooters see a DIRTY foot, the barefooters see a BARE foot. However, they all assume they are commenting on the same thing. To say a dirty foot is unpleasant is a generally accepted, to say a bare foot is unpleasant can be divisive. To say they are one and the same is a generalization that can provoke a very heated response (and clearly has) from those very ardent in their desire to defend their practice.

            I have to admit, at first I thought your opinion was harshly phrased when I read through your original post. At a second read through, it stood out to me that the majority of your ire was not for the bare sole, but for the grime on and surrounding it. (Not all of it, I know you are not a proponent of barefooting).

            I guess this is my olive branch, on the behalf of the barefooters with clean feet (and lots and lots of pretty shoes in my closet! I don’t always wear shoes, but when I do, they are FABULOUS!)

          • Melinda

            Sorry to spam your moderator inbox, but I realized that I never actually wrote out my main point:

            I believe a great deal of the anger over this post is a result of two different groups arguing two different points: Dirty feet and bare feet. Some see a picture of *dirty* feet (which happen to be bare), others see a picture of *bare* feet (which happen to be dirty).

            It’s a bit too much to ask for an actual reasonable discussion on the internet, but it did strike me that a lot of the arguments were arising over completely unrelated points from within and without the post.

  • Bob

    All I ask of this world, every person on this planet. Can we please stop hating others for stupid reasons ? Lets focus all this hate toward Murderers and Rapists, and those that steal money. Not toward someone who is doing no harm in deciding to not wear shoes…

    • OK, Bob, now you’re asking a bit much.

      I don’t hate this woman for being barefoot in a store and having filthy feet.

      I don’t hate people for stupid reasons.

      I also, for the record, DO hate murderers and rapists (who neither require nor deserve capitalization), as well as people who don’t say thank you when you hold the door for them, people who don’t use turn signals, people who plant their shopping cart in the middle of the aisle with total disregard for other shoppers, and those who don’t like dogs.

      How can one not like dogs? Dogs are awesome.
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  • Ronni Keller

    How about a slightly different perspective…
    I don’t walk. At all. With shoes or without. I’m disabled and sit comfortably in my wheelchair. Be thankful for that. I don’t have a choice to ‘cover my hands’ as you have a choice to cover your feet. If you people could see what my hands look like after a simple 15 minute trip to say… Walmart, you’d never go barefoot again. It’s simply DISGUSTING. Imagine your only way of moving about is walking on your hands… everywhere. because that’s basically what I do. Would you still be so quick to dismiss health issues as a personal lifestyle choice? I worry over what germs and bacteria are on every surface because for me, it is not a lifestyle ‘choice’… There is no choice. I traipse through the crap with my hands you can walk around, cover with shoes etc. Feet are not offensive to me. FILTH is offensive to me. Would you be so kind as to tell the shop owners that perhaps they could wash their public floors so my hands don’t look like I just chained the oil in 12939494 cars because I needed to purchase a gallon of milk? Next time I run (made a punny there) out to shop, I’ll snap a pic of my hands for you, then maybe your dismissive nature of health issues and common courtesy for others won’t seem so trivial.
    I envy you for being able to wear shoes to protect yourself from such things as MRSA and staph and just… gunk…
    The grass is not always greener when your choice is taken away. I think you’re foolish for not wearing shoes. While you’re at it, skip the toilet paper. There’s no law against that either. But it’s kinda gross too.

    • Thanks, Ronni, for your poignant, thoughtful, and heartfelt comment.

      You are so correct. In fact, so correct, I can’t add anything. Because you’re SO right and so dead-on.

      Although, it’s funny that you mention the t.p. I was discussing these barefoot “arguments” with W, and he said that we figured out shoes were a good idea for a REASON. Kinda like toilet paper. That didn’t always exist but, guess what? There’s a reason WHY we invented it. They’re not superfluous products. They exist because we need them and because they fill a need (not a desire, mind you, a need!!!).

      In closing, let’s just state that’s simply my opinion. And, of course, it’s wrong.

