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Barefoot professor in Virginia preaches shoelessness

Daniel Howell, a biology professor at Virginia's Liberty University, is on a "crusade to challenge America's cultural addiction to shoes", according to a feature in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that has hit the wires.

Howell "likens the shoe to a cast that immobilizes an otherwise healthy foot and prevents it from functioning as nature intended," the article says.

His argument doesn't always go over well in restaurants. So he carries a letter from the state health department that says bare feet in a restaurant is not a health code violation.

Howell teaches biology at Liberty and is required to wear shoes in the classroom. He took to barefoot walking by way of barefoot running, a practice that is, by contrast, well within the bounds of social acceptability.

He is author of "The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes".

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By Daniel de Vise  | October 17, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Pedagogy  | Tags:  Daniel Howell, Liberty University, barefoot Liberty University professor, barefoot professor, shoeless professor  
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Comments

Maybe the Health Department should make it a health violation.


What is that, only in Virginia?


.

Posted by: CapitolOrCapital | October 17, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

So this professor must wear shoes in class at Liberty University. Obviously Jerry Falwell must have decided Jesus himself wore shoes when he gave the sermon on the mount.

Posted by: funfun881 | October 17, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to put quotes around "University."

Posted by: JoshHamilton | October 17, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Feet are no more or less "dirty" than your hands. The only reason you wear shoes is to protect your feet. Restaurant floors aren't exactly the safest thing to step on, with bits of broken glass, and a whole host of other disgusting things.

I think people really lack common sense.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | October 17, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

When I was in college in VA, no one said anything if I came to class barefoot on warm days. Of course, some professors smoked during their lectures in those days - the long ago 1980's.

I think the stigma against barefeet comes from looking down on poor people. Not having shoes was historically associated with being poor - the attitude against barefeet is a remnant of this old prejudice.

Most surfaces feel good to bare feet - mud squishing betweeen your toes; hot sand, cool rivers, soft, gentle grass, slick hardwood floors. It's very sensual. Maybe that's why Liberty University makes him put on shoes!

Posted by: amelia51 | October 17, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Diabetics, and others, should ALWAYS wear shoes, appropriately fitted and carefully and frequently evaluate their feet for injuries. The rest, well, if you don't mind possibly putting a nail into your soul, I guess it's OK.

Posted by: Martial | October 17, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to put quotes around "University."

Posted by: JoshHamilton
---------------------------------------------
And around "Liberty," too!

Posted by: binaryboy | October 17, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

You also need to put quotation marks around "biology" and "professor." "Liberty" "University" requires belief in creationism, and he's a biology teacher wrongfully educating students in baloney science. http://www.liberty.edu/libertyjournal/index.cfm?PID=15758§ion=4&artid=737&CFID=27629706&CFTOKEN=81868315

Posted by: cossack2 | October 17, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

He should just get those shoes that have toes built into them. I have a pair and they're close to a barefoot experience.

Posted by: dkp01 | October 17, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The barefoot professor is right, even if he happens to teach at a University that some readers apparently do not respect. He is taking a stand against something that never should have got to this point (Americans' irrational fears towards bare feet). For that he should be applauded.

Shoes are tools and should be worn only when really needed, like coats, gloves, ear plugs, etc. In most situations, bare feet are actually healthier and more comfortable than wearing shoes of any kind.

You should buy "The Barefoot Book" to learn more. And remember, just because someone doesn't hold the same religious beliefs as you do, that doesn't mean all their observations about the world are incorrect. If it were raining and a professor from Liberty University told you as much, would you insist that you were dry even though you were wet just because of something Jerry Falwell said or did years ago? I hope not.

Posted by: SoleMuchBetter | October 18, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

In California, where we live, it IS a violation of the State Health Code to not wear shoes/sandals/flipflops, etc in restaurants, and I'm glad that it is. There is nothing more unsanitary than someone trying to go into a grocery store or restaurant without some covering for their feet.

Posted by: Alex511 | October 18, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Walking around bare foot is not only filthy but gross as well.

Posted by: skr3211 | October 18, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

High falsetto Tiny Tim voice singing ...
Tiptoe through the snowstorm with me ...aaaaaccchoooo!!!

Posted by: dottydo | October 18, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like another religious neanderthal (which appears to include all members of the Grand Old Pedophile party) pushing regressivism ... they would all like to be apes again. Bully for them!

Posted by: bibleburner | October 18, 2010 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Lots of assumptions going on in the comment thread, most of which are mistaken. There is no health code in California or any state, for that matter, against bare feet. Nor should there be -- that "health code" urban myth started as an anti-hippie bit of fear-mongering in the 1960s. The Sixties are over.

All the author is doing in "The Barefoot Book" is reminding people of something they shouldn't need to be reminded of -- that it is perfectly safe, healthy and natural to go barefoot in most settings. That's it, really. Keep your shoes on if you wish, but please quit pretending that other people going barefoot are somehow harming you or anyone else by exercising a simple freedom in this free country of ours.

As for all these comments about "filthy" and "gross" -- really, people, how often do you wash the bottoms of your shoes? How often do you give your feet air and light so they can breathe? Why do you repeatedly put your feet into dark, unventilated shoes where fungi can thrive and muscles atrophy from lack of use?

If this sort of self-questioning makes you uneasy, I apologize. But think about these things before lashing out at those who enjoy walking barefoot. That's not too much to ask. If you are going to bother to comment, why not elevate this debate beyond name-calling and inaccurate innuendo?

If you dare, try taking a short barefoot walk yourself. Not one of those fire-walking deal like people pay big money to participate in, and not on hot, scorching asphalt or freezing ground, but on a nice day. Maybe just across the backyard, or out to the edge of the driveway.

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Posted by: SoleMuchBetter | October 18, 2010 3:56 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he should just return to the planet of the apes, where shoes are not a necessity

Posted by: judyterry | October 18, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

I guess Britney Spears knew what she was doing in that gas station bathroom.

Posted by: dcn8v | October 18, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey, they're his feet, he can do what he wants with them.

But should other people listen to the guy?

If they do, they may want to consider that this is a BIOLOGY teacher who teaches at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, where he must sign an oath that he believes the story of creation told in the book of Genesis is true.

Evolution didn't happen....and evolution is a foundational principle of biology....and this dude is a biology teacher.....

Posted by: mcrockett1 | October 18, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's the dean @ Liberty on what directs "research" by faculty:

http://www.liberty.edu/academics/index.cfm?PID=139

Posted by: mcrockett1 | October 18, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I go 'shoe-less' at home as much as possible. It is more comfortable.

However, as a person whose feet have endured frostbite in Alaska twenty or so years ago, I am rather over-protective of my feet outside.

I want to laugh (sometimes scream at) women who wear very uncomfortable shoes just because they think they're 'stylish'. Older women with 'hammer-toes' (toes which have bent over other toes due to being cramped into ill-fitting shoes for too long) would now tell you how foolish that is.

Posted by: momof20yo | October 18, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The professor should get himself checked for hook worms. They may be affecting his mind.

Posted by: timothy2me | October 18, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

"Feet are no more or less "dirty" than your hands."


Anyone put their hands on places where birds poop and people spit? Anyone ever get athletes Hand?

Posted by: buckdharma | October 18, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

It's not about the feet, which do not pose a health risk; it's about what we have done to the environment they walk on. The human foot is not constructed to walk on hard surfaces like pavement and floors without bad consequences over time. Hence the sole that transitions between the shape and musculature of the foot and the flatness of the street.
Tiptoe through the tulips, frolic on the beach, let the grass grow between your toes, run naked through the woods by gosh...but walk down an out-of-order Metro escaltor barefott? Probably not.

Posted by: sbg50 | October 18, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the post should have a regular feature where they profile a "professor" from Liberty "university".

It would be more entertaining then the funny papers.

(except when you consider all the morons who pay money to go there)

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 18, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

my only problem would being forced to look at butt ugly feet! ewww!

Posted by: nall92 | October 18, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Socks are great. And in fact so are many soft shoes.

