Being barefoot should be such a nonissue

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
Mars Hill

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83 thoughts on “Being barefoot should be such a nonissue

  1. travelah

    although, frankly I’ve never seen a barefooted homeless person downtown or anywhere else

    Homeless people, like most everybody else, know enough to wear shoes.

  2. Travelah, the homeless are often not the kind of folks with the highest educational background, so they can be excused for getting their health education off the signs on store windows. What’s _your_ excuse for continuing to believe the persistent myths instead of getting yourself really educated on the matter?

  3. $$maker

    Travelah, if you want stinky feet, athletes foot, blisters, corns, hammer toe, and a weak arch, then keep wearing shoes since you know enough to cope with all the problems shoes cause feet. You may very well be the smartest homeless guy out there :)

  4. travelah

    Myranya, homeless people are all a bunch of smelly uneducated shoe-wearing types … I know, not your kind of peps.

  5. Travelah, kindly stop putting words in my mouth. I never said anything about smelly -I always chat with the guy selling newspapers here in front of the store, he doesn’t smell at all, he’s a very nice guy. I knew the two paper-sellers before him too, and know a few from the train station in passing. How many of your area’s homeless do you know by name, and their history etc? But *on average* their education level is lower than those who have well-paying jobs, cars, etc. Just like the education level of people working at the grocery store is generally lower than that of people working in hospitals or universities. No shame in that, just simple facts.

    And I currently work in a history theme park where we wear period clothing (5000 BC for me), there are several others who are barefoot in the warmer months, although in winter it’s usually just me, one other guy from the Iron Age reconstruction, and a couple monks. Before that I worked an internet helpdesk, and I’ve done a few temp jobs in winter (when there’s less work at the history theme park) barefoot as well.

  6. Btw, travelah, I think you’re projecting. It was Mister Blister who said hippies were smelling. In fact, I rarely encounter anyone I think smells bad. Some people smell different; cigar smoke, perfume, garlic… but why is that bad? I like people being different, I would be the last person on these discussion threads to use ‘smelly’ for anyone at all.

  7. shadmarsh

    they don’t, they are too busy with their barefoot activism.

  8. Kriss

    Travelah wrote: “where do all you shoeless people work?”

    That’s actually a very good question. People who must earn a living to support themselves and their families obviously must work somewhere. In those cases, our status changes from being a private individual or customer or patron of a business to an employee. Unless we own our own business, we either have to follow the rules set up by our employer or not work there – here again, we do have a choice. All depending on the type of business it is, most employers must answer to various local, state, or federal regulating authorities, such as the health department, OSHA, etc. Many of those regulations relate to an employee’s attire (note: I’m talking about *employees* here, not customers). So most of us are forced to wear some kind of footwear when we are working at jobs.

    Fortunately for me, I am retired now and don’t have to deal with that any more – although, I occasionally take a seasonal part-time job in which again I must wear shoes while working. In all the years I was working full-time, shoes did considerable damage to my feet, and because of that, I’ve had to have several surgeries to correct those problems. I know the damage shoes can do to feet, as I’ve experienced it.

  9. Kriss

    Another thing is regard to shoes. Shoes should be considered a tool, like gloves, to be worn when needed. The vast majority of the time, they are not “needed,” like the vast majority of the time gloves aren’t needed.

    There is another use for shoes as well. I actually use them as a musical instrument. I have several types of shoes that I use only for dancing. Some have taps on them, some don’t, the use of which depends on the surface on which I’m dancing – not that I don’t dance barefoot as well on occasion. But making sounds is part of percussive dancing, and that’s what these shoes are for. I would never wear them any other place but a dance floor.

  10. travelah

    Oh come on .. barefoot tap dancing. Your feet have got to be tough enough for it.

  11. Kriss

    They are. They just can’t make the sounds that the hard soles and heels of dancing shoes can.
    It’s not tap dancing, btw.

  12. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Schools and hospitals require shoes because of problems (especially in gyms and locker rooms) with highly contagious plantar warts, athlete’s foot, MRSA, and other virulent staph infections. It’s an ongoing problem and far more widespread than commonly known. (Some states have laws requiring the numbers of cases to be made public by such institutions, but most do not.)

    Of course, the chemicals used to combat these bacterial, fungal, and viral infections may, in the long run, be worse than the afflictions.

  13. Stooge

    Being barefoot is a non-issue, but not for the reasons the author thinks. It is a non-issue because nobody other than a very small subset simply do not care.

    I have a perfect right to wear jeans and a t-shirt. Nobody would dispute that, and my attire is no one’s business. Still, there are restaurants that will not allow me in dressed in that manner. It is the owner’s restaurant and the owner’s choice based on the clientele desired, the expectations of that clientele, etc. Whatever their reasons, they do not need to satisfy anyone other than themselves and their customers.

    We all make our choices. It continually amazes me that “progressive and open-minded” people feel compelled to coerce others to comply with their desires, rather than making their choices accordingly. In my case, if I do not want to change clothes, I eat at a place where jeans and a t-shirt are accepted.

    Again, it is a non-issue: no one cares. There are other, far more important battles to be had.

  14. Kriss

    Betty wrote: “Schools and hospitals require shoes because of problems (especially in gyms and locker rooms) with highly contagious plantar warts, athlete’s foot, MRSA, and other virulent staph infections.”

    I’m afraid once again you’re wrong. Some schools may require shoes, especially some grammar or high schools. Most colleges and universities have no such requirement. Hospitals, as a rule, do NOT require shoes either, nor do doctors’ offices or most medical facilities – there’s actually no logical reason to have such requirements, especially since they don’t require face masks or rubber gloves for patients or visitors either. I know that for a fact, as I’ve been in plenty of them, always barefoot. I can give you a list if you like. I was in a doctor’s office and a hospital pre-op office in Asheville 2 days ago, barefoot as usual.

    And as to those contagious diseases you mentioned, I don’t have time at the moment to go into details, but your facts are somewhat distorted as to the causes or prevention of those problems.

  15. Kriss

    Stooge wrote: “Being barefoot is a non-issue, but not for the reasons the author thinks. It is a non-issue because nobody other than a very small subset simply do not care.”

    I assume by this “very small subset” you mean the people who go barefoot on a regular basis. But it is incorrect to say that nobody other than that “subset” cares. I really, really wish that were true. If nobody else cared, then *everyone* would treat someone barefoot just like anyone else. That’s not happening.

    “I have a perfect right to wear jeans and a t-shirt. Nobody would dispute that, and my attire is no one’s business.”

