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 to School in New Zealand

South Africa does not have a monopoly on sensible, grounded people.  There are other parts of the world where kids are encouraged to go to school barefoot.  Here are kids in New Zealand:

Teams line up for Sevens Rugby

Washing feet before going into class

In the Library

Team line-up

Class Photo

Kids in class

Kids on a mission

Class Photo

Class Photo

Doing the "Haka"

Playing rugby


  1. A nice blog from a NZ school here:

  2. Amo alla follia i piedi dei bambini

  3. As someone born to in the United States and raised there by my American mother for my earliest years, I experienced a HUGE culture shock when my father and stepmother spirited me off to New Zealand aged 6. One of the first questions I asked my father was why so many New Zealanders were too poor to afford a pair of shoes, because in the US going around barefoot has very negative conotations for all races,and particularly I had been told that it was very demeaning for blacks for go shoeless,because it's reminiscent of slavery days. "No Shirt, No Shoes,No Service" legally prevented all Americans to be barefoot in most places, so I was truly amazed to see shoeless people walking around in businesses carefree. When enrolled in a New Zealand school I automatically thought the barefoot Kiwi kids were inferior to me as an American and that they were absolutely crazy when I saw them playing Rugby, a full contact sport somewhat like American Football, barefoot with no protective padding. At first I refused to join them in anything, but the school called my parents in to be asked what was wrong with me and why wasn't I fitting in with the other kids. They answered it was because I was born and raised American until very recently to which the headteacher replied some thing to the effect of 'And the Americans wonder why their children are always so ill and unhealthy!' My dad and stepmum agreed to permit my shoes to be taken away during the school day for the benefit of my health and social skills. Although my mother had a conniption when she found out about the barefoot practice and accused my dad of child abuse, I quickly adapted to it and toughened up. It doesn't take very long to figure out that the best way to avoid taking a knock during a Rugby match was to be run fast and be light on one's feet. I even came to enjoy my time as a Kiwi kid. It was so much easier and healthier than being an American child. I wish American culture was loosen up, stop the helicopter parenting and overprotective hypochondria, and let their children develop naturally in the environment rather than make them too afraid and paranoid to even go outside and breathe fresh unfiltered air. Americans can learn a lot from the Aussies and Kiwis and South Africans. Children in the latter countries are nowhere near as unhealthy as American children.

    1. You as an American born and raised child of presumably mixed racial origins learned to ENJOY being forced to go barefoot all day at a school whose main focus should have been on teaching academics and you even got use to being forced to play sports barefooted like some hillbilly?! I don't blame your mother for being horrified! I'd question the credibility of a school that did that and call my ex out for going along with that nonsense too! New Zealand may not be a poor country as you initially believed, but it sure is a backwards and strange country that lacks up to date medical knowledge and childrearing methods. How could you have possibly been brainwashed to believe that running around shoeless made you healthier and better off in New Zealand than in the US and that all Americans should have their children doing it? Thanks for corrupting and liberalizing a perfectly good American, backwards Commonwealth countries!

    2. Not to start a pointless cultural war here, but as you stated and I learned quickly, New Zealand isn't a poor land and neither are Australia and South Africa. They are every bit as wealthy as and much more progressive than the United States, hence people in those countries must be doing something right. How on Earth can Americans lecture others on childrearing and health when they do not even believe that excellent healthcare is a human right to all regardless of race or socioeconomic status and American children have been scientifically proven to be the worst off in the entire developed world? There is nothing worse than when an overly sheltered American indoctrinated with American Exceptionalism feels endowed to criticize and tell the entire world how to live. Before you knock it,why don't you step outside of the bubble of the US and go see the things you're talking about for yourself, before you spout out indoctrinated xenophobic criticism? I'm not corrupted in the least if and when I have kids I won't be going back to the United States to raise them that's for sure. I want them to have the same "backwards" Kiwi childhood I did.