Barefoot at Work

Barefoot At Work

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Going Barefoot at Work is Professional

Living a barefoot life and paying the bills at the same time could be really tricky. Most who would otherwise go barefoot, for this reason only get to exercise their passion on weekends or vacation. If you are an avid barefooter whose feet scream when they are concealed, this is a real bummer. As one who is almost always barefoot at work, I can tell you from my own personal experiences that this does not have to be the case.In the past ten years, I’ve acquired clients who have never ever seen me in any kind of footwear. Keep in mind that rather than trying to adapt yourself to society’s standards, you can adapt society to yours!

Confidence is key

The first thing you need to do is develop the confidence to feel that what you are doing is absolutely acceptable and that having bare feet in the office is not at all unprofessional. In fact, a nicely kept pair of feet with the your toenails neatly clipped are as professional as any type of shoe and certainly more professional than sneakers, flip flops, or work shoes. Yes, you heard me right.

A bare foot properly maintained is professional. Getting your customers, associates, coworkers or supervisors into adapting to your choice of bare feet at work may be a challenge, but will be almost impossible if you do not adopt this mindset.

dirty bare solesOnce you’ve accepted that there is nothing unprofessional about bare feet in the office, you can start adapting yourself and your colleagues to your lifestyle even if you are the only barefoot person in place where every single other person is fully shod (shoes and socks or stockings) but hey it works for me! I actually get a pleasure from going to my corporate clients in bare legs and feet in the winter time, while every single person is fully shod or double shod – women wearing their winter or fashionable high heel zip-up boots with a double layer of both socks and stockings, and the men in their corporate suits and ties, shoes and socks.

Elevators tend to be the most fun and actually a good confidence exercise because there will always be that moment when others look up and then down to see your bare feet on display. Most people just give me a friendly smile.

The next thing, equally as important as the first is that once you resolve to be seen barefoot at all times, care for your feet more than you would a fine pair of Italian shoes. Remember, you may throw out an old worn pair of shoes or give them away, but your feet are here to stay!

In addition always keep your toenails groomed and scrub away any peeling skin. Remember just as you wouldn’t wear a pair of unkempt looking shoes, you should do the same thing for your feet since you’re openly displaying them.

How to SHED your footwear at work

feet desk

Timothy Ferris in his best selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek” presents and outline for liberating yourself from the mundane office environment in favor of your choice of lifestyle. In his formula in which he uses the acronym DEAL, you can adapt your boss or customers into the lifestyle which is more fulfilling to you while increasing your results and productivity, and using “jedi mind tricks” to disappear for long periods of time, while producing maximum results.

This transition of course needs to be done gradually in order to eliminate any skepticism. The same thing goes for exercising your liberty to go barefoot at work. Showing up barefoot in a shoe and sock environment can shock your boss or customers and cause them to alert the company social worker or possibly security. So in order for this to work you may need to blend in for the first couple of weeks until you maximize your output, and then slowly transition yourself out of shoes and socks to bare feet.

I will use the acronym SHED to outline your transition from being fully shod (shoes and socks or stockings) to completely barefoot without shocking your associates. This process should take no more than 4 weeks. You can also accomplish this in 4 days – for some women even 4 hours.

nude stockings with heelsShoes – Arriving fully shod – mainly blending in with the rest of the office population. Use the period you are shod to eliminate any foot disorders you may have may give your feet an unattractive appearance. If you have any kind of fungus or odors, check out some products to help eliminate it. I recommend Melaleuca Alternifolia (better know as Tea Tree Oil) to help eliminate toe nail fungus. If this is not addressed, you will essentially drive a stake right through the heart of your intentions. So starting from now, make sure you have nice odorless feet!

Next, prove your indispensability to the company. Outperform your co-workers in every aspect of the job but do not appear threatening to them. It is important that you get along extremely well with your co-workers, so your co-workers will view your bare feet only as a preference.

Even though you are still shod at this point in time, you can begin gearing yourself towards the direction of barefoot. This generally differs by gender so here are some tips:

Men: Wear a pair of slip on shoes – preferably a soft loafer or mocassin type shoe. They should fit loosely enough for you to slide your foot out even if you have on a sock. Of course they will fit even looser once you start coming without socks, giving you even more of an incentive to keep them off all day.

Women: There are different type of shoes, ranging from closed toe pumps to dressy, strappy sandals. For the most part, you should be able to make the shift right away to a pair of open back sandals and ditch the hosiery, which will have you going barefoot within a week. However some offices are more formal requiring closed pumps and stockings.

