I completely agree with and support Daniel Africk in his personal choice to not wear footwear. His letter ["The health department is OK with bare feet; why isn't Asheville?" Sept 23] seemed to cover all the bases, so he's obviously done his homework. I wrote a similar letter to Mountain Xpress myself in 2007, and it seems, based on Mr. Africk's experiences, very little has changed since then.
Being barefoot should be such 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 face or no piercings.
I don't get downtown all that often, but I've found such issues as Mr. Africk describes very rare in businesses away from downtown — perhaps away from downtown is where the "progressive and open-minded" people are. Indeed you would think a place that is known for diversity and alternative-lifestyle acceptance would not have businesses that discriminate against people based on something so innocuous as one's attire. Of course, belief in "the health code requires shoes" myth may be behind some of these policies, but the fact that more such attitudes are encountered downtown than anywhere else makes me wonder if the desire to keep out homeless people and other "undesirables" may be behind it (although, frankly I've never seen a barefooted homeless person downtown or anywhere else).
— Kriss Sands