Barefoot FAQ

By dkl9, written 2024-085, revised 2024-088 (1 revisions)


I am often barefoot, including in public. People seeing this give many of the same responses repeatedly. Here are my answers.

§ Why are you barefoot?

Sith it's funny.

§ But really, why?

Walking barefoot lets me experience my surroundings in more detail by exposing my senses to the texture of the ground, as opposed to the uniform isolation of shoes. This effect is much stronger from going barefoot compared to other clothing-removals, sith feet are the only body part reliably in contact with solid matter. Enjoying this may be a peculiarity of my mind.

Most shoes expect (and thereby promote) a narrower, pointier foot-shape and more rigid movement than is natural. Deviating from the ways of the ancestral environment can improve health, but sans a specific reason, it tends to worsen health. So letting the feet spread and bend naturally may have musculoskeletal benefits.

Going barefoot is an act of experimental minimalism. By acclimating to a lack of shoes, I may be able to live without any, thereby reducing what I need, which broadens what I tolerate.

Most people I meet are used to everyone wearing shoes (or equivalent) most of the time. Approaching them barefoot shocks them. When their responses bothered me, persisting expanded my comfort zone and helped me develop audacity. Once I got used to it, these reactions came to amuse me. Once they get used to it, I will have finished inspiring those so susceptible.

You may find some or all of those reasons stupid. In that case, I revert my answer to the truthful cop-out I gave you the first time.

§ That's illegal.

It's usually legal.

I want to follow rules somewhat, so if a place I visit really does require footwear, and authorities/officials tell me they care, I'll put on shoes (if I have any with me) or leave.

§ And what of the physical hazards?

All common concerns are exaggerated and avoidable.

I would worry about broken glass or similar sharp objects iff they were often found pointing upward on the ground. In my experience, such things are rare. I should and do, for safety, look around a bit at where I walk.

I'd get an infection only if I walk in mud or continually wet places, or leave a sole-wound open. I avoid those circumstances.

Some health conditions, such as diabetes, imply that one should always wear footwear. My pancreas is perfectly fine, but readers may need to consider this.

Freezing and burning are the most serious risks. I got second-degree burns on my soles from walking barefoot on tarmac in summer. I should and do wear shoes in winter and the peak of summer.

§ I still think this is dangerous and stupid. You'll hurt yourself.

Perhaps, but tell me a mechanism by which that would happen beyond those addressed above.

If you struggle to think of one, check if your criticism comes from an accurate concern, or is just instinctively confabulated out of shock.

§ Should I go barefoot?

Maybe. I've told you the main benefits and risks. Judge for yourself.

You should probably at least try it briefly. Be warned that hard, rough surfaces (including most sidewalks and streets) will hurt a bit before you get used to them.