An interview with a barefoot girl

Sierra est une barefooteuse canadienne. Voici une interview (en anglais) qu'elle a publiée sur son blog.

How was it that you became a barefooter, and why?

I am a barefooter for the sheer pleasure of the sensation. I don’t like shoes. They hurt my feet and I feel cut off from the world when I can’t feel the ground beneath me. I’ve always felt more free when barefoot. I never really thought much of it until I met some people on the internet who were fascinated by my lack of shoes in many of the pictures I posted of myself on deviantart. They encouraged me to be openly full time barefoot. Before that, I never really had the courage to go barefoot in public before that.

How do you react when people stare at your bare feet?

I smile and wave. I like the attention. My husband I and keep a mental tally of how many people ask why I’m barefoot each day. The record is 9.

Have you ever been put to dares before, endurance tests to your soles?

When I was in elementary school, my friends and I would see how long we could stand barefoot in snow or on hot metal. I always won, even against the boys. More recently, I’ve been asked to make videos of myself doing certain things (running on gravel, dancing on glass, going into a public washroom, etc) and post them on the internet as dares, but I’ve only followed through with a few of them. I have a busy life, and honestly, some of the dares scared me a little bit. I’ll get to doing more though, I promise!

Is going barefoot sexy, a turn-on? Why?

For me, no. For other people, possibly. I just enjoy being barefoot. It’s not a sexual thing for me, but rather a sensual thing. From what I understand, there are people out there who get a kick out of bare feet, but I’m sure the reasons are varied.

Did anyone influence you heavily in your fondness for barefooting, or is it just something you came to on your own?

My mom, definitely. She grew up on a farm and was just all around really tough. Whenever we would go camping when I was little, we would walk on a rocky creek bed together and she had such thick callouses on the bottoms of her feet that the rocks didn’t hurt her at all. I always wanted to have thick callouses like her when I grew up. I went to that same rocky creek bed as an adult and now have no problem walking barefoot on it, but the friend I took with me was quite the tenderfoot!

How old were you when you realized you had an unusually strong interest in feet and going barefoot?

19. It had been my normal for so long that I didn’t realize it was weird. I always thought everyone liked going barefoot, since I spent most of my time growing up either on a farm in southern Alberta or in California or Florida, where everyone was barefoot all the time anyway. Once I met more people, though, I realized how unusual my preoccupation with bare feet really was.

Do you think going barefoot can be social? In other words, if one person in a group bares their feet, is it more likely that others will, too?

In my experience, yes. My husband is much more likely to be barefoot in the backyard when I am with him. 

When friends come to visit you, do they take off their shoes (and socks, if they’re wearing them) to hang out?

Typically, people in Canada do not wear shoes indoors anyway. My friends usually keep their socks on though. It doesn’t bother me too much, unless they touch me with their socks. I make my husband take off his socks when we cuddle. At my bridal shower, everyone went barefoot for me, and at my wedding, most of the bridesmaids went barefoot for the pictures with me. Typically, though, I’m the only barefoot one.

Likewise, do you go barefoot when you hang out at friends’ homes?

Always. I only wear shoes in my work kitchen and in my mother-in-law’s clinic.

Do your barefoot habits annoy or bother any of your friends or family members?

My in-laws thought it was unusual at first, and my great-grandma thinks I’m mental, but for the most part, everyone is fine with it.

What’s the strongest encouragement you ever got for going barefoot?

When my regional chef (that’s the guy in charge of my entire restaurant chain in the region) saw me walking barefoot through the parking lot and said “Cool.”

Has your influence ever convinced anyone else to go barefoot more often?

My brother and my husband are definitely barefoot more often as a result of me being around them, but as far as I know, I’ve never converted a barefooter yet.

Have you ever walked barefoot in the mud?

Yup. I once went on a 3 day barefoot hike after a rainstorm. Wonderful.

Have you ever gotten into trouble for going barefoot - in a store, for example?

I have been kicked out of quite a few places, and my boss makes me wear shoes in the work kitchen even when I’m off the clock, because apparently it’s a health code violation to have bare feet in a kitchen.

Do you feel that feet are attractive female body parts? And have you ever complimented another girl on her feet?

I think feet are incredibly gross, actually. I step on dog poo! How is that attractive? As for being attractive, I think feet are like noses. Very rarely do you find extraordinarily awesome ones, but there are lots of really ugly ones out there. Mostly as a result of shoes making them deformed.

What’s the most difficult thing your feet have been through?

I was told that “shoes” is not a valid answer. Darn. Um, probably when I sliced one of my toes open on a sharp metal bed frame. 

What’s the worst surface you can walk barefoot on?

Broken glass. At worst, shards will go into the softer arch of my foot, but not very deep. It hurts to walk on glass, though, so I try to avoid it. The sharp bits feel like they’re bruising my feet when I walk on them.

Do some people like you to be a barefooter? Ever received complements about your feet, such as how beautiful they are, etc?

I get the occasional complement about how it’s “sexy” that I’m walking barefoor, but I try not to let it go to my head.

How have your soles changed now that you live in the city? Are they rougher?

Not much has changed, actually. They get dirtier, but that’s about it. 

