Whatever happened to "No shirt, no shoes . . . NO DICE!"?!

My feet were just as covered in muck and mire the first year as the last, and if I’m stepping in piles of something with sandals on, those sandals wouldn’t have been much protection.

Re: driving with no shoes, I’d heard that myth too.

In the summer if I’m wearing flip-flops or sandals, then I will take them off and drive barefoot. It’s much safer IMHO, as flip-flops can easily get wedged under the pedals.

I’d never dream of walking into a shop barefoot, with the exception of a beach bar. :slight_smile:

And really, who’s more likely to track dogshit or something gross into the store, someone barefoot or someone wearing boots? I know which one I’d bet on.

I beg to differ. I can step on stones; shells; hot sand; gravel; hot tar on the road; sticks; bugs; broken bits of glass; insects; gobs of spit from men who love to spit on the street in public; gum - wearing sandals. I don’t care how dirty my feet get, they wash off, but I don’t need puncture wounds and I don’t care to tread directly on gobs of germs and filth.

Plus if you’re planning on stepping in piles of things, wouldn’t it make more sense to wear something like boots or sneakers?

Bonnaroo is a music festival held on a multi-acre farm, so stones, shells, hot sand, gravel, and hot tar weren’t problems, and most of the rest are either avoidable enough or things I don’t really care if I’m stepping on, especially since you camp for four days for each festival and the showers aren’t free, so most of the ~100,000 people attending forego showering.

The only time my feet were hurt in any way was when I was wearing shoes and I got pressure sores and abrasions.

I ditched my shoes for good a year or two back. I ran around without them all the time until I left home for college and figured I’d better “grow up” and stuff.

Fast forward a few years and I realize that, hey, I’m an autonomous adult and feet are neither dirty or obscene. Turns out there’s no law in any state requiring footwear patrons of any type of retail establishment commonly cited. That is to say, any time you’ve ever seen or heard anyone reference a “public health code” requiring shoes (usually the claim is about food service establishments) it was unmitigated urban legend bullshit, as Edward the Head has already cited.

Just to be clear, it’s only a violation of a societal norm in dress codes.

The health and safety issues around barefooting appear to be astronomically overestimated by the perpetually shod. I’ve occasionally picked my way around broken glass on the sidewalk or in a parking lot, but I’ve never yet sustained an injury to my feet while barefoot. Thoroughly unscientific surveys conducted of large groups of active anti-shoevites (http://www.barefooters.org/)demonstrate anecdotally at least that no one living customarily unshod really ever faces routine safety concerns. You just get slightly more accustomed to being aware of the world at foot-level, and avoiding obstacles that may cause injury to your feet the way you currently make efforts to avoid obstacles that may cause injury to your head. I suspect you notice and step around piles of dog poo or broken glass, I do the same, I’m just better trained. As has already been established, the “many health codes” are a myth, at least in the US.
On the “sanitary” issue, there are no common diseases spread by contact with the floor. Occasionally I’ll hear someone say that bare feet are too “dirty” for restaurants. I wash or baby-wipe my bare feet several times a day for cleanliness and appearance. How often do you clean the bottoms of your shoes? Also, what are these people doing with the soles of their shoes (or do they think I’m doing with my feet) that is causing them to come into contact with the same surfaces as their food?

Yes, it is–they’re uncomfortable, unsanitary, and don’t give me anything like the traction of bare feet. In flipflops I walk with a weird, toe-clenched gait and start slipping around on foot sweat in moments. I hunt and climb mountains barefoot. My feet and legs, knees and back are all stronger for eliminating the restrictions on freedom of movement and normal gait. A reasonable amount of research backs it up; ditching the shoes is healthier. It’s also a much nicer, more sensory-rich way to experience the world.

You can :). Really the only thing stopping you is your own self-consciousness. I admit I sometimes put on sandals if I’m going somewhere where I feel like someone else might cause a scene. I feel bad about it every single time, making an arbitrary choice to conform for no real reason whatsoever but conformity’s sake. It does no one else any harm for me to be barefoot, but some people have very visceral and very nasty reactions to the sight of a person without shoes. The funny thing about it to me is that more often than not as SeaDragonTattoo said, it’s absolutely a class issue. If I’m wearing something like utility jeans and a t-shirt or cargo pants and a hoodie, I’m more likely to get pointedly cross looks at my feet or a rude comment. If I’m wearing something feminine or upscale, people might glance once, but never twice.
In this town at least, a barefoot hippie girl can grocery shop with zero issues, but a barefoot hobo badly in need of a shower is quickly nailed with the “dreaded NSNSNS” rule.

Well, can’t you wear comfortable shoes if flip flops cause so many issues? I have plenty of normal shoes that work fine. The ground is hard and there are lots of things I definitely wouldn’t want to step in.

Plus, there are lots of people who take off their shoes before they go in the house because of what they come in contact with.

No, I can’t. No shoe is as comfortable as a bare foot, or provides the same freedom of motion. Soft coverings provide no real benefit to me either, in normal weather. They reduce my traction and foot agility; they also cut off one route of gathering information about my surroundings. Sorry if that sounds cheezy or woo-woo, but it’s true. From my perspective, it’s exactly like wearing hijab to avoid offending people with the sight of my uncovered hair. I don’t feel I need the protection, and there is zero demonstrable public health concern, so if I were to wear a foot covering, it’s only to appease your clothing-related sensibilities. Sometimes I make that choice to avoid drawing attention to myself, but I would preferably never wear a shoe again for the rest of my life absent direct, overt physical hazards.

