Rapunzel: You never wear shoes either?!
Willow: I've always said, "How can you know where you stand in the world if you can't feel the ground beneath your feet?"Characters who walk barefoot are often shown to be close to nature, animals and their surroundings. These characters are sometimes depicted as a Wild Child or Nature Hero living in jungles, forests or in the wild. They tend to be deeply connected to animals (and may even have the ability to talk to them) and plants in general. At the very least, they are the Nature Lover. As for personality, they are usually carefree, down to earth, stubborn or energetic. If they have powers, they'll usually get Dishing Out Dirt or Green Thumb. They may also posses some mystical abilities like controlling animals, changing the weather and such. Bare feet are probably used for this as you can feel the ground beneath you (therefore you'll be "connected" to the earth) and you wouldn't really get that feeling from shoes or socks, so generally, a character exhibiting this trope Does Not Like Shoes. Characters with powers sometimes require this connection to the earth for their powers to work, making bare feet a necessity for them. If played realistically, such a character might have particularly calloused and dirty feet, but Beauty Is Never Tarnished often rules this out, especially when it's used for the sake of Author Appeal. Related to Fertile Feet. Subtrope of Does Not Like Shoes. Compare and contrast with Barefoot Poverty, Barefoot Sage, Barefoot Loon, Magical Barefooter, and Undead Barefooter. The Hot Gypsy Woman, Jungle Princess and Noble Savage are frequent examples of this trope.
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Anime and Manga
- Princess Noelle Ardelade in L/R: Licensed by Royalty is a free-spirited country girl with a love for singing, nature, and free will. Her most prevalent trait is that she adores running around barefoot at every waking moment and absolutely hates shoes. She wants nothing to do with them, because she feels confined in them and feels free when her feet are bare. It's a symbolic representation of how she favors a carefree life in the country over her royal obligations. In fact, the first thing she complains about in the care of Jack and Rowe is not being allowed to run around in bare feet anymore, since she got to be barefoot to her heart's content indoors and outdoors in her homeland, so she quietly rebels by kicking off her shoes and socks and being barefoot in the privacy of her room. By the end of the series, she gets her wish, when, after finding it impossible to walk in them, she is mercifully allowed to ditch her princess slippers (no one can see them underneath her dress, anyway) and comes of age in her bare feet.
- The titular witch Zero from Grimoire Of Zero initially comes off as a case of Barefoot Poverty, first seen clad in only a ratty travelling cloak. It turns out she has plenty of valuable gems on hand to afford new clothes, but she sticks to her cloak out of stubborn sentimental attachment, and intentionally travels around without any shoes or stockings because she likes to feel the dirt and grass under her bare feet. The Mercenary has to coerce Zero into using footwear when the time comes to make her improve her wardrobe.
- Mavis Vermillion of Fairy Tail, spent a lot of her childhood growing up in a forested island, and is a nature and animal lover with an unshakable habit of going perpetually barefoot. She did not plan on growing up to becoming this kind of character, but after having her shoes taken away, she decided it actually felt better to be barefoot, and pretty much gave up using footwear forever because of how much she loves going without shoes. It's such a persistent aspect of her character that it becomes one of her most recognizable aspects. In fact, her very reincarnation, Mio, "forgets" to wear shoes out of absentmindedness and a paper-thin excuse that it was too hot to wear them, and Arleos, Zeref's reincarnation, seems poised to take off his own shoes and affectionately walk barefoot alongside her in a moment of Meet Cute.
- Enforced with Chitaru of the Witches anthology chapter "Thief of Songs", as a low-key, modest, and public-friendly alternative to her real preference of full-blown nudism seen later. Chitaru is compelled to walk around barefoot because she enjoys being Exposed to the Elements, and gets a Feet-First Introduction to emphasize her unusual free-spirited state of bare feet on a cruise ship deck. When Hinata Komine meets her, Chitaru almost immediately coaxes Hinata into getting barefoot just like her, and sounds like a Cloud Cuckoolander in her approach, but with some strong encouragement, Hinata sheds her shoes and socks. When Hinata notices that it really does feel nice to go barefoot because her feet are being exposed to several nice sensations that they weren't while coddled away in her footwear, Chitaru notes her feet have just "awakened" and has demonstrated the rationale of her barefooted state. Hinata then adopts this trait for herself and opts for bare feet for the rest of the voyage, when she arrives on the island Chitaru told her to visit, and when a supercell hurricane is about to obliterate her from the face of the Earth.
- A barefoot runner in a Mercedes-Benz commercial monologues about being "addicted to the road", apparently maintaining a strong connection with the ground through both running and driving his Mercedes.
- A businessman in a BMW commercial decides to walk around barefoot, and visit lush areas of the city where he works, finding serenity as he feels new tactile sensations in the more natural environment.
- Batman villainess Poison Ivy is sometimes a barefooter, Depending on the Artist and the adaptation.
