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Letter to the Editor: Barefoot living is neither sane nor sanitary

In response to “Barefoot culture rises on campus” from the Nov. 18 issue of The Maroon

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 15:04

Dear editor:

Being from San Francisco, I’m no stranger to modern hippie culture. From dreadlock hair to facial piercings, uncleanliness in the name of non- conformity is nothing I haven’t seen before. Yet, when I first ran across Loyola students going barefoot around campus in the fall semester of 2010, I couldn’t help but be surprised. I couldn’t comprehend why students at a private university would walk around like people in a third world country. Not even students from those countries run around without any shoes upon coming to the United States.

My opinion hasn’t changed since then. I can understand walking around sans-shoes to promote a worthy cause, such as Tom’s Shoes’ One Day Without Shoes, meant to “spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life by taking off our own.”

However, most barefoot aficionados do so for very curious reasons if for a reason at all. California Polytechnic State student Kara cites “sticking it to the man” as her primary reason for going shoeless. In an online comment to an article proposing a shoes required policy on Cal Poly’s campus she writes, “Walking around barefoot is a harmless form of liberation meant to free students from the overbearing voice of ‘the man’ and what society would define as social ‘norms.’” This is a humorous explanation at best. I highly doubt “the man” cares at all whether wanna-be hippies are wearing shoes or not. And despite what many say, people going barefoot on campus does affect the people around them. First of all, the sight and stench of many barefooters is repulsive to those forced to be around them. Second, it lowers the reputation of the university. Visitors expect to see students in pursuit of professionalism, not walking around like toddlers. Last, barefooters don’t limit their foot contact to just the ground. Many place their dirt-ridden feet on public benches and tables around campus that other students have to use as well. I can understand those who want to be “one with nature” by wearing bare feet in the wilderness. However, going barefoot in areas dominated by concrete, construction and indoor tile flooring makes no sense at all.

While barefoot running has proven benefits for runners with frequent foot problems, walking around barefoot brings health concerns not only for those who go shoeless, but also for everyone around them. Mohammed Diakite, marketing junior stated: “I think people going around barefoot on a campus is unhygienic and can lead to infections.” The whole purpose of shoes is to protect the feet from bacteria and dangerous objects that can be found on the floor.

Jeffrey Ramon, religious studies senior, proclaimed: “Solidarity is best shown through direct action. . . It’d be much more rewarding to donate a pair of shoes to someone who is in need.” With a great diversity of styles and sizes, it is perfectly easy to find a shoe that is comfortable and fits just right. There is no good reason to go barefoot on campus.

Sincerely, John Bickle, mass communication senior

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Wed Feb 19 2014 06:34
John Bickle is really upset about people who he perceives as not conforming to his idea of the establishment and people who are independent-minded. He (and others like him with a very narrow acceptance cone) has to concoct fictitious health safety issues, such as bare feet of others supposedly being a health risk to him, to use as a cover to conceal what he is really upset about. It's common to see people like John Bickle trolling forums about naturism and barefooting, frustrated to the extreme that others are not conforming to his Archie Bunker definition of what is proper..
Fri Jan 17 2014 21:56
FEMINISTS OF LOYOLA! Join me and take a stand! We must help the barefoot movement by eradicating bigots! They are anti-freedom! Narrow-mindedness is the reason why there is so much hate in this world. On January 20th, 2015 wear a red armband with a black Venus symbol and those that refuse to wear one will suffer our wrath!
Thu Jan 16 2014 18:50
Mohammed the marketing junior gave his medical advice, let's read what an MD limiting his practice to the foot and ankle has to say:
"Dr. Silverman comments
There is extensive scientific evidence that supports barefoot running, and there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting a logical fear of barefoot activities.

The claims of increased risk of disease transmission are ridiculous. Disease transmission by hand to hand contact or hand to fomite (inanimate object) contact is astronomically higher.

Stopping these people from running on the treadmill simply because their bare feet are touching the machine is like telling someone they can't hold dumbbells with their bare hands."
Dr. Silverman's full comment here:

Thu Jan 16 2014 10:18
I find it odd that the writer of this article can concede that there may be health benefits to running barefoot but somehow does not comprehend that there are as many or more health benefits to walking barefoot generally.

Shoes, not just high heels, any shoes, change the way we walk, increasing the stress we put on our backs, our knees, and our feet. Populations where shoes are the norm have high rates of knee and lower back problems, as well as foot problems, all of which are rare in societies that are normally barefoot. People who are shod their whole lives are more likely to have circulation and balance problems as they age. At any age, you are more likely to fall when wearing shoes since you are unaware of what is underfoot; people slip out of flip flops, causing falls, heels are unsteady, and generally, ankle strength is less after wearing shoes for a life time, again predisposing the elderly to falls. Shoes can be useful outside in cold climates, but we wear them as a society not to keep ourselves healthy, but in order to win approval from others.

