I'm curious if wearing socks only is better than shoes; I mean, you still don't have that natural function, kwim? There's still more slipping/sliding than would be with just bare feet.
Having said that, I am not a fan of shoes, but I do like socks (even - perhaps especially? - toe socks!) Recently, I've noticed that wearing shoes has become EXTREMELY painful, esp in the arch area. I have "flat feet" & had been wearing the same pair of sneakers often for a few years; I had some serious toenail/foot fungus problems going on & they smelled REALLY BAD, so I'd leave my shoes on out of embarrassment - which of course made the fungus issue worse! I finally broke down & got a 'script & it's finally cleared up & I have resumed wearing just socks most of the time; I try to keep it to cotton socks & am in the process of making wool & wool/cotton socks.
When my fungal infection finally started to clear up, I got new shoes, not wanting to "catch" the fungal infection again; I haven't worn down the arch support yet. Walking more than 5 minutes or so (sometimes less!) in them HURTS SO FREAKIN' BAD, though! Even wearing the old sneakers hurts, just not as bad. I dunno what I did, but my feet are in rough shape right now. I'm having DP give me foot rubs every few days (now that I'm not embarrassed anymore!); I'm hoping between that & wearing just socks I'll get better.
So, I'm thinking of getting/making some moccasins, since I get cold easily & it's wet/snowy out here in Massachusetts. I saw this advertisement in the current issue of Interweave Crochet (which has a website @ crochetme.com); anyway, the advertisement features 11 pairs of "slippers" that are made with what appears to be a soft moccasin base & either a crocheted or knitted upper & are crazy stupid adorable. (the ad itself is marketing the "slipper soles", thus giving away the actual patterns) I'm sure that if what they are featuring as the "slipper sole" *ISN'T* just soft leather, that you could substitute the soft sole that comes in a moccasin kit (or just get a piece of the soft leather at, like, tandy leather or something & punch your own holes to knit/crochet through after you trace around your foot - this same concept might work with, say, a double-layer of old denim, too).
Anyway, some people have mentioned wanting to make their own shoes, and the instructions for all 11 pairs are available for free (so says the ad) at http://www.simplicity.com/t-slipper-sole-booties.aspx and are super cute. 1 pattern is supposed to look like bare feet (heh), some are boot height, some are just slip-ons (like moccasin-style); one design is even made to look like Converse All-Star high tops. There are designs for kidlets & adults. If you have knitting or crochet skills, I'm sure you could use some of the patterns as a base to make your own design. So I thought I'd throw it out there for us crafty folk. :)
After I'm done crocheting this shopping bag (which should be finished later today), I think my next project is going to be figuring out how to make "barefoot socks" with sock yarn. Just something that will keep my toes warm, and maybe cover the top of my foot, possibly the arch, but leave the ball of my foot & my heel exposed so I'll still have that natural gripping action of bare feet & thus maybe rebuild my arches a bit again? I don't know if it's going to work out, if having my toes covered is going to affect it too much & I'll be better off/might as well just wearing "real" socks, but I figure I'll give it a try. I'm hoping it works, though!
I used to walk all around the city of Boston in bare feet when I was a young teenager! I had some older woman run after me once to tell me I should put my shoes on (I was holding them in my hand) because I might step on broken glass. I just smiled & told her that I walked w/out my shoes all the time & my soles were tough & could handle it & besides - I look where I'm going when I'm walking! ;) That was about the extent of people bugging me about it, & I carried my shoes for getting on the bus or going into stores, because I didn't know any differently at the time.
In regards to someone getting asked to leave the LIBRARY? That's so strange to me, because my local library has a "boot box" by the door, so you CAN take your shoes off when you're in there & not track snow & dirt around! Of course, it's kind of silly, since they don't REQUIRE people to take off their shoes, but still...no one would be asked to leave for not wearing shoes! That makes me wicked irritated!
Hoping to be able to go barefoot far more often like y'all! Looking on for inspiration! *giggle*