Mr. [Michael] Sheasly makes some good points (“Dogs’ Rights Supersede Barefoot Humans,” June 8) [Xpress]. As a full-time 24/7 barefooter myself for the last 14 years, I’ve done extensive research into any and all legal, medical and health aspects of going barefoot, and in spite of the fact that this lifestyle choice is completely legal, healthy and natural for human beings to do — causing absolutely no harm to anyone — a number of people still stubbornly hold on to old, negative myths not based on fact.
As Mr. Sheasly pointed out, North Carolina health codes do not ban bare feet by customers in any business establishment — including restaurants — or other public place. Nor does Buncombe or any other county, in fact, nor does ANY health department in any of the 50 states. What health departments require is that facilities meet certain minimum food- and food-handling safety and sanitary requirements. They have no control over or concern whatsoever with what a customer of a business is or isn’t wearing on his or her feet. I have letters from many local and state health departments that confirm that fact.
Mr. Sheasly states his reasons for living barefoot are related to his disability and religion, which, as he also states, is all the more reason that he should not be discriminated against for his lack of footwear. However, one should not need a “reason” or other justification for making such a choice. Choosing to be a barefooter can be simply a matter of personal choice under our freedom of expression rights.
Indeed, being barefoot should be a nonissue. The choice to wear shoes or not wear shoes should have no more impact on anyone else or any business than the choice to wear a hat or not wear a hat. What difference does it make, really, to anyone else other than the person who chooses to do it? Being barefoot in public harms absolutely no one and should be of no one else’s concern. It’s just another personal choice of attire or appearance, no different from choosing to wear a green shirt versus a red shirt, shorts instead of long pants, hair dyed blue or left natural, piercings in our faces or no piercings.
— Kriss Sands