"I'd go barefoot all the time if I could."

We hear that sentiment ALL the time! Really. You CAN go barefoot much more often -- even in public! This site has tons of resources to help society become more "barefoot friendly," but you must begin with your own two feet.

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Entries in discrimination (4)


We Have a Dream

Fifty years ago today, on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech which called on America to judge others not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We at the Barefoot Alliance appreciate these words, and hope to extend the spirit behind them to the barefoot lifestyle.

For decades now -- almost as long as it's been since Dr. King shared his dream -- countless businesses have displayed signs prohibiting people from entering without footwear. They have displayed signs saying, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." Those signs were originally meant to keep out those "undesirable" hippies and other citizens who broke norms and went against the flow.

That trend to keep out "undesirable" elements continues today, but it's also wrapped in ignorance and assumptions. Even though there are no health codes, laws, or other regulations saying people cannot go barefoot into businesses and restaurants, the idea remains that Americans must wear shoes when they go out in public.

But it's not just that. Our public schoolchildren must also wear shoes in case some mysterious and catastrophic tragedy happens at any moment -- you know, to protect their feet. What isn't required, however, is for every student to wear a hard hat and protective gloves to climb out of that same potential, phantom rubble.

Employees in various job positions at various employers are also required to wear shoes for no practical reason other than "professionalism." That means a female legal assistant's feet may hurt all day walking back and forth throughout their agency's nicely-carpeted offices wearing heels required by company policy. A cashier at the local grocery store may have to wear hot, sweat-inducing shoes just to stand in one place to ring up Doritos, ground beef, produce, and more throughout his shift.

"As a barefooter ... I have been called derogatory names; I have been denied a table at a restaurant; I have been forced off an airplane; I have been escorted by security to the nearest exit. Most ironically, I have been denied a seat on a bus by a black female driver."

Friends, there are SO many reasons that people should go barefoot -- and be allowed to go barefoot -- in their daily lives. We say it over and over on our Website and social media: Barefoot is human. We are supposed to go barefoot! Our feet are made to function well without shoes and shoes cause most of the foot problems that humans deal with.

So we have a dream. In early 2011, our vice president and author of The Barefoot Book Daniel Howell, PhD, shared this dream on his blog and we post it again to share our vision and pay tribute to Dr. King:

"I have dream that Americans will one day be free to live barefoot. My dream may seem trivial, but it is not. It is not trivial because at its core it is a struggle against an oppressive attitude toward differences. It is a dream that we will stop shunning those who think outside the box. We say we celebrate such thinking, but we lie. In truth we actively oppress innovative thinking and it’s only through much toil and sweat on the part of such thinkers that real change ever happens among the masses.

I am white. I am educated. Indeed, I am privileged to be among the small portion (less than 1%) of the population with an esteemed doctorate degree – in biochemistry no less, one of those hard sciences that has obtained almost idolistic authority in Western thought. As ‘Dr. Howell, university professor’ I am a respected member of my community. As a barefooter, I have felt the sting of blatant and hateful discrimination: I have been called derogatory names; I have been denied a table at a restaurant; I have been forced off an airplane; I have been escorted by security to the nearest exit. Most ironically, I have been denied a seat on a bus by a black female driver. But I have a dream that one day doing something as healthy – and legal – as going barefoot will be acceptable to my fellow Americans.

I have a dream that little white children and little black children can play together barefoot in the gymnasium. I have a dream that one day employees will be recognized for the quality of their work rather than the price of their wingtips or pumps. I dream of a day when the ‘barefooter’ is applauded for making the more natural and healthier choice to shun her shoes; a choice made not only for the health of her feet but maybe because she also refuses to subvert herself to the role of temptress in high heels in order to be a corporate player.

Truly, I dream of a day when shoes (or the lack thereof) are a non-issue.

They say you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes, but I long for a day when we will be judged by our hard work, our commitment to excellence, our creativity and ingenuity… by the content of our character and not by the shoes on our feet.