      I wonder, though, why there are charitable foundations that focus on collecting shoes and sending them to poverty-stricken countries. I guess so they can be stylish. And because they want these strangers to develop foot problems. JERKS!
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    • Amber Edwards

      AMEN! I love your straight to the point and elegant way of explaining things Ronni! I can’t say it any better, so I’ll just say AMEN!

      As for all those who have mentioned how barefoot walking is so good for you….you do know that they create shoes specifically designed to mimic barefoot walking and running. Vibram Five Finger shoes are one, there are also very nice moccasins that professional naturalistic runners use to mimic the barefoot experience yet still protect their feet from germs and dirt. Why spend money on a shoe that mimics barefoot walking when you can walk barefoot? Because of the GERMS, the dirt, the chance of picking up bacteria if your foot happens to get a cut from a stone in the road while you are out walking barefoot. If you like the feel of barefoot walking, that’s great more power to you. But when you are in public, it’s just plain Courteous and RESPECTFUL to dress appropriately and wear shoes, shirts and pants. So get some naturalistic shoes if you are set on the feel of walking barefooted instead of flaunting that you view yourself more important and others completely inferior that you place your wants of being barefoot above being respectful to others and their establishment of business!

      I’m not all against barefoot walking. It has it’s place, but that place is in the privacy of your own home. Not in public.

  • BFrank

    Kristin, you have a right to your opinion and how you personally feel about people going barefoot in public. But, please do not make statements as if they are facts, but which are actually only speculation and based only on your very limited experience or wishful thinking. For example, one thing you’ve mentioned (more than once, I think, in one form or another) is, “It is usually the rule of most establishments, though.” That is not correct.

    *Most* establishments have no such rules or dress codes. A few do, that’s true, and that does vary somewhat by the region of the country one is in. Most businesses have either never even thought about a dress code or some “need” to ban barefoot people, or if it’s come up in their policy making decisions, have chosen to treat customers with respect and dignity regardless of how they may choose to dress. I know these things, because I’ve been a barefooter for a long, long time, have lived in several places around the U.S., have done lots of traveling, and have a lot of experience in dealing with these issues. You, on the other hand, know little to nothing about these things. You, by telling barefooters what they should do or not do, would be kind of like me, a retired tax accountant, telling my plumber how to do his job and what he’s doing wrong.

  • I love how you think it’s appropriate to insult people because you ASSUME that you know what my knowledge level is.

    I know that the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy is in place in most establishments where I live. Of course, I’m not referring to the dress code in Hawaii or Arizona or Alabama or Florida or Vermont. I am speaking from experience and from what I know.

    I’m not telling barefooters what they should do or not do. I’m just giving my opinion on how I perceive DIRTY BARE FEET.

    THAT’S ALL.

    And, your analogy is way off. Being barefoot is not a job or a career. It’s a lifestyle choice.

    Btw, nice way to fit in that you’re educated and had a respectable profession. I went to law school. So, until a doctor pipes in, I guess I win.
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  • Ten Toes

    A Doctor did pipe in. (barefoot professor) In fact he wrote a book about this very subject that would be worth reading, that is if you are truly interested in being better informed rather than dismissing those that have done far more research and who have far more experience on this matter.

    • I’m not really interested in being informed on the barefoot lifestyle, because that’s not what this post is about. The comments have turned it into a debate on that, but I could care less about the issue.

      The bottom line was and remains that I find black-bottomed feet kinda gross. Period.

      And, I still think that being barefoot in public is risky to your health.

      However, if Barefoot Professor is a doctor, then I concede that he is the most educated person who has commented on this post. That’s great. I get that he has done research and is putting forth arguments FOR being barefoot and how it is beneficial to your health. I never even addressed that issue or how shoes can be bad for your feet (ill-fitting, poorly made (and so on) shoes certainly are, I agree!).

