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Bare feet walk over soft bark mulch in a barefoot park

Barefoot or bare feet refers to walking without footwear (anciently "bare feet"), that is, without shoes and stockings .

Anatomical background

Walking barefoot is the natural form of human locomotion. The human foot has a multitude of receptors and muscles to precisely perceive the ground and adapt to it; barefoot, it is almost impossible to twist your ankle, because you notice a crooked appearance early on. In addition, the skin on the soles of the feet, even in the untrained state, is much thicker than anywhere else on the body and becomes stronger if you walk barefoot for a long time ( calluses ). This serves both as padding and as protection against injuries.

However, this protective effect also has its limits, especially in extreme cold ( frost ) or extreme heat ( burns ) and protection against injuries from above . For this purpose, humans once invented shoes, the use of which has developed over time into a status symbol and ultimately a common good.


The oldest concrete finds of shoes in North America date to around 8300 BC. Chr .; However, it is assumed that shoes were already worn when Eurasia was settled around 40,000 years ago, at least in the winter, which first appeared here. These shoes were still very soft and, like fur clothing, almost exclusively had a warming benefit that only existed when dry.

In antiquity , which mainly took place in the Mediterranean region with its short winters at best, the opposite shoe shape developed, consisting only of a very hard sole tied to the foot - there is no thermal protection here. These shoes served to separate the wearer from the (actual or perceived) dirty surface and were initially a privilege of the rulers. In ancient Rome, on the other hand, they quickly became a general item of clothing for all free citizens - presumably for hygienic reasons. Slaves, on the other hand, always remained, children and, in other cities, at least poorer citizens, at least partially barefoot.

In the Middle Ages, wearing shoes became a common good in Europe, with the exception of growing children and beggars. Because of these exceptions, voluntary barefootedness has now also become a symbol of innocence or abstinence.

Barefoot children in a poor neighborhood in Britain before World War I.

In developing and emerging countries with warm, frost-free climates such as Africa, Oceania and parts of Central and South America and Asia, the colonial rulers usually introduced the wearing of shoes out of habit and as a more or less conscious status symbol towards the “wild” locals. It was not until the end of the 20th century that shoes became a matter of course here too - mostly flip-flops . Today, being barefoot out of poverty is an exception even in the poorest developing countries, but barefoot children are still normal there.

In Europe, barefootedness out of poverty was widespread, especially among children, and in rural regions until the middle of the 20th century; The main reasons for this were rural poverty and social misery in large cities, often exacerbated by economic crises and wars. Only with the onset of mass prosperity in the 1950s and the increasing industrial shoe production did shoes become a matter of course here too.

The increasing normality of shoes wearing resulted from the 60's but also a contrary trend, as countercultural and alternative movements, especially the hippies , but also 68s , New Ager , punks and environmentalists , walking barefoot as a sign of reduced consumption , non-conformist differentiation from social mainstream and made love for nature popular. As a result, going barefoot was increasingly no longer a symbol of poverty, but became an expression of alternative clothing and lifestyle as well as a closeness to earth and nature.

In urban areas in Europe and North America, walking barefoot is often perceived as unusual today. This is a conscious and often temporary renunciation of shoes out of nonconformity, for religious reasons or simply for convenience.

In some countries with a western lifestyle and favorable climatic conditions, in particular South Africa , Australia , New Zealand and some regions of the USA , walking barefoot in public is still widespread today and is mostly perceived as normal rather than unusual.

Religious and cultural aspects

The effect of being barefoot can be very different depending on the situation - in certain contexts such as religious rituals and places, but also in unfamiliar homes, being barefoot or at least unshod can be seen as a sign of politeness. Some people can also find the sight of bare feet erotic or even be sexually aroused by them ( foot fetishism ). In other situations, however, bare feet can also trigger negative sensations such as disgust and indignation, as in some people they are associated with negative aspects such as dirt, foot odor and athlete's foot , or bare feet is viewed as an inappropriate deviation from the social norm and an expression of poor hygiene , inadequate Perceived etiquette or unwanted freedom of movement. Your own perception of being barefoot can also be different depending on the situation - positive perceptions can be feelings of liberation, relaxation and being down to earth, negative perceptions, on the other hand, exposure, vulnerability and defenselessness. In certain contexts such as captivity (see section captivity ), slavery and torture, barefootedness, often supplemented by exposure of other parts of the body to complete nudity , can be consciously used to humiliate and expose the person.