Am I insulting Dr. King? Am I trivializing his dream or making a mountain out of a molehill? I don’t think so because ultimately my dream is not about feet, it’s about the end of discrimination in all its forms. It’s about acceptance."

We feel that this is a worthy and legitimate dream to have. Do you share that dream?


Alliance Opposes Ohio Statehouse Shoe Rule

The Primalfoot Alliance, an organization that advocates worldwide for the barefoot lifestyle, stands in opposition of a rule requiring that visitors to the Ohio Statehouse wear "shoes or comparable footwear." The rule was approved 8-2 by a committee and will now go before the entire state legislature.

In December, we sent letters to each member of the Joint Commission for Agency Rule Review (JCARR) speaking on behalf of all barefooters in Ohio and beyond. We expressed our concern that requiring shoes of visitors takes away an individual's right to make health decisions about their own body and forces a biomechanical restriction on feet. Apparently those concerns fell on deaf ears.

The leadership of The Primalfoot Alliance will now be considering what actions this organization can take to have this rule repealed. Options include petitioning all supporters of barefoot living to send emails and letters to the legislature as a whole or petitioning the ACLU for assistance in defending barefooters' natural rights.

Many legal precedents beyond this single action have already been set against the barefoot movement. Now it is time for a sea change to begin that stops additional damage to the movement and reclaims rights for anyone who chooses to live without shoes. If we cannot do that, bare feet and our natural rights will continue to be blocked in irreperable ways.


Columbus Dispatch: "Bare feet officially going bye-bye at Statehouse" 
Ahcuah: "Statehouse Shootdown" 

Corrected: Struck statement saying that the rule goes before the entire state legislature. Because it was not rejected it will automatically go into effect once filed.


Airline Refuses Flight to Shoeless Toddler, Family

source: news.com.au

An woman and her two young sons recently were kept off a Virgin Australia flight after the younger child had lost his shoes and was going to board in stockinged feet, according to an article by the Website Terminal U. After the carrier apparently cited a non-existent policy of Australia's safety regulator, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Karen Darley and her four-year and two-year old children were refused boarding on the flight and finally took another one when replacement shoes for the toddler were found.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that the family missed an alternate flight (for which she was not billed additionally by Virgin Australia), and therefore had to pay more than $800 for new tickets. Darley is seeking compensation for the second flight and a portion of the cost of the first flight.

Terminal U shared a quote from a CASA spokesperson: "CASA recommends that all passengers wear shoes on board. There is no regulation for wearing shoes, but airlines can set their own policies." Our emphasis was added. According to a news.com.au article, which Terminal U sourced, the airline does have a policy requiring shoes of "anyone who can walk."

As is often the case with discrimination against primalfoot people, there seems to be confusion as to why Virgin Australia actually kicked Darley and her sons off the plane. Both articles linked above claim that a safety regulation was wrongly cited. The airline does have a policy addressing this issue, but it's not clear if that was brought up by the airline only after the fact.

UPDATE, Nov. 2, 2011: Barefooter Bob Neinast informed us that Virgin Australia's posted Conditions of Carriage actually do not have a requirement that passengers use footwear. That said, the document does state that the airline "may take all steps it believes necessary to ensure the safety and security of its Guests," an excuse often used against barefooters when no specific policy exists.

Whatever the case, there is no regulation requiring that any Australian airline require shoes of their passengers. Furthermore, we believe that it's unnecessary for any airline to prohibit primalfoot passengers for reasons of safety. Under all normal circumstances, commercial airplane cabins are free of anything that can harm the feet. If emergency situations are a concern, hard hats and protective gloves are not required of or issued to passengers.

We hope that as the numerous benefits of primalfoot living come more into the public view, airlines and regulators will eliminate any policies requiring shoes of passengers.

Thanks to our advisory board member Moe Morales for passing this along!