      I stand by my OPINION about bare feet in public.
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  • BFrank

    Going to law school doesn’t make you an expert at much of anything except getting through law school (if you did). And it certainly doesn’t make you an expert in store dress code policies of every establishment where you live (are you referring to your state? your city? your street?), unless you’ve been in each and every one of them and asked the owner or manager. If you knew anything about the law, as related to this topic, you surely would have corrected some of the people who claimed that being barefoot was against the law.

    Yes, being a barefooter is a lifestyle choice, one in which we have to occasionally deal with know-it-all busybodies who think they know more than we do about what we do. That’s what the analogy was about.

    BTW, Bob’s analogy above was pretty much right on, as well. I’m old enough to have actually seen signs in stores reading “No colored” or “White only.” Times have changed, and those signs have now been replaced in some stores by signs such as “No bare feet” or “Shoes required,” which bear the same basic message: “You are different from us, and we don’t want your kind here.”

    A barefoot person is harming absolutely no one, and there is no reason that he or she should ever be discriminated against in the ways you and others here are suggesting and condoning.

    • I never claimed to know anything about the law as it relates to this topic. Contrary to popular opinion, those who practice law or have gone to law school don’t know every law in every field. That’s a misnomer, but I digress.

      Most of the businesses in my area have this policy stated right on the door, which is how I know.

      The analogy between discrimination based on being barefoot vs. being black? Not really the same. One is based on a lifestyle choice. One is based on the color of a person’s skin.

      I cannot believe that someone who chooses to be barefoot is crying discrimination. I really can’t.

      Try being black or Latino…then you’ll know what discrimination is really about. You can put shoes on and how you’re treated changes immediately. Not the same for a black person. Or a Latino person.

      But, hey, you claim you’re part of a discriminated group, so it must be true. And the rest of us must be oppressing you and infringing upon your rights.

      This might be the stupidest argument ever.

      In fact: GO BAREFOOT. PLEASE. THROW YOUR SHOES AWAY AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AGAINST SHOE-WEARING OPPRESSORS.

      Ignore the fact that there are REAL issues in the world, like poverty and abuse and domestic violence and lack of health care and sexual exploitation and addiction and…oh, that’s right, the plight of the barefooted.
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  • Shoe Whore

    Let’s say you love to be barefoot. You also love chili. You eat said chili and go for a shoeless walk. Along your barefoot jaunt your tummy starts to protest. “Oh, NO! I ate too much chili!” You look around for a bathroom. Where to go? Well, now you have two barefoot choices. Go in the bushes or use a public restroom sans shoes. What to do?

    • Melinda

      I like this! I’ll give my remedies (based on what I’ve had to do in the past):

      1.) Emergency flip-flops or foldy-flats(they’re the folding ones they advertise for wearing on airplanes). Thank goodness I didn’t have to step on that stuff!

      2.) Oh noes! I forgot to bring my shoe-clutch containing my super-awesome foldy-flats! Good thing I still remembered my sanitation wipes in my wallet *phew*.

      *walk on toes to the toilet, taking the shortest possible route* (Several years of ballet training have finally paid off!)
      *hold feet off the ground during business time*
      *proceed out of bathroom after washing hands*
      *wipe off feet thoroughly with wet wipe*

      3.) What was I thinking?! I forgot my emergency shoes *and* my emergency wipes! I didn’t even drive so I don’t have my backup wipes in my car to depend on!

      At this point, it’s all about damage control. If you’re a lucky son-of-a-gun, there’s sanitation liquid in the bathroom and paper towels. Otherwise, don’t touch the feet…evar. The best you can hope for is that you don’t have very far to go before you reach a place where you can clean your feet. I keep a jar of wet-wipes close by my front door for these very circumstances.

