No Shoes, No Shirt, Great Service

I love my job for many reasons.  One of the main reasons is that I am constantly bombarded with information, data, and opinions from customers and employees.  This puts me in the fortunate position to learn.  As many of us realize, the best part about being alive is learning.

bare feet

It’s summer time, so I’m going to share some customer feedback and let one of our many wonderful customers write my blog post for me (unbeknownst to him!).  Shortly after receiving his email, we reversed our “no shoes” policy…

To whom it may concern,

I’ve been a customer at your stores for 7 years. I really like your store, as it has great a great selection of natural and organic products. Lately, I was told that I can not come into the store unless I had shoes on by an employee. I was told that I had to wear shoes for my safety. I have no problem with any other store in the area, such as Lauer’s Super Market, Safeway, Walmart, etc. in terms of being barefoot. I really do like your store, but I am getting to point where I would rather just go to another store than have to deal with being told that I have to put shoes on. I just don’t want to be hassled in that way.

Being barefoot, for me, is a lifestyle choice I made 2 years ago as a means to improve my health, and it works.  The only time I have anything at all on my feet is when I deem it necessary to protect them from injury such as on construction site or at work. I hike trails and roads and I drive barefoot and go to many other stores and restaurants in the area barefoot without prejudice.

And prejudice it is when you employ a no shoes, no shirt policy. It has no logical basis at all. At the time the no shirt, no shoes, no service sign came in existence, in the late ’60s, it was designed to keep hippies out of stores. Plain and simple- prejudice against a certain group of people. The concept is antiquated.

There is no law regarding footwear or lack of for customers in a retail establishment. There is virtually no chance of liability from a barefoot customer getting injured in your store, because being barefoot, in itself, is seen as a voluntary choice on the part of a barefoot person who acknowledges a certain level of risk in doing so. Also, a habitually barefoot person KNOWS where his feet are and is more aware of their surroundings and the surface they walk on than people who habitually wear shoes. There is a much greater risk to you by allowing flip flops or high heels on your stores. Check with your legal department on the number of lawsuits from people that wear shoes vs. barefoot. There have been virtually no barefoot injury related law suits filed in the US in the last 100 years vs. thousands from shod customers.

I would like you to rescind your anti-barefoot policy as I do like the selection in your stores. I just can not do business with a company that has an ingrained policy based on myths and prejudice that, while they want my money, is disrespectful of my personal lifestyle choices.



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63 Responses to No Shoes, No Shirt, Great Service

  1. Kate Ellington says:

    This is one reason I love MOMs. Check out this week’s blog post by the owner and founder.

  2. Doug Percival says:

    I hope you did indeed “check with your legal department” about this — as well as your insurance company. Because my guess is that the first time this writer steps on a sharp-edged corn chip or something, he’s going to stop talking about your “respect for his personal lifestyle choices” and start wailing about your “negligent neglect of public safety” … I guess as a customer, I’m more concerned about protecting M.O.M. from frivolous lawsuits than protecting this person from the totalitarian horror of having to slip on a pair of flip-flops. Having said that, I’m curious as to your policy regarding the “personal lifestyle choices” of nudists.

    • Scott says:

      LOL, Doug. Very, very funny.

      btw- in theory I think I’d be fine if clothes became optional. I bet we’d grow accustomed to that in no time and a lot of hang ups about our bodies would evaporate- not to mention, it would be a blow to the fashion/status industry. Although, with the cold weather seasons in most of the world, abolishing nudity laws will always be impractical.

    • I agree with Doug. America is an extremely litigious society. The writer of this letter may truly be sincere in his need to be shoe-free however I can see many scammers taking advantage of the “barefeet-ok” policy. Better safe than sorry in this case.

      P.S. I have worked in many law firms, and seen a lot of scam injury situations.

    • People who want to file frivolous lawsuits against Mom’s (or any other business) have plenty of opportunities to do so. If a business is worried about lawsuits, the first type of footwear it should ban is high heels. Many businesses are sued each year by women who suffered an injury as a result of wearing high heels, yet no business that I’m aware of has banned high heels. A ban on bare feet for liability reasons should only be considered after high heels and flip-flops have been banned.

      Second, most lawsuits related to bare feet that I’m aware of have been anti-discrimination lawsuits because of “Shoes Required” policies. So, based on available evidence, it seems that a business is MORE likely to be sued if it bans bare feet.