    If this is an analogy to going barefoot, it misses the mark in several respects. First, plenty of people would dispute that people have a right to be barefoot.

    “Still, there are restaurants that will not allow me in dressed in that manner.”

    And another big difference is that some restaurants have a dress code simply to maintain a certain ambiance that it feels reflects the type of atmosphere it would like to project to its customers. Requiring people to dress in a certain way could be anything from a high-end restaurant requiring a coat and tie, to a Japanese restaurant requiring patrons to remove their shoes. Some restaurants may be somewhere in the middle, such as requesting that guests wear “dressy casual,” that is, no wear tank tops, t-shirts or jeans – kind of like your example. Those are all forms of discrimination in a way, but such rules are rather innocuous, because they are not based on prejudice, ignorance or misinformation as most rules against bare feet are. No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that shoes must be removed because of “health department rules.” No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say shoes must be removed because shoes are dangerous and unsafe. No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that shoes must be removed because food is being served and therefore the shoes will somehow contaminate the food. And no Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that shoes must be removed because some people just don’t like to see shoes in a restaurant. And no “dressy casual” restaurant is ever going to say your jeans and t-shirt are against health department rules, a liability issue, dangerous, unsafe, will contaminate food, or any of those other bogus claims or excuses some owners or managers give in order to exclude someone who simply chooses to be barefoot, but other than that, is, or would be, just as good and valuable a customer as anyone else.

    “It continually amazes me that ‘progressive and open-minded’ people feel compelled to coerce others to comply with their desires, rather than making their choices accordingly.”

    I’m not sure who’s trying to coerce others to comply with their desires. I don’t see education or myth debunking as coercion.

    “There are other, far more important battles to be had.”

    For you perhaps. You aren’t a barefooter. Don’t judge what’s important to others by your own limited experience.

  16. Kriss

    Betty, to get back to your comment about being barefoot in schools and hospitals:
    “Schools and hospitals require shoes because of problems (especially in gyms and locker rooms) with highly contagious plantar warts, athlete’s foot, MRSA, and other virulent staph infections.”

    In regard to plantar warts, according to the Mayo Clinic,
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-warts/DS00509/DSECTION=causes
    “The virus that causes plantar warts isn’t highly contagious…” Also, “Each person’s immune system responds to warts differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts. Even people in the same family react to the virus differently. That’s why parents and kids don’t necessarily spread warts by sharing the same shower.” I’ve had some experience with these warts myself, but only when I was a shoe wearer. Never as a barefooter. They are caused by a virus, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to live or thrive on bare feet regardless of how much contact is made with it. I’m sure it has something to do with fresh air and sunlight which are absent from shoes, and which is also why athlete’s foot or other fungi cannot live on constantly bare feet.

    I walk everywhere barefoot – locker rooms, public rest rooms, whatever. I firmly believe nothing there is going to hurt my feet or harm me in any way as a result of being barefoot. It never has, and there’s no reason to think it ever would – despite a lot of myth and hypothetical horror stories to the contrary.

    As to athlete’s foot, there is a much, much greater risk of catching athlete’s foot by wearing shoes. People who wear shoes sometimes get athlete’s foot, those who don’t, don’t. There is just no way the fungus could possibly survive when exposed to air, light, and dry conditions of a bare foot. In fact, if someone is lucky enough to be able to go barefoot 24/7, the chances of his or her catching athlete’s foot are close to non-existent. That’s been shown to be fact within traditionally barefoot societies of the world.

    As to MRSA and other staph infections, according to the Mayo Clinic,
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/DS00735/DSECTION=prevention
    this is how it is best prevented:

    “Here’s what you can do to protect yourself, family members or friends from health care-associated infections.
    * Ask all hospital staff to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching you – every time.
    * Wash your own hands frequently.
    * Make sure that intravenous tubes and catheters are inserted under sterile conditions, for example, the person inserting them wears a gown, gloves and mask and sterilizes your skin first.”

    Note: Nothing about bare feet.

    Much more detailed information on MRSA is included in the CDC website which you can review here:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_healthcareFS.html
    I spent some time on the website, didn’t look at everything (there’s a lot), but could find nothing whatsoever about bare feet having anything to do with MRSA or the prevention of it.

  17. Seriously

    Kriss needs a new hobby.
    Give it a rest!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thought this was a non-issue???

  18. B.E.A.R.

    Plantar warts are caused by a virus, and are passed like any other virus, primarily through contact with a break or nick in the skin.

    You seem more concerned about convincing people you can’t catch them barefoot than you are concerned about spreading them (potentially).

    Warts are considered an infectious skin disease.
    You redacted very heavily from the link you provided, since half the article says the opposite of what you claim.

    For instance, this important part:
    “So you may contract the virus by walking barefoot in public places. Like other infectious diseases, HPV may also pass from person to person. If you have a plantar wart, you can even spread the virus to other places on your own foot by touching or scratching. The virus can also spread by contact with skin shed from a wart or blood from a wart.”

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-warts/DS00509/DSECTION=causes

  19. AmericanFreedom

    Does this mean every single plantar wart in the history of humanity was caused by a barefoot human walking where another barefoot human walked? Of course not.

    Do people who wear shoes most of the time ever get warts? Athlete’s foot? They do? Then how can someone who generally wears shoes make the claim that someone else going barefoot is the cause of *their* plantar wart?

    Get some perspective, people. Going barefoot in the vast majority of situations – including stores, restaurants and just about anywhere else most Americans will walk in their everyday lives – does not pose a health risk to barefoot people or the shoe-wearers. In fact, it generally makes the one who chooses to go barefoot happier and more relaxed.

    How sad that so many Americans are so scared of something as natural and healthy as walking barefoot. People will eat fatty foods, smoke cigs, drink booze and soda, breathe bad air from traffic and polluting factories and just grin and bear it. But if someone who prefers going barefoot acts on that preference, it seems to serve as a sort of catalyst for all manner of irrational fears to surface in a certain segment of the shoe-wearing public.

    How’s about this – some people just like going barefoot better. That’s all. And I’ll let you in on a little secret that the shoe merchants don’t want getting out: People who put in a lot of barefoot time do, in fact, have healthier feet than those who wear sweat-inducing socks and shoes most of the time. Even a report about the dangers of flip-flops that came out last summer advised that people could strengthen their feet through more barefoot walking.

    If you don’t like going barefoot, don’t, but don’t act as though someone else who does like walking barefoot is somehow a “threat” to you. That’s more than a little childish and not at all in keeping with the great American tradition of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  20. AmericanFreedom

    One more things re: warts…

    I have never had one on my feet (and I walk barefoot, a lot), but over the years I have had a few on my hands and fingers. Does this mean we should all wear gloves and never, ever shake hands with someone unless we know their hands are wart-free?