    • BFrank

      Shoe Whore, well of course you’d go to the public restroom. Why not? There’s absolutely nothing on a public restroom floor that is harmful to bare feet or to someone who happens to be barefoot. I realize you may be particularly squeamish and may not want to do something like that yourself, but if you did, no harm would come to you. In fact, even if there were some theoretical potential chance of getting some infection from touching the floor of a restroom (there really isn’t, but this is just hypothetically speaking), there’d be a much greater risk if wearing shoes. Bare feet only touch the floor and nothing else. Barefooters as a rule don’t go around touching their feet with their hands, except when washing them. Shoes touch the floor and everything else that might be on the ground, yet are never washed. In addition, people touch their shoes with their bare hands as they take them off or put them back on, and then use their hands to touch everything else, including every other part of their own bodies, other people, food, eating utensils, etc. Bare feet don’t touch any of those things.

      If you’re barefoot and need to go to a public restroom, the most practical and safest thing to do is just to walk in barefoot, not worry about it at all, and just wash your hands before leaving. In that way your body has the best chance of doing its job of naturally fighting off any potential infections, as it always does continually as we live in this world. Bare feet were made to touch the ground or whatever surface you’re walking on. That’s their job, their function. A floor, or the ground, is not required to be perfectly clean and sanitary for our feet to function properly and our bodies to remain healthy.

  • here where I life we specifically have signs that say no shoes no shirt no service. You would think that is something that is all over the place while I can understand that possibly some people may not be able to afford shoes I just can’t understand while a public store would allow this. I think its pretty nasty myself and don’t even allow my children in stores without shoes. Too many things can happen like broken glass and so on. Just gross.

    I’ll walk around barefoot in my home and outside my home in the yard and at a pool or beach but thats where I draw the line
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  • Melinda, for some reason, I cannot reply to your comments, but I must say…you have presented the best comment on this post. I wish I could give you a prize.

    Not because you’re so nice about it (although that doesn’t hurt!) but because you’re so right and so thoughtful in your expression of your point.

    And you’re right…it is the dirty feet that I really, really take issue with (and that’s my issue, of course). As far as being barefoot, in general, I worry about the risks. Empirically, it might be proven over time that being barefoot is not as risky as I think. But, it’s what I think…and you know how hard it is to change opinions.

    But, you are correct on so many of the points you raised. The “debate” has turned into something that this post was never really about, not to mention angry and combative and heated, which is never my intent, either.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and kind-hearted comment.
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  • Grayzfun

    It is completely acceptable to walk barefoot everywhere and there are absolutely no law in each of the 50 States. Why would there be? The ground is actually extremely safe. If you see a hazard or something icky, step over or around it. No problem.

    Shoes and other footwear are also disgusting. They are full of sweat and exfoliated skin, and never get washed. Feet get washed everyday. If the ground is so nasty, then why don’t you wash your shoes every day?

    Google the most common way to transmit disease. The most common way to transmit or pick up bacteria and viruses is entirely by hands, coughing and sneezing. Nothing is spread by barefeet. You can even walk barefoot in a public shower, no problem. Just clean and dry your feet really good before you put them in your sweaty shoes so that, in a miniscule chance, you came across athletes foot, you don’t let it incubate in your dark, warm, sweaty shoes.

  • Barefoot Cowboy

    It\\\\\\\’s completely legal, healthy and safe to go barefoot in all 50 United States and this is inclusive of driving and going to stores and restaurants. I live a barefoot lifestyle and love it. Actually, I\\\\\\\’ve gone barefoot in public for 33 years out of 49. Barefooting is not for everybody. Some people like to go barefoot while others don\\\\\\\’t. I think the photograph of the woman shopping barefoot is awesome! Another healthy thing, awareness and acceptance of a person\\\\\\\’s individuality.

  • unci

    Sorry to read that you feel this way. That your objection is so strong you take the time to write an article about it. Most people would shrug this off as it’s perhaps slightly out of the ordinary, but entirely harmless. It’s a valid dress style like any other though. You are entitled to your opinion and free to wear whatever shoes you like, but you should give anyone who chooses to go barefoot the same freedom.

