The usual excuses
There is a small but recurring set of "reasons" used by those objecting
to bare feet, all of which are specious and contain little or
They are psychological appeals to a conceptual authority that doesn't
exist, and are based on nothing other than timeworn prejudice and
deliberate misinformation that began over a half a century ago.
Here is why none of them are valid excuses to discriminate.
Far too many people are ignorant of these facts and thoroughly brainwashed
by the misinformation they grew up with, but as detailed here it only
takes a few minutes on the internet to find the right answers.
A few happy piggies running around has absolutely no impact on the
operations of any business establishment, venue, attraction, or
Public awareness of this is increasing, and while unshod visitors or
even workers may still not be the most common day-to-day sight, the
sooner it becomes normalized and accepted in our lives the better.
Furthermore, there really are individuals with a medical need to avoid
wearing shoes, and for ADA compliance must legally be accomodated without
Health/sanitation: No bearing.
There are no health laws/regulations in any state in the US, or in most
municipalities, against bare feet -- including in business
establishments and public places.
That's amply detailed at all of the barefoot advocacy sites, notably
which hosts official supporting letters from state health and
Bare soles do not spread germs on floors any more than shoes do.
Feet kept open to the air are in fact much healthier than keeping them
entombed in stagnant fungus-farms all day, which is why those of
a barefooter never stink and are in much better shape.
Safety: little or no bearing.
People accustomed to living barefoot are always more secure
and steady without shoes than with them, including while working in
harsh environments and around heavy items.
The perceived safety risks are usually overblown, especially for
those unfamiliar with the physical reality on the ground.
Having one's feet free allows for better situational awareness,
agility/balance, and general comfort on the job or activity.
Many types of "acceptable" footwear make their wearers far less
safe than they would otherwise be, such as flip-flops or heels on any
uneven or wet terrain.
If we have to be outdoors in the cold or on genuinely damaging surfaces
then some footwear may be used as an insulation layer, but that's all that
it's for -- a tool for specific use, like oven mitts, to prevent actual
Some of us spend time enjoying hikes, up mountains and over sharp rocks
and gravel and plenty of broken glass, and happily "growing our own shoes"
in the process.
It is hard for the routinely shod to understand just how tough and
resilient the human foot can become in a relatively short time, and
how the biomechanics of our gait and stride instantly adapt to unweight
over a pointy object when needed.
Our feet *want* to be this way, and they will develop naturally
to a very robust condition when simply allowed to.
Liability/insurance: not applicable.
Because of the way premises liability and duty-of-care law works, an
establishment has *no* responsibility for anyone's feet.
This is one of the most common stated fears of
venue management, and it's totally groundless.
And there is not one general-liability business insurance policy on
the planet that calls out footwear concerns for its patrons.
"OMG you'll step on something and then sue us" is a complete lie, and
an implicit accusation of deliberate entrapment attempts on the part
of the patron.
No sane lawyer would try to prosecute a foot-injury claim by someone
who freely entered a premises without shoes -- the notion is ridiculous,
and the response in summary judgement would amount to "you walked in
barefoot? Have a nice day. NEXT!"
Looking out for one's own well-being in such circumstances is always
100% on the individual.
Food: absolutely no bearing, and there never has been.
This is one of the most insidious fake-news myths from the sixties, but a
deeply entrenched one that often includes bogus "health code" claims.
The community is working to dispel this, and a growing list of high-profile
corporations have no "shoe rule" anymore because they've
realized that having one is nonsensical and simply bad for business.
Unfortunately, many workers in food and other retail have not been made
aware of these facts and still run on their own misguided prejudices,
so we still see the discriminatory "No shirt / no shoes / no service"
signs here and there.
Decorum/social: none of anyone else's business, just
like for any other outwardly visible lifestyle choice.
We don't go around belittling people for body mass or hat logos or
unusual hair colors, because we supposedly live in a polite society
where we simply tolerate each others' quirks and appearance.
"Decorum" is about how we behave, not how we dress, and it's generally
agreed that arbitrary harassment is what's unacceptable.
Enlightened corporations and venues are encouraged to support
this position to anyone who raises a question, and handle third-party
complaints with solid reassurance that there's nothing wrong.
In a professional context, any employee or representative of an
establishment that chooses to bully someone over such a petty, harmless
non-issue does so at the risk of their own career.
No organization's management should ever support such behavior on the part of
an associate, and incidents or confrontations need to be promptly reported
in the strongest possible terms for remedial action and training.
It's the only way they'll ever learn.