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I'm with Marko! Wimpy feet, must have shoes! *lol* I never, ever wear them in the house, but I won't step foot outside without them!

If I didn't look low rent a la Ms. Spears, I'd go barefoot every step of the day. Ok, I take that back. I'd never go barefoot in dirty public places, and I do have a think about public showers (gym, beach, hospital, etc) where I must be in flip-flops - but the suburban sidewalks, the house, the yard, around the pool? All of those places I love to go barefoot. As long as it isn't 120 degrees out. Even then it is too much for my "tough" feet - no matter how quickly I step.

I think it sounds like heaven to grow up like Kate and Adam. Even with the Analtyns as mom and dad. :)

I'm all about barefoot, or at most flip-flops, myself which is why I'm steadfastly ignoring the orthopedist's instruction to start wearing special insoles!

Shoes, who needs them. Completely off topic: it must be awesome having another mom next doors with twins? Or not? I guess one must be careful what one wishes for... but I think twins are just awesome.

And obviously these photos was not taken today with the real winter weather outside.

If I could get away with it I would not wear shoes to work.

I love bare feet! I would be barefoot 100% of the time if it weren't for the weather (Ohio, USA) and for the bizarre looks I get from others. My children insist on wearing shoes outside though! Strange little creatures!

Tertia, have you thought of Uggs? Somehow (the sheepskin maybe?) they keep their feet warm in the winter and cool the rest of the year round. Easy on and easy off! So, so cozy. *Almost* like not wearing shoes!

Viva La Bare Feet!

I'm wimpy like Marko (like Marko's feet. Never mind. Marko isn't wimpy at all, but I am!). I put on shoes when I get dressed in the morning and they don't come off until I put on my pajamas. They are sneakers though, my feet are even too wimpy for pretty shoes.

My little cousins (who are practically grown men now) never wore shoes in the summer. Those boys would run over rocks, hot sand, stabby grass. It was like their feet never even touched the ground.

I always go out to get my mail barefoot and it freaks my neighbor out. It's only at the end of the driveway, what's the big deal?

I'd go barefoot all the time except the stores and restaurants won't let me in. Flip flops are my compromise. People look at me weird when I wear them in the snow, though.

Does it ever get hot enough that it is too painful to not wear shoes? Here, the pavement (driveways, parking lots, streets, etc...)are simply too hot to not wear shoes in the summer. Do they not wear shoes to school? Such a different thing from here in the states, but if it weren't for the heat thing I would LOVE it for the most part as I love being barefoot (some places would gross me out and I would HAVE to wear shoes though!!!).

My abiding memory of moving to the UK from the Tropics at the age of 5 is having to wear shoes. I. Hate. Wearing. Shoes. I don't wear them in the house EVER, and come the summer, am hard pressed to wear them out.

I did laugh at the 'low rent Ms Spears' comment above as that's the only reason I tend to wear shoes out, other than grotty/dangerous places. My husband is a Kiwi, and when I go to NZ I *relish* the fact that no-one wears shoes there either, and I can walk in the supermarket in bare feet and no-one cares (in fact they assume you're a local!). Try doing that in Woolies, T! I know it wouldn't go down well here in Sainsburys.... ;)

I bought some gorgeous Merrell Moc's in the US two year ago, the best purchase ever made as I can just slip them on when I want to run out of the house to somewhere that requires footwear. I wear them winter and summer, and I can pretend I am not wearing shoes! (they are THAT comfortable). Maybe worth trying them out, T? http://www.merrell.com/Shop/Product.aspx?AltNavID=WCF-G-SLP&PID=12572&GST=W

Those pups are looking so gorgeous!

I'm a lurker who's been reading since Adam and Kate were born and i live in Ohio,USA. I'm very curious about this. If I could I'd never wear shoes and neither would my kids, but we have laws and etc saying we can't go in stores and etc without shoes and the kids have to wear shoes at school. Do you have anything like that in SA? Do ALL kids go without shoes?

Huh, that's interesting. My South African mother always insisted that I wear shoes all the time inside and outside the house. Apparently she didn't get the memo ;) I can't recall seeing any barefoot kids out shopping but maybe that's because of the wind in PE or something?

I love being barefoot. Walk barefoot in the house all year round. People find that weird. Oh, well...
Have outside shoes-- have to in our weather. In the summer it is mostly sandals and flip-flops. And if I can walk barefoot outside (in the summer, around the house or at the rented place by the ocean), I happily do.