Feet of the Jain Shravanbelgola figure

In many religious traditions, removing footwear is considered a gesture of piety and reverence, especially when entering holy places.

Barefoot perdoni in Spain
Shrine of the Discalced Carmelite Therese von Lisieux (little St. Therese)

Walking barefoot is also a common form of mortification , which is often associated with other forms such as pilgrimage , penance or ascetic practice.


Barefoot (Latin: Discalceati , "Disconsolate") is the name given to certain Catholic male and female religious orders whose members were or still are barefoot. They either walk without footwear or wear sandals or soles fastened with straps. Walking barefoot became an official monastic practice since Teresa of Avila prescribed it tothe Discalced Carmelites in 1560. In particular, the stricter observances of the mendicant monks have adopted this sign of poverty and renunciation, first the Franciscans and the Poor Clares as well as the Carmelites , the Mercedarians , the Passionists , the Servites and the Trinitarians . The external reason is Jesus' biblical invitation to the disciples not to even take shoes with them on the mission (Matthew 10, 10, cf. Luke 10, 3). Today barefoot people usually wear sandals .

See also: Barefoot Church

Barefoot on the stage

Barefoot dance performance

In dance , theater or opera performances , bare feet often express certain feelings, fear, vulnerability, dejection and / or familiarity. They alleviate nervousness or anxiety or even convey a certain physical and emotional encouragement. Numerous dance styles, from traditional folk dances such as oriental and Indian dance to modern ones such as modern dance and expressive dance , are generally performed barefoot, which can serve both to express certain emotions and to better feel the movement of the feet and the feet more freely and finer to be able to move.

One of the most important representatives of modern dance was the American Isadora Duncan (1877–1927), who developed modern expressive dance and was one of the first modern dancers to perform barefoot. Her idea of ​​dance was a departure from classical ballet and a return to antiquity and nature , which was expressed, among other things, in the fact that, in contrast to the dancers and ballerinas of the time, she performed without tutu and pointe shoes and instead with bare legs and feet, which was revolutionary at the time and initially caused amazement and indignation among the public and the press. Another well-known defender of modern barefoot dance is Maud Allan (1873–1956), who appeared in self-made costumes and barefoot and was also considered controversial at the time.

Barefoot in the apartment

In many cultures, wearing shoes in private homes is frowned upon. Taking off shoes is common in countries with a harsh climate such as Japan, China, Vietnam or Canada, especially for reasons of cleanliness and hygiene , but also in many Muslim countries and regions such as Turkey and Arabia.

Sign of poverty or sadness

Amish child walking barefoot on the way to school

Barefootedness dates from the time of the Roman Empire when the fashion for wealthy Roman citizens was clothing, including footwear, while the slaves and the lower classes went barefoot. In the Middle Ages , leather shoes and boots were so expensive that the poor often went either barefoot or in rag shoes . In art and literature, bare feet often symbolize poverty .

The allegories , e.g. B. virtues and vices , generally do not wear shoes; In addition to the classic drapery, their characteristic is barefootedness.

Barefootedness, sometimes combined with complete nudity , was a common symbol of lamentation in ancient times.

Symbol of innocence

This widespread American literary tradition dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when barefootedness was viewed as part of children's games, especially in the country, particularly in the novels of Mark Twain and the poems of John Greenleaf Whittier . Barefoot children or young women are also common in the paintings and sketches by Norman Rockwell , William-Adolphe Bouguereau , Giulio del Torre , Hans Thoma , Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller , Anton Ebert and the Pre-Raphaelites . In some of the books by Astrid Lindgren set in the Swedish countryside from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, such as Wir Kinder from Bullerbü and Michel from Lönneberga, as well as the corresponding films, the children are often portrayed barefoot.