  21. Karma

    However, warts need certain conditions in order to actually survive long enough to get a hold and thrive. Such as, I don’t know, humid, dark and warm places. And certainly not places where the virus risk being scraped off constantly. Where could that be?

    And then we have the “spreading” issue, of course. As people who walk barefoot most the time don’t have warts of their own, they cannot spread it unless they have “picked it up” recently from someone else. Now, in order for that to happen they need to walk somewhere where someone usually show must have walked barefoot, such as in the shower or dressing room… where everyone walks barefoot at some point during their visit. And, where everyone at some point, more or less, walks with their shoes on – having usually a greater risk of picking up and spreading that virus further than a barefoot person (since shoes usually have much more crevices underneath in which stuff can rather safely cling for longer periods than bare skin).

    The warts usually come from shod people who temporarily take off their shoes. The spreading (by “picking up and distributing” so to speak) can be done – yes – by both the shod and the barefooter. The barefooter will most probably not contract it however due to not meeting the circumstances that the virus needs, and the other people have shoes on. Those that are temporarily barefoot and get the virus and THEN puts on shoes, only have themselves to blame, and DEFINATELY not the full time barefooters.

    And “Seriously”: Nice reading skills. He says “should be a nonissue”, not “is a nonissue”.

  22. Eric

    I enjoy being barefeet and believe that its acceptance should be a non issue too. In my past year and a half of walking primarily barefeet, I have enjoyed no ankle sprains (as opposed to once a month with Reebok Classics), I have lost my athlete’s foot fungus, and lost flat feet. My feet are now more healthy. The current state of some establishments’ policies is merely “this is the status quo, so it should be right” with a couple of myths bundled with it.

    I am not forcing anyone to go barefeet. I’ll appreciate it if they’ll not try to punish me for it or unjustly exclude me from any place that, in reality, doesn’t need to have shoes worn anyway to walk on.

    And btw, I think of socks like I think of gloves. Hands cold? Wear gloves. Feet cold? Wear socks. My feet are more temperature tolerant so I don’t need to.

  23. AmericanFreedom

    shadmarsh: Since you asked (!) I will answer. I like to wear socks when I wear close-toed shoes. In sandals, I prefer no socks. And I absolutely do not like wearing socks without shoes or sandals.

    Hey, you asked.

  24. vas

    B.E.A.R., do you never shake hands with people for fear of warts? Or do you accept the risk?

  25. Kriss

    Seriously wrote: “Kriss needs a new hobby.
    Give it a rest!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thought this was a non-issue???”

    That was a pretty funny comment, especially for somebody named “Seriously.”

    1. Going barefoot is not a “hobby.” To me, it’s not even a “lifestyle,” as some people sometimes refer to it. It’s just the way I dress.

    2. As to giving it a rest, I wrote the letter, but I’m not the one that’s keeping this thread going. It’s such people as you who continue to want to argue about it.

    3. As to a “non-issue,” I wish it were. That’s the whole point. It is indeed an issue with a few people here and there, and that’s the problem. If it were the attitude that, “I’d never go barefoot myself, but what you do is your business,” there’d be no issue. Unfortunately, it’s more like, “I’d never go barefoot myself, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep you from doing it as well.”

  26. Kriss

    B.E.A.R. wrote: “You redacted very heavily from the link you provided, since half the article says the opposite of what you claim.”

    I didn’t “redact” (obscure or remove text from a document prior to publication) anything. Maybe you don’t understand the use of ellipses. Plus, I posted the Mayo Clinic link for anyone who wants to read everything on the website.

    If you followed these posts carefully and read everything before jumping in, I think you’d see that I was responding only to Betty’s reference to “highly contagious plantar warts.” They aren’t highly contagious, and that’s backed up by the Mayo Clinic information. Nothing in the other part that you quoted contradicts that. I won’t go into any more details here, as AmericanFreedom and Karma have already covered that quite well.

  27. shadmarsh

    shadmarsh: Since you asked (!) I will answer. I like to wear socks when I wear close-toed shoes. In sandals, I prefer no socks. And I absolutely do not like wearing socks without shoes or sandals.

    Hey, you asked.

    Actually, I only asked about your feelings on socks in general, not your personal sock habits…but thanks for the info

  28. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Top ten conclusions about going barefoot:

    10. Foot interest is on the rise in Asheville, if not already an outright fetish among some residents. It is not just a hobby. It is a serious lifestyle and fashion statement.

    9. Some people want to bare their feet to the world 24/7 for assorted reasons ranging from blatant to obscure, and other people think they should have that right; but some people say that right extends only to the point that others are susceptible to dreadful foot infections caused by assorted worms, fungi, and viruses. (Some people, however, really don’t care, and some consider other body parts far more interesting.)

    8. Contaminated soil, water, and public restroom floors harbor more opportunistic pathogens than do smooth dry surfaces, which may or may not include the surface of many human bodies, including soles of feet. (If in doubt, consult the Mayo Clinic and redact an out-of-context quote that supports your position.)

    7. One should consider wearing flip-flops or crocs or some other fashionable footwear in dank moist places heavily traversed by dank moist barefoot people. (Kermit the Frog said so, and Mr. Rogers and Miss Piggy have endorsed such policies in concept.)

    6. Whenever possible, avoid other people’s blood and nasal discharges, nasty intestinal substances such as animal poo, and questionable practices such as hand shaking (without asking for medical history first), borrowing shoes or socks, sharing towels and sheets, walking on straight-plumbed septic fields, etc., because some part of your skin might come into contact with a dreadful pathogen looking for a cut, scrape, nick, or needle-prick as a portal into your body. (Consider adopting the no-handshake policies of Queen Elizabeth and Donald Trump.)

    5. To avoid opportunistic worms, keep cats (and drunken teenagers) out of your sandbox, and tell your toddlers not to eat sand.

    4. Restaurant fashion requirements, health data, and legal liability just don’t compute. There just ain’t no common denominator when it comes to (a) eatery rules about being shirted, shod, or shoeless, (b) cross-contamination by dirty feet and other body parts, (c) health department regulations—do they or don’t they, and (d) liability for accidents—what kind and who’s at fault.

    3. Barefooters should not visit certain Middle Eastern countries that have different ideas and cultural traditions about exposing one’s feet and shoe soles. Not everyone will be impressed, and shoe-throwing is not exactly light entertainment in some venues. (American freedoms do not extend that far.)

