Spike Mason : Andrew Doesn’t Wear Shoes

Andrew would never wear shoes. He wouldn’t wear them at home, or at work, or even on the train ride in between. He wouldn’t wear them when the rays of the sun had turned the concrete paths into scorching white tracks, and he wouldn’t wear them when the ice cool rains swept and rolled their torrents through the streets toward their underground seas. He wouldn’t wear them when he went to the bank, and stood in a long queue with jacket and tie men of business. He wouldn’t wear them when he went to the local café, sip his coffee, pick at his mezzo plate, and amuse his friends.

After I became his friend it seemed like a strange and unnecessary question to ask, but as I was genuinely interested to know why he traveled his life barefoot, I asked him.
“It enables me to feel grounded.” He said. “If I walk around with shoes on, I feel disconnected from my environment, because every place feels the same. Once my shoes are off though, it’s a different story and I can relax into my surroundings. I can float with the direction of the grain in a wooden floor. I can cringe at the scratch of asphalt when I quickly cross the street. I can squelch dirt and grass between my toes when I play soccer on the oval at lunchtime.”

Andrew loved listening to live music, and would do so as often as he could, but this love only caused him grief. He discovered that you are not allowed to enter a music venue, or even stand quietly at the back of the room, unless you are wearing a pair of shoes. Music venues are very strict when it comes to their shoe laws. Shoes are required if you desire to be on the premises, no exceptions. So Andrew made up his mind to buy a pair of shoes. He chose a very comfortable and loosely fitting pair of black leather and fur shoes that he’d found in an OpShop. He carried them in his backpack. He wore them without socks.

Now when he arrived at the front door of a music venue he was welcomed with open arms. He was no longer the recipient of disapproving looks, wagging fingers or flat denials. He enjoyed many a wonderful concert but over time began to realise that shoe wearing music venue patrons were not always there just to listen to the music. They were often there to meet friends, drink heartily, and talk loudly.

Andrew decided that the people who wrote music venue shoe laws had it all wrong, and he came to a simple conclusion. The wearing of shoes does not indicate a good listener. That simple fact persuaded him to donate his shoes back to the OpShop and joyfully return to his barefooted music listening option – standing outside on the front steps with his ear pressed to the door.

Shoeless Man-ifesto

Why I Don’t Wear Shoes

here’s all the answers i could think of in not very long, in about as much detail as they deserve

Because I like to feel things – the texture of the ground, the weather. We don’t use our senses much in the concrete industrialised capitalist western city. We look at the advertising, listen to the crap people go on with, try to ignore the smog, sometimes touch our families but rarely anyone else, and that’s about it. As a human committed to experiencing life in all it’s fullness, making barriers to experience, especially on a bit of my body which is otherwise as open to sensation as my eyes and ears, is abhorrent. Walking without shoes, I experience the difference in texture between soft grass, concrete footpath, pebbly roads, and weedy yards. I feel muddy puddles on a rainy morning, cool shady footpath on a hot day, warm ashphalt on a summer evening.

Because i’m the only person at Sydney Airport who knows, at 5am on a freezing wet July morning, the pleasure of stepping on the warm dry spotlights which are sunk into the footpath.

Because I will be free. I will not put my feet in little prisons for most of the time. My feet, as much as any of the rest of me, want to breathe and move and dance and live. In giving freedom to the foot, we assure freedom to the head.

machine feet, by rebecca

Because naked is good.

Because I’m a cheapskate, and feet grow back. This organic footwear never wears out; when you get holes in them they fix themselves; they don’t need polish or laces; I’m not going to lose them or get rolled by homeboys for them.

Because my feet provide a heat sink, which I need, being a hot guy.

Because I want to maintain equal potential with the ground, that the eternal electricity of the earth may flow freely through my bones.

Because I am the emperor of all I survery, and Mambo makes the emperor’s new clothes.

Because everyone else does.

Because you can sneak up on people. Not wearing shoes, you learn to tread lightly on the earth. And treading lightly, you cause less damage. Too many beautiful things and valuable people are crushed by people who never learnt to look where they walk. Walking without sole armour causes less damage to the earth you walk on, because the damage is reciprocal. When I do choose to wear shoes, through habit I walk more softly, making less noise, causing less damage.

Andrew Lorien august 1998

–> i guess it’s about freedom