First barefooting spring 2013

Barefoot Life

Last week, I was 4 days in Bergen, Norway, at a work conference, with 300 participants from Norway and 6 foreign countries. I thought this would be a great event to start my barefoot season for this year. The temperature is 3-5 °C and the snow is melting most places.

During this conference I was barefoot all the time, mainly in three different settings: in the hotel restaurant, during the day at the conference, and in the evening going out around Bergen.

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A movie theatre in Bergen, named after the Norwegian Viking Magnus Berrføtt (1073-1103) who ruled Norway for 10 years and was killed in battle. “Berrføtt” means barefoot and it should be obvious how he earned his nickname.

Breakfast, the hotel restaurant

At breakfast Monday morning I wanted to go barefoot, but felt uncertain about it because it was the first time in 6 months that I would be barefoot in a public place other than at work. So I decided to wear my shoes.Breakfast, the hotel restaurant:

When I sat down I removed my shoes and had my barefoot breakfast, it was great. I had a chat with my colleagues about barefooting and barefoot running. One of them wants to buy some Vibram FiveFingers and try them out – great. After breakfast, I walked out of there not wearing my shoes. No comment from the staff.

The next morning I felt more confident and did not bring my shoes to breakfast. There was of course the occasional looks from other hotel guests, but in general no reactions or comments at all. I thank the staff for being tolerant 🙂

Conferences/talks during day:

If you are at a long conference it is really no need to wear shoes. Let your feet feel the floor and stay nice and dry and get that air they so surely need! I was barefoot all the time during these talks, and my bare feet gave me a really refreshing and relaxing feeling which helped me stay alert. As I have stated before, going barefoot is like getting an extra sense. At the end of the day I had no pain in my feet, as I suspect many shoe wearers had.

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Bare feet at the conference. Let your feet breathe, even at work.

Going out in the evening

On the first evening there was an event with a buffet dinner and a show. Looking forward to finally have a barefoot walk in the city, I left my shoes at the hotel.

At the place of the event, I walked past two of the staff in the entrance without getting any comment, but upstairs in the bar, a waitress asked me to put shoes on because of the dress code. I tried to argue politely that bare feet are more beautiful and dressed than shoes, but she said “we have to keep a certain standard”. This is, as we all know, a common but very dubious statement. I had to return to the hotel and get my shoes.

Reflecting back on this episode with the waitress, some questions came to my mind:

  • Why do we “need” to keep a certain standard? Is this to create and keep up class differences in society?
  • What is this standard and who decides what is right or wrong?
  • Define “shoe”
  • Would sandals be ok? If not, would women’s high heels be considered shoes, even if they show most of the foot anyway?
  • Do I offend other people? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m offended by having to wear shoes and the lack of understanding of my culture.
  • Most people are afraid of what others might think, and let this fear rule their decision. And I’m the victim of their fear.

Anyway, after this dinner I took off my shoes and went to a pub with two colleagues, all in all a great evening.

Barefooting in the city

My barefooting in Bergen includes malls, grocery stores, pubs and other shops. My barefooting was not commented on, except for the one event mentioned above. I’m very happy with the accepting attitude of the people I’ve met.

With these 4 days in Bergen I have officially started my barefoot season for 2013, and intend to keep it up for at least 6 months. It’s still cold here in Norway, but I will do my best 🙂

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Lars Barfot

In my experience barefooting is accepted in most public places, as it should be. At the movie theatre in Bergen.

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