Symbol of peace

As a special kind of Mahatma Gandhi commemoration, walking barefoot has formed around his monument. It is forbidden to wear shoes inside the Gandhi Raj Ghat Memorial .

The International Refugee Trust regularly organizes "Barefoot Peace Walks", barefoot peace demonstrations to demonstrate the vulnerability of the population in crisis areas.

Alternative lifestyle signs

Child walking barefoot in a big city

Starting with the hippie movement of the 1960s, walking barefoot became popular in alternative circles as an expression of non-conformist clothing and lifestyle and for a more conscious perception of the environment and is still practiced today by some followers of alternative lifestyles and subcultures.


To date, it is common in many countries, as a result of official detention in captivity to leave forcibly barefoot persons held; earlier this was also common under slavery . On the one hand, this makes use of the delimiting effect of being barefoot in visual contrast to the usual appearance and symbolically characterizes the loss of class in society (see history ). On the other hand, the withholding of footwear for the barefoot person causes a physically noticeable increase in sensitivity to external conditions and influences, and thus also an increased vulnerability. In this way, their practical freedom of action is also limited and, depending on the nature of the subsoil, in particular the possibility of unimpaired movement (e.g. escape from existing custody ) is not insignificantly restricted. The intimidating and humiliating effect of the mostly adverse living conditions in captivity is often additionally intensified for the unfree person under the sensory impression of these factors. An aspect that contributes to this can also be seen in the fact that the person held captive in this way is imposed barefoot under external coercion and mostly against their will.

Slavery in ancient and modern times

Since the age of early antiquity, it has been a socially established standard for the bourgeois population of practically all civilizations to wear footwear. In ancient Rome it was common for free citizens to wear the calceus (Roman shoe) in various forms, in contrast to which their slaves had to go barefoot. In modern slave laws (e.g. American "slave codes") there was often a regulation by which the local slaves were also forced to go barefoot. In the slave law of “Cape Town” there is an example of the formulation “Slaves must go barefoot and must carry passes (slaves must go barefoot and carry passports)”. Conversely, in those states in which slavery was practiced formally (e.g. the American southern states or Brazil), wearing shoes was an outward sign of personal freedom, as was already the case in antiquity. People who walked barefoot were immediately identified as slaves, so for free people barefoot was frowned upon and consistently avoided. This perception continues to have an effect in many states of the USA to this day, so that normal shoes are usually worn in private life and barefootedness is generally taboo. The withholding and prohibition of wearing shoes, as a demonstrative restriction of autonomy, also represented a means of exercising power over people held in slavery.

In some contemporary societies this is used in a comparable way, for example with the Tuareg, where people are still kept unofficially in slavery and are forced to be barefoot.

Historical captivity

Especially in countries of western civilization , it has always been social normality to wear shoes at all times. This very often leads to the fact that in the past, as now, people walking barefoot in public mostly arouse subliminal attention and are viewed as deviating from social conventions. In past centuries, bare feet were considered particularly offensive in society and frowned upon. Barefoot people were therefore actually not to be found even in the peasant class (see Shoes: High and Late Middle Ages ). Therefore, it was initially an obvious and simple means of identification, including removing the shoing from captured people and subsequently leaving them barefoot. Handcrafted footwear had to be bought at a relatively high price before mass production began, and even simple footwear could only be produced with a certain amount of effort (see shoes: High and Late Middle Ages , ff.), So bailiffs were usually also suitable for the usual seizure of clothing items Prisoners' footwear. The prisoners were then brought before the court and in public with their feet visibly bared and could thus be seen by anyone. The social loss of reputation , which occurred as a result of the public performance, which was mostly carried out in shackles , was additionally emphasized by the visible barefootedness.

In countries of western civilization, there are therefore often pictorial representations from previous centuries in which prisoners are shown in simple clothing with bare feet. Before the symbolically identifying convict clothing was introduced in its various forms, barefootedness therefore traditionally served as an obvious sign of imprisonment in contrast to the appearance of the shod population. The withholding of footwear was also a means of exercising power over the prisoners, who thereby constantly felt vulnerable and defenseless. Forced exposure of the feet is therefore a simple but effective means of intimidation and humiliation of a person, so that this is also currently used in many countries with prisoners (see subtitle: Imprisonment in modern times).

