Barefooting Our Way Through Life

‘Going barefoot’ is a good metaphor for a Taoist approach to life. We Abbott boys, young and old, go barefoot all the time. One of the first lessons my sons ‘taught’ me, when I was old enough to learn, was that I didn’t need to wear shoes in Santa Cruz. They never have worn shoes on a daily basis. I never bought them any shoes because they never asked, and we never have snow on the ground. We home schooled the kids so we didn’t get a flack from the ‘establishment’.

Six bare feet

[As you can see, there are three pairs of feet here, Pa's, Luke's and Kyle's. Guess who's feet belongs to who! Go on, take a guess]

It is a modern irony that we can afford not to wear shoes. As Henry Thoreau so wisely said, “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone”. Shoes, like gloves, are one of the many things we “can afford to let alone” unless needed. Indeed, shoes are gloves for the feet, which is great when you need gloves! Otherwise, having skin connected to the earth beneath my feet feels so much better than ‘feetgloves’.

Of course, going barefoot may have turned into kind of a tradition for the boys, probably reenforced by various people pushing us to “get some shoes”. What better way for boys to rebel, eh? Although, we do break ‘tradition’ and put on shoes when we go to a restaurant. The restaurant people insist… all that broken glass around you know. :roll: Oddly enough, the people at the lumber store never say anything, although there are more hazards there (splinters, nails, etc.).

Personally though, going barefoot isn’t a tradition. I’m probably too old to be imprinted with a new tradition (and I spent my youth dumping the few with which I was imprinted). Rather, I just truly feel more ‘grounded’ (literally and figuratively). Also, going barefoot affords me a small way of embracing some discomfort when the whether gets cool (cool + arthritis = @#$%). So, why volunteer for discomfort? I’ve noticed a trade off in life which goes like this: Short term pleasure leads to long term pain; short term pain returns to long term pleasure.

Keeping life as simple as possible any way I can helps me avoid [chref=9]filling it to the brim[/chref]. Emotional stability and contentment come more easily when I know when to stop. Thus, ‘going barefoot’ for me is an approach to life rather than just not wearing shoes. In civilized circumstances, any way I can find to ‘go barefoot’ helps. Less is more as they say!

9 Responses to “Barefooting Our Way Through Life”


  • Man i am so very envious of y’all, in a good way. I went barefoot as a kid and I still do go barefoot most of the time now. I do slip on flip flops to go into some restaurants (its easier than the hassle).

    The envy comes from my working for the establishment, city of College Station. I have to wear safety shoes for my job, so not only am I having to wear shoes they are tough ones. I get ribbed when the second I’m off work and at my car, off come the boots. I put them on at the car when I arrive for work too. I’m asked if it wouldn’t be easier to put them on at home and I say yeah it would be but I hate wearing them.

    I think it is great that Luke and Kyle weren’t ‘made’ to wear shoes and I remember your “guest” that bought them some. She meant well enough, but like most that don’t go barefoot, doesn’t understand the connection with mother Earth.

    I babbled enough.

    peace,
    bob (unclebob)

  • “but like most that don’t go barefoot, doesn’t understand the connection with mother Earth.”

    The saying, ‘walk in another’s shoes to understand them’ has the ironic parallel, ‘walk barefoot as another does to understand…’

    And to think I had to wait 50 plus years for my kids to point the way. Better late than never! It is always heart warming to know others know. Thanks Unclebob.

  • Funny how your kids ‘taught’ you to go barefoot – I thought it’d be the other way round. With modern hygiene obsession and NSNSNS signs virtually everywhere, living the barefoot lifestyle might not be that easy in the world we live today. Your kinds would love New Zealand. Kiwis consider bare feet just the other option and both are fine. I lived in NZ for almost a year and never came across any “no shoes, no service” sign. I think a business place daring to put something on would be out of business immediately. Sad how all that changed so much in the US.
    All the best, Chris

  • Wonderful! It is so neat that you can go barefoot everywhere in your life. I grew up going barefoot when and whereever I can. Sometimes I wish I could do what you are doing, but it’s not practical for me at the moment. Happy travels, and never let go of your barefoot ways!

  • Live each day as if it were your last. I walk through life on my own terms as much as possible. I hope at journey’s end to feel i have done so with integrity. Nice to see a fellow traveller on the same path.

  • Excellent!Your feet look tough,calloused,and healthy,the way feet should be.Me,l never wear shoes,l’m much more comfortable in my bare feet.Great fiddle music too.Keep it all up!

    Regards,River

  • I’m 18 years old, and I almost never wear shoes. I agree, I love the feeling of being connected to the earth. There were a couple problems, like when I was in high school I had to wear shoes, and I live on the east coast where we get plenty of snow, and it’s very necessary to wear shoes! But if I lived in the west, well, I’d be like you guys! You guys are great :)

  • “but like most that don’t go barefoot, doesn’t understand the connection with mother Earth.”

    The saying, 'walk in another's shoes to understand them' has the ironic parallel, 'walk barefoot as another does to understand…'

    And to think I had to wait 50 plus years for my kids to point the way. Better late than never! It is always heart warming to know others know. Thanks Unclebob.

  • I am so pleased to see that you guys LOVE Bare Feet as I do! I have been a 24/7 Barefooter for 33 years since I was 16 years old, and I love the lifestyle. My Feet are super Tough, and Thickly Calloused, but look really masculine and healthy. They’re also pitch Black on the bottoms,probably like all of your Bare Feet are. if you guys have any questions about my Barefooting, please feel free to email me at; barefootbob@barefooted.com

Comments are currently closed.