I would happily go barefoot all the time if I could.. I love it! Shoes are a pain and cost money! Unfortunately in the UK, they are also a necessity for most of the year!

My kids love being barefoot also, we only have weather warm enough for about 2-3 months so they really take advantage of it!! Unfortuanatly they can't be barefoot in public here. Part of the reasons are health related (fungal infections etc) that is why they cant' be barefoot in the play areas in restaurants and restaurants themselves. I guess it makes sense.

I love, LOVE, LOOOOVE going barefoot. I loved it so much, that my mother told me that little girls who go barefoot outside will get worms.
Hence, my paranoia. So, I walk barefoot on the concrete around my house. It's a safe medium, I think.

Very interesting! I grew up in Connecticut in the U.S. out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but grass and trees surrounding our house -- I didn't wear shoes much in the summer when I was running around and playing outside.

But everywhere you go in the U.S. (especially in beach towns) there are signs saying "No shirt, no shoes, no service." I think it might even be against the law to walk around barefoot. Now I live in a big city (Los Angeles) and there is a fair amount of broken glass on the streets so that's the main reason we wear shoes to the market.

Oh, one more thing -- I hate wearing *real* shoes and here in L.A. we can wear flip flops just about 8 months out of the year, so I tend to live in those and sandals as long as I can get away with it!

I have just started reading your blog and this barefoot thing is a big subject in our family. I am a South African expat living in Seattle, WA. My kids are both US born. Now, I grew up in Durban and wore bare feet most of the time. If the ground was hot you just ran a bit faster. My son (6) hates shoes. Like you, I buy them and then he grows out of them unworn. We have one pair of sandals for summer and a pair of Croc boots for the cooler weather.

Still, its not easy.

People are very critical of bare feet in public. I get lots of advice about safety and the implication that its my fault if he is hurt because shoes are a safety feature.

Today, he has gone off to soccer with lots of sighing and resignation about having to wear soccer shoes. He is just not used to having anything fitted on his feet!

I am looking forward to visiting Australia and South Africa on upcoming vacations so we can have barefeet without retribution.

Love the blog by the way. I am glad to add it to my RSS feeds.

I love being barefoot. My husband? Not so much. Interesting that kids there are so often barefoot. Here (WA, USA and probably just generally the USA) that is heavily frowned upon. The saying goes, "No shirt, no shoes, no service." Thus, when I'm out I typically wear ballet flats or flip flops...very minimal amounts of "shoe" involved, lol.

I am SO going to be the minority in these comments...

I can't stand being barefoot. I wear sneakers with my pajamas! The feeling of any little grit under my feet drives me nuts. Stepping in something wet or sticky is enough to drive to me batty. The thought of walking on a public sidewalk without shoes grosses me out. (People SPIT all over the place! Eew!) The sight of someone going into a public restroom (like at the beach) barefooted is enough to make me gag. I won't walk barefooted in the grass in my own back yard and neither do my children. (We have a dog. 'Nuf said.)

When it comes to other people being barefoot, it bothers me but I always keep my "issues" to myself. In my eyes, only baby feet are cute. Very few adults have nice feet, in my opinion. When I see a woman with open-toed shoes or flip flops with un-manicured toes it makes me want to shake her and say "Have you not looked DOWN lately??!!" If I have to look at your toes, it would be nice if they were clean and well kept. :)

Hello. My name is Dani and I have issues with feet.

Very interesting. :) Thanks for sharing that tid bit about your culture. So neat!

I wish it were possible here. I've always said (and believed) that I think better when I'm barefoot. I may never get over the whole idea of folks who wear socks to bed.

To bed?!? How do they breathe?

Oh, and here's something I've always wondered. I've had enough experience with Americans (versus my Canadian self) to note one big cultural difference. It seems as though there's a strong tendency to wear shoes in the house for my southern neighbours. It doesn't matter what the climate is, there are always shoes on feet. People don't even often take their shoes off when they enter someone's house.

Here, that would be considered unforgivably rude. They actually advertise repairmen who wear booties over their shoes, here - as a mark of good service.

So . . . 'muricans out there - what gives? Is it just that I haven't had a wide enough pool to survey from or is it really a 'thing' not to take off your shoes at someone's front door?

Wyliekat - Around these parts (Long Island) only the anal-meticulous-house-types expect you to remove your shoes upon entering. Personally, if I'm entering a person's house in bad weather, I'll remove my shoes to not make a mess of their floor/carpet. That's not to say that I "like" it. (See above!)

