(For full disclosure, I do not. We don't allow anyone to wear shoes in the house, so wearing bare feet in the mall kind of defeats the purpose...)
I can't blame them, I am not a fan of shoes and am barefoot as often as possible, or I wear barefoot shoes (fivefingers).
Dd doesn't rip off her shoes everywhere we go anymore than I do. She is almost 13 years old.
When she was younger she had plenty of shoe free time but there were times she had to have some shoes on to protect her feet or meet standards of the place we were at.
I wouldn't let her take off her shoes in a restaurant, mall, on a hot sidewalk, parking lot with broken glass, etc.
We saw barefoot people at the park last time we went. I stared.
I just gave Little Miss the "I don't care how far west we move, young lady, we wear shoes out and about!" speech as we did our errands.
We do not, for the record, wear shoes in our own house. We went for dinner recently with some friends, the very same friend I had discussed "shoes in the house" policy with regarding the great state of Texas, and I took her advice, looked down and saw her in her shoes in her kitchen, and left my flats on. I was so damn proud of myself. Now I just need to get a tasteful sign printed for my entryway: "Take off yer shoes fer crap'ssake, whattaya, savages?" and hang it.
I love to be barefoot, though, and am barefoot in my own lawn often enough to be rather covered in ant bites by summer's end.
Totally missed the "why": Because. Hah, no, really it's a cleanliness issue. Shoes outside to protect our feet from the grime, off inside to protect our floors and therefore ourselves from the outside grime.
the first 5 years of her life - dd only wore shoes to places she had to. certain libraries and grocery store wouldnt allow her in barefeet. on her scooter or tri/bicycle.
but otherwise she walked everywhere barefoot. we've walked through city streets being careful to watch out for glass and had our first splinter when dd was about 8 when she wasnt walking around barefoot so much.
because she just could not stand anything on her feet or body. and i allowed it coz i think dd needed to feel that texture. she used to run on bark - that i could barely stand on. she didnt even notice it. she had minor SPD and was sensation seeking.
dd is allowed to take off her shoes where appropriate. we respect others manners.
i realise i am like her too. i dont like anything on my feet and even in a restaurant i take off my slipons if i have them on. without even thinking or noticing. i wear flip flops even in freezing conditions. i've gone for walks when the temperatures were in the 20s in my flip flops. i think like me dd doesnt like sweaty feet and since our feet freeze anyways even in our shoes - why bother with shoes and socks.
dd and i even hike barefoot and dd has even hiked in snow barefoot. for about a mile. she'd even go out of the tent to pee in flip flops rather than her down booties.
My 2.75yo will often carefully put shoes on of her on volition before we leave the house only to take them off to climb into the car. I usually have a pair in my nappy bag on case we need them.
The children take off their shoes when they enter our house and most other houses. We parents do too. Why? Mainly because it is the accepted polite thing to do, and because it keeps from tracking dirt into the house.
They keep their shoes on in the street and in other public areas. Why? Because we live in a city of millions and we think it would not be hygienic or safe for them to go barefoot on the sidewalks, streets, subways, buses, etc.
I hate shoes and go barefoot much of the summer. My daughter does too. She's 9, and yes, she takes her shoes off whenever she can.
She and I both carry a pair of thin flip flops in our bags, if we need to go in a store or over something dangerous, they're easy to throw on and take off again as soon as we can. We don't wear shoes in the house. During the summer if our feet are particularly filthy, there's a hose right outside our door and we can wash them off.
During the winter/fall and often in the spring though, it's very rainy and muddy where we live. I'm not going to insist on shoes, but generally mud only feels good squishing through your toes when you WANT it to, not every step you take!