Possibly he is preaching about poorly designed, uncomfortable, shoes, which make up the majority of shoes in the world.

Right church. Wrong pew.

Posted by: quiet1 | October 18, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

my only problem would being forced to look at butt ugly feet! ewww!

Posted by: nall92 | October 18, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I am convinced that it is far more healthy, especially for diabetics, to go barefoot whenever possible. Shoes tend to slow circulation in the feet, which is certainly bad for diabetics, who often have legs amputated because of poor circulation. As circulation through your feet improves, they stay warmer when uncovered. It's also more comfortable, allows perspiration to dry up, instead of causing fungus infections like athlete's foot. I bet the bottoms of my feet are much cleaner than the bottoms of your shoes.

Posted by: scoogy | October 18, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, monkeys don't wear shoes either! I think this is the professor's subversive way of teaching evolution at Liberty.

Posted by: lovinliberty | October 18, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

ewwww feet!

Posted by: nall92 | October 18, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

sounds like one of the loonies from woodstock.the good old days no bathe,no shave,mary jane,drugs and rock n roll.now a professor,this is an american success story

Posted by: pofinpa | October 18, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Hah! Like anyone at Liberty "University" wears shoes.

Posted by: irae | October 18, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I know there's gotta be a connection to the earth only being 6,000 years old and the "professor's" bare feet....

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 18, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The reason Martial suggests that diabetics should always wear shoes, is that many of them can't feel their feet, which is also true for people with Spina Bifida (and many other conditions I'm sure). They must wear shoes because if they step on something that causes damage to their foot they won't know and can continue walking on it and causing further damage until they do a "foot check." It can be a tiny shard of glass from something broken months ago or something that seems entirely innocuous like a paper clip or staple. Once the damage is done, it is very difficult to heal areas that are insensate, possibly calling for surgery to repair. I'm not sure what I think about most people going around barefoot, but my daughter with Spina Bifida will continue to wear shoes during all of her waking hours for her own safety.

Posted by: talleyl | October 18, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Plantars warts abound on the feet of people who go barefoot. Be mindful of their hobbling effect and the lack of a cure when you make your decision on "going barefoot." For more info, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantar_wart

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | October 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Shoes are required in places of business not for health reasons, but for liability. Should he step on something and injure his unprotected foot, the business is liable. This guy is an idiot.

Posted by: Soop | October 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

A 54-year-old grandmother, I go barefoot as often as possible and know many people don't approve and some laugh at me. Guess what? Your approval means nothing to me. Absolutely nothing. I don't even feel bad. You keep doing what you're doing. I'll keep doing what I'm doing. We'll both be happy. You enjoy your ingrown toenails, your bunions, your burning soles, hammertoes, blisters and designer shoe costs and I'll enjoy my pain free, trouble free, low cost feet.

Posted by: LScott923 | October 18, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Professor Howell's undergraduate education in biology should have included a course in parasitology. Hookworns, roundworms, whipworms, etc. - all can be acquired by walking barefoot in contgaminated soil.

Posted by: tadchem | October 18, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

And this nutty professor has tenure.

Posted by: KDG1 | October 18, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

HELLO! Read the last sentence. He's selling a book! This is not "news," it is self promotion.

Posted by: Floda | October 18, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Would not recommend walking barefoot during a Wisconsin winter.
Ice and snow "... immobilizes an otherwise healthy foot and prevents it from functioning as nature intended".

Posted by: zamm | October 18, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I would like to challenge any of you "put University in quotaion marks" people to a contest of knowledge with my daughter who graduated from Liberty, aced her GRE's, and is now in a very difficult grad program in a health profession. My husband and I are both highly educated healthcare professionals and we never regretted for a moment our decision to send our daughter to Liberty. Princeton's Peter Singer has famously opined that a goldfish is a higher form of life than an an unborn human baby - that's Princeton "University"

Posted by: LibertyMom | October 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I would like to challenge any of you "put University in quotaion marks" people to a contest of knowledge with my daughter who graduated from Liberty, aced her GRE's, and is now in a very difficult grad program in a health profession. My husband and I are both highly educated healthcare professionals and we never regretted for a moment our decision to send our daughter to Liberty. Princeton's Peter Singer has famously opined that a goldfish is a higher form of life than an an unborn human baby - that's Princeton "University"

Posted by: LibertyMom | October 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If we didn't have shoes, my wife would have no purpose in life and my house would be nearly empty.

Posted by: inukshuk | October 18, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Anyone put their hands on places where birds poop and people spit? Anyone ever get athletes Hand?"
Haha! I suppose you've never touched the doorknob on a public bathroom? Or perhaps used toilet paper yourself? Stop kidding yourselves that our hands are so clean and prim. Also, athlete's foot only exists when we cram our feet in sweaty, dark shoes. Cultures who are primarily shoeless suffer almost none of the typical foot ailments that we "civilized" Westerners do. A bunioned, athete's foot infested, hammer-toed shod foot is far more gross than a natural bare foot. And btw, parasites (hookworms and whatever else has been mentioned) are almost exclusively caused by poor local sanitation.
It's a shame that more people don't get to experience a childhood of shoeless freedom! It would really help ease the up-tightness I read in many of these comments.

Posted by: Barefoottrailrunner | October 18, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

have you ever stepped on something gross by accident? imagine without shoes how nasty that would be.

Posted by: dand0202 | October 18, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Bibleburner you sound like your typical intolerant uptight, unbending, stick up the butt liberal. If I recall the Hippies of the 60s all went barefoot and as far as I remember they were Libertards just like you.

Posted by: inkaput | October 18, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

There is a lot of misinformation in the comment section here. As a Liberty University graduate, I can assure you that there is no requirement to sign or state that one believes in Creationism. Also, I can tell you that most people at Liberty likely think this guy is as much of a nut about the barefoot thing as those who do not go there.

Also, Creationism is taught at Liberty because it is right. Creationism does not deny evolution on the small scale. It does deny molecules-to-man evolution, however, which is a common mistake that critics make when they say that Creationism denies evolution.

Posted by: LibertyGrad | October 18, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

So why is it that those without shoes ....want them.

Posted by: paperpushermj | October 18, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hands are a severe health hazard. Feet, even dirty ones, do not present a health hazard.

Dirty hands spread diseases like wildfire. Feet only touch the floor. Hands touch everything especially fecal material, even worse, diseased fecal material. They touch doorknobs, food, etc., creating a disease path to other hands to pass on.

Posted by: MrZ2 | October 18, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey underwear and pants keep my dick & balls from flapping around as GOD intended them too:-)

Posted by: harpotoo | October 18, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Here in Texas, we have some painful little critters called fire ants. I think I'll keep on the boots, thank you.

Posted by: gdlewis | October 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"So why is it that those without shoes ....want them."
Mostly because of their association with wealth- a cultural view. Just as it's a cultural weakness of ours to associate bare feet with uncleanliness. Thoroughly unscientific.
As to stepping in gross things or glass, one can always look where one is going. Not too hard!

Posted by: Barefoottrailrunner | October 18, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This is why the Educational system in America is so much a failure.

Calling wearing shoes an "addiction" is just silly and unworthy of academic inquiry. It is not even worthy of a 3rd grade mentality.

I suggest that the "professor" stop smoking pot, get a real job and try to contribute something useful to society--if he actually has the ability.

The so-called 'university" is a sham to even allow this embarrassing nonsense to go public.

CERTAINLY A LEFT WING NUTCASE TOO.

ROWDY BOOTS

Posted by: gormanjohn11 | October 18, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This is why the Educational system in America is so much a failure.

Calling wearing shoes an "addiction" is just silly and unworthy of academic inquiry. It is not even worthy of a 3rd grade mentality.

I suggest that the "professor" stop smoking pot, get a real job and try to contribute something useful to society--if he actually has the ability.

The so-called 'university" is a sham to even allow this embarrassing nonsense to go public.

CERTAINLY A LEFT WING NUTCASE TOO.

ROWDY BOOTS

Posted by: gormanjohn11 | October 18, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I had a real professor at a real college whom didn't wear shoes.