Also, I've seen on quite a few delivery receipts for various things say "Our drivers are not permitted to remove their shoes."

Hope I've added to your information bank!

Wyliekat, at least in my neighborhood, it's usually up to the homeowner. I always ask, and comply. I have tile through most of my house, so I don't mind shoes inside. Only if it's snowing or raining, then, please just stay off the carpet, which is easy because of where it is.

Tertia, the babes are gorgeous as usual. I'm looking forward to our warm, shoeless weather here in the US that is on the horizon :)

Daniel's school is a Afrikaaner vrot banana school so no shoes unless they want to. Cool hey!

Those pictures are great. I love how free to explore your kids look - I think they are having a great childhood. We need to do more of the barefoot thing here but I have seem to have issues with how dirty bare feet get. We don't wear shoes in the house (take them off at the door). But since we can't take our feet off like we do shoes I am curious how you do it at your house.

My question to you is (since you say you are so anal and all) what do you do when you come inside? Do you wash your feet like you might wash your hands? I honestly am curious - no judgment - just curiosity. Hoping I might gain some insight myself into how to be less anal about bare feet. I'm thinking it might not be such an issue for you because I think you have all tile floors. We have carpet in the family room and upstairs and I can just see our feet getting "wiped off" as we walk around our carpet.

I have to say, there is a tiny part of me afraid to post this because someone might think I am sounding judgmental and come after me. I really am not - if anything I am looking at myself and wondering how I can be more free in my thinking about living life without caring about getting dirty. (I know I went bare foot as a kid and came in the house without a second thought about what the bottoms of my feet looked like. Something happened to me along the way ...)

I rarely wore shoes growing up here in Michigan except to church and school during the school year. NOw you have to wear them by law and to protect yourself. glass, splintered steel, people just have no respect for anything or anybody anymore. I wear shoes to run in but as soon as I am done, off they come. I sit here at 3 AM, running out to check the dogs (and its chilly tonight and muddy) with only my tootsies showing. Sadly, I have bad arches and have to wear inserts in my shoes (surgery is a possibility but I may not be able to run again-I will put up with the inserts)

most primary schools in SA have a no shoe rule in summer... everybody is welcome to wear shoes but nobody has to wear shoes... and obviously nobody does wear! except in winter, shoes are a little more important ;)

Interesting topic. We lived in the Philippines for a number of years, and there you NEVER not wear shoes. My kids hated it. Even indoors you had to wear at least "slippers" (flip flops). People would frown at us when we didn't. Oh, and sitting on the lawn...unthinkable!

I promised my son (now 8) that when we returned to South Africa, he wouldn't have to wear shoes anymore. We returned just over a year ago, and he hasn't worn shoes since, not even in winter :) He only wears school shoes with his school uniform, and "tekkies" for sports...nothing else.

Feet are actually quite an interesting topic. The Chinese regard it as very rude to show your heels - you may only wear open heel shoes (like slops or open sandals) inside your own home. The Thai believe the feet to be the most unholy part of your body. Its a disgrace if someone touches you with their feet. But the one experience that always grossed (sp?) me out just a little, was when visiting Japanese... When you enter their home, you have to remove your own shoes, and put on a pair of slippers that they provide. And you don't get a new pair...you pick one from a lineup of obviously 'used' shoes... *shudder*

Stef, you probably live in Gauteng? Schools in South Africa have uniforms, so most require shoes. Only Gauteng (which is a small province, though highly dense) have more casual primary schools that allow kids to go to school barefoot in summer. Pre-primary (younger than 7) don't wear uniform of course, and usually don't wear shoes.

We've moved around quite a bit, and my kids surely miss the barefoot schooldays of Gauteng :)

This is so different from here (Western Europe). There is no way we could let our kids go to school without shoes - or to the store or where ever. Mainly because it's too cold, but also because the ground isn't always that clean (glass - chewing gum - dogs things).

We do take our shoes off inside our house, and I don't mind walking bare foot outside our house in summer. In other people's houses, I would advise our kids to take their shoes out, but will only do myself if I am being asked (and then I don't mind). It's more a rule to leave shoes on in other people's houses.

Had to add: I was wondering about the dirt too: if I walk outside barefoot, it's a pain to get my feet clean again. Any good tips in that department?

