Bare Feet in School: Taboo or Good for You?

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

When members of Wantagh High School’s girls’ swim team roamed the halls in their “statement-making” outfits on the day of the pep rally, it was not their pink and orange tie-dyed shirts that captured the attention of their peers. The fact that many of them made the decision to come to the school without wearing shoes – and roam the halls completely barefoot – sparked lots of conversation among the student body.

“Why aren’t you wearing any shoes?” asked fellow students clad in shoes and sneakers. “You know, you could get a foot fungus!”

“We’re trying to make a statement,” the swim girls said.

Is it okay – and, more importantly, is it safe – to be barefoot in school?

There are no laws regarding wearing shoes in public. In fact, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going barefoot in public. Going barefoot actually has health benefits when compared to wearing shoes, which is one reason why it’s okay to not wear any shoes in public – shoes can interfere with the growth of the feet and lead to balance problems in some. Some might be worried about getting foot fungus or getting their feet dirty, when in reality the human hands are often dirtier than the feet; hands touch a lot more surfaces than feet, and feet can be washed just as hands can. Feet spread germs much less than hands do.

It’s also less likely that one might step on broken glass or injure their bare foot than receive an injury pertaining to their hand; in fact, if the fear of broken glass is so strong when it comes to wearing shoes in order to protect the feet, then why don’t people just wear gloves everywhere they go to protect their hands?

An entire organization dedicated to normalizing bare feet in public even exists. Known as “Barefoot is Legal,” the organization was founded in 2015 by Dave Kelman, who had been kicked out of a Baskin-Robbins for not wearing shoes and felt as if it was unfair; he founded the organization to spread awareness of the fact that there is nothing wrong with being barefoot in public.

So what makes school so different from any other public establishment – and going barefoot in school different from going barefoot anywhere else? The fact that schools tend to be very crowded could lead to the potential safety concern of getting bare feet stepped on or injured by another student.

But in reality, the reason why there is a stigma in regards to being barefoot in public is the fact that wearing shoes is the societal norm. And in an environment like a school, those who go barefoot might become the center of attention of other students.

To sum it up, if you’re comfortable with being barefoot in school and getting that extra attention – there’s nothing wrong with doing it. Who knows, you might start a trend and get other students to join in with you!