Guest post by fellow barefooter Neil C.
It’s a beautiful mid-August day as I sit down to share thoughts about my barefoot lifestyle and how it has shaped me. It was just over 32 years ago when I decided to no longer wear shoes, except work and snow (lol) and become a devoted bare footer. I think about a typical day off last week and how being barefoot was just such a natural part of that day.
It was about 6 am and I awoke for breakfast. After doing some reading and catching up on the news, I did my daily 90 minute yoga workout as I’ve done for the last 22 years. After yoga, I went to my dental appointment for a check up and cleaning. I have been going to this practice for 19 years and they never had an issue with my bare feet. When I first started going there, despite years of going barefoot, I was a little apprehensive about what they would think. After the first couple of visits, I became very comfortable and my embarrassment threshold sharply rose. Now even with looks and stares from others in the waiting area and new staff, I am not phased or nervous.
After the dentist, I go for my usual 3 mile walk in Niantic, of course barefoot! The walk is followed by a coffee at Cafe Sol where the staff gives me a friendly hello. I have gone there for years and despite always being barefoot, they never cared. After coffee it’s off to Walmart to pick up a few items. An employee says, “back again?” I complement her on her good memory and she responds, “you’re easy to remember because you always come in barefoot!” I guess to some people I’m the barefoot guy, although I think of my bare feet as normal and not terribly memorable.
After lunch, it’s time to pick up some fruit and veggies at the supermarket. As I’m shopping, I get some stares and looks that years ago would have made me feel uneasy and self conscious. That day as everyday now, it had no effect on me as I continued my shopping feeling no embarrassment. In fact, acclimation to stares, dirty looks and negative comments has allowed me to be less apprehensive about other situations that in the past may have intimidated me and played to my insecurities.
Being barefoot in so many situations has built my self confidence and made me less anxious and more open to new experiences. For example, I have posed nude for an artist and often wear a thong bathing suit at the beach. If that’s TMI, sorry about that but you get the point, lol. When people commented or questioned my bare feet in the past, I would feel caught off guard even when the comments were positive which they often were. Nowadays, I answer whatever questions people my have and I’m very comfortable talking about my preference to be barefoot. Sometimes I get hit on with my bare feet being the main topic. Often I can tell the person has a foot fetish and although I don’t have one, I don’t get rattled or bothered by it. In fact I see a foot fetish as being no different than an attraction to broad shoulders or long shapely legs.
In closing, my barefoot lifestyle has made me more self confident and accepting of others. The everyday experience of feeling the multitude of textures and temperatures beneath my bare feet still makes me feel alive and satisfied. The spiritual connection to the earth I feel when my bare feet are in contact with the ground is so calming and soothing. Honestly, I can’t picture myself not being barefoot because it is so central to who I am. I have learned that the amazing feeling of being barefoot so out weighs societal norms and I am so glad I went with what was inside of me and freed my feet. It just felt so natural and over time I didn’t care about what others thought and I no longer was embarrassed about being barefoot because it was now a part of my everyday life. When I really think about it, my feet being bare is such an integral part of just being myself.