Is a barefoot trend sweeping SNC campus?


It’s no secret that Sierra Nevada College students love the outdoors. At SNC, outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, and lake days are a regular occurrence, but some students go the extra mile to become more in tune with the earth. In the warmer months in Tahoe it isn’t uncommon to see students walking around campus without shoes – even during ski season some students can sometimes be spotted walking barefoot in the icy parking lot.

Going barefoot on college campuses has recently become a trend in the western region of the U.S. Some say it gives students a feeling of connectedness to the earth, others just like the way it feels or are too lazy to bother grabbing a pair of shoes before heading off to class.

Freshman Emily Isom says that it just feels good to be barefoot.

“I hate wearing shoes,” she said. “It feels great to feel the different textures under your feet. It makes me feel a little more humbled too. It has sort of a calming effect as well and puts me in a happier mood for no reason at all.

“Honestly, I don’t think you benefit too much from not wearing shoes, not physically at least. I think it’s more mental. Like I said, it just puts me in a good mood and I feel more in tune with myself. I usually don’t go shoeless too much in the winter. If I’m walking from my room to the cafeteria, then yes I would go shoeless. But if I have to go outside in the snow, then hell no, I would be wearing shoes.”

What about the adversities of going barefoot?

“I have been asked to leave for not wearing shoes,” Isom said. “One example is the cafeteria here at SNC. The staff would simply ask me to put on shoes or leave. Most of the time I would get away with it, but occasionally that would happen. I would just pull out my pair of Crocs that I kept in my backpack solely for that reason.”

She recommends that other people try going barefoot. “Just one shot to see if they like it,” she said. “If not, oh well. You never know unless you give it a chance.”

Samir Somji almost never wears shoes, not even in the winter. The senior ski business and ODAL major was convinced by a friend to start going barefoot and one day he forgot to bring shoes when he skied to school, so he just decided to try it out. Now he doesn’t need to worry about carrying around an extra pair of shoes.

“Speedy transitions to ski boots and climbing shoes” are a benefit of the shoeless lifestyle, Somji said. “Plus, it saves me a couple seconds when leaving the house.”

He admits there are some hurdles when deciding to go barefoot as often as he does.

“Ophelia (a cafeteria worker) often is unimpressed with bare feet in the cafeteria,” he said. “Me and Nathan used to stash some shoes in the bushes when we lived on campus so we could still eat. Most places that serve food aren’t too stoked. Must be some kind of health code thing. Also, the pinecones around here are super sharp.”

Somji also recommends walking barefoot in the winter.

“It’s the best time of year to do it,” he said. “It’s like walking on the beach except the water is kinda cold.”

He also says that it can by hydrating for the pores in his feet.