A character appears barefoot as a sign of their poverty. Usually, the camera will linger on their feet to emphasize the lack of shoes. Bonus points if they are shown walking in the snow and shivering from the cold. A common variation includes a shot of them looking at a pair of NiceShoes with longing. Often used to make the character seem like [[TheWoobie a woobie.]]

Originally, nobody wore shoes, though in colder countries people might wrap their feet in cold weather. In the last few thousand years, shoes gained prevalence through their association with status. Making shoes requires skill and wearing them meant you were above such things as [[TooImportantToWalk walking on the ground]]. Thus those who wore shoes were the nobility, and those who aspired to be nobility (this is also how [[http://www.myseveralworlds.com/2007/07/11/suffering-for-beauty-graphic-photos-of-chinese-footbinding/ foot binding became]] [[http://www.neatorama.com/2010/07/07/the-bygone-practice-of-foot-binding-in-china/ so popular in China]]). Urbanization is another factor; going barefoot in a pastoral setting is one thing, but cobblestone streets can cut and abrade one's feet severely. These are the same factors that led to the development of the horseshoe.

It may seem strange nowadays, but being barefoot is entirely natural and was once completely normal in all cultures. While many cultures have yet to fully adopt the idea that walking barefoot is somehow shameful, those that never wear shoes have shrunk to small and usually isolated communities. Some cultures, such as the [[UsefulNotes/NewZealand Maori]], have a strong historical and social emphasis on walking barefoot and Maori schools often require children to not wear shoes.

DoesNotLikeShoes may be a result of this if the character manages to get out of their poverty. A SisterTrope to BankruptcyBarrel.
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!!Examples

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Several shinigami from the poorest districts of the Rukongai grew up barefoot because of the poverty in which they lived, including: Rukia and Renji (both from District 78), Yachiru (from District 79) and Kenpachi (from District 80). In the anime, Ikkaku is included in this, although the manga never confirms whether this is true or not.
** This becomes a plot point during the final arc: The denizens of Soul Society's worst districts are disappearing en masse, leaving only footprints, including some shoe prints. [[spoiler:It's revealed that people who live within Districts 5080 are so poverty stricken, none have been known to wear shoes for 550 years. This clues in [[AwesomenessByAnalysis Lieutenant Kira]] to the fact that the conclusion villagers killed each other is wrong and that entire villages are being slaughtered by shinigami. Thanks to Kira's revelation, it's discovered that, because a huge number of hollows were annihilated by Quincies, [[MadScientist Mayuri's]] men comitted mass murder to avoid a pan-dimensional disaster that could destroy entire worlds: killing spirit-dwelling villagers counter-balanced the destroyed hollows in a case of BalancingDeathsBooks.]]
* Naturally, ''Manga/BarefootGen''. Given that it takes place in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, many characters are unable to afford shoes but others, such as Gen, do not wear shoes except to school. Japan has a long tradition associated with being barefoot that is sadly dwindling in the face of Western influences.
* [[TheIllegal Taro Maria Sekiutsu]] in ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' is portrayed as this with socks ''and'' shoes. Even after the others in the class try and get her into a InstantCosplaySurprise or other normal outfits actually wearing socks, shoes or both, it gives her vertigo because she has never worn them before.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': Due to the feudal setting, many background characters are poverty-stricken villagers. The cast, however, are either shoe-wearers or DoesNotLikeShoes examples, with Rin bein introduced as this trope before being saved by Sesshoumaru, whereupon she joins the rest of the DoesNotWearShoes cast.

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[[folder: Film--Animated ]]

* In {{Creator/Disney}}'s ''Disney/RobinHood'', the rabbit family exemplify both this trope and the BarefootCartoonAnimal.
* ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'': The titular character, being a poor thief, is barefoot until he becomes a prince.
* Esmeralda from ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' is a poor Gypsy girl who runs around barefoot. At the end of the film, she falls in love with the clearly wealthy-looking Captain of the Guard, Phoebus, and in the sequel she gains shoes.
* Inverted in ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'': The hero is a very poor archaeologist from the surface world who wears shoes, while his love interest is a wealthy but barefoot Atlantean princess. At the end of the film, the two marry, and as a result ''he'' ends up barefoot instead while said princess, er ''[[TheHighQueen queen]]'' gains sandals, which are concealed by her dress.
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' from the self-titled film wears the typical mountain man outfit, appearing barefoot with tattered overalls.

