Stock photo.

There is an epidemic sweeping the Cal Poly campus. It isn’t going to get you sick and it isn’t life changing but it is contagious.

The trend to walk barefoot is growing.

Personally, I don’t understand why people are not wearing shoes around campus these days. It used to be an occasional occurrence to see peers traveling around campus shoeless. A phenomenon which would be dismissed with a shake of the head and chalked up to a random event most likely spread on Facebook. However, today students-sans-shoes can be seen stomping around campus.

This recent influx baffles me. It sounds utterly disgusting to walk around campus without proper shoes. College students aren’t known to be the most sanitary people as it is, so to walk around a campus barefoot is an interesting choice – although it is probably cleaner than a fraternity house. Even the students living in the dorms wear shoes to the bathrooms and showers. There are more diseases manifesting on the grounds around a college campus than in a scientific research laboratory (this might be an exaggeration, but you get my point). The reason we get medical shots, wear clothing and bathe is to prevent contracting diseases. The no-shoe-wearing “free souls” are just setting themselves up to expose their bodies to unsanitary situations.

While the students around here may be “green,” the trash littering Cal Poly’s campus could lend people to believe otherwise. As “green” as we are, there is still trash littering the campus which unsuspecting bare feet will inevitably trample over. The large amount of foreign objects such as disregarded cigarette butts, papers, various sharp objects (most likely from a student project) and construction equipment around campus can’t be safe. I don’t see these people carrying around first-aid kits, so I wonder what they plan on doing if an inevitable gash occurs on the way to class.

The sporting of footwear is just a preventative measure humans have been taking for centuries now. From a young age we are taught “safety first,” so college students should suck it up, slide into some shoes and stop dismissing this age-old euphemism.

We aren’t limited in the style or color available so what’s happening to their soles? For those who long to be at the beach, there are sandals that range in style from thongs to gladiators to flip-flops to Birkenstocks. There are sneakers such as athletic running shoes, laid back brands like Vans, Converse and the now-popular Toms and high-tops from brands like Nike and Adidas for those seeking more full-foot coverage. Finally, there are boots which can be worn to combat the elements and provide protection at work — they are definitely not just for women. Types of boots include Ugg-style, cowboy, rain, thigh-high and steel-toe. I didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg in what I have listed here.

Therefore, I am putting my foot down — in my shoe.

People should take into consideration the sanitation and protection footwear offers before leaving their residence sans shoes which have proven to be stylish as well. And if they still can’t manage to squeeze their sausages into the constraints of traditional footwear, I suggest looking into Vibram Five Fingers. These “non-shoes” are meant to stimulate the feeling of being barefoot while still protecting feet from the dangers of the outside world.

It’s obvious sanitation logic — just wear shoes.

Join the Conversation

35 Comments

  1. Who the heck cares if people aren’t wearing shoes? i mean, really? we don’t run around through the woods anymore. literally what’s the WORST that can happen when pavement and green patches of grass stretch as far as the eye can see nowadays? i find this new trend to be a symbolic and powerful message. cheers yo

  2. Who the heck cares if people aren’t wearing shoes? i mean, really? we don’t run around through the woods anymore. literally what’s the WORST that can happen when pavement and green patches of grass stretch as far as the eye can see nowadays? i find this new trend to be a symbolic and powerful message. cheers yo

  3. Really? You’re going to complain that some folks on campus don’t wear shoes? Why does this bother you? You claim that barefoot-ers should wear shoes because if they don’t they will get sick or gash open their feet. Does any data exist to support this claim?

    More importantly, why did you write this? Are you personally offended by those who eschew shoes? If you ask me (and you probably didn’t), I say live and let live.

    While I’ve yet to understand why this article was written, I can for sure appreciate the URL of this story (http://mustangdaily.net/wear-shoes-betch/).

  4. Walking around barefoot is a harmless form of liberation meant to free students from the overbearing voice of “the man” and what society would define as social “norms”, constantly tell them what is and isn’t appropriate. Of course it’s not the most sanitary of activities, but I hardly think it affects you in the slightest. The methods by which people choose to express themselves should not be alienated as disgusting or taboo. If that’s how all forms of expression were treated, our society would be even more lifeless and robotic than it already is. That being said, the only information I’ve obtained from this article is that you think it “sounds” disgusting to walk around barefoot. You have absolutely no valid research. Regardless of the fact that the article was intended to be an opinion piece, it is still important to appeal to your audience and at least attempt to get them on your side. Unfortunately with this article, I’m afraid you’ve just made me want to walk around barefoot all over campus like the free-spirited, disease-loving, unsanitary hippy you’ve categorized me as. The truth is, the careless diction of this article makes me feel just about as dirty as if I were to step in a big pile of rotting trash.