Tue Jul 16 2013 12:13
"laced with bigotry"...Are you kidding? The KKK is laced with bigotry; the Tea Party is laced with bigotry; 19th century Jim Crow laws were laced with bigotry. This guy just doesn't like the barefoot lifestyle. I could care less, either way...but come on, get over yourselves. Laced with bigotry... my God, next you'll be equatting the barefoot "movement" to the plight of the black man or the homosexual community.
Sat Jul 13 2013 10:14

Old man has opinions about those DAMN KIDS!

The reputation of the university? They smell? You sat down and wrote that out? Well, bless your heart.

How do your feet smell when you take off those shoes at the end of the day? I don't remember those rankings in the Princeton Review. If you have data about this fine institution's reputation and public image, please share. An institution of higher education and home of academic pursuits certainly would be interested in any study or researched data about their reputation, hell you might even get a grant.

I will humbly point out in reminder that the joy of running barefoot is a cultural motif and practice around the world. From womb to bath to bed we are barefoot, The feeling and ubiquitously heard phrase "kicking your shoes off" implies the normative joy and pleasure of barefeet and the juxtaposed unnatural discomfort of shoes.

We are free to do so unless a public ordinance or policy of business property access is stated. At any other point it is an issue of personal discretion, and as citizens free to do so.

A university is a private community which you are obviously no longer part of. Consider yourself someone who criticized the actions of someone in their own home who was freely living as they had the right to, and you were a GUEST.

Students who are barefoot on campus may be poor, living an aesthetic lifestyle, a religious practice, or simply free spirited. In any regard you just come off as a well worded creeper or a disgruntled shoe fetishist.

Try and remember that you visited New Orleans, the most hospitable, warm and tourist friendly place in the United States, and all you had to say was not enough shoes? And you didn't even dance or second line?

Glad to see you made it back home all right, please patron my favorite city again!

Have a blessed day, and remember some of us barefooted children are smiling and barefoot because we know we are ALL Blessed.

Wed Apr 24 2013 04:44
Shame,rhe writer is ignorant.I live in South Africa,and barefooting is the norm,kids go to school barefoot,to church barefoot,to the mall barefoot.
The so called make feet smelly,it offer a perfect ph eq uilibrium of 6 -7 to breed smeels,warmth,(socks and shoes)to breed bacreria causing smells,moisture with rhe sweat to cause festering a nd smelly athletes foot.Tight fitting shoe s causes miformet feet,and prevents the footbridge developing natural height through resistance.Walking barefoot causes natural foot bridge formation by strengthning the bone structure.As unprofesional...on the contrary,its ne at,third worldly...perhaps,but then again,many kids prefer being barefoot....New Zealand aint 3 rd world,and they like barefeet...get your facts right.
Sun Aug 19 2012 01:17
Another thing this letter gets wrong is the assertion that only poor people in Third World countries go barefoot. I live in New Zealand, a very highly developed first world nation with many similarities to the US. One big difference though is that it is normal for people here to go barefoot in public places (malls, supermarkets, around town). Kids go barefoot to school up to about age 12. Most schools have strict uniforms here, but specifically allow for bare feet. Even in high school we do all PE and many sports barefoot. Going barefoot in public is also acceptable in Australia, though less common than in NZ. In South Africa the wealthier whites actually tend to go barefoot more than blacks because it is a cultural tradition epecially for kids. So it isn't just the poor and hippies going shoeless.
Fri Aug 17 2012 19:08
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with Mr. Bickle personally about this subject.
I am a professional man, make good money, take care of my family and friends, and don't wear shoes.
I suspect he wouldn't even be willing to have a sane conversation with me. If he does, lets talk Mr. Bickle. We'll find out how smart you really are. I'm happy to provide you contact info if your interested.
Fri Aug 10 2012 17:01
Ignorance and bigotry is certainly bliss.

One person is entitled to their opinion just as another person is entitled to make a personal choice. Hence, a "reason" is not required...

Wed Jun 27 2012 02:03
Just wait until this Bickle guy realized that shaking hands with someone is more dangerous to him than seeing someone else barefoot. Judging from his reaction to bare feet, he's going to be traumatized.
Tue Jun 26 2012 22:12
According to this logic, I, and everyone around me, would have died from foot infections long ago; and yet, here I am, healthy as ever!

