I played tennis yesterday morning as part of a Tuesday bunch of friends and acquaintances. One of them mentioned to me that he’d seen this thing on Facebook about This Dude Didn’t Wear Shoes For 8 Years!.
It was described as gross . . . and it was.
I explained that those pictures were NOT representative of barefooters. I showed him the bottoms of my feet, and I haven’t worn shoes for 18 years. My feet just look . . . like feet.
There are folks who seem to just “get off” on filthy feet, and seem to make the effort to get them as disgustingly dirty as they can. I have no idea if there is a sexual component to them, but I do know that they have a terrible effect on the rest of us who are simply desiring to live our lives barefoot.
The story above was actually a summary from a different location, here: Man Hasn’t Worn Shoes in 8 Years. There, here is what the text says
So here we are again doing out part for the society as usual. You all know how we are ingrained with this information since birth that it is absolutely essential to wear shoes at all times and to not roam around naked. Well here in this gallery we bring to you the man who did no wear any shoes for eight consecutive years and look what happened to his feet. He practically has his own leather soles now thanks to the toughness and roughness the feet had to bear. So keep it in mind folks, not wearing shoes is so not cool.
So now a bunch of people think that this is normal, and all it does is reinforce their beliefs that going barefoot is “so not cool”.
But it’s based on these sorts of displays by fetishists.
I am somewhat reminded of a similar problem that naturists have. Now, genuine nudists are very careful to make the separation between a lack of clothes and sex, and make it quite clear that sex at nude beaches is not appropriate. But there are those who go to them for that purpose anyways. And because of that the nude beaches get shut down, ruining it for everybody. The Naturist Action Committee has to spend a lot of time and money fighting such efforts on behalf of those who do behave.
Here’s one of the pictures from the story.
After playing tennis, I went out hiking, at Conkle’s Hollow and Vulture Point in Hocking Hills. So I took some pictures of my own feet while hiking.
Remember that these are feet that have been going barefoot for 18 (not just 8) years.
Now, that is just a dirty foot, not a foot that is deliberately kept dirty. The trail was a bit muddy, so it had picked up a bit of dirt (some of it has now dried, but you can see some of it is also still wet). But it is not the embedded, carefully nurtured (ugh), filth of the other photograph.
And it comes right off. A little later (at the tip of Conkle’s Hollow), I did a quick rinse in the creek there.
Most of the dirt came right off. Yeah, you can still see a little bit left, but then I didn’t try too hard—just a light swish.
By the way, at about this point one guy in a group going the other direction make a comment about how impressed he was that I was hiking barefoot. Here’s a standard phrase I use a lot in that situation: “It looks more impressive than it really is.” I want to let folks know that it is something that they can do, too (and maybe they’ll give it a try).
Here’s another one of the filthy photos from the article.
Again, that is not representative—you have to work to do that. You have to care about having disgusting soles for that to happen. You have to want to have a picture of that to prompt you to let your feet look like that. [Edit, added to clarify based on a comment I got via Facebook: Yes, the bottoms of feet can get pretty dirty in an urban environment. There are various oils that come from cars and trucks, and small particles of tires. But it comes off from walking on concrete sidewalks, or grass, or trails of all sorts. While I suppose it is possible never to manage to walk on those other surfaces that tend to clean the soles, I am dubious. The filth in those soles in the picture is well-embedded, and, I really suspect, quite deliberate.]
In comparison, here’s the bottom of my own feet further on into the hike (about three-quarters of a mile further on).
That is what feet should look like. Relatively clean with obvious pliable, leather-like soles. The only things disgusting in that picture are the big toes damaged from 40 years of shoe-wearing from before I started going barefoot.
Enough of the disgust. Let me finish with some pictures from the hike.
Here’s the broader view looking up Conkle’s Hollow.
There was still a bit of ice around, in some of the side hollows.
I visited Vulture Point, and then headed north to the next point, which has an impressive slump rock. For that, I climbed down (fairly easy access) and took a closer look at the slump gap.
The gap has been blocked there by some fallen rocks, including that pointy one pointing straight down. However, there is still a space small enough (the dark spot on the right) to creep into. Here’s the view from the other side, looking back out.
Looking the other direction, I took a (stitched) panoramic shot.
That sweeps from the bottom of the gap (the leaves) to looking pretty much overhead (near the top of the picture).
I finally ended up in Vulture Cave, which is under and a bit behind Vulture Point. This is well-protected from the sun, with a large overhang and an eastern exposure. There was still a large chunk of ice there.
(Yes, I’m standing a little funny there. I had just clambered onto the ice, and I was also trying not to slip on it. Click for a larger version.)
On the right side of the rock you can also see a small sheet of ice that had been higher up the rock, slid down, and re-fused to the rest of the ice.
Going through that sandy dirt, my feet picked up a bit of it again. But it wasn’t any sort of ingrained filth, and by the time I hit the parking lot, my feet were clean again.
The way they are for barefooters who aren’t in it to see how filthy they can make their feet. The way they are for barefooters who like to show others that barefooting can be normal.