But comparing RIT to Liberty is like comparing an educated Harvard law scholar to a dingbat from Alaska.

Posted by: dcp26851 | October 18, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

He'd like to put tens of thousands, who make shoes, out of work. Mainly very poor people in India. Never mind the sock makers. What a loser!

Posted by: sirron33 | October 18, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I predict that at some point it will be illegal to be barefoot. I mean, 99% of the population agrees that wearing shoes is common sense, therefore it must be mandatory for everyone. Maybe we can start a crusade, Mothers Against Bare Feet or something.

As everyone knows, EVERYTHING should be banned by law or compulsory by law, individuals should not have the freedom to choose differently than everyone around them.

That's why government was invented, so that 50.01% of the population could shove their opinions down the throats of everyone else around around them. That's how the founding fathers would have wanted it.

"All men are endowed by their creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of threatening their neighbor with physical violence if they disagree with the majorty's opinion."

Posted by: TheMSMControlsUs | October 18, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm addicted to not stepping on broken glass, extremely hot pavement, thistles, dog doo, ice and snow, and no telling what evil things lurk on restaurant floors.

Posted by: AlPhresceaux | October 18, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The professor has not spent much time around fire ants, 7 kinds of poisonous snakes, scorpions, and sand burrs....all of which strongly suggest shoes are good in these parts...

Posted by: outtahere | October 18, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

JoshHamilton you really are a narrow minded, intellectually dishonest, pompous ass to dismiss Liberty University as not a real university. It is fully accredited and has some excellent professors. Liberals like you give lip service to tolerance and diversity and have no problem with atheistic professors and secular universities, yet dismiss out of hand any school with a religious background. How sad you are.

Posted by: netrek | October 18, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Tell this to George Washington's troops at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778.

Posted by: Extempraneous | October 18, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Bah, humbug! You are all spoiled rich Americans with too many luxuries. I lived in Africa. Lots of people go about barefooted. Even those who can afford shoes go barefooted. What happens is after years of walking around barefooted the bottom of your feet get so calloused that you really don't feel any pain. At least so I deduced after seeing the bottom of their feet and talking to them. Most kids play sports like soccer barefooted and run barefooted. To be barefooted in Africa is nothing to write home about. And I can assure you if there was ever a place you should wear shoes it is Africa.

Posted by: RickJohnson621 | October 18, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

And this is newsworthy? Great job WAPO

Posted by: snobsappeal | October 18, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hardcore barefooters use the term "proprioception" to describe a human's sensory awareness of his or her environment. This is a collection of all the input available - balance information from the inner ear, visual stimuli, etc. Our feet contain more nerve endings per square inch than almost any other part of the body- why do you think that is? We remove our most important source of proprioceptive information by stuffing our feet into Ultra Gel Corrective Stability marshmallow shoes. And what happens? Most Americans (let's be honest) are stumbling, bumbling klutzes who apparently step on every piece of dog poo or broken glass around (based on the comments here), and who likely can't even see their own feet. I'd defend the term "addiction" when it comes to our shoes, in the same way in which we're addicted to McDonalds and pharmaceuticals. We've become so soft and weak with them that we can't imagine being without them, and demonize those who suggest that we might just be better off (and healthier) trying to live as we're designed.  

Posted by: Barefoottrailrunner | October 18, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

How is going barefoot any less sanitary than wearing shoes? I would argue it is MORE sanitary. I wash my feet at least once a day. Unless I step on something that's obviously smelly, I don't wash the soles of my shoes.

I have had flat feet since I was born, so shoes are uncomfortable. Shoes and socks are way too warm, especially when sitting in an office. Even in the dead of winter, I'm barefoot under my desk.

What ever happened to "it's my body, I'll do what I want with it?"

Posted by: stefiscool | October 18, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You'll take my stilettos only when you can pry them off my cold, dead feet.

Posted by: fluxgirl | October 18, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that every sensible discussion in America degenerates into exreme positions? It's not like what the guy is saying doesn't have some wisdom - wearing uncomfortable or unhealthy footwear and not taking care of your feet is a cause of health problems. People can walk barefooted and most people wear shoes sensibly. We can make the case that people can and should wear stylish and fashionable footwear in moderation. And nobody doubts that you need good footwear in a lot of situations.

So why do we always have these: "All or nothing" discussions? Obviously if you're a worker in a metal fabrication plant or a construction worker, you don't want someone dropping 250 pounds of lumber on your toes unless you're wearing steel-toed boots. If you're a dentist and you're on your feet all day walking around the office you don't want to be wearing orthopedically-poor shoes, but you don't want to be walking around barefoot either. You also don't want your patients walking around barefoot. If you took your child to the dentist's office and the oral surgeon walked in barefoot, would you stay?

Come to think of it, would you really want people riding escalators barefoot? Oh yeah, that's attractive. And down there at the health club, in the weight room? How about those revolving doors downtown? Man, you don't want your tootsies caught in one of those without some protection.

Even Jesus needed good sandals. Christ.

Sheesh, people, this is one of those non-problems that we have to relitigate every generation or something.

And great: if he gets his way, it will put all the women who are making a better living for their families in Africa out of luck. Let's just tell 'em: "Go back to being barefoot and pregnant!"

http://www.soulofafricacharity.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=75


Posted by: Extempraneous | October 18, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry LibertyMom,
Liberty "university" will never be a real school in my eyes, no matter how smart you think your daughter is. If she actually was smart, she would of gone to a school with a decent reputation.

I can also assure you, that any resume that crosses my desk that mentions that place goes straight into the trash can.

Even if the applicant wears shoes.

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 18, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope the professor gets plantar fasciitis and then see how he does with out shoes.

Posted by: Rangerrdog | October 18, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

This IS a health issue - a mental health issue for this wingnut. Parents beware of where you send your children. "University" is the new pseudonym for "indoctrination camp" that exposes young, dare I say it, inadequately prepared, minds to this sort of idiotic "new-age" blather. Don't know much about Liberty (People's Revolutionary Right-Mind Camp), but if they have instructors like this with tenure, well ... whaddya say? Could be worse - could be Princeton.

Posted by: Snoop4 | October 18, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This conversation has been enlightening. Wearing or not wearing shoes is a preference and there is no right or wrong. Either you like it or you don't. But people seem to believe their preferences are correct and opposing preferences are wrong and go so far as to viciously and verbally assault other beliefs and preferences in an attempt to discredit. This has demonstrated to me that people are arseholes.
Why do you even CARE if someone wears shoes or not? It's not like you are being forced to give up your tennies.
Instead of saying "This guy is a loser and a doper and his university is crap and his state is backwards," why not say, "I prefer to wear shoes." Is your self esteem so lacking you feel impelled to belittle others in order to feel better about yourself? I can't imagine passion about shoes alone would warrant such animosity.

Posted by: LScott923 | October 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I can think of two good reasons to wear shoes: tape worms and tetanus.

Posted by: greg3 | October 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

To MarilynManson. If you are in a position to look down your nose at job applicants' education records and throw them in the trash, you might take more care in your writing. You wrote "would of" instead of "would have" when you were expressing your disdain for Liberty University graduates. That's like calling someone stoopid.

Posted by: LScott923 | October 18, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"There is nothing more unsanitary than someone trying to go into a grocery store or restaurant without some covering for their feet."

Really? NOTHING more unsanitary? That's funny, I thought the time I found a bunch of mouse droppings and chew marks on a pepperoni display in the supermarket would be less sanitary than someone without shoes. Guess what? Whatever would get on your bare feet as you walk around is on your shoes when you go into the store.

Posted by: dhebert1 | October 18, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"There is nothing more unsanitary than someone trying to go into a grocery store or restaurant without some covering for their feet."

Really? NOTHING more unsanitary? That's funny, I thought the time I found a bunch of mouse droppings and chew marks on a pepperoni display in the supermarket would be less sanitary than someone without shoes. Guess what? Whatever would get on your bare feet as you walk around is on your shoes when you go into the store.