      Third, if a business sets rules on how customers should dress, then it is opening itself up to liability if a customer injures himself as a result of following those rules. Conversely, a business that adopts an “at-your-own-risk” policy to customer attire is unlikely to be found liable unless the business was negligent in some way (e.g. there is broken glass on the floor that is not cleaned up in a timely manner).

      Finally, the nudist example is a ridiculous straw-man argument. Here’s the major flaw: Public nudity is illegal virtually everywhere in the U.S., whereas going barefoot in public is perfectly legal virtually everywhere in the U.S.

  3. MT says:

    I’m no actual germaphob, but I do have what I think are quite normal concerns about such. I’m not saying I’m bothered by anyone else choosing to go around barefoot affecting me, since I wear shoes and those shoes never pass my front stoop. But whereas I can sort of get my mind around being barefoot everywhere else, I can’t figure out how anyone can go barefoot in, say, a public restroom, without their stomach turning when walking through a damp spot on the floor.

    • vas says:

      Dear MT,

      Unless you eat with your feet, going barefoot in a public restroom is safe. If there are any germs on the floor, there is no way for them to enter your system from the feet.

      Of course, in case you eat with your feet, don’t forget to wash them before a meal.

      • MT says:

        Yes, trying to be silly, haha. But seriously though, the point you feel you’re making is not technically correct. Organisms most certainly can and do enter the body from any surface–where there is a breach in the skin barrier.

  4. citizenphil says:

    Yes, being barefoot at home on in your yard is one thing, but going to a public restroom or walking on pavement covered with car oil spots is another thing.

    • Mr. Callahan says:

      Take a sample of bacteria on the floor, now compare it to the toilet seat, the faucet handle, the door handle, the paper towels, the sink…

  5. karla mcduffie says:

    People who choose to go shoeless have every right to do so.

  6. Quicky Koala says:

    I cannot agree that there aren’t good reasons for requiring shoes. Warts, fungus, viruses on the feet all near open produce or communicable to the next hippie…er a barefooter. It’s why many wear flip flops in communal showers (and with the beach, this is the only place flip flops should be worn in my view). People who bring their pets into restaurants or stores (seeing eyed dogs excepted) are similarly situated. Their rights stop at the tip of my nose. The first time I see a customer walking barefoot in a MOMs will be the last time I shop there. I disagree with the writer. If she wants to run barefoot or walk around the yard that’s one thing. It’s not sanitary or without significant legal risk. Mine is just one opinion. You do, of course, have to do as you see fit.

    • Barefoot says:

      Well see, Your position is as you said, YOURS, but shows an unlearned and uninformed position! You are speaking from learned emotions instead of informed and scientific facts! One of those facts is that shoes are the cause of those “Warts, fungus, viruses” on people’s feet! A barefoot person will NEVER have those items, because they’re caused by wearing shoes! Now you may not believe that, but it can easily be confirmed and has been proven scientifically! Your opinion then is erroneous, and you can still ‘feel’ the same way, but NOW you know you’re standing on beliefs that are ridiculous and based on your personal thoughts!

      • Mmm…this initial cause of a fungus may be from having feet enclosed in sweaty shoes, however fungus, as well as viral infections of skin and nails get passed on to barefooted people via public sand-pits, floors, and carpets.

    • Laure says:

      I think you are forgetting that feet are washed far more often than the bottom of shoes, and shoes can track infection around, too. The person who has stepped in a pile of excrement may not realize it, nor clean their shoes before entering a shop. A barefooter is less likely to have stepped in offensive materials (they pay attention to their feet) and less likely to leave anything gross on their feet. I wash my feet several times a day on barefoot days.

  7. Tatiana says:

    As far as barefoot , I love walking barefoot too but I like coming to MOM’s more and would not want anything to change that. I love coming to MOM’s not only because one feels the care in all that is offered for one’s well being but also seeing customers taking time to choose what is right for them. Having a room where one can eat that has so much serenity is a gift beyond. I’ve talked to other customers and have learned a lot too. Thanks MOM’s!

  8. scooterc says:

    As far as I know, there are no barefoot laws or regulation in regards to public places. Unless there’s a sign prohibiting the practice within a specific store, I don’t think the store has a foot to stand on.