I was raised to wear shoes inside and out, except for bedtime. I don't take off my shoes in someone else's house unless expressly told to, and even then I feel odd about it. I feel like I'm making myself TOO much at home if I take them off, and partially put-off that people cherish their flooring more than their guest's comfort. My feet are cold unless it's full-on summer. Taking my shoes off in another's house usually mean I have uncomfortably cold feet.

Likewise, Wyliekat, I always wondered growing up why the poor kids in the "For Better or For Worse" comic strip (set in Canada) never had shoes on in the house, and felt bad that their feet were probably cold. ;)

Although my feet are clean and kept well, I don't get pedicures (such a waste of money imo, and I can't imagine tasking someone else with making my FEET pretty...poor pedicurists) Here, (northeastern USA) if your tooties aren't properly polished people feel you have no right to wear flipflops or sandals. Which is not an attack at any other commenters here...but I do hear whispers from women about other women's toes - we girls are still so mean to each other, even as grownups. Even the magazines shriek, "Don't DARE put your feet in pretty sandals unless you complete this 15 step process to a perfectly proper pedicure!" So now I'm so self-conscious that I wear tennis shoes outside all summer and only wear flipflops and sandals when I'm home.

Wyliekat, I'm a 'murican, and you're right, a lot of us DO like to leave our shoes on in the house. I think it varies some from family to family, but I confess that when I go to someone's house and am expected to take my shoes off, I get a little agitated and unnerved and even annoyed, feeling like it's rude to make someone take their shoes off, although I can understand the opposite feeling as well, that it's rude to keep your shoes on in a household that doesn't wear shoes indoors, given that you will be tracking your muck in etc. But in winter, if I have to take my shoes off in someone's house, and I didn't know about it in advance, I will be cold, and I will be annoyed. (Although, when there's a lot of snow/ick outside, I will EXPECT to take my shoes off to keep the house from getting muddy/wet, and then I usually try to bring slippers with me. It's when it's nice and dry outside and I'm not planning ahead adequately.) But honestly, I am uncomfortable in the winter without shoes or at least slippers, and I wouldn't dream of asking my guests to take their shoes off--although many do, and that's fine with me too!

(And I am also the one who sleeps not only with socks, but also with long johns, and a long nightgown. Summer's a whole different thing, but in winter I don't like any skin showing that might touch a cold bit of the bedsheet.)

I will keep this in mind, though, when I go visit my Canadian friends!

I love going barefoot but usually only around the house or on the beach. I don't go to the shops barefoot though my son sometimes does but not that often. At big school in SA the kids wear school uniforms so they have to wear shoes (with socks). At most schools they are not allowed to remove their shoes even after school is finished for the day eg in aftercare, if they are still wearing their school uniform. Very upsetting for my son if he has forgotten to pack casual clothes for aftercare!

Tertia I am shocked you even mentioned that the kids hardly wear shoes.. Where are the parenting police? You left yourself wide open there. Maybe they took the hint... No shoes is great. I am an Aussie and work in an office and I take a pair of thongs to put on as soon as I step out of the office... might look a little weird when I go to the shops after work in my corporate getup and then you look down and there are thongs... Oh well! Would go barefoot but I have a thing about having to scrub my feet and I can never seem to get them clean enough :( But honestly, nothing beats the feeling of sand beneath your toes!

people spit on the pavement, throw cigarette ash and dogs urinate, yuck!!!!

I'd love my kids to be barefoot as much as that, and me too for that matter but we live in New England and it's just not possible. To the Canadian commenter, funnily enough this was a topic of conversation at A Day in the Life recently: http://emmamcdon.blogspot.com/2008/01/because-everyone-loves-poll.html

I grew up in Ireland, nobody takes their shoes off there going in to your own house or anyone elses. Same here in Massachusetts, I'd be a bit put out if I was asked to take my shoes off to be honest. Unless it's snowing or raining outside when of course boots stay in the porch.

That is an odd cultural difference. Kids going to shops and schools 'roun' these here parts would have a different connotation.

I do like the tradition several countries have of no shoes in the home. Because. Shoes are nasty. Shoes are nasty because the ground is nasty. I have a pair of inside-only flip-flops I wear in the house. I can't convince the rest of my family to do this, though.

I do have a question for the Canadians, though. If I, as a woman, were to wear close-toed-close-heeled fancy shoes to your home without pantyhose, as is the style these days, and I wear close-toed-close-heeled shoes because I think my feet are really ugly and disgusting, and I would find it horribly embarrassing for friends and neighbors to see my nekkid feet, what should/would I do? Not leave my house because of nasty feet? Wear knee socks with my pumps?