Captivity in modern times

Even today it is common in many countries, prisoners in official prisons to be kept barefoot. This is documented in China, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Uganda, Iran, Pakistan, India, the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and North Korea. In Thailand, defendants are traditionally presented barefoot in court.

The marking of prisoners by barefoot was temporarily practiced on female prisoners in the US state of Texas . It was a common practice in Texas prisons until the 20th century to prevent women in captivity from wearing shoes. In contrast, male prisoners had no further footwear at their disposal. This made the gender-related hierarchy among the prisoners outwardly visible and symbolically illustrated the prevailing view of the courts at the time that the prisoners concerned were to be regarded as slaves of the state. This created a graphic parallel to the social status of former slaves, who were forced to be barefoot in the same way in many places (see above). For the women in prison, for example, the withholding of footwear in particular was accompanied by a drastic social degradation. As a result, they were forced to do the forced labor to be performed with bare feet, which was an additional difficulty in the context of the usual harassment. This circumstance also had the mental effect that the incarcerated women could hardly suppress the fact of their imprisonment from the consciousness due to the uncomfortable stimuli of rough or cold surfaces, which further intensified the intimidating effect of the detention conditions. In addition, it served as a demonstration of power over the female prisoners within the male-dominated prisons. Here being barefoot was a clear sign of the lack of rights and discrimination against female prisoners, who at that time could not rely on the protection of general civil rights.

During the Nazi era in Germany, it was a common practice in prisons and labor education camps for women (e.g. AEL Fehrbellin , women's department at AEL Hunswinkel ) to keep prisoners barefoot all the time and also with bare feet regardless of the weather To have some of the hard labor done.

In sports

World records in athletics

Abebe Bikila († Ethiopian marathon runner)

At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila won the marathon in 2:15:16. With that he set a new world record and won the first Olympic medal for Africa in the history of the Olympic Games, whereby he was the only athlete to cover the distance barefoot.

Zola Budd (South African long distance runner)

  • In 1984, barefoot , Zola Budd beat the 5,000-meter world record in 15: 01.83 minutes (not officially recognized).
  • In 1985 she set an official world record over 5000 m barefoot (14: 48.07 min).
  • In 1986 she ran barefoot indoor world record over 3000 m .

World records in barefoot hiking

Michael Essing (Germany)

Michael Essing from Neuenkirchen (Steinfurt district) set the first official world record for the longest barefoot trip . In the summer of 2013 he hiked without his oversized shoes (Michael Essing is size 53) in 100 days on a 1,488.09 km route through Germany from the Danish to the Swiss border. This corresponds to a daily barefoot march of 14.9 km.

Eamonn Keaveney (Ireland)

The longest barefoot hike in the world is currently estimated by the Guinness Book of Records (2018 edition) at 2,080.14 km. The Irishman Eamonn Keaveney from Claremorris circled Ireland in 104 days on the soles of his bare feet. He covered an average of 23.11 km a day (without rest days) (longest day's barefoot stage: 37.75 km). On the way he had to remove seven broken glass and about 20 deeply penetrated thorns from his repeatedly sore feet.

Barefoot running as a training method

Since the foot muscles are better used when running barefoot and the stretching-shortening cycle of the calf muscles can be better exploited, it has been analyzed to what extent running barefoot (or running with shoes that enable fast barefoot running) has a positive effect on running economy . It was found that significant improvements in performance occurred after four weeks of barefoot running at both 11 km / h and 13 km / h.

Barefootedness in physical education

In physical education , especially in elementary schools, it is still common today for students to be able to participate barefoot or, depending on the sport, occasionally have to. In the past, this was mainly due to reasons of prosperity (many families had no money for sports shoes up until the 1950s and 1960s), today it is usually a voluntary decision by the students.

