When I wrote about Penn’s Treaty, there was a Facebook comment suggesting that “Florida’s Seminoles all went barefoot (warmer climate)”.
Here’s a comment from the 1883 Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution on the Seminoles:
Physically both men and women are remarkable. The men, as a rule, attract attention by their height, fullness and symmetry of development, and the regularity and agreeableness of their features. In muscular power and constitutional ability to endure they excel. While these qualities distinguish, with a few exceptions, the men of the whole tribe, they are particularly characteristic of the two most widely spread of the families of which the tribe is composed. These are the Tiger and Otter clans, which, proud of their lines of descent, have been preserved through a long and tragic past with exceptional freedom from admixture with degrading blood. To-day their men might be taken as types of physical excellence. The physique of every Tiger warrior especially I met would furnish proof of this statement. The Tigers are dark, coppercolored fellows, over six feet in height, with limbs in good proportion; their hands and feet well shaped and not very large; their stature erect; their bearing a sign of self-confident power; their movements deliberate, persistent, strong. Their heads are large, and their foreheads full and marked. An almost universal characteristic of the Tiger’s face is its squareness, a widened and protruding under jawbone giving this effect to it. Of other features, I noticed that under a large forehead are deep set, bright, black eyes, small, but expressive of inquiry and vigilance: the nose is slightly aquiline and sensitively formed about the nostrils; the lips are mobile, sensuous, and not very full, disclosing, when they smile, beautiful regular teeth; and the whole face is expressive of the man’s sense of having extraordinary ability to endure and to achieve. Two of the warriors permitted me to manipulate the muscles of their bodies. Under my touch these were more like rubber than flesh. Notice able among all are the large calves of their legs, the size of the tendons of their lower limbs, and the strength of their toes. I attribute this exceptional development to the fact that they are not what we would call “horse Indians” and that they hunt barefoot over their wide domain. The same causes, perhaps, account for the only real deformity I noticed in the Seminole physique, namely, the diminutive toe nails, and for the heavy, cracked, and seamed skin which covers the soles of their feet. The feet being otherwise well formed, the toes have only narrow shells for nails, these lying sunken across the middles of the tough cushions of flesh, which, protuberant about them, form the toe-tips.
Barefootedness is clearly the case all over the southeastern part of the continent. Here’s a description from 1994 when the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve’s plan was updated.
The Timucua were a Creek tribe, and lived in the St. John’s area of Florida.
At historic contact the Timucua lived the same way as had their prehistoric ancestors. They inhabited the coastal lagoons and estuaries and pine flatwoods. Their subsistence was based on fresh and saltwater shellfish collecting, fishing, hunting, gathering, and maize agriculture. Corn was planted twice a year and pumpkins, beans, cucumbers, citrons, and gourds were also cultivated. Villages were palisaded with a round fence which overlapped at the two ends to form a narrow opening. Inside the palisade, houses were round with thatched roofs.
Women wore skirts made of Spanish moss fibers, and they had long hair which they wore down. Men wore breechcloths and put their hair up in topknots, which were sometimes tied with elaborate headdresses. Men and women also wore bracelets around their wrists, necks, and ankles. Noble men and women were tattooed. Some chiefs were tattooed over almost every part of their bodies. All adults were barefoot. Young children were not clothed.
In fact, Le Page du Pratz’s “Histoire de la Louisiane” specifically says
Il eſt rare que les hommes ou les femmes portent des ſouliers, ſi ce n’eſt en voyage.
It is rare for men or women to wear shoes, unless they are traveling.
We are provided with this picture.
I think it’s pretty clear that any sort of footwear was quite a rarity for the southeastern Indians.