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[[folder: Film--Live Action ]]

* ''{{Film/Glory}}'': This is the case for many of the black enlistees to the 54th MA Volunteer Infantry, and the {{Jerkass}} quartermaster thinks it's funny to claim that his armory has no shoes to spare when he's clearly living off the fat of his riches. Worse, a few that do have shoes, like Silas, haven't washed them out in ages and [[{{Squick}} thus have gained nasty infections and blisters]]. Naturally, the whole regiment celebrates once fresh and new shoes are finally provided for the volunteers.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer'', Tom envies Huckleberry Finn for not having to wear shoes. Tom doesn't seem to realize it's because Huck doesn't have any shoes, or even parents to make him put them on if he did. Not that bare feet are really a sign of poverty, as Tom and many of his classmates only wear shoes to church when weather permits, and Tom thinks a new boy overdressed when he wears new clothes, a necktie, and shoes on a Friday.
* EnidBlyton's ''Literature/TheCastleOfAdventure'' features a poor village girl who never wears shoes. Gifted her first pair, she keeps them, delighted - and wears them around her neck.
* In the short story "The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes", an orphan girl is so poor she only has one shoe. When a wealthy man gives her a pair of shoes she's so happy she goes about telling everyone that now she has two shoes, earning that nickname. ("Goody" being a then-standard shortening of "Goodwife," that is, Miss.)
* Several illustrations of ''Literature/LesMiserables'' feature this trope, including the most famous one [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Ebcosette.jpg/250px-Ebcosette.jpg centering on Cosette]]. Which is actually a mistake: in the book, emphasis is put on the fact that Cosette has no socks even in Winter, but she does wear clogs. However, her mother Fantine ''was'' found wandering barefoot in the streets as a child.
* In ''Little House in Brookfield'' (the first book in "The Caroline Years," a prequel series to the ''Literature/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'' books and about Laura Ingalls' mother growing up) Caroline's oldest sister goes to church barefoot one day because the family is too poor to buy her new shoes and the old ones pinch her feet something terrible. She thinks her new long dress will cover up her shoeless feet, and she's right for most of the time but eventually gets caught. Her parents are not pleased.
* Literature/TheLittleMatchGirl is barefoot out in the freezing winter, as a result of AbusiveParents.
* In ''Literature/{{Milkweed}}'', Misha and the other orphans claim everyone is so poor that they check dead corpses for shoes.
* Juana in Creator/JohnSteinbeck's ''Literature/ThePearl''.
* Walter Cunningham in ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''. As a result of going barefooted in barnyards, he also gets hookworms. Scout notes that plenty of the farm kids wear shoes the first day of school and discard them until it gets cold.
* In ''{{Cryptonomicon}}'', Neil Stephenson makes a point of bringing up how the foot structure of the natives who capture Goto Dengo implies that they have never worn shoes. This helps contrast their savagery and poverty to his more civilized expectations.

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[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Velvet [=McIntyre=] because WrestlingDoesntPay. Her boots were stolen in real life so she just decided to wrestle barefoot.

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[[folder: Religion ]]

* [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in TheTalmud (Shabbat 129a): "A person should sell the roof beams of his house to buy shoes for his feet." In traditional Jewish law, going shoeless, even indoors, is considered undignified; it's permissible only on major fast days and when in mourning.

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* It's not uncommon for costume design in ''Theatre/{{Road}}'' to include this, particularly with characters like Molly, Chantal and Joey.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* Katia Managan from ''Webcomic/{{Prequel}}'' starts out barefoot and without a single Septim to her name. Most of her outfits have been supplied to her by others, not purchased herself, and they don't always include boots. Factor in how often she loses all the clothes off her back, and she ends up spending most of the comic barefoot.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Marcia Shyneet from ''Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars'' doesn't have a stable source of income. She only keeps one set of clothes but they don't come with matching shoes or socks.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Cartman laments: "My momma's so poor she walks down the street with one shoe on... and when people say, 'Did you lose a shoe?' she says, 'No, I found one.'"
* ''TotallySpies'' has a briefly downplayed moment of this trope mixed with a possible FetishRetardant in ''[[ItMakesSenseInContext Evil GLADIS, MUCH?]]'' when [[spoiler: Mandy is sitting with bare feet on the sidewalk [[AlasPoorVillain because her mother took her shoes away from her.]]]] Sam's MindScrew comment aside[[note]]she says that it's 87 degrees while it's snowing[[/note]], [[spoiler: it's hard not to feel sorry despite her usual QueenBee status, so [[LovableLibby Clover]] decides to give her the boots [[ItMakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext that she stole from a stranger]] before [[TractoExCulo pulling out a]] ''[[KickTheDog better]]'' [[AllWomenLoveShoes pair out of her shopping bag]].]]

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Members of various monastic orders swear oaths of poverty, restricting them to only a tiny set of possessions--shoes often not included.
** Other orders {{took a third option}} and allowed shoes -- these shoes being VERY simple sandals.
* The myth of Saint Pius X has him invoking the trope in his childhood. He was a CountryMouse and his parents were in charge of a tiny village's post office; young Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (his birth name) didn't want to have them buy him shoes if it wasn't truly needed, so to make said shoes last longer he'd walk to school barefoot and put them back on when he arrived there, then viceversa.
* Truth in Television. Poverty at the level of hand to mouth (or worse) doesn't leave money for things like shoes.
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