No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem… Isn’t it Illegal to go Barefoot in Public?

To wear shoes or not to wear shoes, that is the question... The law doesn't care either way...

Everybody knows that it’s illegal to go into a public place barefoot. The thing is, it isn’t. There are no laws at the federal level requiring customers to wear shoes, and there isn’t a single state that has laws against it either. Some local agencies do require certain health and safety codes for employees of an establishment, but not for customers.

That’s right! Grocery stores, restaurants, malls, schools.

There are no specific laws against it, BUT… yes there is a big BUT there… If the owner has posted a “No shoes, no shirt, no service…” sign, it doesn’t make it illegal for you to enter their establishment barefoot, but they also have the right to ask you to leave. Don’t get any ideas about charges of discrimination against the store owner either, because as long as the rules apply equally to all customers the owner does have the right to deny service…

naked feet - dirty feet - happy feet - legal feet

naked feet – dirty feet – happy feet – legal feet

Of course you in turn have the right to seek another more naked foot friendly business.

While it isn’t against the law, there could be some legal trouble on the liability front. If for some reason you being barefoot causes someone else injury, then you could be liable for damages if the claim can be proven. There is also a good chance that being barefoot could lead to you being injured while on someone else’s property, you would most likely have no right to damages. You took the risk of going barefoot, so you would bear liability.

What about the health risks you ask? There is no health risk to going barefoot for the people are wearing shoes, their feet are covered. Unless of course they walk up to the salad bar and place their feet in the middle of it, their feet are not going to be anywhere near you or your food. The only risk involved really does belong to the person or persons going barefoot.

You might be surprised that podiatrists actually advocate barefoot walking, it helps strengthen the foot and ankle muscles. Studies of indigenous tribes that don’t wear shoes shoes far less foot, knee and back pain than cultures that regularly wear shoes. Up to 16% of podiatrists actually recommend barefoot running, at least for those with certain types of feet. They do caution you to run on safe surfaces where there is no likely hood of puncture wounds or other damage to the feet.

Okay, it might not be illegal but some still struggle with the gross factor.

Feet aren’t the cleanest parts of our body, especially for those who go barefoot. They pick up more dirt and debris, and can get pretty nasty when not cared for. True, but going barefoot also gives the feet some much needed air. Feet need to breathe, and stay dry to avoid foot odor and inhibit bacteria growth. While shoes actually make those problems even worse…

Overall is going into the grocery store barefoot all that offensive when you think about it?

Yes, feet are kinda gross just because…

Now, before you go all foot hater on me, think about where your hands have been today alone. How many people have you touched today? How many door knobs? Service desks? Public pens?

Now, where have your feet been? Most people get up in the morning, shower, put on clean socks and slip on shoes that have rarely been washed if at all. Inside of those shoes they sweat and stink and grow things. Yucky things.

So, set those little piggies free!!!


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