How do you manage scorching hot pavement in the summer? Do you walk faster, or in the shade?

Honestly, pavement doesn’t bother me much anymore. I can’t remember pavement being too hot to handle since maybe high school at the latest. Pavement doesn’t get that hot in Canada anyway.

Would you like doing a barefoot travel session? Leaving your shoes at home and traveling to another town for three or four days, documenting everything?

I think that would be fun. I just hardly ever have time to travel.

Have you attended classes barefoot? How did your teachers, friends react?

All of my schools has shoes required policies, so I always wore slip on shoes and then just took them off under my desk and sat barefoot, then put them back on before leaving class. My teachers didn’t care and all of my female friends did the same thing. I did have a few male friends ask why I never wore “real shoes,” just always flip flops or ballet flats. I always told them I don’t like shoes and I especially don’t like socks.

How is it to walk barefoot on the snow?

Oh my gosh, I love it so much! It’s my favorite thing to walk barefoot on.

Please talk about your daily 5k running.

I used to run 5 kilometers a day on gravel and dirt roads, but I have since injured my knee, so my doctor suggested biking instead.

Ever got a positive comment about living barefoot? Encouragement?

Mostly just random guys saying it’s sexy and to keep doing. And I will keep doing it, until the day I die.

Do people want to see the bottom of your feet, to feel the tough rough skin? Do you allow them to? What do they say? Do they like them?

I do get people asking to see the bottom of my feet, but very few people have asked to touch them, mostly because they’re so dirty. Everyone is always impressed by my callouses, and in the winter, by my lack of frostbite.

Do you feel nervous, afraid about dares, about putting the soles of your feet through endurance tests?

Nervous and afraid about the dares, no. About putting my soles to the test, a little bit, for some of the things that could actually hurt me, like walking on glass and live coals. I’m mostly just concerned about how kinky some of the requests I get are. I’m not really into fetish fantasies, sorry.

Ever ran a race barefoot? Did you win? Do you think you could beat a runner who wears shoes?

Yes, I’ve competed barefoot a few times. I’ve never won, just because the people I was racing were better qualified than I was. I don’t think shoes have anything to do with it.

Will you spend the whole winter barefoot, or do you think the cold weather will finally confine your feet to warm prisons?

I go barefoot until it hits -20°C. At that point, it can get so cold so fast that I could lose a toe in 60 seconds. Not worth the risk. I wear shoes.

How did your family react when they finally found out that you were serious about barefooting, about wearing shoes only when strictly necessary? And your friends? Do they support you? Is someone still trying to convince you to wear shoes again?

They thought it was weird, but no one tried to stop me, except in the winter. My husband always begs me to wear shoes long before I concede. 

How do you see yourself in 10, 20 years? Do you think you’ll still be a hardcore barefooter by then, or not anymore?

By then, I will have children, and I think their safety will dictate that I wear shoes so that they will too. I’ll still be barefoot as often as possible, though.

How have people in your new neighborhood reacted to Sierra the Barefoot Girl? Do they make comments, do they care at all, or are they indifferent?

None of my neighbors or friends at church have even mentioned my bare feet. It’s typically only people at work that question my lack of shoes.

What do your friends say about you being Sierra the Barefoot Girl? Do they like your blog and the pictures you post there?

Not very many of my friends follow my posts, but the ones that do fully support me. I don’t allow haters to be on my friends list.

Do you mind having rough soles? Dirty ones? Do you like them?

I don’t mind rough or dirty soles, but my husband makes me wash my feet before he will cuddle me.

Ever shown your dirty soles to people walking by to see how they will react?

No unless they ask.

Do you pamper your feet in any special way? How do you take care of them?

I get a pedicure about once a month and I massage them while I wash them.

How did you get started running barefoot on sharp gravel? The roads around the family farm are all gravel, so if I wanted to go for a run, that was my only option unless I wanted to drive into town.

Do you plan to walk barefoot on a construction site, abandoned building, junkyard, etc for future blog updates?

Not really. I’m more into having a blog about my everyday like adventures. If my life takes me to such a site, I will be sure to take pictures!

What are the more barefoot-friendly places you usually go?

That’s a tough one. I try to avoid places that are not barefoot friendly, although I do have to brave the mean grocery store people in order to feed myself. West Edmonton Mall is pretty barefoot friendly.

Are you getting famous in your town because you don’t wear shoes?

I get recognized in public every once in a while. I wouldn’t call it famous, though.

How is it going barefoot to church?

It’s great. Some of the younger girls are starting to copy me and take their shoes off during church.

What’s the most difficult surface you’ve walked barefoot onto, the one that demands the most of you, the one you fear the most?

Unfamiliar farms. I don’t know what kind of rusty metal or thorns they have hiding beneath the waving grass.

Is there any surface that you do not dare to walk barefoot on?

Live coals. That’s pretty much it.

Hoe does it feel being our barefoot queen?

Honestly, I feel like I’m full of myself every time I think that phrase. It’s like the whole thing is something too good to be true that I’ve just made up in a dream land or something. To actually be accepted for doing what I love, and on top of that, to be loved for it, is something amazing that I never thought could happen. Thank you all for your continued support. I would never be who I am today without all of my fans.