Guest post by fellow barefooter Neil C.
Why do you go barefoot? Aren’t your feet cold? That doesn’t hurt your feet to walk on gravel? Do you go barefoot in the winter? They let you in the restaurant with bare feet? How long have you been going barefoot? You go everywhere in bare feet? Do you work barefooted?
These are just a few of the more common questions I get when people approach me and ask me questions about my bare feet. I am 55 years of age and have been going barefoot for over 30 years and here is my simple story.
It actually started out exactly 40 years ago when I was 15 and for some strange reason became interested in going barefoot. In my neighborhood there was this kid Carney that immediately stood out to me amongst all the other kids. He was two years younger than me and normally I didn’t really notice anyone beyond my friends in my town. He would always be barefoot every time I saw him. I was impressed at the fact that he would be the only kid barefoot in town and I thought that took a lot of maturity to be a little different and be comfortable with it. I would see him all over town, in stores, the schoolyard, etc and he was always barefoot and his feet were always dirty and weathered looking. Although I didn’t go barefoot at the time, I started to become curious about going barefoot. I guess maybe Carney inspired me but I wasn’t ready quite yet.
Fast forward to my junior year in college and again I am inspired by another individual that I always saw barefoot. He was about 5’4” and maybe 130 lbs but he somehow stood out to me. I never knew him so I didn’t get his name but I remember him all over campus in bare feet. I would see him go into classes, at the student Union and at various campus events and always barefoot. He even would be walking around in the cold weather barefoot. Again I got the urge to try the barefoot lifestyle but it would be another 3-4 years before I took the plunge and would never look back.
The story now begins at around the age of 24 and I finally took off my shoes and would go barefoot till this very day. Sometimes I think there is a barefoot gene because I felt such a strong urge to remove my shoes (of course I’m kidding but hey you never know what will be discovered genetically, lol). I started going everywhere in bare feet. I would enter stores, restaurants, DMV, movie theaters, etc. I remember the looks sometimes and the comments. Most people were just curious but sometimes people were down right rude. I could remember going to a coffee place and one woman referring to me as twinkle toes (talking to her friend) and then she said it was disgusting that I was in there with dirty bare feet! So l just smiled then as I walked past her, I picked up my foot exposing my blackened sole and the look of horror on her face! Sorry but she deserved it! And 30 years later, I have found that while some people are bothered by my feet, the majority simply don’t care and that’s absolutely fine with me. In fact the point is that they shouldn’t care since it’s not really a big deal.
Recently I wrote another article on Kriss Sands’ blog Born to Live Barefoot documenting my frustration with some businesses refusing me service because of my bare feet. It highlighted some of the issues I continue to encounter 30 years after I started going barefoot.
In the beginning of this article, I shared some of the questions I would get in my everyday life and here are some of my answers:
Why do I go barefoot?
I don’t like the confining feeling of anything on my feet. Also, I practice yoga and the bare feet give me a sense of spiritual connection to the earth.
Aren’t your feet cold?
I walk around barefoot through most of the year, except in snow and really cold weather. I can walk around on a sunny day in the mid 30’s and because my feet are acclimated, it’s not a big deal.
Doesn’t that hurt your feet to walk on that gravel?
Nope! My feet have become very toughened and I find I can walk on almost any surface barefoot without issue.
Do you go barefoot in winter?
See answer to question on cold feet. Basically I can get through about half a Connecticut winter barefoot.
They let you in the restaurant in bare feet?
Believe it or not many restaurants let me in barefoot. I often prefer cafes to chain restaurants but I remember going all the time to Applebee’s in Rhode Island and not having a problem. Most of the cafes I go to know me so the barefoot thing is not an issue.
Do you work in bare feet?
Unfortunately the answer is no. I envy the people that can work barefoot but since I’m in health care, I can’t.
Do you go everywhere in bare feet?
Well, I try to but as you can see, working barefoot is not an option. Ironically I have been going to the same dental practice for over 20 years and I have never once worn shoes there! The hygienist there told me that when they hire new people and they see me there, she explains to them that I have been going there for years barefoot. A manager at Cumberland farms also once told me on her last day there that she actually told the incoming manager that I was a regular and that I never wore shoes so don’t worry about it.
There’s my little story about my bare feet, so if you ever see this bald guy in his fifties walking around Niantic, CT, in his bare feet it’s probably me and now you know my story.