- Subverted with Jack Hawksmoor in Stormwatch and The Authority. He needs to go barefoot because his powers depend on contact with his environment, but his powers come from urban environments rather than nature.
- Minor DC villainess Jinx has multiple elemental magic powers (not just Earth-based ones), but still loses all of them if she doesn't have skin contact with the ground, so never wears anything on her feet.
Films — Animation
- Rapunzel. Makes sense considering her down-to-earth attitude, her way with animals, and her healing powers.
- Tangled: The Series explores it further and gives it a little Lampshade Hanging. She Does Not Like Shoes. EVER. Rapunzel is always barefoot because she likes to feel the earth and wiggle her toes without restraint, even if people make fun of her for it (a living embodiment of the Be Yourself Aesop) and will only wear shoes if she must use a disguise, has to done full royal attire, or it's winter, but is so used to going without shoes Mother Gothel called the habit "underdressed" and tried to guilt her into feeling ashamed of it, but Rapunzel persisted in it. If she actually puts shoes on, Rapunzel is so unused to them it changes her center of balance, she wonders "How can people walk around in these?", and they go off at the first opportunity. In "Rapunzel's Enemy", she got chastised for being "a royal in bare feet". She didn't even wear them to her wedding in Tangled Ever After, electing to get married barefoot (as the concept art reveals). The trait is partially inspired by her voice actor, Mandy Moore, who has a preference in real life of being barefoot when she performs onstage.
- Also from Tangled: The Series, in "The Way of the Willow" (Season 1, Episode 15), Rapunzel's titular aunt is introduced. Willow turns out to also have a no-shoe stigma and is very much a barefoot bohemian like her younger niece. Not only does this elevate the instance of the trope to Shared Family Quirks, but it also happens to be the very first thing Rapunzel and Willow ever talk about and bond over, with the scene also showing that the two girls are barefoot so often they practically adapted to communicating through their feet and toes, and can even hold a conversation by gesturing with them, and are better off without shoes to hold them back. This moment is blatant enough that it has earned its right to be the page quote.
- Disney's Melody Time, "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed" segment. When we first see Johnny he's dressed in normal clothes, including shoes. After starting on his mission to plant apple trees throughout the U.S. his shoes wear out and he's barefoot from then on.
- Sleeping Beauty: Briar Rose, who is barefoot and a Friend to All Living Things.
- Pocahontas is yet another Disney example.
- The mountain pandas in Kung Fu Panda 3, unlike Po himself.
Films — Live-Action
- In Avatar, once Jake gets his avatar body he runs out into a field and sinks his toes into the earth, symbolic of his coming connection to Pandora. Crosses over with Limb-Sensation Fascination, as his human body was paraplegic and he hadn't been able to run in years.
- In Legend (1985), wild nature boy Jack walks around without shoes. Or pants.
- Kira, the female gelfling from The Dark Crystal. It's hard to tell in the film, but The Merch reveals this to be the case.
- In mother!, the titular character played by Jennifer Lawrence is one of these. Not surprising, considering that she symbolizes Mother Nature and/or Mother Earth.
- Flute, the Mysterious Waif in The Elenium, is known for eschewing footwear always having grass-stains on her feet, even if there is no grass anywhere around.
- Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings don't wear shoes, as part of their Closer to Earth rustic character. They have tough, hairy feet to make up for it.
- In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, Ivy Carson is definitely this.
- Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce has Rosethorn and Briar, who like to feel the earth. They even have their first bonding moment about this. In fact, a witty joke is later made that if arrogance were shoes, Briar would never be barefoot.
- Ellen in News from Nowhere.
- Outdoorsy adventurer girl and daydreamer Frieda B Herself. of the titular Frieda B series, is introduced as an one of these, under the rhyme that she's "a girl with wiry, fiery hair, and she rarely wears shoes because she likes her feet bare."
- Caine from Kung Fu is usually barefoot and is very close to nature.
- Cody Lundeen from Dual Survival, who hasn't worn shoes for decades because he feels being barefoot brings him closer to nature. However, he's willing to don footwear in situations that warrant it, such as thermal socks when traversing snowfields, or improvised sandals when walking over sharp rocks.
- Tash in Jam And Jerusalem only thinks she is this.
- Invoked along with Barefoot Poverty in an episode of NCIS by Jimmy Palmer when the Victim of the Week is found without shoes as a possibly reason and he turns out to be highly knowledgable on the subject, having written a report on feet/footwear (because Palmer is more enamored with them than he'd care to admit). It turns out to be neither: the victim was struck by a taser and it accidentally triggered an embolism that led to his death by stroke, and one of the side effects he felt while dying as his nervous system fried and broke down caused the nerves in his feet to become so unbearably hot he reflexively bared his feet in his final moments of delirium.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Earth genasi are nearly always depicted barefoot (which may signify their connection to the element, or just result from the fact that they tend towards thick skin and unusual foot size).
- Enforced for the Fist of the Forest Prestige Class — they grow claws when tapping into their primal powers, which rips through any boots they might be wearing.
