The recent letter “Be Considerate and Wear a Pair of Sandals in Public” [Feb. 27, Xpress] is based on a faulty premise. The writer makes the erroneous assumption that all feet are afflicted with “certain diseases and fungal infections.” This is made clear by the suggestion that “wearing shoes likely limits the spread,” but that not wearing shoes could cause these “foot-borne infections” to spike and spread like “the flu.”
Hands are anatomically similar to feet in many ways. Why don’t hands routinely get fungal infections, smell bad or suffer other problems that feet often do? They indeed would if they were constantly enclosed in the same kind of hot, dark and moist environment as shoes provide, in a virtual petri dish as the skin sweats and dead skin cells are sloughed off, encouraging bacteria and fungi growth. Bare hands are just like bare feet in that respect. Being exposed to dry, fresh air and light keeps them healthy and free of fungal and similar infections.
This isn’t rocket science. This is basic biology that most people learn in high school. Fungus infections almost never grow and thrive on skin exposed to dry, fresh air and light. People who never wear shoes do not have any these “foot-borne infections” that the letter writer is so worried about spreading around.
The American Academy of Dermatology, in an article on athlete’s foot in its publication Dermatology Insights (Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2002), stated:
“Athlete’s foot does not occur among people who traditionally go barefoot. It’s moisture, sweating and lack of proper ventilation of the feet that present the perfect setting for the fungus of athlete’s foot to grow.”
The feet of anyone choosing to be barefoot are no threat whatsoever to anyone around them. In fact, those feet are likely much cleaner and germ-free than the shoes or the shoe-enclosed feet of others around them.
— Kriss Sands