‘I haven’t worn shoes for over a decade and I’m never going back’

A man who hasn’t worn shoes for a staggering 15 years says he is will never go back.

Robin Greenfield, 37, said he was inspired to say goodbye to shoes after he met a shoeless man on a university trip to New Zealand in 2008.

He said he was intrigued by the person’s decision and started copying him to see what it was like.

After being attracted by the “natural draw” he decided to continue going barefoot and hasn’t stopped since then.

However, he has since said that he will put on shoes in certain circumstances.

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Mr Greenfield said that he will put on shoes if the situation requires it, if the temperatures drop too far, or if it’s snowing.

He said that while he enjoys his barefoot lifestyle, it hasn’t been without incident.

He explained that he sometimes gets pieces of glass or thorns stuck in his food and that the worst places to walk barefoot are in city alleyways.

Despite his pain, Mr Greenfield, an environmental activist from the USA, is trying to teach others how to embrace his barefoot habit.

Mr Greenfield said: “I started walking barefoot and I loved it. It felt excellent – it was a very natural draw. I don’t recall a time having a particular reason except that it felt right.

“I wanted to go barefoot, and I did it. By being barefoot in public spaces, I am often the only one.

“I went to a festival last weekend where there were 5,000 people. I didn’t see a single other person that was barefoot, and I had hundreds of people looking at my feet.”

Although Mr Greenfield is a confident barefoot walker, he explained that it took him some time to adjust.

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He explained: “It took me years to overcome social norms or stigma – still today I receive some. A few years ago, I was walking barefoot in downtown Glendale, California.

“It is a very fancy area, and I could see people in their thousand-dollar clothes looking at me like I was nothing.

“People look down on me a lot, people often assume I am homeless. Their perception is I am down and out, and I have no other choices.

“But the benefit of that is it keeps me humble, I got rid of my last business clothes around eight years ago because I don’t to impress people with my clothes.”

He added: “I start at the bottom for a lot of people, and I like that. I want to be humble, and it is a practice of humility to be barefoot.”

Mr Greenfield said his family were concerned but understanding about his choice.

He said: “They were concerned about my future and if I was making choices that were going to create success and such, but also, supportive.

“The Greenfields – we’re a small family and we’re all weirdos in one way or another. We’re all unique, none of us fit into the societal norms and so I got a lot of support.”

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