    2. The NC Legislature should mandate (as do some other states) that public and private educational and health-care institutions (rest homes, schools, day-care centers, hospitals, and other commercial residential and public gathering places) release numbers of client cases of MRSA and other contagious pathogen-borne illnesses, which would close (or at least embarrass) a lot of germ-laden hot spots or force them to sanitize their ways.

    1. Toe-sucking just won’t be the same, ever again.

  29. Kriss

    Betty wrote: “Top ten conclusions about going barefoot:”

    Below are my reactions to your “conclusions:”

    “10. Foot interest is on the rise in Asheville, if not already an outright fetish among some residents. It is not just a hobby. It is a serious lifestyle and fashion statement.”

    What we’re talking about here is not a fetish, nor a hobby. However, your last statement is accurate.

    “9. Some people want to bare their feet to the world 24/7 for assorted reasons ranging from blatant to obscure, and other people think they should have that right; but some people say that right extends only to the point that others are susceptible to dreadful foot infections caused by assorted worms, fungi, and viruses. (Some people, however, really don’t care, and some consider other body parts far more interesting.)”

    “…that others are susceptible to dreadful foot infections…” I don’t agree with your premise here. Your implication is that barefooters cause *others*, that is, non-barefooters, to get foot infections, etc. How could that be? Or does “others” mean other barefooters? In that case, the premise is still way off, because – as has been pointed out countless times on this thread – the susceptibility of barefooters to “dreadful foot infections” is quite low or non-existent in many cases.

    “8. Contaminated soil, water, and public restroom floors harbor more opportunistic pathogens than do smooth dry surfaces, which may or may not include the surface of many human bodies, including soles of feet. (If in doubt, consult the Mayo Clinic and redact an out-of-context quote that supports your position.)”

    The soles of feet have an amazing ability to protect against any opportunistic pathogens. Hands are what we need to worry about, even though they also have skin that protects against pathogens, but they touch everything else, including ones face, nose, or mouth. Feet don’t.

    “7. One should consider wearing flip-flops or crocs or some other fashionable footwear in dank moist places heavily traversed by dank moist barefoot people. (Kermit the Frog said so, and Mr. Rogers and Miss Piggy have endorsed such policies in concept.)”

    I’ve never seen any dank moist barefoot people, so I’m not sure whom you mean.

    “6. Whenever possible, avoid other people’s blood and nasal discharges, nasty intestinal substances such as animal poo, and questionable practices such as hand shaking (without asking for medical history first), borrowing shoes or socks, sharing towels and sheets, walking on straight-plumbed septic fields, etc., because some part of your skin might come into contact with a dreadful pathogen looking for a cut, scrape, nick, or needle-prick as a portal into your body. (Consider adopting the no-handshake policies of Queen Elizabeth and Donald Trump.)”

    Except for the hand shaking, I personally follow all that advice. Unfortunately, it is the handshaking that’s most likely to cause some infection. The important thing is to wash your hands frequently, which I do.

    “5. To avoid opportunistic worms, keep cats (and drunken teenagers) out of your sandbox, and tell your toddlers not to eat sand.”

    Not eating sand would be good advice.

    “4. Restaurant fashion requirements, health data, and legal liability just don’t compute. There just ain’t no common denominator when it comes to (a) eatery rules about being shirted, shod, or shoeless, (b) cross-contamination by dirty feet and other body parts, (c) health department regulations-do they or don’t they, and (d) liability for accidents-what kind and who’s at fault.”

    Makes sense (I guess?).

    “3. Barefooters should not visit certain Middle Eastern countries that have different ideas and cultural traditions about exposing one’s feet and shoe soles. Not everyone will be impressed, and shoe-throwing is not exactly light entertainment in some venues. (American freedoms do not extend that far.)”

    Not exactly accurate. Exposing ones soles may be considered an insult; on the other hand, it’s shoes, not bare feet, that are considered dirty or disrespectful in those places – hence, shoe throwing.

    “2. The NC Legislature should mandate (as do some other states) that public and private educational and health-care institutions (rest homes, schools, day-care centers, hospitals, and other commercial residential and public gathering places) release numbers of client cases of MRSA and other contagious pathogen-borne illnesses, which would close (or at least embarrass) a lot of germ-laden hot spots or force them to sanitize their ways.”

    Perhaps, but that has nothing to do with going barefoot.

    “1. Toe-sucking just won’t be the same, ever again.”

    I’m not sure why. Perhaps this has escaped you, but barefooters do wash their feet (if that is your implication – I’m not sure if it is), probably much more often than shoe-wearers do.

  30. Piffy!

    oh, and kriss, the [b]bold[/b] and [i]italic[/i] functions are your friend. know them use them love them.

  31. useurhead

    That was an impressively long rant from Betty Cloer Wallace. It would have taken much longer to write if Betty had read the preceding threads debunking the myths surronding barefeet.

    If barefoot walking is such a trivial issue, especially when out and about, then it seems to be a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

  32. Kriss

    Pfff wrote: “oh, and kriss, the bold and italic functions are your friend. know them use them love them.”

    I don’t see any “bold and italic functions.” Are you talking about HTML? I’ve seen other posts showing up that way, but the thing is, the guidelines posted below each blog entry include this statement:
    “Please do not insert HTML code.”

    And you know I always follow rules. ;) (No, not really.) I know a little about putting in HTML code and could probably do it, but the other thing is, since there’s no way to edit posts here like on the forums, I don’t want to screw up a post and not be able to fix it.

  33. Kriss

    Pfff wrote: “Betty Cloer Wallace is literally the best poster.”

    Betty Cloer Wallace’s letter
    http://www.mountainx.com/opinion/2007/050609fighting_back/
    and her responses to comments about the letter were excellent. Also her comments under this one:
    http://www.mountainx.com/opinion/2007/hypocrisy_on_hillbillies/

    On that topic, hillbilly stereotypes, she obviously knows what she’s talking about and I agree with her 100%. In fact, she’s apparently a distant cousin of mine as well, since I’m a descendant of Roderick Shelton myself (so are many, if not most, people in Madison County). So, it’s really surprising that on this current topic, she would post a lot of preconceived notions and speculation not based on fact. And speaking of stereotypes – which she has railed against in regard to Appalachian people and their culture – she is certainly perpetuating the negative stereotype of barefooting as being dangerous and unhealthy.