Posted by: dhebert1 | October 18, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to challenge any of you "put University in quotaion marks" people to a contest of knowledge with my daughter who graduated from Liberty, aced her GRE's, and is now in a very difficult grad program in a health profession. My husband and I are both highly educated healthcare professionals and we never regretted for a moment our decision to send our daughter to Liberty. Princeton's Peter Singer has famously opined that a goldfish is a higher form of life than an an unborn human baby - that's Princeton "University""

Posted by: LibertyMom


Snake-handling is not a 'health profession'.

Posted by: irae | October 18, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

irae, was that really necessary? What do you know about LibertyMom? Is she a snake handler? And you know this? Or do you simply disagree with her because she claims she has an intelligent daughter and thinks highly of Liberty University and opposes abortion?

Posted by: LScott923 | October 18, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL! The funny thing about this story is that if this guy taught at one of the hundreds of liberal "thought" mills country wide he'd be hailed as a hero and a leader of the burgeoning "barefoot" movement.

His mistake? Teaching at Liberty which brings out the leftist hate mongers en masse`. Liberals are SOOOOOO intolerante of others - which is why leftists put the "baaa" in liberal/"progressive" sheep herd group think.
Have fun crying in your dorm rooms Mommy and Daddy pay for after your liberal hero take a beating in a few weeks. Now that's going to an opprotunity to LOL!

Posted by: jamesb3 | October 18, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever stepped into a fire ant hill in bare feet, professor? Have you ever walked on pine needles? I could go on and on. Shoes protect our feet from all kinds of hazards as well as keeping any cuts or scratches from being exposed to dirt and germs. Just another loony liberal.

Posted by: LuKuj | October 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm in awe of the nastiness of the posts here. Liberty University is not a "real" college? So they don't teach algebra? Chemistry? Physiology? I guess BYU, Notre Dame, Boston College, SMU, and many others don't qualify as "real" colleges either because they have an honor code each student must adhere to, and because they have a traditional base curriculum. I can't believe the overall lack of intelligent discourse and respect for differing opinion. The author has a PhD in physiology (I believe), so I pretty much guarantee you, in spite of who founded Liberty University, the author knows about the mechanics of the feet. What a bunch of smarmy (I'm talking to you Manson) elitist, self-satisfied crud to draw out of an article like this---who would argue that going barefoot is not good for you? Going barefoot is completely natural! If you believe in evolution, then obvously you would understand that barefoot walking is the most natural and healthy. Foot strike position is serously altered by shoes. But all the aspersions? I'm agnostic, but even I believe Liberty University is a fine college---as for Manson, and others who posted here? I would definitely question whether you are thinking, caring human beings. But then after reading your posts, I have ample evidence to support my concerns. Geeze--how disappointing to read such hatred (and how cowardly of you to post this way). Blind attacks are the worst aspect of the Internet. Grow up and keep the discourse relevant. It's about shoes versus barefeet. Nothing else.

Posted by: sharvey503 | October 18, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

wow, I'm much dumber for having read this article, but even more adversely effected by the comments

Posted by: vb_guy | October 18, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I've read it twice in these comments, so I feel like it ought to be said: Liberty has no tenured professors (with, perhaps, the exception of university co-founder and recently-named Dean of the Seminary, Dr. Elmer Towns).

That said, I do have a question for those who have been dismissing Liberty's credentials: Does this apply to all of Liberty's degrees, or just those where a Christian bias is frowned upon? For instance, Liberty has programs in engineering, mathematics, visual arts, performing arts, aviation, nursing, and business among others. Many Liberty alumni use these degrees and the education they took from Liberty for the purposes of Christian outreach and ministry, but does the quality of education offered by Liberty find itself "stained" by the university's Bibliocentrism?

Posted by: LibertarianFromLiberty | October 18, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The next issue will be potty training as a cause of neuroses. The solution will be to ban potty training and retrain all who now "hold it" with laxatives, diuretics and aversion, perhaps electroshock therapy.

Perfume and cologne sales will skyrocket to boost the economy and instead of bars we will have "shitoriums" where you can go and have a communal crap by drinking a strong laxative like phenolphthalein.

God Bless Liberalism

Posted by: adrianvance | October 18, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The man advocates walking around barefoot and some use that as an ocassion to attack Liberty University! Nuts! What's this clown going to do during winter time? What is he accomplishing other than to show what an eccentric he is? He's a narcassist! What a waste!

...Oh yea, you can continue attacking Liberty University.

Posted by: dcunning30 | October 18, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I guess the professor decided that was the way somebody would pay attention to him for his proverbial "15 minutes."

Posted by: Husker78 | October 18, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I guess the professor decided that was the way somebody would pay attention to him for his proverbial "15 minutes."

Posted by: Husker78 | October 18, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Husker78, what's up fellow Nebraskan!

Posted by: dcunning30 | October 18, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Acadmia has truly become a safe house for the crazy, couched in the guise of intellectualism. As bad as it was fifteen years ago, acadamia seems completely awash in, make that saturated, with those not fit for the mainstream workforce. Besides math and science, it is now important to prepare our children for college by instilling in them skeptisism for every word uttered by the "learned." This is particularly so for humanities and fine arts professors.

Posted by: hsr143 | October 18, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I was advised to ALWAYS wear shoes (except, of course, in bed) because an unnoticed and therefore untreated foot injury could lead to the kinds of problems that lead to amputation. Since diabetes often goes undiagnosed (mine too) until some serious problem develops, my objection to this professor's teaching is not frivolous.

Posted by: alicepolarbear | October 18, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

As a physician, I think undergraduate university professors in general are unsightly pieces of waste material whether we are talking Liberty U or Harvard. However, I will note that in Australia RICH kids often go to school barefoot. They run barefoot, and they play soccer barefoot. It is the cultural norm. This, btw, is also true of many other countries, e.g. Canada, New Zealand, etc. (My choice of countries was made in order to allay the social biases of some of the posters on this board, by mentioning only rich, predominantly white, first world countries.) Obviously the practice is also common in most tropical countries. Myself, I wear shoes outside the house except in very protected areas, e.g. my lawn, the beach, the swimming pool etc., but this is mostly because my feet are not as tough as those of the average australian six year old, due entirely to the fact that I do have to wear shoes at work. I would gladly not do so, and perhaps wear very loose ankle socks only as a gesture to the folks who are concerned about sanitation, but whom I'll BET do not wash their hands after touching a doorknob. I think anybody who feels they need to wear shoes all the time, should do the world a favor and also wear long gloves. Hey, that also used to be the custom.

Posted by: shirinsilva | October 18, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

We did not evolve wearing shoes!
The no buttocks white man is a result of wearing shoes.
Hip, Back and knee problems are often the result of artificially supporting your arches with shoes.
The grossly enlarged calf muscle you see everywhere is the another result.
Unshod populations have almost no requirement for hip and knee joint replacement surgery.
No shoes in public places is a holdover from discriminating against the poor.
It only takes a half a moment with a functioning brain to figure out that he is 100% right!

Posted by: pakfish | October 18, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ever hear of hook worm? There's a reason people wear shoes, and it isn't because of fashion.

Posted by: kroverstreet | October 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

God: Moses, take off your shoes. You are on holy ground.
Moses: But God, do I have to? I mean, what if I step on something icky? Or a fire ant nest? Or a nail, or broken glass? Aren't there health codes? What if I get plantar fasciitis? What if people think my feet look funny?
God (shakes head ruefully): Silly humans. Why, oh why do I bother?

Posted by: Barefoottrailrunner | October 18, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

This "Barefoot Porfessor" is the perfect example of the professorial personality: No Commonsense! It seems our President suffers from the same sickness.

Posted by: gummybear | October 18, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Walking around in public without shoes is idiotic. How do you take your feet off inside the house, after you've been walking in urine in a public restroom? How do you keep germs out of cuts in your feet? It has less to do with social issues then it does with health. It's always amusing when someone who has access to the benefits of society discards them and advocates a "return" to nature as if the people who actually have to live without those benefits were willingly doing without because it was a better way of living. Silly people.

