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.
May 18, 2013
243 people answered the survey, which is great! I was worried it would be two. Many thanks to those who boosted the survey on their blogs and forums.
There isn't any provision for discussion here, but if people really get into it elsewhere and want to post links, they can send them to me and I'll add them here.
63% of respondents were from the United States, and 83% were male. Most respondents were young or middle-aged adults (25 to 65), with no particular age concentration in this range.
There were sex differences in terms of the kinds of problems people have barefooting, which people will need to take into account when discussing policies and politics, especially with most discussions dominated by men.
There were also differences between countries in the kinds of problems barefooters face (e.g. weather, discrimination), and how they see themselves (e.g. normal vs eccentric).
Other than that, there weren't really any big surprises.
The options were:
never - 1 respondent
less than 25% of the time - 30 respondents
25-50% of the time - 44 respondents
50-75% of the time - 56 respondents
more than 75% of the time - 74 respondents
all the time - 37 respondents
We are a hard-core bunch here. I think it would have been nice to hear from more part-timers. Many people said they go barefoot less than they would like to. On the other hand, two mentioned wearing footwear to do winter sports, which doesn't sound bad to me. A couple of people complained about how to determine how much they went barefoot with seasonal differences, etc. I left that to you to determine, since I've found having specific criteria doesn't make much difference.
I didn't find any significant sex differences here. However, there does appear to be a trend with older people going barefoot more often. I don't know if this has to do with increasing confidence with age, or control over one's life (as one person said, it's a lot easier to go barefoot when you're retired than when you have to work), or whether older barefooters are culturally different from young people today.
Note for bar charts with multiple categories: values are the percentage of each category, i.e. the percentage of people from that particular sex, age group or country.
Canadians go barefoot less often than USians, presumably due to winter. The eight "other" countries are all warm, at least compared to Canada. If I were ambitious, I'd divide the "Other Europe" countries up into warm and cold, but right now I can't be bothered.
The options were:
less than a year - 31 respondents
1 to 2 years - 38 respondents
3 to 5 years - 60 respondents
6 to 10 years - 29 respondents
11 to 20 years - 28 respondents
more than 20 years - 57 respondents
It's interesting that there are two larger waves of barefooters - those that started more than twenty years ago and those who started in the last five years.
I didn't find any significant sex differences here, but there is an obvious trend where older barefooters have been going barefoot longer. It is rather difficult for someone less than 18 years old to have gone barefoot more than 20 years.
I didn't see any trends by country.
In retrospect I should have defined the categories a bit differently, since there are gaps. Next year.
The options were:
People could choose as many as they liked. The most popular one was lifestyle, followed by medical. For 'other' people mentioned being "too lazy to find a new pair of shoes that fit my feet" (1 person), not liking shoes or hating wearing shoes (3 people), shoes hurting their feet (1 person) and comfort (4 people). Two people, both male, said they went barefoot for sexual reasons.
I didn't find any significant sex differences here. However, younger people were less likely to go barefoot for medical reasons.
I didn't see any trends by country.
The options were:
Enjoy the sensation of going barefoot
Feeling closer to the Earth/to God
Impressing other people
People could choose as many as they liked. The most popular choice was enjoying the sensation of going barefoot, followed by healthier feet and happier feet. For "other", people said "it's practical and efficient", "I generally feel better in myself", "When I am barefoot, I am most open, most integrated into my environment, most free and most comfortable", "I find that going barefoot helps me manage my disability", "I like to be capable" and one person said it improved his jump in volleyball.
The only sex difference I found here is that men are more likely to enjoy impressing others with their barefooting dash and daring. I was the only woman who checked that item!
Older respondents are more likely to see fitness as a benefit. And impressing people seems to be more important to younger respondents. (And me, and I'm 48.)
Impressing people also seems to be more important to Canadians. And we can take bottle caps off with our teeth, too. :)
Also, fitness is more important to people in North America and Europe than in Australia and New Zealand.
The options were:
Weather (too hot!)
Weather (too cold!)
Ground too rough or dangerous to walk on (glass, thorns, stones etc.)
Discrimination (not being allowed to go barefoot in stores, restaurants, on transit, at work, etc.)
Negative social attitudes (e.g. negative comments)
People could choose as many as they liked. The most popular were discrimination, cold weather, and attitudes. For "other" one person said "lack of opportunity to properly toughen feet so that it is comfortable" and another mentioned his wife's phobia about him going anywhere barefoot. Another person has a medical condition making it difficult to go outside barefoot in cold weather. It's nice that fourteen people checked "none" for this question.