  34. Eric

    It is apparent that Betty has worked hard on her post and that is respectable. However, she is has made it more complicated and more dangerous than it seems. By listening to her post, it’d seem that the ground outside is just waiting to tear your feet to shreds and embed all kinds of nasty things in them. Most of her post consists of over hyped fears and misinformation slanted against barefooting. My experience (and others’ as well) on this topic is a much safer reality than the one she proposes.

  35. Kriss

    Eric wrote: “Most of her post consists of over hyped fears and misinformation slanted against barefooting. My experience (and others’ as well) on this topic is a much safer reality than the one she proposes.”

    I agree, Eric. Just living life involves risk. But just how much risk someone is willing to accept and still enjoy living seems to be influenced more by social norms and pressures and public opinion than by actual facts and statistics.

    Many things are dangerous. Riding in a car in traffic is dangerous and risky. That is proven every day by reports of accidents, injuries, and deaths. But most people don’t give it a second thought before getting into a car. By contrast, or by comparing it to many, many other things people routinely do, going barefoot is not dangerous or risky at all. It’s all a matter of logical perspective.

    That joy of early childhood – going barefoot – has practically been lost in today’s world, not due to factual concerns, but due to hyper-safety and overly exaggerated health concerns based only on remote speculation.

  36. Piffy!

    umm, i think you guys need to re-read Betty’s post. i think you missed her ‘point’ by a few miles.

    also, bold function is (dont include the *’s):

    Bold: [*b]bold[*/b]

    ital: [*i]ital[*/i]

    i go barefoot. i like it.

  37. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I’m so relieved, pfff, that you and shadmarsh, et al., understood my intended irony. I was beginning to think my attempt at levity had totally missed the mark.

  38. Kriss

    Pfff, thanks for the info. I knew that was the way you’d normally enter something like that, but, as I said before, I thought HTML was not allowed.

    Can you also do font colors and sizes here, special characters, etc?

    OK, let’s [i]see if[/i] [b]this[/b] works.

  39. Just Me

    People, wear shoes or don’t wear shoes whenever you like. Just please please don’t prop them up hovering just behind my left ear out of sight, but very much in my nose-range in the dark of the movie theatre. Thanks.

  40. Kriss

    Betty wrote:
    [i]I was beginning to think my attempt at levity had totally missed the mark.[/i]

    Betty, I knew you were trying to be funny, but even so, if that humor perpetuates negative stereotypes and myths, it does indeed miss the mark.

    Kind of like Lil Abner and “You must be a redneck” humor. It’s sad that you don’t see the obvious similarities.

  41. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Oh, my. So, “you must be a redneck” if you think people should wear shoes? How did we ever arrive at that conundrum? My intended irony did indeed fall on deaf ears.

  42. Kriss

    [i]Oh, my. So, “you must be a redneck” if you think people should wear shoes? How did we ever arrive at that conundrum? My intended irony did indeed fall on deaf ears.[/i]

    The “You must be a redneck” routine by comedian Jeff Foxworthy takes popular stereotypes of certain rural Southern people and makes them into jokes. In other words, if you do this (something kind of stupid), “you must be a redneck.” I guess I don’t understand your correlation between being a “redneck” and wearing shoes. I don’t think wearing shoes or not wearing shoes was ever part of the “redneck” stereotype. It may at one time have been part of the “hillbilly” stereotype – for example, the barefoot “hillbilly” character on the sign at Mountaineer Inn on Tunnel Road.

    The point is that such humor, and I could also include the Beverly Hillbillies TV show as well, though actually funny, continues to perpetuate a negative image of people who live in certain areas of the country – usually the Southern area. Your “top ten conclusions,” which you obviously felt was full of wit, irony, and humor, did in fact do the same thing as some of these comedy routines, but the butt of your “humor” was “going barefoot.” Almost each and every one of the items on your list in some way continues to reinforce exactly the same negative stereotype and generally untrue, unproven, or highly speculative personal opinions that you have posted before and that have been refuted by others on this thread, including me.

    Falling on deaf ears? No, I heard it loud and clear. I just don’t agree with most of it.

  43. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Kriss, what part of your own correlation do you not understand? You wrote about my Top Ten going-barefoot conclusions: [b]Kind of like Lil Abner and “You must be a redneck” humor. It’s sad that you don’t see the obvious similarities.[/b]

    That was your correlation, not mine.

  44. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Kriss, what part of your own correlation do you not understand? You wrote about my top ten list of going-barefoot conclusions: [b]Kind of like Lil Abner and “You must be a redneck” humor. It’s sad that you don’t see the obvious similarities.[/b]

    That was your correlation, not mine.

  45. Kriss

    Betty wrote: [i]That was your correlation, not mine.[/i]

    Wow. You seem to be really confused on this issue.

    Maybe I can make it clearer.

    My “correlation,” if you want to call it that, was that your so-called humor was similar to comedy that exploits negative stereotypes, such the cartoon “Lil Abner” or Jeff Foxworthy’s “You must be a redneck” stand up routine. (I thought I explained that in the post preceding your last one.)

    Your response was to ask the strange question, that is, whether someone must be a redneck if they thought people should wear shoes. By such an odd question, it appeared you were correlating being a redneck and wearing shoes – or being a redneck and not wearing shoes, or something about shoes and a redneck. It really didn’t make a lot of sense, frankly. So that’s why I tried to explain what this “redneck” thing was all about, and went into a little detail about why I felt your top ten list was not only perpetuating negative stereotypes about going barefoot, it was just repeating the same old unfounded (in most cases) reasons that you believe people should not go barefoot.

  46. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Kriss, “correlation” was [b]your[/b] word for the supposed relationship between my Top Ten Barefoot List and your subsequent farfetched extrapolation into a patronizing diatribe about shod and shoeless redneck and hillbilly stereotypes.

    [b]My[/b] word for your attempted correlation (the crack into which you have so injudiciously inserted your toe) was “conundrum.”

    Kindergarten teachers call this kind of inane interchange “sharing.” (It does not rise to the level of true discussion.)

    Some people call it “opportunistic grandstanding.”

    Foot-fetishers call it the most public attention they’ve enjoyed lately, in AVL anyway.

    Most people call it a waste of time, and I agree with them.

  47. Kriss

    If you feel all this is a waste of time, why have your bothered to indulge in it?

    I’d just like to point out that I’m not one of your students, and you’re certainly not my mother. Therefore there’s no need for the condescending attitude or snide remarks. It’s pretty obvious you’re not accustomed to anyone disagreeing with you; so all this must come as a shock, and perhaps a slight bruise to your ego. You may have some level of expertise in certain fields, but this topic sure isn’t one of them. You should learn from the folks who have actually done this for years and know a lot more about it than you do, and not try to come off as some know-it-all in an area that you really know very little about. As far as I’m concerned, you have lost a lot of credibility, and based on your excellent letter and comments a while back on “hillbilly” stereotyping, as to this current topic, you’ve come off as somewhat of a hypocrite in my opinion.