Posted by: shinea | October 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Does this professor actually believe that our ancestors, on the plains of Africa, started wearing foot coverings because they thought it looked cool? I walk around bear foot in my home all day long but when I go out I wear shoes, not because I care about what someone else thinks but because it would be stupidly careless not to. Maybe God didn't make us with shoes on our feet, as some are pointing out, but he did create us with a brain so we would be able to help ourselves to live longer. Shoes were one of the things we created to do that.

Posted by: shinea | October 18, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

If only more Americans actually wore shoes the professor might have a point. The new thing America is culturally addicted to is flip flops. Also, leather is not a "cast that immobilizes an otherwise healthy foot" but I wouldn't be so sure about Crocs.

Posted by: OhYeahBabe | October 18, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, the last time I went barefoot in this town, I sliced my heel open on broken glass. Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: NCWeber | October 18, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I invite this nut job to retrieve my mail in July and August from my mailbox next to the asphalt road fronting my house.

Next, I invite him to discuss his penchant for barefootedness with his automobile insurance company.

Next, he's welcome to talk to a podiatrist or two about the obviously complete fallacy of arch support for some individuals.

How about a Metro ride at rush hour?

I could go on, but...why are these people invariably found in universities? (Other than easy life, little or no pressure, taxpayer funded/supported jobs, etc.).

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 18, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

...agree with MManson about the resume'. NOT because of the Christian focus of the college, but because there are some colleges (not hard to figger 'em out) that cater to the studentbody that would (and SHOULD) go to a trade school or labor pool. Person over pedegree is the way I look at resume's, but not everyone is properly meant to go to higher ed. Somebody has to design the trash truck, and somebody has to drive it, and somebody has to work on the back of it. Just the way it is Mom. Comes a time when ya just can't be afraid to call the baby ugly.

Posted by: Snoop4 | October 18, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If this is not proof that these professors are just useless. Hey have this idiot walk on some glass or on a Phoenix sidewalk when the temps are 115. To think it costs thousands and thousands of dollars to send a child to college to be taught by fools like this. Not sure it is worth the money.

Posted by: harley2002 | October 18, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

have you ever stepped on something gross by accident? imagine without shoes how nasty that would be.

Posted by: dand0202
=========

But enough about Barney Frank!

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | October 18, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Geez! Anything for publicity!

Posted by: hebe1 | October 18, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Snake-handling is not a 'health profession'.

Posted by: irae
========

I suppose your preference is for chicken-choking.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | October 18, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Please do not knock something you haven't tried! Everyone seems to think this professor is a nut-job (and he may be) but it shouldn't be for his ideas about shoes. Our feet are the basis for our bi-pedal movement and have millions (even if he thinks it may be only a few thous.) years of evolution behind them--and only a few hundred years of formal footwear development as the modern "civilized", and acceptable treatment. Shoes are not good for your feet, ankles, knees, back, spine, and neck--regardless of what any podiatrist may say. Of course, there are some instances where you need more protection than mother-nature has provided. Generally speaking, your feet will fair much better the more you let them do their job. I've been running and walking barefoot for nearly three years now, year-round, and have greatly improved the health of my feet(and all aforementioned body parts) from it. Its not easy to adjust--and I've had many a blister, and had to strengthen my calves significantly, but I am all the better for it and have almost no foot/knee/back/neck pain as I had previously. I do wear shoes when appropriate of course, but I really think that the notion of "barefoot is bad", and "shoes are normal" will fade as people begin to lose their fears.

The fear of germs, broken, glass, etc, are really just fears. My feet used to be ugly, calloused things with fallen arches that forever gave me problems, now they're healthy, strong (yes, you have muscles in your feet), and handsome--and its not just my mom and girlfriend who tell me so :-)

Posted by: honkeydog | October 18, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

What a worthwhile endeavor. This will surely enrich our society. I will now crusade against the evils of sunglasses and all will be well.

Posted by: mhrobson | October 18, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Lots of people hating just because he teaches at Liberty.
If he were from Berkeley or Santa Cruz you would be praising him.

Posted by: yogagirlsf | October 18, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Liberty University appears to be an accredited institution. I would not recommend it or any bible college or university to any member of my family. But there are a great many liberal arts colleges, including some in the Ivy League, that would be a greater cause of concern to me.

Posted by: JBaustian | October 18, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

As A Biology professor, does he realize he takes a very large risk of contracting hepatitis C from going barefoot???

Posted by: lhsteacher | October 18, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Just what America needs, another leftwing loon.

Posted by: BlueDog5 | October 18, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

And these crazy nut job "professors" are teaching our next batch of Democrats.
No wonder we are in such bad shape.

Posted by: JerzyBoy1 | October 18, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Who cares....what business is it of Anyones about ones shoes.....get a life you idoits.

Posted by: welovetheUSA | October 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey Danny Boy,

Amen and Amen, but first we need to ban the use of neck ties. First things first. What do you do in winter?

Big Kitchen

Posted by: BigKitchen | October 18, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

If you want to walk around with your feet sticking out, go to the jungle or the desert where this makes some sense. Otherwise, in modern paved society, civilized humans who have fully evolved wear shoes and socks. Forcing other people to see and smell your feet is not civilized behavior.

Posted by: CatsAreGods | October 18, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The reaon for shoes is to keep the feet warm and protect them from injury.

For a professor, he appears to be ideological and not realistic or "smart".

Posted by: promotinghealth | October 18, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read his book yet, but I know a thing or two about feet. Foot problems area too often blamed on shoes. Sure there are a lot of bad shoes that even pass themselves for making you more fit, but even if you walk barefoot at home, you'll have the same problems. It's because of two things. Something called Mortons Foot Syndrome which is associated with an elevated first metatarsal meaning the first metatarsal and big toe are not in proper weight bearing contact with the ground and second walking on flat surfaces all the time. It actually causes repetitive injury, and hurts your back as often as it hurts your feet. Barefoot is great in nature, but not much better than shoes on flat surfaces. Google Mortonsfoot (just ad .com to find us) and find out how much trouble your feet get you into--like knee hip and back pain, shoulder and neck pain, even Headaches and TMJ dysfunction. Treat your feet nicely. It will pay off handsomly as you age.

Posted by: Bjorn3 | October 18, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The term 'whack job' comes to mind.

Posted by: kaguya | October 18, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

If you cut your foot, you can get blood on the floor and perhaps seating of the restaurant. Or, a foot injury could let you pick-up an infection in the restroom, and the restaurant could be sued. Why would you want to be stupid about it? It is just common sense to dress appropriately.

No Shirt
No Shoes
No Service

Posted by: Lance64A | October 18, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there. Obama and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight will have all of us wearing barrels and barefoot before you know it.

Posted by: jasonn13 | October 18, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The professors opinion on going barefoot will abruptly change one he gets planters warts on the bottom of his feet.
Having them burned out from under the skin with a soldering iron was actually less painful than the warts themselves.

Posted by: Binh_Tran | October 18, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Quite silly. One hopes that he is not paid on the tax payer's dime.

He should come up here to Canada and walk through the snow barefoot. That should clear his head.

Posted by: ellenoday | October 18, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I read about the plantar warts. It comes from going barefoot in wet places like swimming pools. How many of you anti-bare feet people wear shoes in swimming pools? No doubt some do, but most of you don't.

As for wearing shoes on hot pavement, on broken glass, in deep snow or in public restrooms, use your good sense people. I highly doubt this man suggests people go barefoot where they are likely to be injured.

As for eye pollution, your having to look at my bare feet, too bad, too sad. I have to look at you and you don't see anything wrong with that.

Posted by: LScott923 | October 18, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

LISTEN TO ME, IDIOTS.
THE PROFESSOR IS A GENIUS.

DANIEL, I APPLAUD YOU.

DEAR PROFESSOR, WHILE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE GOING TO CROSS ALASKA BAREFOOT...
START А CRUSADE TO CHALLENGE YOUR ANTI-CULTURAL ADDICTION TO FOOD!!!