  5. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! People not wearing shoes?!?!?! Seriously? Isn’t there some issue in the world that you could write about that would actually be worth discussing? Not wearing shoes is a personal preference. It has no bearing whatsoever upon anyone except the person who chooses to forgo footwear. What does it matter to you if I or anyone else chooses not to wear shoes? Are you going to complain about people who don’t wear jeans because they aren’t adequately protecting their legs? Give me a break. If you like your shoes, that’s fine. You can wear them. But let the rest of us choose our own styles, thank you.
    As for sanitation, you’re probably a lot more likely to get sick from touching any of the door handles here on campus, walking into any of the public restrooms, sitting in a desk in class, or giving a friend a hug. It’s not like most of us eat our lunches, or rub our eyes or wipe our faces with our feet. Should we all be wearing gloves too?
    And protection? Most of us do have eyes and watch where we are going. We can see well enough to avoid most potentially hazardous objects found on campus. It’s not like those sharp objects are going to jump up and attack us. Maybe you don’t pay enough attention and blindly trample over said hazardous objects, but don’t project your own flaws on the rest of the student population. (Nor am I entirely sure what harm there is in stepping on a piece of paper. Next you’ll be telling me that walking on grass is bad for me.)
    Just other things to point out as well. In your first few sentences, you claim that this barefoot “epidemic” won’t get you sick, but then you go on and on about sanitation as if we’re all going to be dying of the plague soon if we don’t put on some shoes. Also, if those who choose to walk barefoot aren’t carrying around first aid kits, it just proves that they aren’t paranoid. However, I don’t see how you have any way of knowing if they have a first aid kit or not. Did you go through their backpacks? I don’t know anyone who is actually going to carry a first aid kit in their hands everywhere they go just in case, but there are plenty of people that keep a band-aid or two in their backpacks just in case they ever need it.
    When all is said and done, you just sound a bit prissy, and overwhelmingly paranoid. Like someone who never got to play in the dirt as a kid. I feel sorry for you if that’s the case, but at least then we could blame a little of your anti-barefeet hysteria on your parents instead of just wondering why you have to find something to complain about.
    Maybe you should suck it up and deal with the fact that we don’t all have to dress like you or wear what you wear.

  6. I can’t believe people are so outraged at your opinion.. that they really have to types paragraphs full of responses. I guess they feel that strongly about not wearing shoes!

  7. No, they feel that strongly about such an idiotic article being written. I’ll make a point of taking my shoes off on campus from now on.

  8. Was this article really necessary? If I chose to be barefoot because it makes me happy, who are you to judge me?

  9. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

    stop caring what other people do. especially when it doesn’t change anything.

  10. I work in a state-of-the-art scientific research lab, and I would be VERY alarmed if there were diseases manifesting in our lab. That’s just ridiculous and almost comical.

    While I find the opinion article entertaining, I feel that much more research could have been put into the article to make it more accurate and worthwhile.

    For instance, “barefoot running” is an increasingly popular trend that even has a wikipedia page for those who don’t want to do too much work to learn about it.

    I think that our student association would appreciate higher caliber articles from our school newspaper in the future.

  11. I work in a state-of-the-art scientific research lab, and I would be VERY alarmed if there were diseases manifesting in our lab. That’s just ridiculous and almost comical.

    While I find the opinion article entertaining, I feel that much more research could have been put into the article to make it more accurate and worthwhile.

    For instance, "barefoot running" is an increasingly popular trend that even has a wikipedia page for those who don’t want to do too much work to learn about it.

    I think that our student association would appreciate higher caliber articles from our school newspaper in the future.

  12. I don’t think it’s a huge issue. If people don’t want to wear shoes, that’s their choice. If people don’t want to wear jackets when it’s cold, that’s their choice. The Toms Barefoot Day was made so that people could see what’s it like for one day to have to walk around without shoes, and try to imagine what it’s like for people in poorer countries who have to do that every day.

