Australians Embrace Barefoot Lifestyle, Viral Video Highlights Trend

The reasons behind this preference are likely a mix of indigenous influence, relaxed lifestyle, and celebrating a warmer climate.

Australians Embrace Barefoot Lifestyle, Viral Video Highlights Trend

In New Zealand and Australia, going barefoot is a common sight.

New Zealanders and Australians have a surprising habit of going barefoot in everyday situations. From quick errands to playgrounds and even pubs, shoes are often optional. This cultural quirk can be a shock for visitors, as noted by Seth Kugel, a New York Times writer who encountered it during a 2012 visit to New Zealand.

Barefoot Everywhere?

Kugel observed, "People walk around barefoot. On the street. In supermarkets. All over. It's not everyone, but it's common enough to be surprising and a bit unsettling. Sure, city sidewalks are clean, but they're still city sidewalks."

This love for bare feet extends to schools. One elementary school in Perth allows students to go shoeless entirely, citing potential benefits like improved posture, better sensory awareness, and stronger feet and bodies. However, podiatrists remain skeptical.

Why Barefoot?

The reasons for this widespread preference are unclear. Some point to the influence of Indigenous cultures in both countries. Others see it as a reflection of a more relaxed and casual way of life. David Rowe, a cultural research professor, offered a unique perspective to the BBC in 2021. He suggests that going shoeless might be a way for migrants from colder climates to celebrate their new life in a warmer environment. "It's a way to shed the formality of their northern hemisphere origins and embrace the sun and fun of their new home," he explained.

Expat's Experience

Jordana Gray, a British expat living in Australia, found going barefoot a complete change. She initially thought it was illegal to drive without shoes! However, she has embraced the custom. "I love the feeling of freedom," she says, even venturing barefoot while driving (though she advises a "toe test" before hot pavement).

In a TikTok video, Gray documented her amusement at the sight of Australians leaving their shoes at the beach entrance, only to find them miraculously untouched upon their return. The comments section, however, offered a more realistic picture. Australians shared their own experiences of stolen shoes, from beloved Birkenstocks to cherished glitter sandals. One commenter offered a practical solution: "Just wear cheap Kmart shoes to the beach. That way, if they get taken, it's no big deal, and you can still walk home barefoot because, well, that's just what we do here."

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