Posted by: alexdihes | October 18, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I seldom walk on my feet, I walk on my hands, but i wear gloves because the ground or other surface is dirty. I also believe that all words in our language should be in quotation marks, but it is hard to do.

Posted by: hermineisabelle | October 18, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I am not surprised! I have a suspicion that being infected with hook worms affects the brain. I thought it only effected southern evangelist preachers. Now it seems it has spread to collage professors to.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | October 18, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I'll forward this to my children in Fairbanks. If their toes fall off they can wear a smaller shoe size.

Posted by: TROLL32sbcglobalnet | October 18, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Lots of bias in this comment thread! :-(

About glass, thorns etc: in 14 years of going barefoot EVERYWHERE, including city centers, the recycling center etc, I've NEVER had a cut. I get a tiny splinter maybe once a year, nothing worse. Feet quickly get *much* tougher than folks who don't go barefoot think.

About germs: our skin is made to keep pathogens out, unless we prop our feet up on the table, we're far more likely to catch something through the surfaces we touch with our hands (door knobs, shopping trolleys, stair railings) than through our feet. It's with our hands that we touch our face and food, so germs can enter our system (even if you wash up before dinner, who never eats a cookie without washing up?). The dirt on our feet is far less likely to enter our system.

As for a hygiene concern to others, germs don't jump off bare soles any more than off the soles of shoes, or off the bare skin exposed in a sandal then off the top of a fully bare foot. It's a myth that shoes are required by the Health Department; no US state has such laws.

As for athlete's foot, this is a fungus, it needs a shoe to grow. It is very rare among populations that go barefoot more often. If you do pick up some spores barefoot, unless you put on shoes soon afterward providing them with a warm, dark and damp place to grow, it's unlikely to catch hold. On the bare foot, exposed to light and fresh air, the spores will just dry up and die.

As for parasites, the only one named in this thread that enters the body through the feet is the HOOKworm. However it's been very rare in the South since modern plumbing has replaced the outhouses, and never was much of a problem in cooler climates. Other parasites like tapeworm spread through ingestion only.

Tetanus has had a vaccine available for it since the 1920's that is quite reliable. Since there are other ways of catching T. than stepping on a rusty nail barefoot, I'd recommend anyone who's active outdoors, in gardening or around animals (including pets) to keep their T. vaccination up to date, even if they never put a bare toe on the floor.

Ants are nasty but quicker noticed when barefoot. Since being barefoot, I've stood near ant hills several times but felt the first couple of ants, I could step aside immediately and quickly wipe the few ants that had gotten onto my feet off the bare skin. I've also stood near an ant hill in boots with jeans over them, didn't notice until they'd crawled up my boots, under my jeans and reached the skin halfway up my leg. Far more trouble, far more bites!

Dog poo, gross but I've stepped in it barefoot, also with deeply ridged soles and once with white suede shoes... Barefoot washed off easiest by far!

Smell: the typical 'foot odor' develops only in shoes, it's not the feet or sweat itself that smells but a substance created by bacteria breaking down the sweat in anaerobe circumstances (with lack of oxygen).

For those who hate seeing feet, in flipflops you also see them!

Posted by: Myranya | October 18, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

'When I was in college in VA, no one said anything if I came to class barefoot on warm days. Of course, some professors smoked during their lectures in those days - the long ago 1980's.'

Yeah, back in the days when we'd get about 50 minutes into those long-winded Tu-Th evening classes, and the prof would call a 15 minute break, crack open the windows, and sit there on the window sill blowing one with us, like we were about to go out for a beer afterward. LOL Those WERE the days..........!

Posted by: ericenderle | October 18, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

alicepolarbear,
I'm facing mandatory shoe usage in the fairly near future due to diabetes. In the meantime, I've been impressed at how the feet have taken to being bare on the beach.

The yard is a different matter. Grass is mostly OK, but the paved walkways tend to have tiny particles of gravel, and of course there's acorns everywhere right now.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 18, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Flip-flops: because walking around barefoot on die-cut pieces of industrial waste from China is so classy.

Posted by: CatsAreGods | October 18, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Is this an advertisement or an article?

Posted by: fossilnews | October 18, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

What does the professor's proclivity to go barefoot have to do with Liberty University and its 20,000 students, who hail from every state in this nation and many foreign countries also? I was skeptical of my daughter's choice to Attend LU, because of things I read or had heard about. After my first visit, I knew she made a good choice. The students at LU were friendly, smart and very mature for their ages. People who judge an entire university on the harmless idiosyncrasy of one professor may need to go to a dictionary to look up the following words:
1) Intolerance
2) Bigotry
3) Narrow-Mindedness
After that drill, a look in the mirror might be required to see if those descriptions apply to self.

Posted by: fantasin | October 18, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The intolerance, hatred and bigotry displayed by the "liberals" commenting on this article is really quite amazing.

And FYI, the trend in ergonomic shoe design is toward more flexible, more breathable, thinner soled boots and shoes to more closely reproduce the natural movements of a bare foot when walking.

Maybe the professor isn't so far off the mark.

Posted by: Parker1227 | October 18, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse


Even the Dharma Initiative wore shoes. And they were on an island with a nice beach. They were a lot more sensible than that Daniel Howell fruitcake. BTW, could he be related to Thurston Howell III? If I recall correctly, even Thurston wore shoes while on Gilligan's Island.

Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | October 18, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Liberty's law students pass the bar exam at pass rates that not only rival but also surpass many ivy league universities.

Liberty's debate team regularly defeats "prestigious" universities and holds many championships.

A national survey of employers showed that graduates from Christian universities were preferred job applicants because of their honesty and work ethic.

Over 50,000 are enrolled at Liberty. Are you labeling them all when you speak so derogatorily?

Face it. Macro-evolution is JUST a theory. I question the intelligence of those who deny that fact!

Posted by: sjsmith3 | October 18, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Liberty's law students pass the bar exam at pass rates that not only rival but also surpass many ivy league universities.

Liberty's debate team regularly defeats "prestigious" universities and holds many championships.

A national survey of employers showed that graduates from Christian universities were preferred job applicants because of their honesty and work ethic.

Over 50,000 are enrolled at Liberty. Are you labeling them all when you speak so derogatorily?

Face it. Macro-evolution is JUST a theory. I question the intelligence of those who deny that fact!

Posted by: sjsmith3 | October 18, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

While in college I had a pre college friend named Nug also known to many as Mike Gallagher. He was truly the most unique individual I have ever had the pleasure to meet in my life. One day, out of the blue. he decided he is not going wear shoes for one year. In Lake Havasu, AZ where it is warm all year, that is no problem. I was truly impressed when he hitched-hiked up to Flagstaff to visit me in the snowy winter, in bare feet and he refused to wear shoes all the time he was there. What a committed guy he was! At the same time he was also trying to learn Spanish by memorizing a new word or phrase every day. While visiting me in Flagstaff I remember him practicing the Spanish phrase buenas noches, he learned that by saying, when it snows shoes, but that did not get him to put on shoes because the year was not yet up.

The message here is that we all need to learn commitment.
Frank Yerich

Posted by: fyerich | October 18, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering why there were no Obama supporters justifying the Jackass in Chief's economic blunders on the political sites, but whatdoyouknow, they're all here throwing mud at Professor Barefoot. Obviously, this topic is better suited to their intellects and self image, than attempting to defend the emperor.

Posted by: NCMike | October 18, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Another good reason to wear shoes: dogsh*t.

Posted by: greg3 | October 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Walk barefoot if you want and leave us alone!

Yet another self-appointed people-annoyer...

Posted by: SandyYago | October 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Who do you think that this wacked-out person voted for in the last presidential election? Now you know why this country is screwed.

Posted by: dbski4it | October 18, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

ewwww feet!

Posted by: nall92 | October 18, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

---------------------------------------

was that ewwww feet!... or... oooooooooh... feeeet :-P

Posted by: Baccuss | October 18, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

My dog could pass the bar exam in most states. Why do you think most politicians are lawyers? Because it is easy and the path of least resistance. If you can't pass the bar exam then you are truly stupid. Of course if can pass the bar exam then it is 50/50 that you are stupid.