  9. Julie Starling says:

    I like that you listen to your customers, Scott!

  10. Lisa says:

    Lifestyle choices aside–SANITATION is what is important in a grocery store. You are taking a responsible business like MOM’s, which is trying to do good for the environment, to a whole new (not good) level. A warm, moist environment, like the bottom of a foot in between toes, breeds different kinds of germs than what would be a floor without bare feet walking all over it. I could not stand to buy “fresh” produce in a place with such a floor. What if my apple drops on that floor?!? This is not what I expect from MOM’s which is why you had the shoe policy in the first place. I do not want to be grossed out when I go to buy food. I may stop shopping there.

    • KS says:

      Unshod feet aren’t moist. Have you thought about all the germs thriving on the bottom of people’s shoes? You might just want to stop buying fresh produce.

    • Barefoot says:

      You ALSO betray your thoughts as unlearned! There are (proven science) more germs, bacteria, and stuff tracked in on their floors by people wearing shoes, than barefeet! Why? Because bacteria, fungi, and the like need certain conditions to live and grow! Those ideal conditions are INSIDE shoes! A person like the writer, who doesn’t wear shoes, has ZERO chance of said bacteria and viruses happening! Sanitation? Let me scare your mind into focus!! That ‘apple’ you dropped on that scary floor? You have no idea of how many people with the flu have sneezed on it before it hit the floor!! If you trust food that you don’t wash BEFORE you take a bite of it, then you’re silly!! Barefeet is also WAY cleaner than the shoppers hands that picked up, then put down that tomato YOU just picked up!!
      So get informed before you try to justify your position! Things are not as you always may think! Millions of people’s health is ruined each year, because of wearing shoes, mainly back-pain, and ruined knees! I know this, because I’m an expert on the subject!

    • Myranya says:

      Do you use a shopping cart when you visit the store? Did you ever think how many people touched that handle bar, halfway through the store coughed or sneezed,discretely holding their hand in front of their mouth, then kept pushing that cart you are using?

      Or if it is just the floor you are concerned with, what about that person with the walking shoes with ridged soles, did you watch him wipe his feet, and did he get all the muck and other stuff from the street off his ridged soles? And that farmer, he’s wearing his boots, think where he has been! People step in all kinds of stuff, but as a barefooter at least I am aware of it, and I haven’t tracked in any dog doo since I have shed my footwear. I don’t think I am the only person who ever had that happen when I still wore shoes….

      Really, we are at far, far greater risk of spreading germs through our hands than feet, even when they are both bare. It’s just that bare feet are a rare sight and that the ‘no shoes, no service’ is deeply ingrained in the minds of many Americans, but this is for no reason other than an urban legend grown out of hand (many people believe it is against Health Dept rules, and thus it ‘must be’ unhealthy…) Here in Europe all I hear is aren’t your feet cold, and it’s extremely rare anyone is concerned about the germs. Ironically enough, the last person who did say ‘oh gross’ was one of those to cough into her hand while handling the shopping cart 🙂

    • First, you should always thoroughly wash produce before consuming it regardless of whether it touched the floor or encountered a barefoot customer. That single action should assuage your concerns.

      However, I am perplexed at why you would be OK with the possibility of produce coming into contact with dirt, etc., from shoes, or other people’s hands (the number one conduit for spreading germs), but not OK with bare feet. I’d bet good money that 99 percent of the time, the sole of a bare foot is cleaner than the sole of a shoe. You are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is a logical fallacy.

  11. Charlie Tang says:

    Hi Mr. Nash,In an ideal environment, nobody should wear shoes. But once someone did, it forced other people to do so to protect themselves. The floor of your store is clean I am sure, but we don’t know where the other people can bring toxic chemicals into the store. If someone should have visited a factory where they make some kind of toxic metal, and on the way home, he or she stopped by your store, and the toxin fell off his or her shoes on the floor of your store, this gentleman or lady, walked into your store and stepped on it. The skin usually will allow some chemical to pass through to the blood circulation within minutes of coming into contact with the substance. Furthermore, the oil from his or her skin, and any fungus he or she should have would have impart onto the floor and someone else who are barefooted will pick them up. Granted these are not like scenario. If you can allow people to come in barefooted with the caveate that they do it at their own risks, I would agree with that. I am an old hippie myself and I used to go around barefooted a lot. And I might go back to that. I don’t believe that your store prejudice against hippies.

