I got caught in the rain walking home from work on Thursday. It was a downpour and my shoes were getting squishy so I took them off and walked barefoot from downtown. A few people stared. To me bare feet always feel better than wet, squishy shoes. Growing up in rural New Brunswick we went barefoot for comfort and to reduce wear and tear on shoes and boots. It was a point of pride to be able to walk on chip-seal or gravel without wincing, major butch cred. Bare feet are a part of summer for me but I got thinking during my walk home that being barefoot can be a class loaded thing. Sure, I’ve read lots about barefoot running as a choice like Mallory’s Barefoot Triathlon and To go barefoot or to wear “foot coffins”? but I also thought about being barefoot by circumstance, like not actually having shoes. There’s plenty of signs that indicate one must wear shirts and shoes to get service and yet people are also positioning bare foot athleticism is a bit of a niche thing. some sports, like martial arts and yoga, require practitioners be barefoot, but mostly shirts and shoes are required.
My Mom was raised in the 60s and people actually had to curtail their activities, like missing school, for lack of shoes. Compared to Mallory’s accounts of New Zealand where plenty of folks go barefoot all the time, it’s interesting to see that patrolling of footwear here in Canada. Today you can get something to put on your feet for a dollar. I also pay $120 for running shoes for each member of my family twice a year. WOW. That’s a lot of money for some mesh and a bit of foam. It makes me be quite stingy, to the point that most of my footwear have been given to me by friends (Thanks Wes & Kate!). I do occasionally covet a designer shoe or two but mostly shoes are there to get me where I want to go and nothing more.
I totally sneak in bare foot time at work, walking home, gardening and I never wear stuff on my feet at home. I have sweaty feet but, more than that, bare feet help me feel balanced and connected.
What’s your experience around being bare foot? A fun choice? Recalling tougher times? I’d like to hear your thoughts 🙂