In old times (especially the Victorian era) a lot of attention was given to a person's visual appearance, including clothes and shoes. Ever since then, lack of footwear has been used to portray characters who are mad or at least quirky and out of touch with reality (additional details may include strange and/or unkempt clothing and disheveled hair). In modern works, they may be cheerfully eccentric and deliberately flouting social norms, or really unhinged and living in their own world. Subtrope of Does Not Like Shoes, and often overlaps with The Ophelia. Compare and contrast with Barefoot Sage whose wisdom and enlightenment also places him/her above social conventions (they may also overlap). May also overlap with Magical Barefooter.
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- A BMW commercial promoting the sensitivity of the car's all-wheel drive follows a businessman who performs various experiments in feeling with his bare feet. While the ad emphasizes the serenity he finds in experiencing new sensations, and becoming closer to his surroundings, his apparent eccentricity in exploring his workplace without shoes does elicit short confused stares from a few onlookers.
Anime and Manga
- Anime and manga feature several Bunny-Ears Lawyer types who are the best at what they do, but go barefoot to indicate that they're Cloud Cuckoolanders. Examples:
- Ed from Cowboy Bebop: a really quirky teenage genius Playful Hacker girl with a prominent aversion to shoes and a habit of using her toes like spare fingers. The only time she puts on socks, she quickly loses balance and falls. She doesn't even make it to putting shoes on before she decides to go back to being barefooted.
- L, the brilliant but Defective Detective from Death Note, only wears shoes while outdoors. Even then, if he assumes his iconic thinking posture, the shoes come off.
- Kaolla Su, the Gadgeteer Genius Genki Girl from Love Hina.
- Papika from Flip Flappers, an obnoxiously friendly and childlike space-cadet with an apparent magnetic repulsion to footwear (except for her anklet). She's also Flip Flap's only competent transdimensional adventurer—until Cocona comes along, anyway—and the only one of numerous candidates who could get through to Mimi.
- Edolas's Coco loves in Fairy Tail is a hyperactive girl who loves running around so much she does all of it barefoot. With the way she runs, any shoes she wore probably wouldn't last a day, anyway.
- Mavis Vermillion was subjected to Barefoot Poverty as a little girl, so she got used to being without shoes, and eventually realized she loved being barefoot in lieu of wearing shoes. When she got older and had the option of wearing them, she decided she didn't need to change something that didn't need fixing. It's also a way of exemplifying her strong fairy motif, as many fairies are traditionally depicted barefoot.
- Luffy from One Piece seems inclined to keep his feet as lightly clad as possible. It is very, very rare for him to don anything beyond straw sandals no matter what outfit he wears. Simple shoes for a simpleton.
- Mamimi from FLCL is a Broken Bird who became numb to life around her after a painful breakup. As such, she's extremely negligent of the world around her. She also loses her shoes and socks twice in a row while rummaging around in a nearby river, choosing to remain barefoot the second time around.
- Eloise from The Million Dollar Hotel: a perpetually barefoot girl who believes herself to be a figment of imagination, and the main character's Love Interest.
- Daisy Kensington from Barefoot, a Mysterious Waif Woman Child who has No Social Skills because she was raised in isolation by a schizophrenic mother.
- Barefoot is a Foreign Remake of a German movie, Barfuss, whose protagonist Lelia also counts.
- Luna Lovegood is barefoot in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, claiming that all her pairs of shoes were stolen by nargles. It seems highly improbable that someone could have stolen all her shoes without it being noticed by the Hogwarts' staff, so it's possible that she made up the whole story and went barefoot simply because she likes to.
- Rain Teslar from A Path Of Petals is a "cheerfully eccentric" version of the trope, and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for the main character.
- Princess Eilonwy from The Chronicles of Prydain is a mild variant of this, having a lot of quirks and a penchant for going barefoot (as pointed out by Dallben in The Castle of Llyr). She still manages to be one of the smartest characters in the series, an Action Girl, and a Deadpan Snarker.
- Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicle is like Luna's twin sister, living in her fantasy world and often speaking cryptically. And she's perpetually barefoot.
- Hannah Schneider from Special Topics In Calamity Physics is an eccentric and charismatic teacher who has a penchant for going barefoot.
- Assol from Scarlet Sails is a Cloud Cuckoolander who believes in fairy tales and has a penchant for going barefoot.
- River Tam from Firefly. She's a Cloud Cuckoolander because of her Dark and Troubled Past, and her bare feet get so much attention that they're sometimes called "the 11th character in the show".
- Gulnar in Robin of Sherwood is a rare villainous example, being a deranged, malevolent pagan shaman who almost always goes barefoot. He does put on shoes when he has to run for his life through a forest, though.
- The Eighth Doctor in the Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie spends a few scenes barefoot while he's wandering around being amnesiac and weird. It's really just because he hasn't got any shoes after Waking Up at the Morgue, but his barefootedness definitely emphasizes his eccentricity. Grace seems to notice his bare feet as a sign he's a bit of a weirdo, or maybe it's just the toe tag...
- And then Grace bestows him a pair of shoes, which belong to her newly-minted ex-boyfriend, and Eight goes full Keet over the fact they fit perfectly.
- Danny Rand spends the first few episodes of Iron Fist wandering New York barefoot. Due to being raised in a hidden monastery, he's eccentric, to say the least.
- The eccentric French singer Zaz (aka Isabelle Geffroy) usually performs either barefoot or in open-toed sandals.
- Princess Charlotte from Varicella (at least if the game promo art is to believe).
- Dahlia Gillespie and Claudia Wolf from Silent Hill; both are really dark examples.
- Most of the elves in the Dragon Age universe avoid wearing shoes, but Merrill, the second game's resident Cloud Cuckoolander, is bringing this to the hilarious extremes:
Your boots go on forever. I'd get so lost in them. I've dropped marbles in. They take an eternity to reach the bottom.
- The AGS game The Sleepy Island features a crazy barefoot old man who speaks in rhyme and is missing his reflection.
- The Drifter, an Eccentric Mentor rabbit man from the ThunderCats (2011) episode "The Duelist and the Drifter", is this trope, a Barefoot Sage and a Barefoot Cartoon Animal all at once.
- The Batman's incarnation of The Joker only ever wears spats that cover the tops of his feet (at most), but no shoes.
- Chikara, the kooky fortune teller from Scooby Doo And Kiss Rock And Roll Mystery, is always barefoot. The KISS group members believe her to also be a Barefoot Sage (she probably is, given that everything she said about KISSteria is eventually revealed to be true).
- Gravity Falls has self-proclaimed "local kook" Old Man McGucket, who goes around in nothing but foot wraps.
- Socrates was often seen by his contemporaries as this, since in spite of (or maybe because of) his wisdom, he often demonstrated extremely eccentric behavior. One of his peculiarities was a penchant for going barefoot.