These pages are not legal documents. They are not intended to be legal documents.
The main purpose of these pages is to make the idea of going barefoot more accessible to people, especially people like me who have been forced to suffer needlessly in shoes, and who may not realize that there is another option, and also to make people more aware of the needless barriers to going barefoot, in the hopes of effecting change.
It's also a stress reliever for me, an attempt to be more proactive in dealing with these issues, an attempt to have some fun in the middle of all of it.
Some pages have had their links removed. The pages are still there, and will stay there as long as I am with my current web host.
April 2012, updated February 2013
The following is evidence I've use in my various legal cases so far, one successfully, one not, the others still in progress.
My long doctor's note from early 2010, for the Vancouver Public Library complaint. (pdf)
My last pair of shoes (the laces are tied like that to take pressure off my high instep), and my second last pair of shoes (the ones that gave me the soft corn even though they had more room in the toe box):
My feet newly liberated from shoes on Foot Freedom Day (July 9, 2009):
My feet at home shortly after switching to going barefoot full time:
My feet after two months of going barefoot full time:
Note that my toes now appear even more cramped than in the first week, because in the meantime my feet had widened considerably, from about a D width to a 4-6E width (a 6E girth in a single pair of socks). That's about 3/4" wider than the shoes I had been wearing. Also note the overlapping toes on my right foot. That fourth toe on that foot used to lie sideways under my third toe. It has slowly straightened out since then.
My soft corn (and my hairy toes):
That corn really hurt at times, especially when the skin would open up and there'd be a hole right through my skin to the muscle/bone underneath. It opened up one last time about 4 months after going barefoot full time, then it healed over and hasn't bothered me since.
My feet today (April 2012, 2 years, 9 months after Foot Freedom Day):
My feet look shorter and wider here (since the first sole shots), but I don't think they are, I think it's just the angle they're at relative to the camera. When I measured my feet in a pair of socks two and a half years ago I came out to a 4E-6E girth, and today in bare feet I come to a 4E girth on my left foot and borderline 6E on my right foot, using this chart. (Note, I'd have to wear socks if I were wearing shoes.) What can I say? I have big toe knuckles. And the other day I tried one of those measure your foot gadgets in a shoe store and I was about a size 5 (North American sizes) or maybe a bit shorter. Both of those are about where I was after only two months of going barefoot full time.
These and other articles indicate why people should not only not be surprised that someone would have to switch to bare feet full time for medical reasons, but that they should be expecting it, since shoes are often a problem even when they fit.
Take Off Your Shoes and Walk, by Simon J. Wikler, D.S.C., 1961 An on-line excerpt from an out-of-print book not available in Vancouver-area libraries.
Describes the history of modern, deforming shoes, and the importance of bare feet for developing strength and agility in the feet, and the importance of being able to use your toes for balance. Wikler recognized that most adults end up wearing shoes that are bad for them, either from lack of choice or from personal fashion preferences, but he thought that at least if children could go barefoot, that would mitigate many foot problems.
Walkers, Bare All: The World's Healthiest Feet are the Ones Without Shoes. Ray McClanahan, www.walkaboutmag.com, 1999.
Describes how it is healthier to walk barefoot than in shoes, but if this is not possible (as it is usually not in the US), how to find shoes that do the least harm.
Why Shoes Make "Normal" Gait Impossible. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. Podiatry Management, March 1999:50-61. www.podiatrymgt.com
Describes how natural gait is only possible when barefoot, and how shoes, as they are currently designed, distort the natural gait. Written by a podiatrist who served as a consultant to the footwear industry. My Ecco shoes/boots met his standards in one respect (flexibility), but not in the rest.
Part 2. Footwear: The Primary Cause of Foot Disorders. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. Podiatry Management, February 2001:129-138. www.podiatrymgt.com
The Top 3 Ways Wearing Shoes Harms Our Feet - And What We Can Do About It. Dr. Niremberg, Sunday October 4, 2009, posted on his website, www.americaspodiatrist.com.
Describes how shoes weaken foot bones and muscles and deform our feet, increasing risk for fractures, pronation, and other problems. He encourages everyone, both children and adults, to transition carefully to bare feet, wearing more flexible shoes first and strengthening their feet, then switching to bare feet when possible.
Phil. Hoffmann, M.D., 1905. Conclusions drawn from a comparative study of the feet of barefooted and shoe-wearing peoples. The American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, 3(2):105-136.
"If foot compression always led to immediate and severe discomfort, it would not, perhaps, be quite so common. Nevertheless, painful or painless, when long continued, it must result in irreparable damage." [page 115]
Check out the pictures of lifelong barefooters picking things up with their toes.
Udaya Bhaskara Rao and Benjamin Joseph, 1992. The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot: A survey of 2300 children. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 74:525-527
Children who habitually wore shoes had the highest rate of flat feet, while habitually barefoot children had the lowest, with children wearing sandals or slippers were in-between. (Though if you've already read Hoffmann (above) you'll know that being flat footed isn't necessarily a problem per se, since the arch varies from person to person.)
Steven Robbins and Edward Waked, 1997. Foot position awareness: the effect of footwear on instability, excessive impact, and ankle spraining. Critical Reviews in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 9(1):53-74.