    • Myranya says:

      If anyone worked in an environment where they tracked out chemicals so toxic that skin contact in the way you describe was a real problem, their family would long have died from exposure. After all, they go home and walk in the door and their kid crawls on the floor, the dogs in the area around the factory must be dropping like flies too… Really, I don’t like the (over)use of chemicals myself, but this is not a realistic scenario at all.

      Fungus can spread but only if you are close behind another barefooter and if you put your feet back into shoes afterwards. On a regular store floor, even if a barefooter has fungus (unlikely, but say someone’s not a regular barefooter but has only taken off heels that hurt), I would not be concerned when walking in later. Most likely the spores would have dried up and died on the floor already, and if I were behind her in the checkout line, I might pick up some spores on my feet, but these have little chance of actually infecting me when I keep my feet bare. It’s no more reason to worry than that we should wear mouth caps like some Asians do if another customer in the store happens to sneeze. Athlete’s foot spreads when people go briefly barefoot, preferably in warm and damp places (showers, locker rooms) or really close together (in line at the airport, and also put on shoes again afterwards. It’s called ‘atlete’s foot’ instead of ‘barefooter’s foot’ for good reason, it is very rare among populations that go barefoot more often.

    • Laure says:

      I’m probably more concerned about toxic chemicals than the next person, and my profession makes me (somewhat annoyingly) safety conscious, but your post made me think immediately of how many restrictions we allow others to put on us in the name of fear. Fear of toxins. Fear of accidental – or intentional – placing of toxic chemicals where people can be exposed to them. Oh no! Everyone wear shoes! Accept the fact that you will always have compromised posture, higher levels of stress, deformed feet and chronic toenail fungus because someone MIGHT put toxins on the floor of a grocery store.

    • Oh, c’mon. People who work with toxic chemicals have to undergo an intense cleaning process before and after working with such chemicals to ensure that they do not contaminate themselves or others. If someone were to walk into a store with toxic waste on them, they’d be committing a very serious crime.

  12. Rick Vallance says:

    I cannot agree with your decision to permit even one customer to enter any of your locations barefoot for all of the obvious reasons previously mentioned. The reason your “barefoot” customer offers for why you have/had a policy of requiring shoes or any establishment for that matter is utterly ridiculous! Personally, I’d rather see you loose this guy as a customer as opposed to many such as myself who will choose to shop organic elsewhere should I see barefoot shopper(s) roaming the aisles of your store. Going forward, I would concern myself with running a business and not bothering to be “politically correct” by tolerating someone’s individual lifestyle choices.
    Your customers have choices as well. One of them being to shop at Mom’s, Roots, Whole Foods or others. In other words, I love Mom’s, but you’re not the only game in town. To echo one of the earlier responses, I have enjoyed shopping at Mom’s, but will not do so if barefoot shoppers are
    allowed in your facilities! – Disgruntled with Your Decision!

    • Barefoot says:

      An emotional, but sadly misinformed position! You are there for natural foods, but draw the line at natural FEET on a floor that you will NEVER eat off of! You let your imagination rule your thoughts without actual facts getting in your way! Do some research before criticizing something you know absolutely nothing about! You may find that your opinion is erroneous, and is in fact harmful!

    • Bryan Lewis says:

      It’s OK to be honestly mistaken. Do some research, You will see the truth, then you will either stop being mistaken or you will stop being honest.

    • Personally, I’d rather Mom’s lose someone like you as a customer. And I find your hostility to barefoot customers to be utterly ridiculous. Why someone would be so strong in his opinion about how other customers should dress that he’d threaten to take his business elsewhere is beyond me.

    • Carlos says:

      “…tolerating someone’s individual lifestyle choices?” That’s a bad thing? Whatever your problem is, I hope you get over it soon so you can live a happy, stress-free life!

  13. Christine says:

    I really don’t understand why anyone would be upset by someone else being barefoot in the store. There are just as many germs, toxic substances, and general dirt on the bottom of their shoes as there are on the bottom of someone’s foot. Live and let live. Good decision on your part.

  14. K.L. says:

    Incredible. As a devoted barefooter, and customer of MOM’s, this is a tremendous sign of progress for many people, and a landmark in health food store acceptance (not that there are any legal precedents in the first place). This will be posted in the Society for Barefoot Living forums!

