Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Alliance Gets A Make-over

What was formerly known as The Primalfoot Alliance has now become The Barefoot Alliance. I and several others have worked closely with the alliance for years, but the organization is run primarily by its founder, Michael Buttgen. Michael has done a fantastic job using the alliance to promote barefooting to the general public, which still remains largely “podophobic” in much of the United States. We have been discussing the name change for a long time, but the time has now arrived for The Barefoot Alliance to emerge from its trans-formative cocoon as a “new creature,” as Michael puts it.

The Barefoot Alliance exists to encourage the acceptance and practice of going shoeless more often and in more places. The reasons for going barefoot include improved health, increased comfort, and expanded personal freedom. Most people really like the idea! Those of us in the barefooting community hear it frequently:

“I’d go barefoot all the time if it was socially acceptable.”

If so many people are saying this, how can going barefoot in public not be socially acceptable? Do people say one thing in private but then behave differently in public? Maybe sometimes, but I think the barefoot-friendly majority is largely forced into shoe-compliance by a foot-phobic minority. But for a growing number of people the discomfort and health issues from constantly wearing footwear are pushing them to overcome the social resistance and simply live barefoot more often. After all, it's not illegal or unethical to simply walk around barefoot! At The Barefoot Alliance, we would like to see going barefoot as common Рand blas̩ Рas wearing shorts or a short-sleeved shirt on a warm day.

In many parts of the country things are starting to change. In my own hometown I personally experienced constant discrimination a few years ago when I first starting traipsing around barefoot in public, but after several years of confronting the discrimination much progress has been made. Indeed, I do not remember the last time I was escorted to an exit or even told I needed shoes, and I visit just as many big box stores, restaurants, and businesses as anyone else. If you try going out barefoot and meet resistance, I and The Barefoot Alliance want to encourage you to “keep on keeping on.” We want to provide you with resources to help you understand and communicate the legality and benefits of going barefoot. If you are persistent, you can change your community to make it more barefoot-friendly.

I believe strongly that the new branding for The Barefoot Alliance will greatly improve our ability to reach people about the health benefits and joys of simply living barefoot. Kick off your shoes and join us! There’s a revolution afoot.