I have the great good fortune to live in a country where a barefoot lifestyle is not just tolerated but encouraged. South African children go to school, to the mall, to movies, to restaurants, to friends, to the doctor and in fact everywhere barefoot and no one bats an eyelid. If a shop in South Africa ever put up a "No Shoes, No Service" sign it would go out of business. South Africans simply would not put up with that kind of nonsense. I started this blog to promote a greater acceptance of the sensible and healthy practice of going about barefoot in those parts of the "developed" world where things have become more important than people and where people seem to have forgotten what is good for them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Barefoot Rugby in South Africa

South African boys from 6 to 13 years old play rugby barefoot.  Rugby is a winter sport but these little boys' tough soles are impervious to the Highveld frost that often turns their fields crackling white in the early morning.

Novice group - 6 and 7 year olds

Under 9s - the start of league matches

First team - under 13 (Grade 7s)

An under 9 team

Fly-half retrieves the ball from the scrum

Centre gets the ball and charges forward

Kicking a penalty - need tough feet to do this!

Taking quick penalty

Kicking ahead

Charging attacker about to fend off obviously reluctant defender

Boy with ball show opposite number clean pair of heels (well, maybe not so clean!)

Running down boy with ball

Boys at practice

Barefoot boy watching high school match

Team huddle

Charging for the try-line

Kicking up field

Clash of the bulls

Scoring a try

Taken a knock - rugby is not for sissies!

Bulletjies team having a romp at the side of the field ("bulletjies" is Afrikaans for bull calves - refers to 6 and 7 year old boys, who play according to slightly different rules)

Bulletjies.  Note the frost burned grass!


  1. are they ticklish?

    1. Have you noticed,besides rugby and athletics being done barefoot,another barefoot compulsary sport is primary school tug of war "toutrek".

  2. Why the Hell do South African boys play a sport barefoot and in winter at the that?! Rugby seems very much like our American football and if it is,then the children need not only shoes but pads and a helmet too. This must be some bizarre initiation right of passage.

    1. In New Zealand as well,kids play barefoot leauge...and barefoot walking iis South African culture.Our kids mostly attend school barefoot...and primary school rugby rules dictate that kids should and must plat barefoot for foot development and health.South African rugby is in no ways comparable with american football...USA kids are soft footters...and really soft kids...SA kids are tuff kids...and are in general barefooters,and prefer being barefoot and play barefoot.There is another sport where bare feet are cpmpulsary in South Africa called "tou Trek" (tug of war).Children's tug of war rules require that all participating children below the age of 13 must participate barefoot... Bare feet is a lovely South African cultural thing,and myself,being 54...am still a barefooted,and O love it.

  3. For some or other reason...Americans see bare feet as disgusting and unhealthy...socially unacceptable...etc.Yet in earlier years kids in America used to attend school barefoot as a norm and played barefoot...and it was acceptable...what went wrong?Its amasing... People in modern days are fighting for nudist rights...but yet appose barefoot rights...what's more socially unacceptable....nudism or barefootism?