  15. Robert Piekiel says:

    I have been a full-time barefooter for 35 + years and am so pleased to see that an establishment is now publicly welcoming people like me who choose not to wear shoes for reasons of good health and comfort. There are NO health laws requiring people to wear shoes in stores, and there never have been, despite the misinformation that has slanted people’s way of thinking ever since the 1960s. You would think that people have outgrown the prejudices of those
    “shirts and shoes required” signs and allow each of us the freedom to choose for ourselves how e dress. I am going to be a permanent customer of MOMs stores from now on, and will proudly shop there barefoot, as it should be everywhere!

    Bob P

  16. Notworldly says:

    It seems that Scott may not have waited long enough for anti-barefoot comments to come in, before changing store policy. What about a compromise as follows:
    1) Give this new policy a 2-month-or-so trial and
    2) disinfect floors more often (with, of course, a non-toxic and non-smelly disinfectant if used during opening hours), and
    3) have store mopped with disinfectant after employees or patrons notice a barefoot person has left and
    4) make sure dropped items, especially produce and cold items, are taken in back, not to be sold, unless they can be fully washed, like plastic or glass, and
    5) put up a chart in stores and on internet and have patrons vote, after having viewed reasons which have been stated on the internet, not to have the new policy. Take results into consideration.

    • Barefoot says:

      Research your position!! Disinfect? Why? A barefoot person walking on a floor DOESN’T NEED IT TO BE DISINFECTED! We don’t eat off of a floor! Do you?? Do some easy research, and you will quickly find out that your shoes are a breeding place for fungus, bacteria, and other diseases, WHICH ARE NOT found on barefeet! In fact the way to cure athletes foot is to stop wearing shoes completely! As the writer posted, the health benefits of losing the shoes FAR outweigh any perceived benefits of wearing them! And YOU can easily prove this position by reading published scientific studies on the subject! You would want a person who is practising a healthy lifestyle, to be denied those rights just because of an uneducated opinion! The cure for that is education! Educate yourself on the subject THEN come back and post!

    • vas says:

      Also make sure items touched by customers’ hands are taken in back, not to be sold, unless they can be fully washed.

      • Kit says:

        Y’know it will probably be easier for everyone to wear a hazmat suit before entering the store.

        That or a no shoes in the store policy – that way you can just disinfect the whole store at the end of the day rather than only after a single barefoot patron has been in (after all you may miss that patron!).

        Also a sign that advises all patrons to wash fresh food before consumption, better than expecting the staff to wash it as they simply won’t have the time to do so – well unless they employ a task force for just that aspect.

        Better yet just treat this whole issue with the respect that one would expect from decent civilised beings and act as if nothing has really changed!

        Yeah, that sounds like the better alternative!

    • Myranya says:

      My God, are you serious? Sorry, as a European I find this level of germaphobia hard to grasp… See my post in another reply about the handlebars of the handlebars of shopping carts etc.
      Also, do you pay cash? Ever heard how much germs there are on money? Everyone handles that stuff, you know, better stick to plastic.

    • Another person who somehow believes that shoes, the soles of which are rarely washed, are somehow much cleaner than the soles of feet, which most people wash daily. Absolutely mind-boggling.

  17. Greetings,
    The Barefoot Alliance leadership applauds MOM’s for rescinding their policy requiring that patrons wear shoes. We are disappointed to see, however, that many comments here in opposition to your decision have been written out of ignorance of basic legal precedent, scientific principles, and research. Indeed, anyone using logic, scientific evidence, and a rational look at the issue will see that they have NOTHING to fear from people going barefoot in public.

    Let’s be clear: Bare feet — when allowed to remain bare — are not capable of remaining sweaty, harboring bacteria, or spreading disease as has been alluded to here. These problems are exacerbated by wearing shoes, however. Shoes act as incubators for drastically increasing the temperature of the feet and growing bacteria that lead to athlete’s foot and nail fungus. Yes, bare soles may get “dirty” from walking around, however they would be far less dirty than ANYONE’S footwear since most of us wash our feet every day — something we don’t do with our shoes. Indeed, shoes may carry around on them any dirt, grime, or other unmentionables that they’ve stepped in the weeks, months or years since they were last cleaned. Even the inner soles of flip flops have been proven to carry around nasty bacteria that rubs against the feet with each step.

