Regional and Cultural
Often, comfort (or lack thereof) with going barefoot is a
cultural (and hence regional) thing. We have noticed wide variations even within the USA.
Here we gather information on such differences. Statements here are based on the
accumulation of many anecdotes, travelers tales and accounts from residents. No scientific
survey has been undertaken.
- In general, The West and South are more tolerant than the
New England seems to be particularly uptight.
- There is a cultural tradition for going barefoot in the
summer (and more so for children). However, this has been on the wane for the last thirty
years or so. Hassle from stores (rare) and restaurants (less rare) over being barefoot is
much more frequent here than anywhere else in the world. When they occur, these hassles
are usually based on belief in phantom (i.e. non-existent) "laws" or
- Nevertheless, a much higher proportion of people go
barefoot than in Europe.
- Hawaii is the most barefoot tolerant part of the country.
Elementary-level children go barefoot to school there.
- Enclosed religious groups often encourage their children
to go barefoot. (e.g. Amish)
- Very few people are in the habit of going barefoot.
Paradoxically, since there is just no policy for it, you and your kids are very unlikely
to be hassled for it (e.g. in businesses, public buildings and so on.)
- Australia has a
strong cultural tradition for going barefoot. This, however, does not generally extend to
the schools as in South Africa and New Zealand (Queensland
and the interior appear to be exceptions to this.)
- Has strong cultural tradition for going barefoot.
Children particularly. Schoolchildren play rugby barefoot.
Zola Budd (famous barefoot runner) grew up here. Most non-private elementary (primary) schools are tolerant of bare feet.
- Has strong cultural tradition for going barefoot. Many
(perhaps most) elementary (primary) schools are tolerant of bare
feet. Seems to be the most laid back place in the developed world for the adult
- Kids play barefoot street soccer.
- Children went barefoot to school until the government
decreed that shoes should be worn in all schools (we don't know if that is enforced).