The Baker Orange

Student forgoes shoes, prepares for cold winter

Story by Margo Rodewald

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No shoes, no shirt, no service.

People see these words posted on signs outside of almost every restaurant or store. But one student is saying yes to not wearing shoes.

Junior Betsy Siess began walking barefoot when she participated in One Day Without Shoes on April 18.

After that, she decided to try going without shoes for a while. She hadn’t actually planned on going without shoes for months, so little did she know it would be October and she still wouldn’t be wearing them.

Siess isn’t going barefoot to make a statement; she’s doing it for spiritual and health reasons. She researched and found it’s better on feet arches to go barefoot instead of wearing shoes.

While Siess, for the most part, walks barefoot everywhere, she will wear shoes in restaurants and stores.

“I always throw a pair of flip-flops in my purse if I need them,” Siess said. “They’re quite handy.”

But Siess never wears shoes to class, except during labs, and some professors have taken notice.

“The chemistry teachers give me a lot of flack,” Siess said.

But one professor who hasn’t given her any ‘flack’ for doing this is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kelly Flaherty.

Flaherty said going barefoot just shows Siess is being herself.

“We don’t even notice anymore,” Flaherty said. “It’s just Betsy. That, and her Winnie the Pooh lunch box.”

While Flaherty said she would never go without shoes, she thinks what Siess is doing is awesome.

“I think, more power to her,” Flaherty said.

Siess has to be careful while walking to class on campus. Her feet have been injured several times, once with a stick and another time with broken glass.

“I’ve learned to watch where I walk,” she said.

But her injuries haven’t kept her from going barefoot. In fact, she’s even mastered walking on gravel without shoes and eventually wants to run long distances barefoot.

Even some of Siess’ roommates will occasionally walk without shoes. Junior Stephanie Brown said she goes on walks around campus barefoot.

“I enjoy (going without shoes) myself when I go on walks,” she said. “It’s fun.”

But not all of her roommates could go without shoes.

“I don’t think I could,” junior Jackie Thompson said. “I’m clumsy enough, I would probably break several toes.”

So far, Siess has only gone barefoot during spring and summer months.

But even with the days getting cooler, Siess said the colder weather won’t keep her from trudging through the snow in her bare feet.

“My new goal, now, is to make it through the winter without shoes,” Siess said. “I’m planning to bundle up and hope for the best.”

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