    Scientific research continually shows that the best way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases is through proper hand hygiene. This makes sense since the common cold, the flu, and other respiratory infections typically enter the orifices of the face when we touch them after we’ve touched infected surfaces with our hands. Based on this evidence, ALL produce should be thoroughly washed before eaten — whether or not a barefoot customer has ever entered the store.

    Lastly, the real legal issues are this. If MOM’s makes it clear that a danger to bare feet may be present, they are not liable if customers continue to go barefoot and are injured. Granted, anyone can sue for anything, however no lawyer would take on a case like this because they know they’d lose.

    You can read about these issues and more at our Website: We sincerely invite you to have an open mind, visit our site, read up on barefoot living, and form logical opinions about this issue. You might even discover a new respect for your own two feet and embrace more barefoot activity in your life. After all, barefoot is human. Best wishes.

    Michael Buttgen
    Founder and Chief Barefoot Officer
    The Barefoot Alliance

  18. MT says:

    The focus of discussion on “germs,” etc. is barely consequential compared to what is really important regarding the topic of bare feet/shoes/outside environment. The vast majority of people are relatively healthy, and healthy bodies have a normal and perfectly sufficient method of fighting and controlling “germs”–susceptible others are/should be protected by other means. So this topic ultimately is of little impact, perhaps akin to the side of the pro-barefoot crowd. (Although I still find the idea of confidently traipsing through a puddle of urine on the floor of a public restroom thoroughly disgusting.)

    No, the larger issue is that which we are exposed to that the body has no natural means to fight–let’s say for example neurotoxins in the form of heavy metals. It has long been established that independent of other factors, indoor locations (homes, businesses, whatever) in which shoes are worn have a measurably higher degree of, let’s pick on Lead, than those that impose a strict No Shoes policy. We also know that the neurotoxicity of this and related heavy metals is remarkably damaging, and permanent. The laziness present in society in general that exposes them and their families to this danger is mind-boggling. The solution is simple–take off your shoes at the door.

    This is in no way an indictment of shoes as opposed to bare feet, however, since bare feet are not immune from the same criticism. Bare feet are not magical of course; they are capable of collecting and tracking the same particulate matter on the sole as a shoe. That black film on feet that you get from walking around outside, on the sidewalk, across the road, etc…? I think it’s clear what that is to anyone who gives it quality thought: part tire rubber, part car exhaust, part every other nasty thing present in the modern environment that eventually settles on the ground. So, barefooters . . . fine, seems to me for you and your family, provided you are washing your feet with soap and water at the point of home entry, which would be the equivalent of someone else removing their shoes. For both groups, living any other way is lazy and self-destructive.

    And finally, to the barefoot crowd, regarding the point made a number of times in the threads about the “natural”/”human”, etc. nature of barefootedness . . . ok, agreed. It is more natural. but that point fails to recognize that we don’t live in the thoroughly natural world anymore that you are trying to passively allude to. We live in a world now with exposures that cannot be undone, and it seems reasonable to protect oneself (and family, particularly the smallest ones that crawl around on indoor floors constantly putting their hands in their mouths) from those however it seems best. To many people what seems best is a 1/4-inch deep rubber sole.

    Bottom line: bare feet ok, shoes ok, just leave the trackings of either at the door. And oh, regarding all the examples of food falling on the floor, just, no. The rare food item that falls on the floor should just be disposed. end of story.

  19. Proof says:

    I am STUNNED by how many people in here are so worried about someone else’s FEET! Just because someone chose to buy a can of dog food without shoes on, does not mean the entire store is contaminated.

    NO ONE complains about the old lady that licks her fingers to open a produce bag, and then touches the peaches (many of which she puts back). Or, what about the guy that sneezed and touched the lettuce? Or, what about the 5 year old that pokes holes into the pack of chicken, and then touches all kinds of other items that stay on the shelves? What are the odds some simpleton picked their nose, then went through various groceries?

    As a business owner, I have contacted my insurance agent. There are no policies regarding barefoot customers. Furthermore, my rates do not go up or down depending on if I require shoes. There are no “health codes”. So, if there is no way I can get in trouble for allow barefoot patrons, then why should I say who is not welcome to come in?