Aside from common law, and common sense, any privately owned business has the right to decide who they want to do business with. If they don’t want to do business with you because you have no shoes on, it’s their prerogative. If they don’t want to do business with you because you shave your head. . .again, their choice.

I recently moved to WV, but when I lived in western Maryland, there was a local liquor store I did business with. I had occasion to talk to the owner a few times. He told me he purposely set his prices about 10% higher than other liquor stores in the area because he wanted to attract a certain type of clientele (and discourage another certain type, one would assume). He had the following sign largely displayed in his window:
Shirt On
Shoes On
Hood Down
Pants Up
To do business here

I liked the store because it was very close to home, the owner seemed like a guy who cared about the neighborhood, and they had a good selection. But whether I liked him or not is irrelevant. He owned the business. It was his decision to do business (or not) with people who were barefoot. He chose not to.

Strictly anecdotal: Several years ago, I had major surgery about two and a half hours from where I lived. Somewhere between surgery day and going-home day, my hubby managed to mis-place my shoes. Unfortunately, on the way home from the hospital, I got diarrhea, necessitating hubby stopping several times so I could use the ladies room. In all cases, I was not wearing shoes (though I was wearing those weird slipper-socks they give you in the hospital), and in no case was I confronted about my odd footwear (though I did feel somewhat embarrassed by it; I would truly have gone in barefoot, except I was doped to the eyeballs and not really thinking straight enough to navigate around hazards).

From my personal perspective:

1.) Businesses can set whatever rules they like as far as patronage, as long as they do not break the law. A place can require ties, for example.

2.) If there are laws in place regarding proper wear of whatever article, then a resident of that area must follow them until they are successfully challenged and/or repealed. If not, then objectors are out of luck.

3.) It’s not my business what you choose to wear, in general. I’ll probably object to full nudity at the grocery store, but that’s my preferences in play. I personally feel that shirts and pants/shorts/skirts are preferable to bikini/naked/underwear, but I’m not the law.

4.) I generally don’t go around looking at your feet. Honest.

5.) If you get a cut because someone got in an accident in the parking lot and you stepped on glass, you immediately become a health hazard in my book. I feel the same way for any other blood, mucus, pus, or other fluid dripping from an open wound pretty much anywhere on the body. At that point, you should not be in the store, tracking whatever all over. Take care of your injury.

Seems simple to me.

NajaNivea, have you considered one of the many “fool them” products worn by barefooters now? They have several toe-ring connected to ankle bracelet type foot decorations that look much like you are wearing flip flops or sandals, and it could cut down on the others around you being problematic. I’m thinking something along these lines. Or these?

Well, of course they do. I don’t contest that anyone has the right to set any policy they like regarding their patrons. It is, however, true that there is no law in any state requiring footwear on patrons of any retail establishment, or in operating a motor vehicle. I don’t differ with a store owner who wants to throw me out for being barefoot, but I will differ with anyone who tries to tell me there’s a law forcing the issue. Policy? Fine. Law? Not true.
Trust me on this, I don’t argue with people. If they ask me to leave, I leave. I dislike confrontation very much and go to great lengths to avoid it. Fortunately I live in an area where bare feet are not uncommon and people are extremely “live and let live”, so it’s not an issue I’ve really ever run into. I actually do a fair amount of traveling for business, and haven’t had many issues in really any city I’ve visited. But yeah, no dispute that it’s fine for store owners to set policies and I certainly respect them. But there’s no law, and no public health reason compelling the policy, it’s just personal sensibilities. Your liquor store owner was not unreasonable, but he is in the minority for being aware that it’s usually about keeping the riff-raff out, and not so much about health and safety.

StaudtCJ I have seen those, I actually have a pair of half-sole lyrical dancing shoes that work handily for the same idea.


Wow. Haven’t heard this kind of thing since the 60’s.

OK, but there is no way in hell I will ever get rid of any of my 23 pairs of cute shoes!

:rolleyes: yourself [non-gender-specific individual], no one’s demanding you do.

This is true. In fact, I recently had this conversation with my middle daughter who has her learner’s permit. She ‘informed’ me that, in the state of Maryland, it’s illegal to drive barefoot. I informed her that while this seems to be one of the things many people just “know”, it’s simply not true. I added that what is dangerous is taking your shoes off while you’re driving because of the danger that one of them could slide under either the gas or brake pedal and jam it when you need to use it.

Relax, you won, OK? In case you haven’t noticed, you aren’t in any danger of being overrun by hordes of people expressing their individuality. :slight_smile:

For the record, I agree with everything NajaNivea said, from the safety of barefootedness under real world conditions to the respect of any business owner’s right to wave goodbye to my money at his or her discretion.

I live in Chicago and from roughly 1984 to 1996 went shoeless in the city 90% of the time. (After the internet, who goes out any more? :slight_smile: ) I generally would put shoes on when going into stores and restaurants; it wasn’t a big hardship, though I would have preferred not to have had to carry around shoes for those occasions.

I will admit, cute shoes (on others) have their place.

NajaNivea - Asheville? [/Karnak]

I’d step on broken glass and exposed nails constantly if I tried to go barefoot all the time :frowning: Just unlucky like that.

How do you guys avoid stepping on horrible things?

I don’t know, the whole thing just seems really…tacky.

A violation of what?