When I was growing up there was a man who lived in a flat on the local high street who never wore shoes. Come rain or shine he was in a permanent state of barefoot. Odd. We called him No Shoes Simon and tried not to stare when he walked past. The thing of it was, in every other respect he was a completely a normal guy –whatever normal is. He did his food shopping in Waitrose, got his hair cut at the barbers and drove a Renault. I’m not sure if there was a Mrs Barefoot or little barefoot kids – perhaps there was an entire dynasty of middle class non-shoe wears knocking around Hertfordshire. Either way No Shoes Simon was quite the local sight. Now, fast forward 15 years and Simon had it right all along because going barefoot is apparently the new status symbol.
Yes, you read that right. According to a newspaper, bare feet make you appear more confident, wealthy and free-spirited. Suggesting a habit of plush carpets, sandy beaches and marble flooring, going without shoes projects the image that you are used to a certain level of luxury. It also says that you are too zenned-out or too rich and fabulous to give a hoot about the regular conventions of dressing. See Chris Martin doing his shopping in Malibu and Gisele doing beach yoga on Instagram. Smug.
But wait, there’s more. Going barefoot also makes you more intelligent, or so says a new report. Research from Bournemouth University suggests that school children who don't wear shoes to lessons are more engaged and so more likely to get better grades.
And then of course there’s the defiance of it. In a society where you get sent home for not wearing high heels to work, surely the act of not wearing any at all is one of rebellion? Insert picture of Julia Roberts at Cannes here.
So, with all the evidence gathered, is this to be the end of footwear as we know it? Are we to bid adieu to blisters, shoe laces and Kurt Geiger? Could it be that on next year’s catwalk the designer ‘it’ shoe will be replaced with the latest Ped Egg? Oh god, let’s hope not. The last time I went barefoot in a public arena I got a verruca and no amount of wealthy, care-free associations is going to make that glamourous. Then of course there is the sheer irony of those who can afford shoes choosing go without.
I for one will be sticking to ‘with shoes’, but in case you’re wondering why there’s a sudden surge of bare feet in the green juice isle, now you know.