    Why? Feet don’t spread or pick up “germs” any more than hands do (if we were serious about avoiding germs we would have to stop breathing as they are also in the air). Unsanitary? What does the word mean: “not conducive to or promoting health; dirty or unhygienic” (source: the free dictionary). Nobody ever got ill from walking barefoot in a store (just ask all those who do so every day, in many places of the world), so that’s nonsense. Those who are used to walking barefoot know to watch their step so they won’t step into anything dangerous.
    Dirty? That dirt washes off easily in the shower. And is it any worse than the dirt accumulating in shoes during a warm day when your sweat mixes with whatever has assembled since you last cleaned the inside of your shoes (who ever does so)? I would find the latter more disgusting. The whole idea that you sweat more in shoes and your sweat mixes with leather and other materials of shoes, dissolving whatever chemicals are there, slowly soaking into it, is quite disgusting when you think of it in detail. Walking barefoot on a daily wiped shop floor seems more hygienic to me, even if there’s a little dust on the soles.

    Whenever I walk barefoot I think of all the people wearing shoes and how much they miss, concerning the pleasure to the sense of touch at every step!

  • Jean

    I think we can sometimes become so dedicated to a cause that we become too zealous…

    I think that sometimes perception is only that…perception. What we sometimes consider dirty is not so dirty. For example, if you step in mud or work with clay and do pottery, your hands or feet may look dirty from the clay and mud, but in fact they do not have much bacteria’s on them. On the other hand if you touch an ATM machine, your hands may look clean, but in fact they are real dirty with bacteria’s.

    As far of the soles of our shoes or the bottom of barefooter feet, they are most likely to have the same amount of bacteria’s and maybe less in the case of a barefooter as the bottom of a foot is smooth. A shoe wearer who steps on dog poop is more likely going to drag the stuff wherever he/she goes. A barefoot person will wipe it clean. In addition barefooters are more careful about where they step.

    We live in society and we must be tolerant and flexible. But we also have to learn to make compromises. In fact many problems of this world are the result of people who do not want to move from their comfort zone or are unwilling to listen to others. If we want to start solving some of the challenges of our time we must be more attentive to others. Jean

  • Desculţ Dinu

    The greatest pleasure of mine in this life is to be BAREFOOT. Perhaps it was given to me as a gift from God. I like to feel the earth under bare feet, to feel the warmth of the sun, the hot of summer, the moisture of the rain, the raw of the grass green loaded dew, the fluffy snow. Going barefoot, I feel more close to our mother, the Nature. This is my way of saying: “My dear Mother Nature, I love you!” :)

    BAREFOOT IS THE BEST !!!

    On Facebook, I am here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/descult.dinu

  • Jim Grant

    Kristen,

    If you feel that bare feet in public are gross, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But here are a few things to consider for all those who feel the same way:

    (1) Yes, there are germs on the ground, some of which are potentially harmful. But the same applies to everything we touch with our hands! In fact, scientific studies have been done where they found microscopic human feces on door knobs, handrails, and many other places that people touch daily, because not all people wash their hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom! This stuff does not normally get on the floor! Sure, you can step on gross stuff like dog poo, but that’s why we have eyes to avoid stepping on this stuff! At least with feet, germs stay on the feet and on the ground, but with hands we spread it to others when we shake hands or touch other objects that they also touch. We also eat with our hands often, so if we pick up some nasty germs and then eat some potato chips, there’s a high risk of getting sick! Obviously, bare hands in public are quite gross, but no one ever thinks about this, yet they are quick to point out how gross bare feet are!?!

    (2) Dirt in itself does not mean its full of germs. It’s just dirt. We see dirty hands on workers all the time, like auto mechanics for example, and nobody cares. So what’s the big deal about some dirt on the soles of feet??

    (3) In places where food is sold, dirty feet do not pose a food safety risk, just like filthy shoes don’t pose a risk either. At least people wash their feet routinely, but how often do people wash their shoes?? Shoes, especially shoes that have grooves in the soles like sneakers, collect dirt and germs from a long period of time and spread it all over the floor.