    BTW, I found that more people hurt their BACKS while shopping, which is due to lifting items they cannot carry. If I required everyone to shop while wearing a back brace, I would be the laughing stock of the city!

    So, I welcome barefoot customers. If there are enough of them, perhaps I can hire more employees to serve them 🙂

  20. I continue to be amazed by the degree of misunderstanding most people have about shoes and feet, from mythical laws and hypothetical liabilities, to a complete lack of knowledge about human biomechanics. Literally, most people are 180-degrees wrong in what they believe about shoes and feet. For those who insist that going barefoot is dangerous and/or unhealthy, you can argue against opinions and studies and facts, but you simply cannot argue against personal experience. There are many, many people who live barefoot almost 24/7 in Western societies (myself included) and have benefited from doing so. Scott, I applaud your open-mindedness, your down-to-earth reasoning, and your boldness to do what you think is right. I would like to send you a free, signed copy of my book, The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes. Please visit my website and contact me!

  21. timetraveler says:

    And by the way, to those too young to remember, in the USA the anti barefoot signs first appeared during the late 1960’s when stores did not want hippies to come in. And when the signs did not work, they started to lie about why the signs were put up, saying it was a board of health regulation. The meme spread, and most people today think there is a regulation when there never was. And anyone who remembers that time would know just how common it was for young people to go barefoot everywhere, not just hippies. Was considered hip and cool among the college crowd for a few years.

  22. Pingback: A barefoot success story and debunking ignorance | Let's Go Barefoot!

  23. Wendy Ernst says:

    I guess barefooters are not worried about injury to vulnerable bare feet. I am not willing to go barefoot (except indoors at home) for many reasons. Shoes protect my toes from ordinary things, (such as hot liquids if a drink is spilled, a hard package of frozen food, not barbells) being dropped on them, or contact with a shopping cart, which at the very least would be inconvenient and painful or possibly break a toe. Quick reflexes would help here, but no one is foolproof. I know all the barefooters here say how careful they are, but there are sharp objects that could be dangerous if stepped on, such as screws, nails, broken glass, bits of metal or even sharp bits of hard plastic from all sources- stuff I see quite commonly in parking lots, and often pick up when I can. If the metal is rusty, one runs the risk of tetanus.

    As long as people accept full responsibility for the risks being taken, I guess it doesn’t affect me that much. However as someone pointed out, there are many scam lawsuits and I would hate to see any store, esp. MOM’s, being involved in that. On the other hand, I am NOT AT ALL interested in the rule against “no shirts” being reversed. I would definitely re-consider shopping at any store that inflicts that on its customers. So, please, Scott, don’t.

    • There are several issues with this argument about “vulnerable bare feet.”

      1. Shoes can also cause injuries, just different ones. For instance, turning your ankle is virtually impossible to do barefoot, but is a common injury when wearing shoes. As I mentioned in another comment above, high heels are, by far, the biggest source of injuries. There is growing medical evidence that shoes can cause a myriad of long-term medical problems, such as back and knee pain. I have had life-long issues with my posture that were cleared up when I started going barefoot frequently. There is a risk/reward for going barefoot and for wearing shoes. Those of us who go barefoot habitually have decided that the risks associated with shoes are greater than the risks associated with going barefoot.

      2. The soles of feet that are always in shoes are tender, but, after a few days of going barefoot, a person’s soles toughen significantly. A seasoned barefooter’s soles are so tough that he can walk on broken glass without cutting them.

      3. Several of the potential hazards you listed would not be prevented by the most common types of shoes. Flip-flops, which seem to be the most popular choice of footwear these days any time the temperature gets above 50 degrees, would provide no protection from the hazards-from-above that you listed. The only way to fully prevent injuries to your feet would be to wear heavy-duty work boots everywhere and I don’t see many people doing that.

    • “…there are sharp objects that could be dangerous if stepped on, such as screws, nails, broken glass, bits of metal or even sharp bits of hard plastic from all sources- stuff I see quite commonly in parking lots, and often pick up when I can.”

      And barefoot persons see them, too … and we don’t step on them … and we often pick them up when we can. Our eyes don’t stop working when we’re barefoot. In fact, we automatically become more aware of what’s on the ground around us for this very reason. If anything, people who wear shoes usually turn off their careful vision because they have less need to be as careful.