I did find significant sex differences here. Noticeably, women are more likely to find the ground too dangerous or rough to walk on (we're so sensitive!) or, to a lesser extent, too hot or cold. Men are slightly more bothered by people's attitudes then women are. Note that I did *not* test for statistical significance, but this finding is in line with the general finding that women are more sensitive than men (e.g. Elaine Aron's research on the Highly Sensitive Person). I feel so much better, now, since this is a huge problem for me personally.
I did consider "what to wear with bare feet" as an item, but didn't. It's possible that it, too, would show sex differences, but we'll never know if I don't ask, since no one mentioned it. I have seen it elsewhere on the internet, though, and will probably add it in next year for fun.
I don't see any obvious age-related trends, or sex*age interactions, even though there are sex differences and female respondents are younger than male respondents.
Not surprisingly, people in colder countries are more likely to have problems with cold weather, and people in warmer countries with warmer weather. I was surprised to see more complaints about discrimination and attitudes in Canada than the US.
People could choose only one option. The options were:
Weather - 56 responses
Ground too rough or dangerous to walk on - 14 responses
Discrimination - 72 responses
Negative social attitudes - 67 responses
Other - 13 responses
None - 19 responses
The same sex differences that were in the last question are here, too. Women are more likely to list their biggest problem as sensitivity to the ground or to the weather, while men have more problems with other people's attitudes. Men are also more likely to choose "none". There are no sex differences on the biggest item: discrimination.
Even though there are sex differences, and sex varies by age, I don't see any particular age trends, other than teenagers are most likely to say "none".
As far as people's biggest problem goes, weather is a bigger issue in Europe and discrimination is a bigger issue in Canada and the US.
The vast majority (93% of all respondents) said yes, they would go barefoot more often.
The sex differences were minor. Since men were more likely to say "none" in the last question, they were more likely to say "no" or to not answer here. But it was still very few responses. There were no real age or country differences.
The vast majority of repondents (92% of responses for this question) do not like wearing shoes. But some of you do! And you are all men. Every single person who identified as female said "no" to this question, whereas 17 men said "yes" and 4 skipped the question. For some reason women hate shoes more than men do. Is it by any chance the state of women's shoes today? Could it be?
There were no real age differences. However, for some reason, more Canadians said "yes", they enjoy wearing shoes. I don't know who it was but it wasn't me!
People could choose as many categories as they liked. The options were:
The most popular choice was normal, followed by nature lover.
Men were more likely to describe themselves as normal, and women were more likely to describe themselves as nature lovers. Women were also more likely to see themselves as athletic or hippies, while men were more likely to describe themselves as eccentric. But overall the two sexes followed the same pattern.
I'm not sure what to say about age trends. I don't see anything really obvious, but you can decide for yourself.
Australians and New Zealanders were more likely to describe themselves as normal and less likely to describe themselves in other categories as people in other countries.
83% male, 16% female, 1% other. I'm surprised and a little concerned about how many of the respondents were male. Are women less likely to go barefoot? Are we less likely to fill out surveys? Are we less active online? (I think this last one is obviously true.) If so, why? Given that there are sex differences in the kinds of problems people have, it might matter a lot.
Respondents were mostly young and middle-aged adults, without any particular age bias. Nothing exciting here. There was only one person age 75+ so I combined 75+ with 65-74 to make 65+.
Interestingly, though, the women tended to be younger than the men.
Most respondents came from the USA (63%). 8% came from the UK and 7% from Canada. 14% came from other European countries and 5% came from Australia or New Zealand. Eight people (3%) came from other countries outside these areas. See the next section for individual country counts.
Women were more likely to be from the US, Australia and New Zealand than men were.
There is a surplus of people under 18 years old from Australia, and a surplus of people from Europe (other than the UK) in the 18-24 year age range. Both of these are small samples so it might not mean anything. On the other hand, going barefoot may be part of youth culture there.
The options were:
1 - not at all
2 - a little bit
3 - somewhat
4 - quite a bit
5 - very barefoot friendly
|Country||Average rating (1-5)||Number of ratings|
Overall, men and women tended to rate the place they live about the same, and for the US, the means are exactly the same. There were differences between sexes for other countries, but with small sample sizes I don't think it's likely to be significant.
There was a very slight trend for older respondents to rate their countries slightly better than younger respondents, but there was so much variation in each age range I don't think it's important.
It would be nice to have more respondents from outside the USA, to learn more about how barefoot-friendly/unfriendly different countries are. It's kind of hard to tell from only a few people in each country, if that. Maybe next year?
At any rate, thank you again to everyone who participated. I will post a follow-up survey in April next year, with some modifications to the questions. Be sure and let me know if there are any serious discussions of this anywhere on the public internet, so I can check it out and answer questions as needed.
Anemone Cerridwen, Montreal, Canada