Friday, April 8, 2011

Barefoot Trend Goes Footloose Across the World, Not Best Idea in Tucson

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Bare feet work on the beach, but not in Tucson.

Being barefoot is the new hot trend and, quite frankly, it really stinks.

Not because being barefoot is a horrible thing. On the contrary: Barefoot is by far the coolest way to be while romping across your carpet, lawn or the dog beds strewn in the living room. But barefoot becoming a trend stinks, because that means the practice has a chance of going mainstream.

Once something goes mainstream, someone finds a way that it causes cancer or otherwise wrecks it for the rest of us. Besides, if something goes mainstream, that means it’s already passé in New York City and Milan, and we have to come up with new trends and habits.

Drew Carey did the mainstream thing with the thick, black-framed glasses I used to wear, forcing me to switch to a lighter tortoise shell style to get away from the trend.

Evidence of barefoot’s mainstream status cropped up earlier this week, with Tuesday’s One Day Without Shoes. Folks across the world, or at least the country, pledged to refrain from wearing footwear to raise awareness for “the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life,” according to the movement’s website.

Shoes can certainly have an impact on a child if they hit him in the face, but we think they were talking about the dangers of athlete’s foot, being laughed at in gym class or stepping on a rusty nail.

In any event, One Day Without Shoes goes into the category of good intentions that end up with ridiculous results. We’re not exactly sure how not wearing shoes for a day can help shoeless children across the globe. And we also hope folks don’t get the idea for more 24-hour experiments to raise awareness for other causes, such as One Day Without Milk Pasteurization or One Day With a Cleft Lip.

Perhaps One Day to Donate Used Shoes or Buy a Kid New Shoes would have worked out better, or at least more beneficially for the naked-footed children. It would have also staved off the horrors One Day Without Shoes can bring.

Although many of us love being barefoot, most of us are not as tickled to see other people’s naked feet. This rings especially true for those who suffer from corns, nail fungus or calluses. And we surely don’t want to see any bare feet propped on the corporate conference table, as shown in one of the One Day Without Shoes site’s photos.

At least the bare feet weren’t propped on the corporate lunch table.

The barefoot trend has also been sprinting into the running world, with advocates arguing that no one wore shoes in the Greek Olympics, so it must be wrong to wear shoes when we run today.

To fit this new barefoot running trend, sports and shoe companies quickly deemed the practice “minimalistic running” and created glove-like sheaths to wear during your barefoot run. Many of the shoes have the word “barefoot” in their names and have a separate little chamber for each toe; makers promise wearing them is just like being barefoot, only better. That will be $100, please.

As silly as the barefoot shoes may sound, I am chagrined to admit I actually want to try a pair on my treadmill. Nearly barefoot on the treadmill’s running deck, however, is surely not as fun as minimalistic running outdoors over rocks, dog doo and broken beer bottles.

Tucson is not the friendliest place to be barefoot, with or without a trend. Sizzling sand, steaming asphalt, bristly burrs and cholla spines that can probably penetrate bone take care of that. But we don’t have to fret because, as with most trends, the barefoot craze will tread on its merry way soon enough, leaving our closets stocked with $100 glove-shoes and a nod to shoeless children everywhere.
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Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her radio show airs every Wednesday and her column appears every Friday. See more writing and art from RYNdustries at ryngargulinski.com and rynski.etsy.com.

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