    My only problem is when people wear their Toms (without socks, of course), go into class, and slide them off, unleashing their smelly feet to the entire classroom. Nobody wants to smell that, so either go barefoot all the time, or keep your shoes on for 50 minutes.

    All that being said, at least this wasn’t as terrible as the regular “Frosh Perspective” column, but that’s a different rant altogether…

  13. I don’t think it’s a huge issue. If people don’t want to wear shoes, that’s their choice. If people don’t want to wear jackets when it’s cold, that’s their choice. The Toms Barefoot Day was made so that people could see what’s it like for one day to have to walk around without shoes, and try to imagine what it’s like for people in poorer countries who have to do that every day.

    My only problem is when people wear their Toms (without socks, of course), go into class, and slide them off, unleashing their smelly feet to the entire classroom. Nobody wants to smell that, so either go barefoot all the time, or keep your shoes on for 50 minutes.

    All that being said, at least this wasn’t as terrible as the regular "Frosh Perspective" column, but that’s a different rant altogether…

  14. Why was this even written? Her sex columns are awkward and useless, but I get somewhat amused by the fact that someone is willing to write that crap and it actually gets published. This article, on the other hand, was simply outrageous. Besides all the other problems with it already mentioned, she’s writing as if she just personally discovered that shoes are more sanitary and no one else knew yet, except without any real data. I cracked up when she suggested different types of shoes you can buy nowadays, as if discovering what Vans and Converse are would convince barefooters to wear shoes. What variety! I never knew! Maybe I should go get me some of those “shoes”! Thanks Karlee!

  15. Personally, I’ve been walking around barefoot as much as possible for as long as I can remember. It’s not some fad, I’m not trying to make some great statement, and frankly I’m not trying to save the environment. I just don’t really enjoy wearing shoes. This has never caused to me get sick. Sure, I’ve gotten a few scrapes here and there, but really? Does it bother you that much that I don’t rock my new vans on my way to math class? You dig shoes, and thats cool by me, but don’t tell me that I should have to wear them on campus because it upsets you to see me barefoot.

    Peace.

  16. Anyone remember when we had a respectable newspaper and an accredited journalism department?

    Really? Me neither.

  17. This article is despicable. Who the hell do you think you are to denounce others for a lifestyle choice that is a much healthier way to live. Try doing some research and you might find out how harmful shoes are to the entire body.

    I never liked wearing shoes because they have always been uncomfortable for me. This year I stopped wearing shoes permanently. I am in college now where I am allowed to do what I choose much more than high school.

    You seem to have a lot of hate for barefooters and it just shows how ignorant some people are.

    Pieces of glass? Bare feet get tough fast. I step on glass all the time now and not the slightest injury.

    Do the world a favor and do some research before you go write hateful misinformed articles like this.

    Try barefooters.org

  18. Can’t believe your comments. What about people who go bare for serious medical reasons, such as a lack of balance? What about people who simply choose the barefoot lifestyle because it is comfortable and connects them with the earth? You appear to be extreely judgemental and uninformed due to the fact of your lack of reasearch in the resons why people go barefoot although they are not in a third world society or can’t afford footware. Hey, I’ve been barefoot for over seven years due to a balance problem that being barefoot helps solve.
    My simply adive is that you get real, research the topic, and make informed decisions instead of simply giving you own opinions as though they are ospel.
    Terry

  19. My apologies for the mispellings in my previous comment. The hour was late and I was rather upset with the comments.
    Terry

  20. I’m a little concerned at the obvious lack of research presented in this article. I understand that you’re espousing your opinion, and you have ever right to do so, but you repeatedly support it with false accusations, misinformation, and unresearched assumptions.

    Did you do any research at all for this article?

    I would consider it rather irresponsible to call on people to stop going barefoot without doing any research at all on why they might be doing so, and offering up factually incorrect information as the reason they should do so.

  21. I’ve running barefoot for almost two years without mishap. Perhaps the “journalist” should do a bit more research before acting like the typical “journalist” one finds at the major media outlets.