I recommend eliminating high heels right away as these are extremely damaging to the feet. Wearing flats or sandals will also make the transition to barefoot easier as there will be no noticeable decrease in your height. Eliminate the stockings as well – you may even be able to start going bare that day! If you do need to wear them, go for nude as this will get your boss and co-workers used to seeing your toes, which hopefully once without stockings, will become as hohum as wearing a suit. If you feel you need to wear heels as part of the transition, you can also use this to your advantage. Go for a pair of open toe which are more normally worn bare than in stockings. People are usually sympathetic to the fact that women’s shoes are generally uncomfortable. Insist that you concentrate better in your stocking (and eventually bare) feet.

nude hoseHosiery – includes socks or stockings. Since there are still some places where associates freak at the site of an undressed foot, especially a male foot, leverage your use of socks or stockings to acclimate your co-workers to eventual bare feet. By this time, you should be spending the entire day in socks, or depending on where you work or gender, and therefore you are already barefoot, so it will just be SEX in that case.

Men: It could be any day that your foot makes its first appearance in the buff. Keep your toenails trimmed at all times, in fact, there is no shame in treating yourself to a pedicure. Now gradually increase the time your feet are out of your shoes until you are spending the entire days in your socks – or bare feet if you are in a casual environment.

Women: Again, I would suggest going straight to bare feet. Go for the natural look without polish, which is healthier, or paint your toes a nice sensible color. If you do need to wear hose, continue with wearing nude hose exclusively. This will make the switch to bare feet less dramatic and get your boss and co-workers used to the sight of your toes. By now you should be going about the office exclusively without shoes, whether in your nude hose, or barefoot. If you are not yet ready to go shoeless or bare, opt for a pair of sandals and wear them bare, as this is the choice practice in wearing open toe footwear. Go with the strapless back as this will provide you with more ease in gliding your way to bare feet.

barefoot at deskEliminationEliminating what’s left of your footwear. As your associates are now used to the idea of you kicking off your shoes, you can begin showing up to work sockless, kicking off your shoes while at your desk.

Men: Hopefully you will follow the advice of grooming your feet. At this point begin coming to work sockless. If you fear this will be too much for your associates, start with Fridays and then increase it by one day each week until you are sockless every day. It is important not to feel self conscious about baring your feet, even in the face of female shod & stockinged co-workers. There will be jokes, but don’t let yourself get intimidated. Increase the amount of time your feet are out of their shoes and do not feel shy about making them noticeable when you are at your desk. This will make it easier for you to start padding away from your desk in bare feet.

Back when I worked in corporate America, I had the urge to go barefoot at work and I did. However, I didn’t wait – by the second week my feet were visible to everyone including my bosses. Eventually I scaled back, returning to socks. After a while I sat at my desk and would pull my socks down past my heel. After a few days my feet were completely bare again, but by then most of the people around me didn’t care.

Women: If you are not yet barefoot- which you should already be, no is the time for your feet to be bare exclusively. From the ‘S’ in SHED, your boss and co-workers have gotten used to seeing you barefoot already, and if not at least the color and contour of your skin from wearing nude hose and having your shoes off.

If your transition has been slower and you are still in hose, try this experiment the first day: Arrive in your nude stockings and pumps or open toe shoes. Take them off before starting your day. Go about the early part of your day in your stocking feet. After lunch, nonchalantly return to your desk in your sandals or pumps and bare legs. While discussing your report with your boss or co-worker, gradually inch your feet out of your shoes until they are completely uncovered and cross one of your legs, keeping your bare foot in plain view. Be natural and you are now in as far as barefooting in the office.

barefeet woodDisclosure - This is my favorite part! Crossing the barrier that separates beginning the day with footwear into coming to work with absolutely nothing on your feet. In step 3 – elimination, by revealing your bare feet for your boss and co-workers to see, you’ve disclosed the fact that going bare is your preference. The idea of you in any kind of footwear is now so remote that it is now easier to come to work without any footwear whatsoever, even though your all colleagues, and customers may be fully shod!

It is important to keep in mind that if you go barefoot in the streets, make sure to clean off the dirt from your soles. As much as I love my blackened soles as proof of going barefoot everywhere, it may come across as very unprofessional in the workplace to reveal a pair of dirty feet when kicking off your footwear.

If you are a person who likes to cross your legs when seated, use your discretion when maintaining the appearance of your bare soles. For example, if you work in a corporate environment where the floor is carpeted, keep your soles clean. This will keep your boss, co-workers and clients rest assured that you have a good sense of hygiene.

This is where the confidence aspect kicks in as well. Whether for hygienic concern, or appearance, people tend to worry that others will look at them differently if they are wearing nothing on their feet as oppose to wearing flip flops.