      It’s pretty simple: Anything you can see, you can avoid. Anything you can’t see WILL NOT cause major injury to bare feet.

  24. I want to join the chorus of those who are thanking Mom’s for reversing its anti-barefoot policy. There is one aspect of this that is especially important: Although most stores tolerate barefoot customers, very few would ever say so publicly. The fact that Mom’s choose to do so is a huge step in the right direction. Although they received the predictable backlash from a vocal minority, I think Mom’s will find that most customers will have either a positive or neutral response to this policy.

  25. I mean, we all use our hands and touch various surfaces each day that so many other things and hands have touched…..all while making the decision not to wear gloves while venturing out in public places.

  26. Scott says:

    You “barefooters” use good logic. I’m happy to be an ally. There are some who cross over to “foes”, rather than friendly disagreement, of which I don’t understand. Makes me wonder if the issue is political for some, in that there are people who still have it in for “hippies”. To those few who are angry about our new policy and who threaten to shop elsewhere, you are probably best doing so.

  27. Sandy says:

    Scott; As a resident of New Jersey, I have never been to MOMs. However, I have family in Silver Spring whom I visit frequently. I now plan to make a stop at MOMs the next time I visit. thank you for your new and publicly stated policy.
    I am a 61 year old attorney who has suffered from knee and foot pain for the past twenty years. At the beginning of the summer, I started going barefoot when not in court or meeting with clients. My knees and feet have improved remarkably, to the extent that i no longer need shots for my knees, and I can walk distances, which I have not been able to do for years in my “supportive” shoes and my orthotics. Going barefoot is more than just an individual apparel choice, it is a low cost way to improve my health.
    Also, as someone who makes her living at least in part by litigating personal injury cases, I have never had nor would I take on a lawsuit brought by a barefoot individual who injured himself in a store. For personal injury cases, I earn a percentage of the award, and if the case is not successful, I earn nothing. I would not take a personal injury case that I knew would have no chance of winning before a jury, due to the issue of contributory negligence,. This is my business. I am not going to waste my time, my money, and my energy on a losing proposition.

  28. Own2Feet says:

    Congratulations to MOM’s for having the common sense to reverse a policy that never should have become so widespread in the first place. I live on the West Coast, but I have friends in Virginia and have a good friend with family in Maryland. I will be encouraging them to shop at MOMs – shod or unshod, as they please – in light of this decision. The people who are afraid of contamination from barefoot customers really need to brush up on their biology. They are at much greater risk by shaking hands with someone or touching a door knob than they are by being in close proximity of someone who is barefoot. Heck, they might even be at greater risk by putting slose-toed shoes on their feet every day since shoes are the idea incubator for fungi.

  29. Bri says:

    Is the reversal of your policy posted anywhere on the MOM’s site? Have all the employees been informed of the change? I plan on visiting the next time I’m near one and just want to make sure there won’t be any hassles because someone didn’t know about the change.

  30. Dave says:

    Good for you for being barefoot friendly!

  31. Steev says:

    In many of my travels though out the world many Churches, Temples ,Mosques and Shrines have a ‘No Shoes’ policy for entrance. You leave your shoes at the door or you can not enter. I’ve always considered that policy an opportunity to offer reverence and to experience some sense of purity in myself. I think that entering an organic grocery could offer, for some, that same opportunity and it should.

  32. Lillian M. Blome says:

    On my first visit to Hawaii, I attended Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox church. As I watched a young woman ,walk down the aisle to read the Epistle, I suddenly realized she was barefooted. This is perfectly normal and accepted in the islands. Why not? The very first thing I do ,when I enter my house is to kick off my shoes (feels so good).. See you at MOM’s.

  33. Barefooter25 says:

    I also want to thank MOMs for reversing their policy of not allowing barefooters into their store. I wish we had more supermarket chains that would do this. I live in Florida and right and as soon as I enter a Publix supermarket, they have their “shoes required inside” signs. I don’t think the majority of these places realize that the majority of these policies making the customer do no business with them. Last Sunday, I went to a co-workers place to watch a movie about the Dhali Lama. He made his apartment into a mini-Buddhist temple and he said it was alright if I went to his place barefoot. If some places of worship believe that being shoeless purifies their scared ground and alters, I don’t understand why it’s so tough for stores and markets to accept barefooters.

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