- Warhammer wizards who draw on Ghyran, the green wind of magic, are connected to water and through it to plant life. As such, they usually go barefoot. Those spells they use that do not involve Making a Splash or their Green Thumb involve Dishing Out Dirt.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Ilia is introduced feet first and is the only villager, besides Talo, to not wear shoes. According to the supplemental material, she spends more time at the Ordon Spring and the surrounding forest, than the village itself. Or occasionally pitching in at the ranch. Bonus points for essentially being an expy of both Saria and Malon, who were friends with nature as well.
- Elika from Prince of Persia (2008) is a perpetual barefooter, able to restore corrupted ruins into gardens brimming with life.
- Nuri from Chains of Satinav is kind to everyone, always barefooted, and treats all animals as though they were sapient. Given how this is in the grim setting of The Dark Eye, her general niceness stands out all the more.
- Milla Basset from Freedom Planet is the the only character to be a Barefoot Cartoon Animal; her description in this art of her notes "she has a strong connection to the earth" alongside her distaste for shoes, implying this trope is why. Considering this is from a cast full of Fully Dressed Cartoon Animals, this would also make her an inversion of The One Who Wears Shoes.
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age II: Merrill and Fenris, the elf party members. Merrill is from one of the Forest Ranger-style Dalish clans, while Fenris presumably just Does Not Like Shoes. As most of the game is spent in a grimy city, they'll occasionally complain about stepping in something unpleasant.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition has Solas, an elven apostate companion, go shoeless. He outright notes that being outside for so much of his life means he doesn't even mind when he's in snow or a desert.
- Often the case with druids in World of Warcraft, who combine this with Barefoot Sage. In their case, of course, it emphasizes their connection to nature. Their starting equipment comes without shoes, as do many of their iconic armor sets.
- Blindsprings: Tamaura lives in a fairy forest, wears flowers in her hair and is always barefoot ... at least at the beginning. When she is made to migrate to an urban setting, this is no longer safe, so she must don footwear, and it reflects how her innocence goes away.
- Charby the Vampirate's K'ale goes barefoot everywhere through the forest, being forced to wear shoes actually restricts his movements since he can't climb as well. He's not really a fan of clothing in general and hates to wear anything more than a simple loincloth.
- Gunnerkrigg Court:
- Antimony, while less pronounced than most other characters on this page, prefers to go barefoot when alone and remove shoes while at rest outside. Which realistically affects her soles. It is a matter of choice, since she's still barefoot even after learning how to make perfectly fitting boots.
- Annie ran barefoot in the Court when she "could imagine she was at home". Later on one of trips to Gillitie Wood she kicks off her shoes as soon as she steps off the bridge, delighted to forget them and dart into the forest barefooted. This emphasises her connection with the forest (partially because the creatures hate signs of the Court) and, along with her casual clothing, how she feels at home there now; she didn't take her shoes off on earlier visits. This habit then grows even further to the point she's shoeless everywhere.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Toph goes barefoot all the time, even destroying the soles of shoes so she can still feel the earth easily. The reason she isn't wearing shoes isn't some symbolic connection between her and the earth, it's the literal connection between her feet and the ground. Toph is blind, and can "see" by sensing the vibrations in earth, so she needs to be barefoot for this to work. It still works to some extent if she's wearing shoes, but this amounts to a fuzzy connection. There are a couple of episodes where the soles of her feet are shown as realistically grubby. In a case where she needed to wear a pair to disguise her nature as an earthbender, Toph improvised a set of bare-bottomed shoes. Other earthbenders who can see don't need to take their shoes off. Of course, that doesn't stop most of them from going barefoot anyway. Earthbending might be possible in shoes, but is most likely much easier barefoot.
- Played with Toph's daughter Lin in The Legend of Korra. Lin wears sturdy and reliable metal armor to aid her metalbending, with boots included. However, the portions of the boots covering her feet can be retracted so she can make direct contact against the ground with the sole of her foot and use her seismic sense. This is the same for the rest of the Republic City Police who can metalbend.
- Justified with Aiwei. He can detect when people lie by feeling their heartbeats stutter through seismic sense, so he sports no shoes. And he does so much to the advantage of travelling around Zaofu and tacitly gaining intel about people, much to their unsuspecting eyes.
- Tupu, from the French/Canadian cartoon of the same name. Due to having been raised in the wild, she almost never wears any kind of footwear.
- The titular heroine of Jana of the Jungle, a Jungle Princess who has lived in the Amazon since childhood.
- From Wakfu, the Sadida are a race of Plant People with Green Thumb powers, and either go barefoot or wear sandals to be more connected to the earth. The joke is that "Sadida" spelled backwards is "Adidas", a sportswear company that makes a lot of shoes. Sadlygrove also stops wearing shoes after going through Character Development and becoming more acquainted to his wild side. His daughter, Elely, who takes after him more, doesn't wear shoes either.