    As to “foot-fetishers,” it’s interesting that you are practically the only one that has even mentioned the word “fetish” at all, both on this thread or the other one under the other barefooting related letter. It kind of gives me a hint of what your real interest in this topic is. Having a “foot fetish” and going barefoot are not in any way related; and that is one more side of it you seem to be confused about.

  48. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Remember when the big train wreck scene in “The Fugitive” was filmed a couple of decades over in Jackson County along the Tuckaseegee River? Tommy Lee Jones, playing the lawman hunting the fugitive, stood looking out over the scene and summed it up so well: “My, my, my. What…a…wreck.”

  49. Vote for Betty

    Best. Post. Ever. Love Betty, I wish you were running for city council. What a wreck indeed!!
    Kriss took a tiny little mole hill and turned it into a grisly, ugly mountain…plantar warts and all. Went from a ‘non-issue’ to ‘her issue’ in 90 seconds flat! Good grief, girl. I haven’t read such soap boxin’ since Bele Chere on a street corner! Give Kriss an inch, she’ll ask for a foot! (HA!)
    I have enough sense not to go barefoot in town. Wanna know why? I respect myself AND other people. The End.

  50. You people are all biased against those with no feet.

    Shame on you all.

    Horrible shame on you and children!

    A pox! A pox on both houses!

    A box! A box with a fox and a house with a mouse!

    I will not eat green eggs and ham!

    I will not wear shoes to the drum jam!

    No feet! No feet! How sweet! How sweet!

  51. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Oops, correction! The famous line by Tommy Lee Jones was “My, my, my. What… a… mess.”

  52. Kriss

    [i]Remember when the big train wreck scene in “The Fugitive” was filmed a couple of decades over in Jackson County along the Tuckaseegee River?…

    The famous line by Tommy Lee Jones was “My, my, my. What… a… mess.”[/i]

    So we’re talking about movies now?

    I don’t remember if I saw the movie or not. I don’t think I did, but I’m aware of the scene.

    And this has what to do with the current topic?

  53. useurhead

    Betty Cloer Wallanc:

    Give it a rest already. Your threads are extremely long and overly complicated, thus, confusing. Please come to terms and try to understand the topic at hand. When a footphobic makes an outrageous claim about how dangerous barefooting is and an experienced barefooter explains how ridiculous the claim is with facts, then please try to understand. Don’t ridicule or make up some long rant.

    This is a great forum to bring up legitamate concerns and discuss them. We can all come away from this learning something we didn’t know before.

  54. vas

    Vote for Betty wrote: [b]”I have enough sense not to go barefoot in town. Wanna know why? I respect myself AND other people.”[/b]

    What makes you think that going barefoot is disrespectful? Is it the sight of bare feet that you object to? Flip-flops hide nothing, are they disrespectful too?

  55. vas

    BTW about Lil Abner. Do you remember that Daisy Mae was a barefooter?

  56. Piffy!

    This is obviously the next civil rights movement. Kriss, you are like Rosa Parks or something.

  57. Kriss

    Oh, please don’t mention Rosa Parks, Pfff. The very mention of her name causes more people to start crawling out of the woodwork than “bare feet” ever would.

  58. Kriss

    Vote for Betty wrote:
    [i]Went from a ‘non-issue’ to ‘her issue’ in 90 seconds flat![/i]

    What’s the title of this thread anyway? This was never a non-issue. That’s the whole point.

    [i]I have enough sense not to go barefoot in town. Wanna know why? I respect myself AND other people.[/i]

    Don’t go barefoot out of respect??? What do shoes have to do with the concept of respect? Shoes historically have always been a sign of disrespect. Throughout history, in all the religions of the world, including Christianity, it is [i]bare feet[/i] that have been considered to show the greatest of respect. Shoes are commonly removed in holy places. How could this be if there were something “disrespectful” about bare feet? Feet are a normal, natural part of the human body, nothing to be ashamed of or hidden away from view. Come on. We’re not talking about genitals here.

    Plus, respect is a two-way street. I respect others regardless of how they choose to dress, what they choose to wear, or what they choose to not wear; and I expect them to treat me with the same respect. But respecting others does not mean you are supposed to change yourself or the way you look or dress in order to be exactly the same as others. Those who feel they must do that are usually doing it more out of conformity based on their own personal insecurity rather than out of any so-called “respect.”

    Oh, and I’ve been posting on Mountain Xpress blogs and forums for well over two years now, and most people who know me know that I’m not a female. I realize you’re kind of out of the loop, plus my name is not very gender specific, so it’s OK – a common error.

  59. Oh, please don’t mention Rosa Parks, Pfff. The very mention of her name causes more people to start crawling out of the woodwork than “bare feet” ever would.

    Didn’t you throw her name out there two years ago?

    Orbit and TV Eye are barefoot-friendly btw.

  60. Eric

    Just stop Betty, while it’s good that you try in your posts, it’s clear that you do not understand the topic. We’re not talking about foot fetish, Betty, yet that is what you propose this topic is about. The topic is about how there should be no problem with people choosing to walk barefoot. The fact that you linked this straight to foot fetish reveals how off you are and maybe gives a little insight to how your mind works.
    No, Betty, we don’t need random quotes from movies. Not to mention that there is no train wreck in any way so your quote is off.

    To respond to the nonsensical post by someone I suspect to be Betty masquerading as Vote for Betty: you don’t vote for someone just because they make snide remarks about how they believe the argument is going. Also, you disrespect your body by wearing shoes because you are muffling your feet and misaligning your natural body stance.

    I go barefoot to respect myself (so that my walks are more enriched with sensation and are more healthy), other people (many cultures and religions depict barefooting as a sign of humility and respect), and nature (because barefooting is more gentle to the Earth). It is true respect, when the intention is synchronized with the outcome.

  61. Kriss

    Yes I did, Marc. It’s kind of strange, I was posting as an unregistered poster then and everything I posted was moderated. Following that post, and following some irate reactions from others (including you, as I recall), I sent several more posts in response and they never got posted – just disappeared. I sent an email to the webmaster (or someone with MX) with copies of my missing posts and was told that the moderators had possibly been “over-zealous,” as there was truly nothing wrong with them. He suggested I register so I would no longer be moderated. So that’s what I did.

    Yes, I knew you were barefoot friendly. I’ve been meaning to drop in and see you sometime.

