If you ever looked at some of the lists of stupid laws on some websites, you’d see this one, which says in Texas “A city ordinance states that a person cannot go barefoot without first obtaining a special five-dollar permit.”
But it’s not bare feet that are dangerous; it’s high heels. So I had a dream . . .
Let me start by saying that I’m highly dubious of a lot of these “stupid laws” sites. They all seem to just repeat the same stuff they found somewhere else and never verify if it is true. Regarding the “barefoot permit”, I’ve never seen a decent citation. In fact, one of the “stupid laws” sites, Dumb Laws, used to have it, but have since removed that one once they started carefully researching their content.
So, we really have no evidence that the “barefoot permit” ordinance ever existed.
But we can still dream.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an ordinance that said
The wearing of shoes with heels which measure more than two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface upon the public streets and sidewalks of the City is prohibited, without the wearer’s first obtaining a permit for the wearing of such shoes.
And wouldn’t it be nice if, in order to get the permit, the high-heel wearer had to agree
that upon the issuance of such permit s/he thereby relieves the City from any and all liability for damages to her/himself or to others caused by her/his falling upon the public streets or sidewalks of the City while wearing such shoes.
Wouldn’t that be a nice dream?
Well, dream no more. That is actually an ordinance in Carmel, California (where Clint Eastwood was mayor for a while). You can see the full ordinance here. It seems it was first enacted in 1963.
They even give the purpose for the ordinance:
It is recognized that much of the charm and appeal of the City to residents and visitors alike is due to its urban forest character, featuring the maintenance of Monterey pine, oak and other native trees or shrubs throughout the City. The City has determined to maintain this character which benefits both the residents, by giving them quiet, semiforested neighborhoods in which to live, and the business community, whose prosperity is so closely linked to the attractiveness of the City to visitors. The maintenance of an urban forest throughout the City necessarily involves some informality in the lighting, location and surfacing of street and sidewalk areas, which in turn involves greater risk to those wearing high heeled shoes more adaptable to formal city life.
How about that? Bare feet are perfectly acceptable to the “charm and appeal” of Carmel, but high heels are a real risk.
Of course, that’s true nearly everywhere; it’s just that most places don’t recognize it. Now if we could just get more places to follow Carmel’s example . . .