    (4) Some feet may have fungus, athlete’s foot, etc. So how does wearing thin strapped sandals for flip flops make a difference? And by the way, these diseases are common on closed shoe wearing people, because such bacteria thrives inside dark, moist places that shoes provide.

    (5) People who go barefoot do not have smelly feet. Only people who wear closed shoes have smelly feet, because it’s the bacteria that thrives inside the shoes that cause the smell.

    (6) People who think bare feet are gross are often the same people who have no issues going barefoot in “socially acceptable” places, such as pool areas, parks, yoga classes, and the beach. Speaking of the beach, there is bird crap and food all over the place, lots of bare feet with fungus nails walking where you walk, and lots of shells to cut your feet! The beach is FAR more gross than most city side walks, yet thousands of foot phobes have no issue going barefoot at the beach, and they’re still alive! Contradictory, isn’t it?

    I could write pages about this subject with lots of logical reasoning and facts that prove going barefoot in public is nowhere nearly as gross or dangerous as some people believe, but I don’t have the space here to do so. All I can say here is that I have been going barefoot everywhere for more than 10 years and I have not contracted any disease. Also, I have had a handful of very minor injuries in all these years, basically just small splinters of glass stuck to my foot with hardly a cut. Only large glass or sharp objects pointing upward can cause serious injury, but as long as you look where you go and not go barefoot in places of high risk like construction zones, it’s quite safe! There are many barefooters out there that can attest to the safety of going barefoot.

    And to tell you honestly, I wouldn’t care if some people find it gross, except that the foot phobes are the ROOT reason why other people’s freedom to go barefoot in this country is limited, and the reason we barefooters get so defensive about comments like yours. (No, it’s not really because of liability, because the store owners know about the legal principle that says if the store is negligent but the injured customer could have avoided the injury by ordinary means (like wearing shoes), the store is not liable.)

    More info:
    http://www.primalfootalliance.org
    http://www.barefooters.org

  • Jim Grant

    And if you’re wondering why some people choose to go barefoot, let me explain.

    While the vast majority of people are quite comfortable and happy wearing shoes, and feel miserable without them, barefooters feel the EXACT opposite. As an analogy, suppose the world turned super germaphobe (I think it already is) and required everyone to wear gloves in public to prevent the spread of germs. You know that this is true, but also feel that this is extremism, and you know that you have lived most of your life barehanded with very few issues, perhaps just gotten some colds and flu because of it. How would you feel? Not only would you feel it’s ridiculous, but you would find wearing gloves on your hands UNBEARABLE! No doubt, you would wish you didn’t have to wear gloves in public because you know that the risks are quite small from experience, and most importantly it is so uncomfortable, except when it’s very cold outside!

    This is EXACTLY how we barefooters feel. Even sandals are quite annoying to our feet. I know that even with this analogy it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to understand how oppressive shoes are to our feet, and this inability for non-barefooters to understand us is why non-barefooters can’t understand why we can’t just wear shoes in order to avoid discrimination and ridicule. Another factor is that non-barefooters find going barefoot painful, but they don’t realize that this is because their feet have been weakened by a life time of shoe dependency. Barefooters have strong feet that can walk even on gravel without pain, and our minds are so used to it as well that all the little rocks are not bothersome at all.

    In fact, it’s not just for comfort reasons that barefooters go barefoot, it’s also for health reasons. Shoes are responsible for most foot ailments and many body ailments as well, such as athlete’s foot, nail fungus, plantar fasciitis, bunions, ingrown toenails, knee and back pain from unnatural gait, etc, etc. Many barefooters were once anti-barefoot, but found that going barefoot has relieved much of these problems and for this reason have embraced the barefoot lifestyle.

    So the bottom line is that barefooters go barefoot because the joy, the comfort, and health benefits FAR outweigh the risks. And as long as proper caution is observed, the risks to bare feet are very small, as has already been discussed. So hooray for the barefoot lady in the picture, maybe she’s smarter than you think :-)

  • James

    I don’t go barefoot in public because I’m afraid for my own safety, but I couldn’t care less if someone else goes barefoot. It just doesn’t bother me at all, even if their soles are dirty. I truly find it incromprehensible that the sight of bare feet in public places where it’s not “socially acceptable” bothers some people. Yet take these same bare feet to a park or to martial arts class and nobody cares. You just gotta love the irrational human mind.