"The shod human is less stable, prone to ankle strains, and 'overuse injuries' resulting from chronic excessive impact during locomotion" [page 54]
"Injury is uncommon when barefoot, but when wearing footwear of current design, humans become unstable, suffer from frequent ankle sprains, and injuries from escessive impact, because tactile information required for precise foot position awareness and impact control is attenuated by the shoes." [page 72]
This and many other papers are available on Steven Robbin's website, www.stevenrobbinsmd.com
Zipfel, B. and L.R. Berger, 2007. Shod versus unshod: the emergence of forefoot pathology in modern humans. The Foot 17:205-213.
Examination of skeletal samples from four human groups in South Africa found that habitually unshod pre-pastoral Holocene people had the healthiest feet, the habitually shod modern European and Sotho had the worst feet, with the modern Zulu somewhere in between.
K. D'Août, T.C. Pataky, D. De Clercq and P. Aerts, 2009. The effects of habitual footwear use: foot shape and function in native barefoot walkers. Footwear Science, 1(2):81-94.
I am often stopped by police and they often tell me it's because I'm barefoot. So I asked barefooters and other autistic people about their experiences:
A second Wrong Planet thread about being stopped by the police (started by someone else)
Note that it is extremely rare for barefooters to be stopped and ID'd like this man was, and like I often am.
Steven E. Robbins and Adel M. Hanna, 1987. Running-related injury prevention through barefoot adaptations. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 19(2):148-156. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven E. Robbins. Gerard J. Gouw and Adel M. Hanna, 1989. Running-related injury prevention through innate impact-moderating behavior. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 21(2):130-139. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven E. Robbins and Gerard J. Gouw, 1990. Athletic footwear and chronic overloading: a brief review. Sports Medicine 9(2):76-85. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven E. Robbins and Gerard J. Gouw, 1991. Athletic footwear: unsafe due to perceptual illusions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 23(2):217-224. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins, Gerard J. Gouw, Jacqueline McClaran and Edward Waked, 1993. Protective sensation of the plantar aspect of the foot. Foot & Ankle 14(6):347-352. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins, Edward Waked and Ron Rappel, 1995. Ankle taping improves proprioception before and after exercise in young men. British Journal of Sports Medicine 29(4):242-247. (available at bjsm.bmj.com and at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins, Edward Waked and Jacqueline McCLaran, 1995. Proprioception and stability: foot position awareness as a function of age and footwear. Age and Ageing 24:67-72. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins and Edward Waked, 1997. Balance and vertical impact in sports: role of shoe sole materials. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 78:463-7. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins and Edward Waked, 1998. Factors associated with ankle injuries: preventive measures. Sports Medicine 25(1):63-72. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Steven Robbins, Edward Waked, and Nicholas Krouglicof, 1998. Improving balance. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) 46:1363-1370. (available at www.stevenrobbinsmd.com)
Michael Warburton, 2001. Barefoot running. Sportscience 5(3), sportsci.org/jour/0103/mw.htm
G Waddington and R Adams, 2003. Football boot insoles and sensitivity to extent of ankle inversion movement. British Journal of Sports Medicine 37:170-175.
Joseph Froncioni, 2006. Athletic footwear and running injuries
Author's note: Written a number of years ago, this piece was published in part in the German ultra magazine Spiridon
Footwear Alters Normal Form And Function Of The Foot. ScienceDaily(July 29, 2009).
D. Casey Kerrigan, Jason R. Franz, Geoffrey S. Keenan, Jay Dicharry, Ugo Della Croce, Robert P. Wilder, 2009. The effect of running shoes on lower extremity joint torques. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), 1:1058-1063.
Greg Downey, July 26, 2009. Lose your shoes: is barefoot better?. A blog post.
Benno Nigg, 2009. Biomechanical considerations on barefoot movement and barefoot shoe concepts. Footwear Science 1(2):73-79.
Caleb Wegener, Adrienne E Hunt, Benedicte Vanwanseele, Joshua Burns, Richard M Smith, 2011. Effect of children's shoes on gait: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 4:3
19.(2) No person shall, in or upon any transit property, . . .
(aa) fail to wear a shirt or shoes;
As of 2003. There was no rule from 1975-2003. I don't know about before then.
Secretariat et affaires juridique/Reglement R-036 (The police told me that this is an enforceable law)
Sous-Section I - Civism
4. Dans ou sur un immeuble ou du matériel roulant, il est interdit à toute personne : . . .
l) d'être pieds nus;
Sous-section IV - Responsabilité de l'application du règlement
30. Les inspecteurs de la Société spécifiquement désignés à cette fin par la Société ainsi que les agents de la paix relevant de l'autorité de la Ville de Montréal sont habilités à voir à l'application du présent règlement.
There was no rule or bylaw banning bare feet on Vancouver public transit, though a couple of drivers and one security person thought there was. As it happens, there is also no rule for Calgary public transit (summer 2012), though there is for Toronto (2009 regulations, but not 1990 ones; I don't know about in between), and for some US cities. I don't know of anywhere outside of Canada and the USA where footwear is required on public transit (except maybe the Philippines? I haven't checked up on that yet). I suspect that Europe, Australia, New Zealand and most if not all of the developing world are rule-free.