We’ve looked a couple of times at barefoot sandals, which we barefooters will occasionally use to make it look like we are wearing shoes when we are not. We also saw that they were used in the late 1970s, for the same purpose.
However, the term “barefoot sandals” had an entirely different meaning in the early 1900s. Here’s an advertisement for barefoot sandals from back then:
Those aren’t barefoot. Those are shoes! They’re not even sandals; they are shoes with a few holes in them. Wow.
Here’s another ad with a similar picture:
Of course, back then, folks generally didn’t wear barefoot sandals to fool people into thinking they were shod, since you could go barefoot pretty much if you wanted to (or back then because you had to).
The ads also helps emphasize the difference between urban and rural areas in the United States at the time. In cities, you really were expected to wear shoes all the time, unless maybe you were a kid. In rural areas, though, going unshod was much more a part of daily life.