  62. Professional

    I don’t go about barefoot in public because I frequent restaurants and stores that have class. That know how to keep the bums and hippies out. I’m educated and can afford shoes. Good luck getting into Horizons at GPI or DeerPark at Biltmore without shoes. I laugh at this idiotic letter, thread, etc. and know deep down you have much, much better things to worry about. Did you bother to vote today? I did.

  63. useurhead

    Professional-

    Although you say you are educated but your comments are really narrow minded. I thought education is suppose to open your mind and expand your horizons. At least thats what my college degree did for me. Funny how you judge those who enjoy walking barefoot as bums and hippies. I hope you don’t live in a glass house.

  64. Kriss

    Professional wrote:
    [i]That know how to keep the bums and hippies out.[/i]

    So they have a sign that says: “No bums or hippies allowed”? They must have, because banning bare feet sure wouldn’t keep them out, since no bums or hippies in this day and age are ever barefoot.

    [i]I’m educated and can afford shoes.[/i]

    Interesting non sequitur.

    [i]…and know deep down you have much, much better things to worry about.[/i]

    Another benefit of your education? Clairvoyance?

    [i]Did you bother to vote today? I did.[/i]

    Good for you. No, I didn’t. I’m not a resident of Asheville.

  65. There once was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She didn’t have feet, so it was ok because she actually did not need to shoe for her feet because she did not have feet so she lived in one shoe and donated the other to a kindly old man on the other side of town who, as luck would have it, also had no feet and was also lacking in hands and any general desire to keep up his appearance for the public or for his wife and this, too, was more or less all right as she was blind and a bit lacking in the olfactory perception which would have clued her in that her footless and handless husband was clearly not letting their hand maiden wash him as often as she should but then, too, what was the hand maiden up too in those hours of the day when she was supposed to be lovingly scrubbing the grit and grime of the world off of the man with no feet and no hands who lived in the other shoe of the old lady who lived in a shoe which was ok since she, too, had no feet – merely children and quite a lot of them, in fact, so many children did the old footless lady in the shoe have that she had quite forgotten how many there were and was often selling them to make ends meet which is how her daughter became the hand maiden of the owner of her mother’s other shoe and that leads us back to where the hand maiden was spending wash time…

    She was cleaning shoes outside of a local bicycle shop and whistling tunes of rebellion and discontent. Her name is Eris and she is Legion.

  66. misterkite

    Only in America will people fight for their “right” to something that so many people around the world don’t even have at all. In this case it’s the right to be barefoot. People DO need shoes. Whether you will admit it or not. Paved streets that are cleaned by the city don’t exist everywhere. Let me be clear…I don’t give a good sh*t if you don’t wear shoes…but you sound like a bunch of jerk-offs. So stop pretending you’re enlightened because you claim to be different. May you step on a rusty nail and get tetanus. Remember tetanus? If you go barefoot, it’s a real problem…not just in downtown Asheville, but all over the goddam*ed world.

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/panama_48862.html

    http://www2.children.org/en/us/News/InTheNews/2009/Pages/ChildrenInternationalReceives10000MoreCrocsforPoorChildreninEcuador-1-27-09.aspx

    I can’t even believe I posted a response to this silly half-as*ed bullsh*t. That tells you just how bored I am. Normally, this brand of idiocy doesn’t even evoke a response from me.

    A response in advance to future post related to my rant that I will never read (I hope to forget this sorry sh*t ever happened):

    You have the right to object to my opinion, and you have the right to go barefoot and waste your time disagreeing with people who wear shoes because they have the right (and the $$$) to wear shoes and they also have the right to write run-on sentences about people’s rights and how they choose to execute them based on personal preference. But the one thing you don’t have is the ability to make something as bootless (I love synonyms) as this an issue. Face it…we’re just a bunch of bored people with internet connections…something else we all take for granted.

    I hope you enjoyed the diatribe…it will be the last you see of me…I just picked up the new issue of MAD, and i can’t wait to read something that isn’t stupid. Well, that isn’t this stupid.

    In closing; P*SS OFF! And wash your feet (or shoes) if you step in sh*t.

  67. Eric

    People can safely wear shoes, sandals, go barefeet, whatever. For me, I have a testimony for something that has really enriched my daily living for free and I wish to break the myth that feet are weak blocks of flesh that must be shoved into footwear so that we may walk.

    I understand. It must conflict with what you’ve been told your whole life when studies show that barefooting is healthier: “A recent study demonstrates that the skin on the soles of your feet resists abrasions and blistering and that going barefoot is beneficial to the musculoskeletal structure of your feet and ankles. … Kicking off your shoes can help prevent a host of foot injuries: bunions, heel spurs, and bone deformities, among others. “Shoes act like casts, holding the bones of the foot so rigid that they can’t move fluidly,” [Steven] Robbins [MD and adjunct associate professor of mechanical engineering at Concordia University, Montreal] explains. “The foot becomes passive from wearing shoes and loses the ability to support itself.” Dirty streets are fine, the skin keeps germs out really well.

    @misterkite: The articles you post talk about disease associated with going barefeet. However, there is no science or expert backing the claim up. Most fears regarding barefooting are old wive’s tales. Anyway, most of us have our tetanus shots and rusty nails are a rarity where I live. You have speculation and irrational fears, I have experience on the matter. Ask any barefooter. It’s safe going barefoot in everyday life (if you have toughened soles from doing so already). Of course it’s not absolutely 100% safe, but no kind of footwear is either. No one is pretending to be enlightened, we are just doling out what we believe.

    Is this silly? Remember that our feet have hundreds of sensory neurons and are a huge part of our sense of touch (similar to hands and lips). We want people to have the option of using that if they wish to.

  68. Karma

    “received a pair of Crocs footwear as a health promotion intervention, aimed at reducing skin infections, fungus growth and other infectious diseases linked to bare feet.”

    So, a pair of Crocs are given to the children. I don’t know about you, but when I -walk- with similar shoes in sand or grass, I get stuff in them. Sand, dust, grass, water, etc. Would I have been barefoot, it would come off on the next step, but in shoes they linger. Push at the same spot of the skin for each step I take.

    Also with these on, the skin gets much warmer, not to mention more moist from sweat that isn’t allowed to evaporate naturally, so the skin gets more soft and much easier to penetrate. Any fungi or whatever that gets into the shoe will have all the time, humidity and darkness in the world to get a nice firm hold.

    Simple logic. Their feet are still going to get dirty, but now they are giving parts of their feet a dark and humid area as well. Clever! And now I’m not even going to get into what these things do to your bone structure and muscles.