Up until the 1980s it was common practice, especially in elementary schools, to allow students who had forgotten their sports gear or at least their sneakers to take part in sports classes barefoot. On the one hand they should be punished for their forgetfulness, on the other hand they should still take part in physical education. This should also prevent "deliberate forgetting" just to avoid physical education. This method is still used in isolated cases today. Many teachers today no longer dare to let individual students do gymnastics barefoot while everyone else is wearing sneakers. Therefore, when forgetting the equipment, they often resort to other measures. Barefoot gymnastics is no longer allowed in some schools.

Barefootedness in Martial Arts

In many traditional Far Eastern martial arts such as B. Taekwon-Do , Karate , Judo , Jiu Jitsu , Kendō , etc., there is a tradition of basically training and fighting barefoot. The direct contact of the feet to the ground gives the fighters stability and more conscious awareness of their movements. With shoes there would also be an increased risk of injury for the opponent.

Other sports

There are a few other sports that are often performed barefoot, including gymnastics , beach sports such as beach volleyball and beach soccer, and some modern dance styles such as modern dance or contact improvisation .

A famous urban legend has it that the Indian national soccer team did not participate in the 1950 World Cup because FIFA did not allow them to play barefoot. In fact, there were other reasons for this.

The first skateboarders went barefoot because they were used to surfing , from which skateboarding developed.

Health issues

Water treading basin on the barefoot path of the " Hexenwasser " near Söll in Tyrol

Potential benefits of barefoot activities

Many life reformers - the most popular being Sebastian Kneipp - have recommended going barefoot as an important element of preventive health care . Kneipp justified this primarily with a hardening effect that promotes blood circulation. This strengthens the circulation and releases more body heat. In Kneipp therapy, walking barefoot on wet floors, in water ( treading water ), on freshly dewy meadows ( dew ) or snow ( walking in snow ) is used, among other things, as a remedy for colds .

Even today, doctors and physiotherapists, especially orthopedists, recommend going barefoot as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Foot shape and muscles

Children in particular should walk or run barefoot as much as possible in order to strengthen their foot muscles and maintain their correct toe position for life. This reduces the risk of foot damage such as Senkfüßen , splay , flat feet or the feared as a late damage Hallux valgus , which is also favored by the ladies footwear and can often be corrected surgically only.

Rehabilitation clinics with an orthopedic and psychosomatic focus often set up barefoot paths for use in the spa. The doctors and physiotherapists assume that walking barefoot on different surfaces can support the treatment of physical or psychological complaints of the musculoskeletal system. Foot gymnastics exercises can complement this sensibly.

This is explained as follows: When walking, feet and spine represent a functional unit. Here, foot muscles that have been trained by walking barefoot at regular intervals act as shock absorbers, which is very beneficial to the intervertebral discs . Feet and spine automatically coordinate with each other in the subtleties of the sequence of movements. This is why the intense movement of the feet when walking barefoot on varied ground can release painful (often psychologically caused) vertebral blockages. As long as toe mobility is restricted in shoes, this effect cannot be felt. Conversely, impairments to the body (body malfunctions, tension, etc.) can be felt on the soles of the feet . By reflexology or barefoot, the restriction can treat well. An alternative are barefoot shoes , which hardly limit the foot mechanics.

The operators of barefoot parks advertise, among other things, with the argument that even walking barefoot on natural paths activates the foot reflex zones and thus has positive effects on the organs. Walking barefoot builds up and strengthens the calf muscles as well as the foot muscles . That is why barefoot walks are used in conjunction with Kneipp treatments for the treatment of venous disorders such as varicose veins . The barefoot park in Dornstetten , known as an excursion destination, also serves as a therapy facility for the nearby venous sanatorium.

Sensory and balance

Walking barefoot improves, due to the many nerve cells on the soles of the feet, also sensory, coordination and balance. Scientific studies have shown that pure sensory training for the soles of the feet in elementary school children brings about significant improvements in overall body coordination. But older people can also benefit from walking barefoot, e. B. by training your sensorimotor skills to reduce the risk of falling.

Circulation and psyche

Walking barefoot stimulates the blood circulation in the feet and legs, thus promoting the circulation and lowering the blood pressure , which in turn contributes to relaxation, reduces stress, increases concentration and lifts the mood.

