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Shoe Shortage in Australia

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Thousands of Australians are going without proper footwear all across the country.

From a random sampling, an estimated 10% of the population performs daily activities, such as grocery shopping or walking to work, without any form of shoe on whatsoever.

The cause of this strange behavior was initially said to be from a widespread shoe shortage in Australia, but after closer investigation into countless shop inventories, it was clear to see otherwise.

no-shoesNow, sources say this going barefoot behavior could be linked to the beach culture, or more recently to the movement that going barefoot is just a healthier and more natural option.

“Shoes? We don’t need no stinkin’ shoes!” exclaims Running Barefoot, a website dedicated to the benefits of running without shoes.

The website’s founder, Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton, states, “Rather than depending on shoes, soft surfaces, or pain-killing drugs, to block the pain of clumsy running, it is important to take personal responsibility for learning to run better, more gently, efficiently, and gracefully.”

Even though Barefoot Ken Bob has a point, skeptics have a hard time swallowing the sanitary and safety conditions of walking down the street without footwear.

With numerous pitfalls plaguing sidewalks today, such as broken glass, used bubble gum, bugs, spit and other bodily fluids, feet can easily become filthy, injured or even infected just from a quick stroll to the shops.

“There’s a reason people take their shoes off when entering their home,” states Brooke from Brooke vs. the World. “So, what will these barefoot people do? Hose off their feet each time before walking indoors?”

For foreigners like Brooke, the sight of these free foot individuals in Australia has been quite the shock.

“I come from a ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ kind of culture, so when I see so many people in establishments without shoes, it is very surprising to me.”

Two working holiday visa makers from London commented on the situation by explaining how they thought these people were homeless at first because of their lack of footwear.

“It seems very strange to us. We just don’t get it.”

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14 Responses to Shoe Shortage in Australia

  1. Kieran Choy December 6, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    I'm thinking of getting a pair of these: http://www.terraplana.com/vivobarefoot_benefits.php Not sure about the accupuncture stuff, but I like walking barefoot without looking homeless πŸ™‚

  2. Kieran Choy December 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I'm thinking of getting a pair of these: http://www.terraplana.com/vivobarefoot_benefits.php Not sure about the accupuncture stuff, but I like walking barefoot without looking homeless πŸ™‚

  3. Brooke Schoenman December 7, 2009 at 7:38 am #

    ok, now those are interesting – you don't look homeless, AND your feet don't get all nastified.

  4. Chris December 7, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    When we noticed this Australian’s behavior we thought was a bit peculiar but after a while I started to do the same.
    When I drive my hippie camper van I always take off my shoes as is very hot here and when I stop in a petrol station I can’t bother to put them back.
    We are traveling in the east coast and I love to walk in the beach barefoot therefore I haven’t wear shoes in a while.

  5. Thomas December 9, 2009 at 5:14 am #

    Barefoot Ken…I should probably run upstairs and check, but I think that might be the same guy from the book Born to Run. It talks a lot about running barefoot and learning to run better and how more injuries occur from expensive shoes than cheapos. Check it out. Cool post, bee tee double-u.

  6. Bethany December 10, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    Yo Brooke! Haahahaha. Walking around without shoes is gross. I am 100% shoe friendly. Although I will admit I dislike a full shoe but I am a flip flop whore.

    In fact I am going home to MA for a month and I just realized yesterday I have no real shoes to take with me. I will have to snag a pair of my moms shoes when i get there – the horror!

  7. Beach Bum December 11, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    Anyone remember the late 1960s and early 1970s in the USA? Our ‘behavior’ was like that too. Young people, mostly young women, were going barefoot everywhere on nice summer days. I used to see them in supermarkets, malls, any public place. Even New York City had it’s fair share of people going barefoot in he streets and shopping. The only difference is that it went out of style in the US during the 1980s, but apparently it did not in Australia and New Zealand. And no, it’s not illegal in the US. That is one of those ‘urban myths’. Those “shirts and shoes required” signs are just the store owner’s preference, and first started appearing during the late 1960s to keep hippies out, who were considered unpatriotic, since they were against the Vietnam war.

  8. Tim Groeneveld December 12, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    That sounds like me.

  9. Brooke Schoenman December 12, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    hahaha, i was wondering if you'd find this… hehe I don't know how you do it man

  10. Vi December 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    First time I saw barefoot guy in gas station somewhere in South of US. It was a little bit strange at that time, but in Australia and New Zealand somehow you totally don’t care about it.

  11. BeersandBeans December 29, 2009 at 3:17 am #

    Shoe Shortage in Australia | Brooke vs. the World | RTW Travel Blog: http://bit.ly/4J7qHh via @addthis

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. BeersandBeans December 29, 2009 at 3:20 am #

    American girl travels to bizarre places (Ukraine, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan) meets Australian boy in the Baltics a… http://su.pr/2rFbc1

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Barefoot Hiker March 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Going barefoot is much better for the feet in most cases than excessive reliance on shoes. Once the soles are thickened, bare feet have both a layer of tough yet pliable protection against potential hazards while also refining the sense of touch in the soles that provides sensory feedback one simply cannot get inside shoes.

    As for the hygienic issues, think about what you can smell, not just what you can see: Feet that are bare throughout the day have absolutely no odor and only a little surface dirt, which can be more readily cleaned than fungi-friendly “shoe feet.”

    Feet encased in shoes all day have living bacteria and provide an ideal breeding ground for fungi. Bare feet get air and light and grow stronger through exercise; feet in shoes get stinky and weak.

    So I say … “Good for the barefoot-by-choice” people of Australia and everywhere else!

    For an article on the benefits of barefoot hiking, click on the words “barefoot hiker” above.

  14. Darcy March 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Ahhhhh- reminds me of The Onion. On the other hand, barefoot is very liberating. And far more convenient. In my home town, we are near the beach and there’s hardly any gum or broken glass, so i would regularly go bare foot. But now that I’ve moved to uni, there seems to be broken glass every two meters – so frustrating! Not just because I can’t stroll around bare feet, but also because there’s rubbish everywhere!

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