Barbarian invasion

Will society collapse if people go barefoot in public? Probably.

Going without shoes is less dangerous and more rewarding than you might think.


Little kids want to go barefoot everywhere, but later in life, something goes awry. It doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve been going barefoot for years, and I love it. And I think it’s gaining acceptance.

No shoe police have revealed themselves to me lately, although there are people who question why anyone would want to be without footwear. Others seem to immediately understand the idea and maybe even like it. But why do it?

Everyone is searching for those things that fit for them. This can be a hairstyle, relationship or career. For a small number of people, going barefoot is the most comfortable way of being in the world.

The textures of everything passing under me creates a lovely, beautiful feeling that is important and valuable. Barefooting also makes daily life a bit more of an adventure.

Imagine walking to school or work on a sunny day and feeling the warmth flood up through your body like a sense of well-being. Once you get inside somewhere, there are a hundred different textures on the floors. The surfaces can change dramatically or feel lush, a sensation that for the foot is like a delicious meal.

A shoddie would have to stop and remove their shoes and socks to benefit from this situation, but a barefooter is ready.

A full day contains a lot of goings on, and you could forget your shoelessness, but there’s always that little electric feeling when your toes brush against something metal and smooth. Or you feel a big tuft where the carpet is unravelling. Sometimes feet will briefly touch each other.

No one would think of these things until they happen, but when they do, they’re obviously worthwhile.

Alas, everything comes with problems. Glass, right? No, glass isn’t much of an issue.

The biggest problem, by far, is that people don’t expect to see bare feet in public. This can lead to shock and distress, which is unfortunate but understandable. Hopefully, with time and exposure, barefooting will be seen as an aspect of diversity.

Businesses are already fairly tolerant of bare feet, especially if you believe feet are normal and project that. Sometimes a staff member will frown or even insist on shoes, but it seems to be less of a problem than a few years ago.

Other problems I have are that my feet can get sunburned easily, and my toes are so long I sometimes trip on them.

The thing that people always want to know is, aren’t you risking injury by walking without shoes? It turns out that various doctors and laypeople have studied this, and barefooting is increasingly considered to be a healthy thing to do. 

Barefooting has been associated with the prevention of common foot and lower body injuries. It is best to ease into barefooting. The feet respond gradually, becoming stronger and less injury-prone than before.

There are many barefooting resources on the web, so it’s fun to look at what’s out there. It is best to be a little skeptical of some things that are said, because people have a tendency to go too far sometimes.

I’ve experienced other benefits besides just the physical health ones. It can improve a person’s mood and have an effect on the mind in an indirect way. Barefooting is viewed by some as an extreme activity, but it really is all about being gentle and even kind.

Fostering some benevolence is always a great thing to do, and we would all benefit by being more thoughtful about how to do this.

We’re always searching for something more exciting and distracting, even though we know this really isn’t going to make us happier. Barefooters gently tiptoe their way out of this mental pattern.

Walking becomes the best of times.

The subtle relationship you have with your body comes out of hiding, and you can be alone with yourself. Barefooting can change your thoughts, maybe even your values. It makes you feel vulnerable – your environment, surroundings and other people become important.

The unimportant stuff falls away.

In life, we got into a bad habit of trying to have the worth of everything figured out in advance. We often believed, in the past, that we had it all down. But the world is a little weirder than we thought.

Everything is out there for you to add to your plate. As Gus Fring would say, “Enjoy your meal.”

Other resources

Published in Volume 71, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 12, 2016)

Related Reads