    • Why is it so incomprehensible that some people don’t like to look at bare feet? And, you’re ASSUMING that the same person who doesn’t like to see bare feet in a public place (presumably me and other barefoot-o-phobes) has no problem seeing them in a park or a martial arts class.

      WRONG-O.

      I don’t want to see them there, either.

      Who’s being irrational? Other than the barefooters who are freaking out and acting like they’re some discriminated class of people. They’re no more discriminated against than the person who wears patchouli or who doesn’t shave under their arms or wear deodorant. Others might find it offensive but so be it. If you want to become Leatherfoot, have at it. But you’re not gaining any followers to your cause by your comments.

      I can see it now…someone reading al these comments and jumping out of their chair as the clouds part, and they rip off their shoes and throw them aside. “I’ve seen the light! I declare I shall never be shod again!” they proclaim, and start running around over different surfaces to get the feel of different textures on their feet.

      Then they step on a roofing nail and have to go to the hospital for a tetanus shot, and oops, MRSA enters through the cut in their foot, and they develop boils and other skin lesions.

      Or, maybe nothing will happen. Maybe they’ll be healthy as a horse (unless he steps on a pointy rock and can’t walk) as they spend the rest of their days barefoot and free!!

  • James

    Kristin, you are missing my point. I don’t go barefoot for my own safety concerns nor am I preaching that others should go barefoot. All I am pointing out is that some people that are offended by the sight of bare feet in certain public places are not offended when seen in others, that’s all. And in the places that they are offended, if the barefooter then wears flip flops, they are no longer offended. Please don’t tell me that this makes sense!

    But as you pointed out, your can’t stand the site of bare feet in any situation. If this is the case, then you need some serioius help! How do you deal with the site of bare feet at the beach, by the pool, in barefoot performances like dancing and gymnastics, at people’s home that ask you to remove your shoes, etc? And what about the site of feet in sandals or flip flops which are almost bare minus the thin strap? How do you live like this, especially in the summer?

    Do you expect barefooters to wear shoes to save YOU from the “horror” of seeing bare feet? I think it should be the other way around – you need to fix yourself!

    P.S. I got an error when I first posted this, so apology if this post appears twice.

    • Once again…I said I don’t LIKE to see bare feet. I’m not a fan. That doesn’t mean it’s a “horror” or that I “need serious help.” (Are you a psychiatrist, by the way?)

      Feet in flip flops don’t thrill me, either. If a foot is nicely cared for (a pedicure helps), they’re not bad to look at. But that’s not always the case. As far as the pool, I don’t go. As far as the beach, I’m usually reading, not staring at people’s feet, although I am aware they’re there.

      No, I don’t expect “barefooters” to do ANYTHING for me. But they shouldn’t act all offended and discriminated against when I am of the opinion that black-bottomed, dirty feet are GROSS. That’s MY OPINION.

      As far as my needing to “fix myself”? Resorting to personal attacks and put-downs, are we? As a barefooter, shouldn’t you be putting your best (bare) foot forward in trying to develop a healthy discourse with the shod? This is no way to bridge the gap between our peoples.
      Kristin recently posted..The best thrift store find, period.My Profile

  • James

    Kristen, I am not a barefooter, your are confusing me with others here, please read my posts carefully. Sorry for my harsh statement though. But I still find your and other’s negative feelings about bare feet quite irrational, and that is my opinion.

    P.S. I have had to repost this several times because of server errors. You need to check your server.

    • Sorry, James, I got you confused with Jim, and the numerous other barefooters. I just got out of the hospital so I am sick and sleeping a lot and on numerous medications, although it’s no excuse for not paying closer attention. But that’s my excuse. I apologize for the confusion and the jabs.

