Out and About

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In a comment to Fall Hikes, Ben asks

[D]o you also walk barefoot in your daily life? I have done so for the past month but the reaction I get, especially now it is getting winter here, are not so positive. Any thoughts on that?

I’m going to pull it up here as a full entry since I think it is an interesting question.

Yes. Aside from the time I inline skate (I haven’t figured out how to do that barefoot), I probably wear footwear about 5-10 hours a year (yes, that’s “year”). In this older entry, Resisting Social Pressure, I talked a bit about how going barefoot strengthens the soul (along with the sole — HA!). But after a while it also gets easier with the public, too.

Yes, as you start going to new places like stores, you might have problems. Of course, don’t forget to carry with you the letter from your state’s Health Department, available here from the Society for Barefoot Living, that demonstrates no health code requiring shoes. But what I have found happens is that, for the stores you frequent regularly, they very quickly “adopt” you. They recognize you. You are their barefooted customer. They’ll greet you (moreso than when you used to enter shod).

So, I’ve ended up giving a lot of business to places that are friendly to me, and none to those who have given me problems. And they are positive experiences.

Regarding winter, about all I get is curiosity. Folks want to know if I put on shoes for the winter. The answer is no, and my ready response: “If I don’t need gloves, I don’t need shoes.” I certainly don’t put on gloves walking from my car in a parking lot into a store, so why would I need shoes? Yes, the ground conducts cold better than the air, but I have pretty thick soles that provide more insulation.

It can provide some interesting reactions though (and don’t consider these negative, but savor them). Last winter I exited a PetSmart and deliberately walked through a melting snowdrift (maybe 6 inches deep) for about 6 feet (felt like ice cream). Behind me I heard this audible gasp. I just grinned to myself.

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One Response to “Out and About”

  1. Ben Says:

    Thanks for your answer Bob.
    I was however also referring to people who believe to have authority over you, for example my professor on university said that it was not acceptable and that you should adapt to something he called an ‘academic standard'(if that even exists). Unfortunately some of my family is also not as tolerant as I would hope them to be, they believe that I am standing too much out of the crowd and that my love for going barefoot is ‘absurd’ they even tell me that for that apart from those reason I should wear shoes to look fancy. Another example, when I am at home my parents forbid me to barefoot outside since it is not ‘normal’ in that town. Besides they believe I do it to attract attention. Even when I am constantly saying that I don’t like shoes and actually love going barefoot even just for the physical feeling.
    It is these reactions I mean when I am referring to negative reactions.

    To be honest I think some of the reactions of random people on the street are rather amusing.

    Thanks alot,

    Ben

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