Barefoot running and sports

Running athletes and sports physicians such as B. Thomas Wessinghage recommend barefoot running as a training supplement for running. This suggestion is based on the experience that when walking barefoot, a smooth gait that is gentle on the joints develops by itself , in which the forefoot in particular is active (the so-called ball gait in contrast to the heel gait ). Passive (i.e., little muscular support) heel gait in poorly cushioned shoes can lead to joint damage ( knee joint , hip joint , back ). However, dampened shoes lead to a passive heel walk, whereas barefootedness and flat or thin, undamped soles encourage an active walking and running style with a tendency to walk on the ball. B. in sports magazines regularly shoes with undamped, very flat soles are recommended. Cushioning in the front shoe (in the ball of the foot ) should generally be avoided anyway, as it not only brings no benefit, but even contributes to splayfoot development .

According to a study by the US Army Baylor University, runners with sturdy shoes are three times more likely to injure themselves than those who run barefoot or with minimal shoes. This is due to the fact that cushioned running shoes promote a running style that is more stressful for joints and tendons ( rolling over the heel).

Barefoot as a risk

Although many doctors recommend walking and running barefoot in nature as beneficial to health, they warn against overexertion of previously damaged feet or feet that are not used to walking barefoot, especially on hard ground, and against hygienic problems in the city.


Cuts and stab wounds or insect bites pose a risk when walking barefoot. On very hot summer days, surfaces such as tar and asphalt can be too hot to walk barefoot and pose a risk of burns . Venomous snakes can also be found in special biotopes in Central Europe; There is a risk of bees , wasps and ticks in forests and meadows . Children's play areas and outdoor swimming pools must be kept free of broken glass, nails, cans and the like so that they are suitable for walking barefoot; To avoid bee stings, the meadows in these areas are mowed regularly. Regular maintenance is also considered necessary on barefoot trails .

To minimize the risks mentioned, care should be taken when walking and foot care tailored to the conditions of barefoot walking (which is not identical to cosmetic foot care). There is also the option of tetanus vaccination for anyone who likes to go barefoot. Countermeasures against insect venom allergy can also be taken.

In the event of injuries or diseases of the musculoskeletal system, walking barefoot can lead to overload damage. In such cases, barefoot activities should only be used with medical permission and under the supervision of a knowledgeable physiotherapist.

The greatest caution should be exercised if the feet experience impaired perception and wound healing, such as those caused by diabetes mellitus . With diabetes there is a risk that even small injuries that are noticed too late will heal poorly. In extreme cases, this can lead to limb loss.

Traffic safety

The Road Traffic Regulations § 23 states that the driver is responsible for the road safety of the vehicle and its operation, but does not give any reason for a barefoot ban. This means that there is initially no legal basis for the imposition of fines for barefoot driving. If an accident-avoiding braking maneuver actually fails, this naturally has an impact on the question of guilt and the resulting fines and liability obligations. According to a decision by the Bamberg Higher Regional Court, there is a risk of fines and damages if the driver slips off the pedal because he is barefoot and causes an accident . This of course also applies in the opposite case, if this happens due to wearing certain footwear, if at the same time such a case would not have occurred if the same had been discarded beforehand, i.e. if an accident situation was caused as a result of using unsuitable or z. B. shoes soiled by mud. In such a case, driving barefoot can be absolutely necessary, provided that the driver is able to drive the vehicle safely without shoes.

According to § 44 of the accident prevention regulations for vehicles of the employer's liability insurance association , all drivers who drive a vehicle in the context of a commercial or business activity must wear shoes that firmly enclose their feet. This safety guideline, compliance with which must be demanded by the line manager, does not only apply to professional drivers who are involved in the commercial transport of people or goods, but also e.g. B. for a sales representative or craftsman who is traveling with a company vehicle. Only business trips carried out with your own private vehicle are exempt from this regulation. Since driving schools are subject to these regulations, driving instructors must also issue this barefoot ban to the learner drivers for their own safety. A violation of this regulation can result in fines and, in the case of an accident with personal injury, even criminal consequences, both for the driver and for his employer. An employer can also take action under labor law if employees violate this provision.