      Isn’t there something you find kinda, I don’t know, “icky” (for lack of a more mature term, I guess LOL)? Like, women who don’t share under their arms or their legs? Or people with offensive body odor? Or people with greasy hair? Or perhaps wearing flip flops. Or perhaps a woman going braless? Or…whatever. I wouldn’t consider your opinion irrational. We could make great jokes about it (in private, of course, I don’t offend people!) and laugh ourselves silly. Then we move on with our day and our lives.

      This has been blown way out of proportion. I’m not irrational or obsessive or phobic or any of those things. I just don’t like dirty feet. Which, has been turned into a barefoot argument because, of course, the woman in question had dirty feet because she was barefoot.

      I don’t mean any ill will. In fact, I’ve learned a LOT over the last two days. So bully for me, and anyone else who reads this post (and can make it through the comments, although that’s unlikely).

      As for the errors, thanks for the heads-up. It’s GoDaddy. They got hacked today and they’re having some “issues.” Not “issues” like I have but technical issues. ;)
      Kristin recently posted..3M Mobile Projector: So many possibilities!My Profile

      • James

        Kristin, no worries. To answer your question, I do find going barefoot in public a bit icky, but for MYSELF. Seeing another barefoot person does not bother me one bit, no matter how dirty his feet are. Why? Because it’s his feet, not mine! There’s really nothing wrong with dirt, especially on the soles of the feet where it’s only natural to get dirty. Getting disturbed by the sight of dirty barefoot soles is like getting disturbed at seeing dirty soles of shoes, which would be silly.

  • Barefoot Cowboy

    Tenderfoot versus Leatherfoot! lmao The bottoms of the feet are a curious thing.

  • Barefoot Cowboy

    I agree, Kristin. A person who dislikes bare feet or dislikes going barefoot is simply not going to go barefoot, regardless of the most scientific, in-depth human research or the most sophisticated form of persuasion. It is very similar to flogging a dead horse. I accept your opinion (how you feel) and encourage you to wear shoes…but, please, don’t vomit if we ever cross paths.

    • Never!!!

      I not only am not that repulsed by anything that it moves me to vomit but…I hate vomiting with a passion.

      As in, I haven’t vomited in, like, 10 years? This is a whole other topic. But, needless to say, I’m rather Seinfeldian about vomiting.

      Btw, if you have clean, attractive feet, I’d be likely to admire them. I won’t say anything, of course, but I’ll make a mental note.
      Kristin recently posted..9/11: Remembering Kevin CosgroveMy Profile

  • Jerome

    Kristin,

    OK, you’re offended by barefeet in public and apparently are not the only one.

    I suspect -correct me if i’m wrong- that this may be a result of cultural habits. How many Americans are offended by for example Tattoos, Breastfeeding in public (Bare breast at all), Same Genders kissing each other etc? Yes, this counts for other places in the world too but on different scales and subjects.

    Elsewhere meanwhile, people are walking barefoot in public en masse. Take New Zealand or some places in Europe for example where it’s very common to walk around barefoot. Even in most other places around Europe it’s not an issue if someone’s roaming the streets and shops sans shoes. Did someone mention the increasing popularity of barefoot running? Do you believe so many people are all ‘wrong’ and that diseases caused as a result of (others) living barefoot are rampant? No, there would probably be some health code regulations or other programs in place if that were the case.

    I would never ask anyone to change opinion about going barefoot. But I think everyone should ask him/herself “Do I limit my life because of what other people think? If yes, how can I overcome it?” Of course, you’ll have to stay within the boundaries of the law or you may be in trouble.

    In some cultures, barefoot in public means walking one the edge of social norms. That means that you could ‘offend’ someone and so does anyone else who practices the issues mentioned before. The best solution for the offended will be to look another direction and perhaps have some counseling.

    Happy wearing shoes? Fine!Barefooters happy without shoes. great! Please Live and let Live.

    For your reference, I’m living in Europe and often go barefoot weather permitting.

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