If you want to really see for yourself whether or not bare feet are a problem, do the research yourself. It won't take long to find out just how misinformed Mr. Bickle really is.

Tue Jun 26 2012 19:38
Aside from the numerous health benefits of being unshod, I enjoy every civil liberty I have, including excersizing my choice to walk sans shoes; the natural way.
Tue Jun 26 2012 05:11
you never awnsered my question on how is facial piercing dirty. getting her face pierced is one of my wifes hobbies and shes a very clean person . please awnser us as were very intrested.........if you have no awnser please refrain from writing makes you sound ignorant .....alexandnigel the beserker hippies
Tue Jun 26 2012 05:06
Never mind the fact that people with shoes on will put their feet up on benches or tables regardless of what or where they have been walking, you have to define feet as 'dirt-ridden' but shoe wearers aren't?! At least feet will be washed and cleaned at some point, whereas most people very rarely take a scrubbing brush to the sole of their shoe!
Mon Jun 25 2012 08:53
Anonymous [Mon Jun 25 2012 08:02] said:

"look at all these hippies, posting about how it's okay to not wear shoes. Why don't you guys take a shower and get a job, ya damn hippies."

Most of us are white-collar professionals. I'm a licensed professional engineer.

"Also, what if I don't want to see your stinky feet? Should I be forced to see your dirt-ridden, grotesque feet if it's gonna make me lose my lunch?"

If you don't want to see feet, then maybe you should stay at home. But what if I feel the same way about your hands or face? Why should feet be covered but it's okay for hands not to be covered? Should everybody just wear burqas to cater to your hypersensitive stomach? I mean, if feet make you vomit, what would happen if you saw somebody's knee?! Oh, the horror!

"People have to wear clothes in public. It's only decent for society to expect that of you."

Right, so enlighten me as to how having bare feet is the same as being nude. Shoot, just tell me the difference between being barefoot and not wearing gloves.

"I know you probably don't have any money, but there are probably places that would donate a pair for you."

In case you didn't notice, we don't go barefoot for lack of money - we go barefoot because we don't like shoes. Financially, I'm fine. But you couldn't pay me to put shoes on.

Mon Jun 25 2012 08:02
look at all these hippies, posting about how it's okay to not wear shoes. Why don't you guys take a shower and get a job, ya damn hippies. Also, what if I don't want to see your stinky feet? Should I be forced to see your dirt-ridden, grotesque feet if it's gonna make me lose my lunch? People have to wear clothes in public. It's only decent for society to expect that of you. I know you probably don't have any money, but there are probably places that would donate a pair for you.
Mon Jun 25 2012 01:13
This article is filled with scientific innaccuracies and the author assumes every barefooter is doing so for a cause or to be a rebel just because 3 people he asked said words to this effect. Maybe some people just like being barefoot, period. Since it does NOT pose a health risk to anyone, live and let live. It certainly is not for everyone but for those who chose it......who cares?
Sun Jun 24 2012 23:19
I must say, your lack of research, close minded attitude, and typical ignorant remarks are quite sad. Good luck getting a job with your mass communications degree if this is your idea of a well written article.

You said, " First of all, the sight and stench of many barefooters is repulsive to those forced to be around them". Clearly you have never met an actual habitual barefooter. Our feet do not stink, feet only stink when the sweat. Guess where feet sweat the most? Inside shoes. Therefore, the shoes are responsible for the stench you smell.

"Second, it lowers the reputation of the university. Visitors expect to see students in pursuit of professionalism, not walking around like toddlers". If people are close minded enough to dismiss a university simply because a few enlightened students choose not to destroy their feet by wearing shoes, than those people are, quite frankly, imbeciles, and their opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. And at my university, most people wear hoodies and sweat pants every day, not very professional.

" I couldn't comprehend why students at a private university would walk around like people in a third world country." Again, maybe you should do some research then. We now have studies coming out that prove shoes are the cause of the majority of foot problems in America. Habitually barefoot people in India, for example, have strong healthy feet and they can comfortably walk around in their environment. Shod people generally have deformed feet, along with a host of foot problems (corns, bunions, athletes foot, hammer toe, ingrown toenails to name a few). These problems are non-existent in barefoot populations.

People like you foster hatred towards others, simply for being different. Your article is pathetic, you should be embarrassed.

Sun Jun 24 2012 22:23
I get somewhat offended when a highly ignorant man like Mr Bickle spews words like "modern hippie culture" in blanket statements. I cannot in any way be described as any sort of hippie just because I walk barefoot. Mr Bickle, get a life!

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