On the other hand, in certain situations it can be advisable to drive barefoot. This is the case if, due to the footwear being worn, safe operation of the pedal devices is not guaranteed and suitable footwear is not available, such as. B. when driving with open, not attached to the foot shoes, shoes with high heels or strap or thong sandals ( flip-flops ). These barely give the feet any stability when braking, but carry the risk of getting caught on the pedals or blocking the pedal travel. The stored footwear must not be stored in the driver's footwell so that it cannot slip between the pedals and block them.

Having to leave the vehicle after an accident can result in injury and health risks if you are barefoot, as broken pieces or sharp-edged vehicle parts may be lying around at the scene of the accident or liquids such as gasoline or oil may have leaked.

Occupational safety

Many activities should not be carried out barefoot because of the risk to the feet. For work like this, safety shoes are mandatory. It makes sense to transfer this to work in the private sector, e.g. B. the care of stable animals, construction work, moving heavy loads as well as handling dangerous tools and machines such as hammers, cutting devices, etc.

In other areas, for example in health care facilities such as doctors' surgeries and clinics or in restaurants , employees do not have to wear closed shoes because of risk to their feet, but for hygienic reasons.

Prominent barefoot runners

Joss Stone

The Bläck Fööss (literally: bare feet, synonymous with: bare feet) [ ˈbɭæk ˌføːs ] ( hear ? / I ) are one of the most successful Cologne dialect music groups. At the beginning of the 70s, the members of the band appeared long-haired, in jeans and barefoot (which was later given up because of the risk of injury from broken glass) at carnival meetings and balls, which sometimes very irritated the conservative carnival societies at that time. Audio file / audio sample

Some other musicians from different genres are also known to regularly appear barefoot: the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja usually performs barefoot in order to have a “direct connection with the earth”. The German violinist and pop singer Franziska Wiese also appears barefoot and in white clothes because she looks so natural and innocent. The Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora was known by the nickname Barefoot Diva because of her barefoot appearances . Other well-known examples from pop and rock music are Deep Purple front man Ian Gillan , Sade , Rio Reiser , Shakira , Joss Stone , Sandie Shaw , Jimmy Buffett , Hiram Bullock , Florence + the Machine singer Florence Welch, the folk duo Tuó and the band LaBrassBanda . A well-known example from the field of folk music is the group Die Schäfer , who perform barefoot in shepherd's costume.

At the Eurovision Song Contest there are always barefoot performances by participants. In the recent past, the competition could be won twice as a result of artists performing barefoot: 2012 by Loreen and 2013 by Emmelie de Forest .

The author Sabrina Fox has only been walking barefoot since 2014 . She describes this as a freedom that she gave back to her feet, woke her up and suddenly really felt the ground again . She only wears shoes in situations where hands require gloves , i. H. to protect against heat or cold.

The presenter Sarah Kuttner is known for moderating shows often barefoot.

The Australian nature documentary filmmaker Rob Bredl is known by the nickname "The Barefoot Bushman" because of his barefoot expeditions into the Australian nature .


  • Detlef Fleischer: Barefoot scene. More courage to bare feet. Neue Neusser Reihe, Neuss 2002, ISBN 3-00-009510-1 .
  • Alexa Iwan, Anne Welsing: Fit feet. Tips, tricks and recipes. vgs, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-8025-1662-1 .
  • Sabrina Fox: At large - a year without shoes? An experiment. Ullstein, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-548-74533-6