I truly think there's as much variation about shoe wearing in most warm weather climates. I was born and lived in South Africa until my 30s. I didn't wear shoes when playing with the kids in the neighborhood, but I certainly wore them to school and out to stores etc. Here in the US, my son (3) is mostly barefoot in the neighborhood, but most of his contemporaries aren't. I don't think I've ever seen a shoeless kid at the mall...

So while it is *somewhat* cultural, not everyone in South Africa goes without shoes all the time - almost none of my friends growing up did.

OK, I totally butchered my comment. Second sententce should say:

"Kids going to shops and school WITHOUT SHOES around here would have a different connotation." That connotation would be, fairly or not, that they are low-class kids.

Andrea -

I've wandered around in pantyhose in someone's house. Sometimes if its' a fancy dress party, people will wear shoes. But then again, at most house parties, you have to wade through a ton of shoes to get where you're going. Honestly - it's a definite thing, here.

And if you have bad feet, you definitely wear socks. Or you sit on the couch and tuck your feet under yourself.

I'm SO jealous. I miss running around barefoot as a kid, but we lived in the country or the 'burbs back then. Now that I'm raising kids in an urban environment, it just doesn't seem feasible...the streets of Oakland barefoot? Yuck!

I am Canadian and was taught that it is rude to leave your shoes on when you enter someones house unless they tell you not to take them off. Living in a northern snowy/melty, muddy/slushy climate it would make a big mess in another persons house.
It's not shoes I dislike, it is socks.
I am barefoot as long as possible and flip flops where required. Will finally put socks and boots on once the snow is here to stay and then back to bare feet once I have acclimated to the warming temps. Unfortunately I live in a part of the country that has snow at least seven months of the year.
I tend to leave my shoes on when I enter my house if I will be leaving again. If my guests are coming in to sit down and relax I would think it would only be more comfortable to relax without your shoes on, but I wouldn't expect them to take their shoes off if we were going to be in and out(BBQing) or they were leaving right away.

I have to say that every house party I attend there does tend to be a pile of shoes to navigate through when you enter. I think people being use to taking their shoes off and having a foot issue just bring indoor shoes or slippers with them so as not to have to show the feet they dislike.

Interesting how customs differ and evolve in various places.

I didn't read all the comments... Did anyone mention that many of the stores here have signs on the door that say "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service!"?

Personally, I hate shoes and can't wait till nice weather when I can TAKE THEM OFF! I live in flip flops until the last possible autumn day when I finally have to give them up.

Still, the thought of sending my kids to school without shoes is...weird. :)

Love the different perspective/culture posts. Very interesting.


I used to love going barefoot. However now I have to wear special insoles and even have to wear shoes in the house. The horror!

Can't believe it's already getting cool there. Seems like just yesterday you posted your first summer pics. How time does fly.

I don't know anybody who wears shoes indoors. Especially here (Los Angeles) where we usually wear some kind of sandally thing. Sometimes a guest will keep her fancy shoes on (there was a Sex and the City episode about this!!) and I would never say anything about it, but it's definitley unusual.

We always wear shoes out and about in public, and at work or school. The kids have to wear shoes all the time at school for "earthquake preparedness" - in case they suddenly have to crawl over rubble or whatever.

I think for a lot of Americans who wear shoes in other people's homes (myself included) it is considered much more rude (and much too intimate!) to take off your shoes and expose your host and other guests to your stinky socks/feet.

Floors can be cleaned after all.

It has to be a pretty informal gathering with close friends to invite people to take off their shoes.

Just my experience, and I love going barefoot. Unfortunately, as you enter adulthood in the US, one rarely has the opportunity to do so.

I only wear shoes when I go out somewhere. The minute I get home I kick them off. The same thing with my kids, although they tend to take them off in the car on the way home.

I live in Australia and it's common not to wear shoes at home and for kids to run around barefoot. My 3yo wears shoes to preschool but when he's there he takes them off for most of the day and puts them back on at hometime. My school aged son wears proper school shoes all day.

i am a guy that love going barefoot as a kid i was barefoot about 100 precent of time in stores and every where not that way now. there is nothing wrong with going barefooted. here in ohio just not enough barefoot time get to cold fast. barefeet are beautiful and of course i am posting this barefoot

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