  22. If bare feet are unsanitary, then bare hands are more unsanitary! It has been proven that microscopic pieces of human waste can be found on door knobs, handrails, counter tops, etc left behind from other people that didn’t wash their hands thoroughly after leaving the bathroom. Not to mention H1N1, E-coli, and so many other diseases that people get on their hands from touching objects that are diseased by other people’s hands. None of this stuff normally gets on the floor. What’s worse, people eat with their hands! So why is it that people are quick to point out that bare feet are unsanitary but don’t consider how unsanitary bare hands are? Despite how unsanitary hands are, we are all still alive, aren’t we? In my opinion, concerns about bare feet being unsanitary are fueled mostly by prejudice rather than facts.

    About getting cut from sharp objects such as glass, I have been going barefoot for over 20 years everywhere and have yet to get a serious injury. Sometimes I get a small splinter or sliver of glass stuck in my foot which at worse gives me a minor cut, which is no big deal. Such minor incidences have happened to me only a small number of times in over two decades. This to me is proof enough that the dangers of going barefoot are greatly exaggerated. I do worry about large pieces of glass or other sharp objects, but such ojbects always catch my attention so I avoid stepping on them. Of course a barefooter can get a more serious injury, but everything a person does in life has its risks. We can die in a car accident but still drive anyway. Athletes get injured but when they recover, they go right back to the sport. Same with barefooting. However, the risk of injury from barefooting is very low, and the comfort and health benefits of going barefoot far outweigh those risks.

    Unfortunately, Karlee’s anti-barefoot comments are typical of those who never go barefoot, which is the vast majority of people. I hate when people knock down a certain type of activity that they never tried and thus have no first hand knowledge about it.

    For more information about barefooting, go to:

    http://www.barefooters.org
    http://www.primalfootalliance.org
    http://www.livingbarefoot.info

  23. I thought this was a COLLEGE campus with college age students, able to think for themselves ?
    Are we going to initiate a dress code for students ?
    Come on ! Grow up ! !

  24. Wow! The narrow mindedness that appears when people even hear the words “feet” or “barefoot” in this country is astounding. I’ve always thought that America was the “leader” of the free world. In countries like Australia, New Zealand and Denmark, people go barefoot all the time and everywhere and there have been no reports of feet rotting off because of all this fungus and bacteria that one can supposedly contract from being barefooted. If someone wants to go barefoot, he or she should be able to do that and not have to tolerate discrimination and/or harsh judgment. I go barefoot because it alleviates knee and back pain for me. I guess I should endure this pain and tear my knees up because someone is offended by bare feet. And flip flops are not offensive because? A piece of rubber is the difference between gross and not gross? I hope common sense and intelligence prevail someday!

  25. Did a college student write this ?
    Needs to do some research on the subject or choose a topic with some knowledge !
    Get real ! !

  26. I graduated from Cal Poly several years ago and my last year and a half I was barefoot. Never had a cut, bruise, fungus, or whatever. Only needed shoes ( flip flops ) for chem lab. Problem was, when I got a job I had to learn how to walk in shoes again !
    Stay barefoot as long as you can guys !

  27. Well come on now, barefooting isn’t all bad, and yeah feet are going to get dirty, but think, shoes will get just as dirty. You have to touch the ground eventually. Shoes will grab mud and dust, feet kinda self-clean on grass.

    And for those who might not like, it’s not too hard to bring some slaps or fivefingers around too. Barefooting is cool, and gets REALLY fun and relaxing when you go into class and it feels like you’re on the couch at home.

  28. Another high quality piece from the Mustang Daily. This is insane exaggeration and provides no evidence. I’m personally not going to go barefoot, but why would care if other people want to?

  29. Oh my gosh no one without shoes i bet you never take your shoes off. If shoes were preventatice measures theyd be maccassin like they wouldnt have huge souls that take away yhe foots job. And plus when your body is exposed to harmful things it protects itself so itll boost your immunity. The sun kills most fungus so barefeet are healthier than non-barefeet

  30. Totally Unbelievable and naive article. Barefoot is the best way to go and is the healthiest option for your feet! Ignorants mention diseases?? Touching everything with your hands like door knobs, rails, escalator rails, handles and anything else is a sure way to get sick, if you don’t wash your hands. There is no way you can get sick by going barefooted, in the city or in the park or on a campus!

    Who cares if the soles of the feet are black with dirt. Will that dirt ever get to your mouth or your eyes?? No, it will not! Shoes are the worst things for your feet and should have never been invented. They give you bunions, hammer toes and foot pain.

    Unfortunately, I have to wear shoes at work, fine, but everywhere else, it’s bare feet or bust!

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