Leave only footprints

Barefeet: A Taboo?

When did being barefoot become a taboo? When I go out barefoot I am constantly met with downcast eyes and comments about my lack of footwear. It’s as if I have a face tattoo and drinking from a water bottle full of urine.

Being barefoot in certain places is acceptable, such as: the beach, pool,  your home, and…that’s pretty much it.  Why do people feel so strongly about wearing shoes? Is it because of hygiene? Do they think that it is the law to have shoes on?

I can understand people feeling a little weirded out about someone not wearing shoes if they are a clean freak. Most people view feet as “dirty”, but as for the law…not so. You are allowed to be shoeless in any retail establishment, INCLUDING restuarants. Just check out http://barefooters.org/health-dept/ Here you can find a letter from your state’s health department stating that there are no current health codes that require a patron have footwear on.

I have been going barefoot so often now, that I forget to take my shoes with me places. If I think ahead and know I’m going to be somewhere that may confront me about my lack of footwear I will bring some flip flops along with me. I keep them either in a cargo pocket or in a small cooler I carry with me almost everywhere.

This last week I have had the more confrontations than I have in the the last 2 months of being barefoot. I went to the Mall with a couple of my friends. We went to Sears, Dave and Busters, and a couple other little stores. The entire time we were in Sears I was barefoot. Nobody asked me to put shoes on. I was not thrown out of the mall for lack of footwear. I like Sears. The other little stores we stopped at, including the food court, didn’t have a problem with my bare feet either. But when I was in D&B I was told that I had to have shoes on. The Manager told me this after I had already been without shoes on in his establishment for over an hour. I was in the middle of playing a boxing game that requires you to dodge and step side to side. If I had been wearing my flip flops it would have been likely that I would have ended up with a twisted ankle. I told the manager that I had taken off my flip flops to play the game. He says, “Yeah, sure. Just make sure you put them on when you’re done.” So, after I lost the game I put my flip flops on, made sure the manager was watching, and left. I saw that he was still looking when I instantly removed my sandles after I crossed the threshold of his store and the mall.

I could have challenged him about the whole “shoes are required” thing, but I wasn’t in the mood. Instead, I decided to cause a minor scene and show my distaste for shoes…and Dave and Busters.

When we left D&B we decided to go home. We were walking towards the exit, my friends with shoes on, me with my flip flops in my little cooler, when a security guard asked me put my shoes on. I did as I was told and left the mall.

I didn’t have an argument fot the security guard. He was right, I needed to have shoes on. You see, there are no violations for being barefoot in a retail establishment, but the hallways of a mall are private property. When you are in a store, you can be barefoot. As soon as you walk out, they can tell you to put shoes on and they are in the right.

So, after all that, how does this Taboo make you feel? Do you find feet dirty? Do you find it freeing to be barefoot? How often do you go barefoot and where do you do it?

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