Web links

Wiktionary: barefoot  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Barefootedness  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Walking barefoot  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Schieder: Through the city on bare feet ( Memento from January 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). In: Berliner Akzente Online. 4th August 2010
  2. Barefoot in South Africa - blog prépa oraux de roseline mahé professeur d'anglais. Retrieved December 13, 2018 .
  3. Josie loves on a world tour: Ten facts about Australia. March 13, 2015, accessed December 13, 2018 .
  4. Why Do People Go Barefoot On The Street In New Zealand? January 10, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2018 (American English).
  5. a b Sade feels more present and naked on stage barefoot in: WELT Online, June 12, 2012
  6. ^ Isadora Duncan | Biography, Dances, Technique, & Facts . In: Encyclopedia Britannica . ( [accessed September 13, 2018]).
  7. Maud Allan | Canadian dancer and teacher . In: Encyclopedia Britannica . ( [accessed September 13, 2018]).
  8. Barefoot Peace Walk Archives - IRT. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 13, 2018 ; Retrieved June 13, 2018 (American English).
  9. ^ A b Andrew Meldrum: Long hours in a Harare jail. In: BBC News . June 1, 2002, accessed February 21, 2014.
  10. Xanten. In: Google Gooks
  11. Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 14. Altenburg 1862, pp. 266-274: Pierer's Universal Lexikon. In: January 30, 2014
  12. Latest Conversations Lexicon; or, Allgemeine deutsche Real-Encyclopaedie fuer educated Staende, Volume 15: Newest Conversations Lexicon. In: Google Books , January 30, 2014
  13. German Encyclopedia or General Real Dictionary of All Arts and Sciences: Blat - Cam, Volume 4: Ludwig Julius Friedrich Höpfner. In: Google Books , January 30, 2014
  14. Praedicere and cavere the Market Buying: defects in the Greek and Roman Law, p 33: Éva Jakab. In: Google Books , January 30, 2014
  15. ^ Cape Town and Surrounds. In: Western Cape Government. Retrieved July 1, 2013 .
  16. Shoes as the mark of freedom. In: Google Books , July 22, 2013
  17. Brazilian lady in litter carried by slaves. ( Memento from September 23, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: , July 22, 2013
  18. Thomas Scheen: Niger: Former slave receives compensation. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . October 28, 2008
  19. ^ Johann Georg Heinsius: [1] . March 25.2013
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  30. ^ Open Minds, Closed Doors: Prison Education in Uganda. ( Memento of November 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) In: October 20, 2010.
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  33. American Pastor Saeed Facing “Hell on Earth” in Iran's Evin Prison. In:
  34. theexpresstribune: YouTube video. 22th of March 2013.
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  41. Australian addict welcomes 31-year prison term. In:
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  43. A Foreigner in a Thai Court. In:
  44. VANCOUVER - The Canadian Press. In:
  45. Thai court sentences activist to 10 years in prison for insulting king. In:
  46. Heroin addicts escape Thai death sentence In:
  47. Extradition hearing for arms dealer postponed. In:
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  55. On the move: 26-year-old Michael Essing has been hiking barefoot across Germany for 84 days . Offenburger Tageblatt (August 21, 2013)
  56. Illustrated travel report by Michael Essing with a photo of the official document: Barefoot through Germany. In: DerZugvogel. 20th July 2015
  57. Illustrated travel report from AnSionnachRua with a photo of the official certificate: A Wee Stroll. In: hubski - a thoughtful web. June 25, 2017
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  63. ^ School program of the Anne Frank School in Lüneburg ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  64. P. Frenz, E. Iaccarino-Lutkat, M. Klauke: Tasks for gym bag forgetful. Auer-Verlag, Donauwörth 2013, ISBN 978-3-403-07042-9
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  71. Beate Prätorius, Thomas L. Milani, Marc-Andre Ulfig Ulfig & Katja Schmitz: Barefoot against coordination disorders. In: motor skills. Volume 29, March 2006, pp. 21–24
  72. ↑ Walking barefoot is healthy: myth or truth? In: We Love Nature Magazine - Your guide for a nature healthy life . June 18, 2016 ( [accessed December 5, 2017]).
  73. ↑ Walking barefoot makes your feet and body strong. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on December 5, 2017 ; Retrieved December 5, 2017 .
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  75. New study: Running barefoot healthier than jogging with shoes? ( Memento from October 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: MarathonFitness
  76. ↑ Having fun with foot care. In:
  77. Wirtschaftswoche . No. 16, April 16, 2007, p. 153; 2 Ss Owi 577/06
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  79. My world of hits: Franziska Wiese
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  82. On tour with Deep Purple: Once a rock star and back. In: Spiegel Online . July 25, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2018 .
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