    “SolesUnited Foundation, the philanthropic branch of Crocs, in partnership with UNICEF, donated the shoes to benefit the children …”

    Nice and objective, isn’t it! Crocs won’t get anything out from this, would they? Pure altruism, at its best.

    I love how the last picture on that first site is diving into the water… wearing his Crocs. Yeah, that’ll protect him, and increase his flexibility as well!

    The other site is even more wonderful. They all got their own Crocs™!

    To cite; “It is common for poor children throughout the world to go barefoot – which often results in serious parasitic and skin infections.”

    I’m beginning to see a pattern here… Crocs™ is really being kind. And being a (terribly successful) shoe company bent on, like all other businesses, to increase their publicity and also sales, they’re of course completely unbiased™ and objective™ when they speak of the dangers of being barefoot and benefits of their wonders™!

    To the “Brother’s Brother Foundation” – only because they are a foundation doesn’t mean they know what they are doing (apparently), but most importantly, they can’t really deny a very large donation, especially as it can give them a large boost in publicity. In the end, for a good cause, but with in this case broken means.

    Nowhere in these articles does it say anything of how bare feet are dangerous (only that it IS) and how the Crocs™ really help (only that they DO). However, plenty of people here, me included, have given rather detailed information of how shoes are bad for your health and skin, and explained how feet that get to work as “intended” are statistically much healthier (look to India, for example) as well as explained how feet that are bare get tough, just like hands that do a lot of work do.

    And misterkite, I know you will read this. As the fuming explosion of fury that post of yours was, you simply can’t resist watching the results from it.

    By the way, only a few days ago I saw a problem about guy coming into the hospital having stepped on a rusty nail. It was straight up his heel. Through his shoe… which they had problem removing at first. It must be nice to have the rusty nail go through his shoe, bring with it a cocktail of nice bacteria from the shoe (that can’t really survive unless it’s warm/wet/dark) and add that to everything else that comes with the nail into the flesh as the nail progresses. Logic is awesome. Much more awesome than ™, I promise you.

    And again, barefooters (me included) can usually testify to the increased sense of awareness of the ground when walking barefoot. Not in a “spiritual” way or anything like that, but in a “I’m using my eyes to see where I’m going” as well as “I’m not stepping down like my feet were of lead – I’m actually feeling the ground before I put my weight down”. Meaning, the chance of even stepping on a rusty nail is far lower than if you have shoes (at which point you really don’t mind where you’re stepping that much).

  69. Karma

    Agh, typos.

    “… ago I saw a problem about guy coming …”

    I apologize for that monster of a sentence, as I meant to say “I saw a [b]program/TV-show[/b] about [b]a[/b] guy”

  70. vas

    Kriss, there is no winning this battle. Blockheads will overwhelm.

    After you have carefully presented your pro-barefoot arguments, there comes another blockhead in write-only mode and blurts out yet another stale myth.

    I am so lucky to live in Siberia where people may stare at your bare feet and even comment, but noone creates anti-barefoot policies in stores or eateries.

  71. Kriss

    Thanks, Eric and Karma, for your excellent analyses of this “shoeing the world” phenomenon that’s been going on in recent years.

    Someone once said, “Of course they’ll be better off, because we know how to make someone ‘better off.’ We just make them like us.”

    Providing shoes to children who normally go barefoot, and where going barefoot to school and other places is common and accepted in their culture, is doing more of a disservice to them than helping them. What children in poor countries really need most I believe are school supplies, food, and medicine. These are necessities. Shoes are not necessities, particularly in countries with year-round warm climates. But they soon will be as we brainwash the children into believing so.

    Impressionable young children in those countries who traditionally had enjoyed the health – and economic – benefits of being barefoot, will soon begin to look upon bare feet as some sort of stigma to be avoided at all costs. And once these donated shoes are worn out or are outgrown, who’s to pay for new Crocs, $100 Nikes, or whatever that they have now grown accustomed to? So where well-meaning but possibly misguided Americans apply their own standards to the rest of the world and feel that all children in the world must be continually shod like they are, traditional cultural norms and practices are being distorted or destroyed.

    And once these Crocs have worn out or become broken, what happens to them? Plastic is not biodegradable and unless they start building more and more recycling or incineration plants (who’s going to pay for that?), there will soon be piles of used and broken Crocs around polluting the landscape. A monster will have been created, in more ways than one.

    Plus, this is also an obvious effort by a shoe company to expand its future markets, and create some demand where none currently exists, while getting feel-good press out of it at the same time. Are shoes what the poorest of people on the planet need to be convinced of to spend what little money they have on? This is nothing short of exploitation, and some of these do-gooder, but clueless, charities are buying in on it, hook, line, and sinker.

  72. Kriss

    Vas wrote:
    [i]Kriss, there is no winning this battle. Blockheads will overwhelm.
    After you have carefully presented your pro-barefoot arguments, there comes another blockhead in write-only mode and blurts out yet another stale myth.[/i]

    Vas, that may be true. But the thing is, some of these idiotic posts are the best proof anyone needs that a few people out there are so blindly prejudiced against bare feet that it’s almost an obsession. For such people, no amount of logic or facts will ever dissuade them from their negative mindset. You can see how many comments these threads always get. Mention “bare feet” and the foot-phobics start coming out of the woodwork to spew their hatred. When or if I respond to such posts, I have no illusions that I will ever convince those people to change their minds. What I may post as a response is meant mainly for others to read, others who may in fact have a more open mind and are able to see the difference between fact and fiction.

    [i]I am so lucky to live in Siberia where people may stare at your bare feet and even comment, but no one creates anti-barefoot policies in stores or eateries.[/i]

    And that just backs up the fact that it seems to be only in America, the land of the “free,” where you are not really free at all to dress as you please, at least in the minds of a few people. In most other countries of the world, as you probably know, barefooters may be looked upon as kind of strange, but nobody would ever tell them they cannot do it or that they [i]must[/i] put on shoes in order to be in some place.

  73. Karma

    [i]”And that just backs up the fact that it seems to be only in America, the land of the “free,” where you are not really free at all to dress as you please, at least in the minds of a few people. In most other countries of the world, as you probably know, barefooters may be looked upon as kind of strange, but nobody would ever tell them they cannot do it or that they must put on shoes in order to be in some place.”[/i]

    After seven years in Sweden, only one store-employee have told me “You cannot be in here without shoes” (immediately followed by “I’m joking!”).

    I’m feeling a bit sorry for you lot over there in the “free world” as you guys take pride in calling it ;o)

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