Posted by: dbski4it | October 18, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"Quite silly. One hopes that he is not paid on the tax payer's dime."

Liberty is a private Christian university that is not on the government dole. Canadians aren't very smart, are they? I'm sure he doesn't suggest that people go barefoot in the snow. That's silly of you to think that.

As for silly people being paid on the taxpayer's dime, we have Pelosi, Frank, Reid, Obama, Biden, Tim Geitner, the IRS, the Department of Education, a car company, politicians that believe it's ridiculous for us to expect them to read bills before they sign them.

Posted by: ingrid63 | October 18, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Quite silly. One hopes that he is not paid on the tax payer's dime."

Liberty is a private Christian university that is not on the government dole. Canadians aren't very smart, are they? I'm sure he doesn't suggest that people go barefoot in the snow. That's silly of you to think that.

As for silly people being paid on the taxpayer's dime, we have Pelosi, Frank, Reid, Obama, Biden, Tim Geitner, the IRS, the Department of Education, a car company, politicians that believe it's ridiculous for us to expect them to read bills before they sign them.

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Posted by: oneshopping35 | October 18, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

And this is a professor of Biology? Presumably the type that eschews Darwin in favor of a seven day creation.

Because shoe wearing is not "cultural". It is protective, and not only against the sharp stones etc. but against diseases, especially hookworm.

http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/articles/241/hookworm-disease-in-mississippi%3A-the-importance-of-wearing-shoes

hookworm, which was the reason southern blacks and whites were seen as "lazy", causes fatigue from severe anemia.

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Posted by: oneshopping35 | October 18, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone put their hands on places where birds poop and people spit? Anyone ever get athletes Hand?"

Hey buckdharma, you ever wipe you butt (or anyone else's) with your feet? You ever pick their nose with their toes?

A typical cell phone has more bacteria than
a men's room floor.

Posted by: HenryVIIIIAm | October 18, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

What, no new shoes? That is what God put reptiles on earth for!

Posted by: rondh69 | October 19, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Another idiot academic heard from. Go walk on broken glass, MORON.
Does this jerk have a Piled higher and Deeper degree?

Posted by: UrsusIndomitus | October 19, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if he's ever flown on a commercial flight and had to use the restroom? Moonbat.

Posted by: ExPatYankee | October 19, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

Who's he kidding? It's a filthy and painful practice. For 40 years Birkenstocks have given me the same "barefoot" feeling and benefits without the black feet and the pain of glass, rocks, and other debris. Not to mention I don't have to argue the law every time I enter a store or restaurant. Whatta nut.

Posted by: InTheBubble | October 19, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

Seems all the nutjobs aren't in politics after all.

Posted by: jpost1 | October 19, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

I rarely wear shoes at home and wear flip flops until it is just too cold to do so. However, this is a simple case of the professor being silly. There are appropriate times to be barefoot and appropriate times to wear shoes. Society is not going to change because of his weirdness. This is the problem with "cause" people. Also, healthcode or not, a restaurant can set its own policy. If I owned a restaurant I would simply tell him that there is no argument. This is the policy. Put on shoes or be gone.

Posted by: dbeall | October 19, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Why even give this clown faux legitimacy with an article about him? It boggles the mind. My cat is more newsworthy for the fact that it cleans its netherregions each day. Professor Stoogotz, as my grandmother would have called him, comes from the same class of folks who hailed Obama as the new Messiah. We see how well that one turned out.

Posted by: arg2015153 | October 19, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Thousands of people who have lost, or never had use of their hands have learned to use their feet instead. I have even seen a boy who plays piano with his feet, he feeds himself, uses the telephone and dresses himself and all without help from anyone. I suspect he keeps his feet as clean as most people keep their hands.

Posted by: gijohns | October 19, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Thousands of people who have lost, or never had use of their hands have learned to use their feet instead. I have even seen a boy who plays piano with his feet, he feeds himself, uses the telephone and dresses himself and all without help from anyone. I suspect he keeps his feet as clean as most people keep their hands.

Posted by: gijohns | October 19, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the ADA would have something to say if a restaurant tried to bar a customer who did not have use of their hands from useing their feet to eat with. Thousands of people have got along in life just fine without use of their hands and learned to use their feet. Some can even play musical instruments like piano.

Posted by: gijohns | October 19, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I have a couple of things - first, shoes have BECOME cultural, they weren't intended as such. Shoes were somewhat of an ADAPTATION for us, so that we would have some cushioning walking on hard, flat ground which we, by design, are not intended for. BAREFOOT RUNNING has taken people for a long ride - an article was published to show runners how cheap their running shoes were, which in summation, determined that you'd be just as good walking or exercising barefoot - IN COMPARISON WITH MOST MODERN RUNNING SHOES! Walking puts on average 4x the body's weight through the feet, running is 8-10x, and you think we don't need shock absorption on pavement? For years, both the podiatric, orthapaedic, and pedorthic industries have PROVEN that most of today's foot ailments and alignment issues are in direct relation to walking barefoot. On soft uneven ground that gives, our bodies are supported in and ideal alignment. For example, on a beach when we take a step, our heel sinks, our arch fills with sand and becomes the workhorse to bear weight (proper), and we toe off. On hard flat ground, the feet collapse and meet the ground, which draws everything out of alignment in the foot, and then in turn can pull the knees, hips, and even the back to add extra stress and pressure in those areas as well. This argument is purely illogical and the only proof is what is being touted by a company with a gimmicky shoe. People need to apply some logic here.I have been in the foot care business for a few years and have seen with my own eyes, countless numbers of times, people's lives changing with the PROPER footwear - why? because it allows their bodies to rise and meet the challenges provided by the hard, developed ground we walk on and gives them the freedom to walk and be mobile and enjoy life pain-free. For those who don't mind damaging their bodies, go right ahead. The proof is in the baby-boomers I deal with daily who ran around barefoot as kids and are in a world of physical trouble now. So just do some investigation and apply some simple logic. It's all true. If it wasn't, I'd be trying to advertise for my foot care business. You decide.

Posted by: lestera34 | October 19, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like an awfully extreme delayed reaction to the Bush shoe throwing incident. I wonder why Howell is opposed to the use of shoes given that the spiritual and philosophical antecedent of "Liberty University" used to make sure that his stormtroopers were all properly jackbooted when doing THEIR goosesteps.

Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | October 19, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"A typical cell phone has more bacteria than
a men's room floor."

Yeah, but but my cellphone is covered with MY bacteria, just like my toothbrush.

Posted by: greg3 | October 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I want to see his filthy feet in a restaurant or classroom... yet another hippy moron teaching our kids.... Dogs also don't wear shoes. Maybe this guy was raised in a small village in Kenya...

Posted by: epmurphy | October 19, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Millions have ben spent making running and walking shoes fit properly, so the bullbleep about shoes harming feet is just that. BTW I liked the Mensa type who took a cheap shot at Governor Palin and used "whom" instead of "who" in the sentence
while claiming that Obummer is an "educated legal scholar", as if the moron would know one if he/she saw one.

Posted by: DickTuck | October 19, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

lestera34, people did not evolve on soft surfaces only. Many natural surfaces aren't forgiving; deserts are not filled with loose beach sand and prairies are not soft and lush lawns or pastures. Lots of Africa, Middle East and other areas where man evolved long before coming to the softer & wetter North is quite hard and some of it even pretty flat.

Also it's untrue that the research with favorable outcome about barefoot running comes from a 'minimalist' shoe company; it came from Harvard university and yes, companies like Vibram have happily picked it up. But the research was neither done by nor paid for by these companies. I've also read several articles in favor of barefoot walking and running that are much older, none were as as widely published as the Harvard one, but good reading nonetheless, and again not written by these minimalist shoe companies (several written before Vibrams even existed).

