Going Barefoot: a Naturist Guide

Going barefootPerhaps unsurprisingly, since I call myself Captain Barefoot, I'm often asked if I like going barefoot.  As a practising naturist, if I'm somewhere where I don't have to wear anything at all I'm in my element.  But if that's not possible, once the weather gets warm I'm quickly relaxing in shorts and bare feet.  The Captain's Mate thinks I'm mad, going everywhere in the garden barefoot - including the concrete bits.  Of course one has to be careful - avoiding thorns, wasps and other hazards - and of course it would be utter stupidity to use garden implements like lawnmowers whilst barefoot.  But the Captain has managed fine for years.  And it feels nice.  But I'd stop short of going out barefoot.  Public transport and pavements are designed for the shod.

Even in a naturist environment it isn't always possible to go barefoot - perhaps because the paths are stony - and we sometimes have the bizarre spectacle of otherwise naked people wearing trainers and socks.   The Captain prefers open sandals or flip flops.  But the point about naturism is to enjoy the lovely feeling of being entirely naked.  You aren't naked, strictly speaking, if you're wearing shoes, and it doesn't feel quite as nice. 

Many contributors to Captain Barefoot's Naturist Guide have told me they enjoy long, nude walks along some of Greece's deserted beaches.  This can, indeed, be blissful.  And the nicest ones are where the beach is sandy rather than stony, it's comfortable in bare feet and and it's unnecessary to carry flip flops.  

Barefoot in the park (from Wikipedia) The Captain has been lucky enough several times to visit Club Orient, a well-established naturist resort in the Caribbean.  It's clothes optional everywhere, with the majority of guests nude all the time - but the point of mentioning it here is that roads and pathways were all treated with soft sand, meaning it was possible to go barefoot everywhere in the resort.  It was pure delight.

 These reflections led the Captain to do a Google search on "going barefoot".  To my amazement there's a huge Barefoot community out there, with enthusiasts talking up the benefits of barefoot living.  Some sites assure the reader that it's perfectly legal to go barefoot anywhere in the US (it had never occurred to me that there might be a law against such things), and list barefoot-friendly stores.  Indeed, Wikipedia assures us that bare feet are permitted in public parks in New York City.

There's even a Society for Barefoot Living, once known as the Dirty Sole Society, with members in many parts of the world.  Their website includes just about any justification you could think of for going barefoot as a lifestyle choice.  A site created by the self-styled Barefoot Kid exhorts everyone to "Go Barefoot and Enjoy Life".  There's a site that promotes Barefoot Parks and foot sensation trails in Europe.  And the Barefoot Hikers page includes the full text of a book about barefoot hiking, including lots of advice for beginners.  If you are a beginner at barefoot walking or running, some advice can be found here.  

Lastly, barefoot running hit the news early in 2010, when a study reported that running shoes may be doing more harm than good


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