If you get the urge to wear flip flops out of fear of not having enough time clean your feet, carry around some disposable wipes instead. Before getting to your job or appointment, quickly wipe them down so your soles have a nice clean appearance. Bare feet are much nicer when you don’t have a pair of ugly rubber slabs separating your soles from the ground and far better for your health. In a warehouse where the attire is usually more casual, this is not necessary, especially since it would be much too time consuming to clean them with the dusty floors.

When you implement this formula, you will actually find that people tend to care less whether your foot is shod or barefoot. In my case, since my associates know I go barefoot and I’m on the road mostly, they understand it’s only natural that my soles have some dirt on them, in fact, most of them never seen me in any kind of footwear whatsoever and on many occasions, have treated me to lunch without feeling embarrassed to be seen with a barefoot person, even though he or she may be wearing full business attire including shoes and socks or stockings.

At times, when I implemented this formula, it took some customers weeks before they realized that I never have anything on my feet.

Sometimes SEX can get you through the door

Excuse my use of this term. I imply no sexual connotation although I consider bare feet on anyone to be attractive and sexy! In many corporate environments, hose have more or less become obsolete so in this case a woman ditch hosiery altogether making the transition to bare feet faster and less obvious. Also many work environments now implement casual attire alleviating the need for socks entirely. For ease of memorization I’ll introduce another variation and substitute the second D with X – eXclusion of footwear – using SEX to achieve your lifestyle choice at work.

Shoes – appearing shod whether it’s fully shod or bare shod (shoes without socks)

Elimination of footwear – stripping your feet of any footwear whatsoever with the exception of jewelry such as toe rings or anklets.

eXclusion of footwear – Being seen on a regular basis with nothing on your feet and having no footwear in sight.

Fashion Trends and Feet

shoe offJust as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to bare your feet!

Fortunately baring one’s feet has much easier for woman employees,since most work places are quite accepting of bare legs and ankles as well sandals that reveal the entire foot with the exception of the sole.

Many corporate environments have relaxed their dress codes to the point where in warmer months, it is more common to see bare legs or ankles than nylon coated and bare soles are no longer such a phenomenon. It is not uncommon to walk past a set of cubicles or water cooler where secretaries and professionals are congregating and chatting away in their bare feet.

michelle obamasarah palinEven in the winter season, hose have all but outlived their usefulness. In fact, it is just as common to see women barelegged in the workplace in December as it is in July.

A large proportion of women who now travel to and from the workplace in sneakers or boots with socks. Getting to their desk, they strip their feet bare in favor of their dressier pumps. In the summer time flip flops or sneakers are now the choice footwear for getting to work and are often worn around the office making it simpler for woman to go barefoot if she chooses. Another contributing factor to the demise of hose is due to slacks being worn instead of a skirt or a dress, eliminating the need for socks or stockings whatsoever.

Giving credence to this is the fact that many women in public service including the First Lady as well the Vice Presidential runner up of the past election are frequently seen in bare legs while making public addresses.

Decide to Go Barefoot at Work

In going barefoot at work, these are the main points to keep in mind:

Determine whether the environment values performance over attire. A lot of offices still have ways to go in this aspect. It is highly possible that your boss will give you the shpiel of complaining co-workers and customers about your “professionalism”. You may initially find yourself SOL, but remember, it is not illegal to go barefoot so if the boss does threaten to fire you, get to know your legal rights. Chances are he or she will not want to be hit with a law suit. Unless your line of work is in construction, utilities, or food, most businesses have no shoe requirement. For more information, see OSHA requirements.

balancing bare feet

The next thing is to be confident in what you do. Never feel for a second that you’re doing anything inappropriate. If you ever do, others easily pick up on that and you’ve convinced them that you are behaving deviantly. Remember, you are not naked and there is nothing to feel self-conscious about. Be confident at all times and you will almost always attract people to your view. And never give a damn about those that choose to deride you for doing something that is harmless, natural and pleasurable!

These are just some examples of how you can get others to accept your lifestyle choice. Of course ultimately it’s all a matter of you resolving to never let people decide whether you can or cannot go barefoot at work.

As a final word on going barefoot at work, I must reiterate – keep your feet nicely groomed and make sure you perform well, are courteous and considerate to others and have a positive attitude. In turn, with a bit of clever manipulation of your boss and colleagues. It takes a bit of perseverance along with timing but it is well worth it and can be done.

And if it does get to the point where your boss decides to risk his or her productivity over a stupid thing, you are valuable enough to successfully negotiate a work-from-home arrangement where you’ve attained complete freedom from the office. Other choices are to find a workplace that better meets your preferences and offer you higher pay while allowing you to go barefoot at work, or best of all explore the many great opportunities to become your own boss and set your own rules. In the next page we will explore some of these options. But remember, most important of all – stand on your own bare feet!