You also claim that most foot ailments stem from going barefoot. Interestingly several pro-barefoot articles came from doctors in third world countries where they treated both those habitually shod and those habitually barefoot, and they found that the complaints they treated mostly *did* come from shoes. Flat feet for example occurred only in children from families from Westerners and more affluent native people who wore shoes all or most of the time; the complaint simply didn't exist among the children of the poorer class who went barefoot.

I've lived in the US and in Europe (native European, live there now), read articles written in many different countries, and I claim your opinion is cultural (just like shoes are :-)). Your claim that going barefoot is unhealthy is not shared by many doctors here on this side of the pond, most are interested when I say I walk barefoot everywhere and then indeed support the professor's and my opinion that most modern shoes weaken the foot, many kinds of fashion footwear are simply damaging, and barefoot is quite healthy.

Yes, I do decide; I'm betting my bare feet on it. So far, after over 14 years with probably more walking and running than most Americans (I don't own a vehicle, my job has me on my feet a lot, took up running last year, even PE was taught barefoot back in high school) I'm 100% happy with my choice.

Posted by: Myranya | October 19, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

All this talk of hookwarms and glass shards makes me LOL. This American Life had a story about a guy who figured out that hookworms suppress allergy responses. He went to Africa, got infected, and a lifetime of debilitating asthma disappeared. He is now making a small fortune by helping others do what he did, and no one has asked for a refund. I would try it for my allergies, but I'm too skeered.

As for glass and dog poop, you have great things called EYES that can be used to spot things before you step on them. Amazing!!!11!!!

Posted by: k_romulus | October 19, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

there's a bunch of comments in here that miss the point. BF running is natural and shoes mute the necessary sensory input needed to place one's foot on the ground correctly in on'es running stride.

Before commenting, please read the work of Daniel E. Lieberman, such as

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/nature08723.html

Posted by: malofquist1 | October 19, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I suppose Jesus commanded his disciples to wear sandals for their own good.

Mark 6:8-10
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, "Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.

Posted by: barista7n | October 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

lestera34 - Marketing propaganda by the shoe industry does not constitute proof, and you would get some serious disagreements from any respectable orthopedic specialist on the "necessity" of shoes.

You write that "pedorthic industries have PROVEN that most of today's foot ailments and alignment issues are in direct relation to walking barefoot..."

Talk about self-serving and having a product to sell! No such proof exists, unless marketing material has suddenly been elevated to the realm of "proof."
What you are saying is that feet are so delicate that they cannot be exercised except in the most gentle environments, that arches need support to work (tell that to an architect!) and that you have seen shoes change lives for the better.

The first two points you try to make are ridiculous and people with the ability to think for themselves can see that. I'll give you the last one, but shoes have also changed lives negatively (ever had a blister from a shoe? So did Calvin Coolidge's son - it killed him).

I think what's really going on here is that shoddy-minded people are reacting to having years and/or decades of cultural brainwashing challenged, and they automatically assume the professor just can't be right because they've never heard such a thing before. No one is asking you or telling you to reject shoes - "The Barefoot Book" simply reminds you that you don't need them nearly as much as you may have been led to believe.

Posted by: SoleMuchBetter | October 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

barista7n:
Actually, there are biblical contradictions about the point you are trying to make. See Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:4. There Jesus instructs those going on not to take sandals.

Posted by: SoleMuchBetter | October 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

One last thing: Notice how full of certitude and superiority most of the anti-barefoot commenters are. They resort to calling barefooters things like hippies, drug-users and idiots, among other things. Then notice how well-reasoned and logical the responses of the pro-barefoot commenters are.

What we are seeing is what happens when certain people are presented with evidence that challenges a longheld belief about the world. Some of them lose the ability to think rationally and start grasping at ridiculous straws and envisioning unrealistic situations ("I'd like to see you walk barefoot over all the broken glass, dog poop and nails in my sidewalk, by golly!" ) without ever giving honest consideration to the topic at hand.

Did the anti-barefoot crowd ever consider that sidewalks might be *cleaner* if more people went barefoot, for example? Just a thought - don't get all bent out shape and say bare feet couldn't handle broken glass in a landfill or some other ridiculous nonsense, just try and imagine a less polluted world and happy, healthy bare feet walking in it.

Professor Howell should be commended for this most enlightening book, and Liberty University should be commended for hiring and retaining a faculty member who has demonstrated the capacity to think for himself even amid all the background noise that passes for "information" in our society.

Posted by: SoleMuchBetter | October 19, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

”and he's a biology teacher wrongfully educating students in baloney science”

Anti-Liberty University / anti-Creationism / anti-Christian drive-by comments by folks such as funfun881, JoshHamilton, cossack2, and bibleburner merely accentuate their petty ignorance and lack of knowledge of the facts about Biology, Science and Creation. Not to mention violation of the rules of this Forum.

I assume that since shots have been fired, that return fire is authorized. What the above posters obviously don’t realize is that their implied view of “science” vs “baloney science” is a battle of worldviews. Newsflash for the ignorant, but evolution is not science, it is a faith system based on belief of past, historical events that cannot be verified nor repeated. I challenge any of the above posters to provide one fact that proves that evolution is true.

I would put Liberty’s David Dewitt and any number of other Christian biology and microbiology professors and researchers up against the hostile Darwinian crowd here. The abundant evidence in biology, geology, astronomy, and astrophysics point to an Intelligent Creator.

Posted by: tomcatdriver | October 20, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little late in noticing this article, but will try to respond to a few of the comments posted earlier. First let me say I have read the book, and I am a fulltime barefooter. I think that most, if not all, of the people who are condemning going barefoot are those who don't go barefoot and have never done it. beyond perhaps in their own homes, showers, or in bed. So they have no clue as to what it's really like yet they feel they are experts on the subject and have the authority as well as duty to tell others what they should or should not do. What little knowledge they have on the subject is obviously based on what they've heard somewhere - no independent research.
For example:
"In California, where we live, it IS a violation of the State Health Code to not wear shoes/sandals/flipflops, etc in restaurants, and I'm glad that it is."
I presume you're talking about the California Health and Safety Code. Look it up here, http://law.justia.com/california/codes/2009/hsc.html , There is nothing whatsoever related to what customers must wear or not wear.
"It's not about the feet, which do not pose a health risk; it's about what we have done to the environment they walk on. The human foot is not constructed to walk on hard surfaces like pavement and floors without bad consequences over time."
How do you reach that conclusion? Actually the human foot is constructed to walk barefoot on any surface. There is no evidence whatsoever that walking on hard surfaces barefoot over time does any harm to the foot; but there is indeed evidence that walking on hard surfaces with shoes on over time will indeed harm the feet and other parts of the body.
"Shoes are required in places of business not for health reasons, but for liability. Should he step on something and injure his unprotected foot, the business is liable. This guy is an idiot."
A business is no more liable for a bare foot injury than any other injury. In general, a business is *not* responsible for a customer's safety beyond safeguarding the customer from hazards he or she would normally not be aware of. Not only that, based contributory negligence factors, most courts would, and have, held that the barefoot person was responsible since he or she made the choice to be barefoot. Increased liability to a business for a barefoot person is simply a myth.
"have you ever stepped on something gross by accident? imagine without shoes how nasty that would be."
It's highly unlikely that anyone barefoot would ever step on "something gross." And if they did, they'd feel it immediately and wash it off right away. That's because barefooters by necessity are keenly aware of where they are stepping, unlike shoe wearers who may not even know what they've stepped in until after they've tracked it everywhere including their car, their home, other people's homes or businesses.
The book Dr. Howell wrote is well-researched and well-written. It does challenge a lot of "conventional wisdom" and long held myths.

Posted by: bfrank7 | October 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Humans as a species are habitually bipedal. This means their barefeet provide all the necessary support and propulsion for a lifetime. Evidence of barefoot bipedalism which goes back 4 million years.

It seems odd that so many people, who presumably do not bathe, shower or sleep in their bed with shoes, would feel the need to criticize a barefoot professor at all simply becuase he does not need a couple of pieces of plastic or leather to define his identity.

Posted by: FullyEvolved | October 22, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse

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