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Does Not Like Shoes / Literature

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People who prefer going barefoot in literature.

  • From the works of Rudyard Kipling:
    • The Jungle Book has Mowgli, who is at one point taken into a civilized home. Messua (who thinks Mowgli is her long-lost son) asks him if he remembers the shoes she once gave him, but then concedes that his feet are too tough to have ever been shod. Whether he actually wears shoes in the village is open to interpretation, but the usual reading is that he doesn't.
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    • In Kim, the title character goes barefoot whenever possible.

  • Acorna Series: Acorna, the Unicorn Girl, has hoof-like feet and finds human shoes uncomfortable (and unnecessary).
  • The Adventures of Fox Tayle: Fox Tayle does not wear shoes because his feet are too large.
  • Alice, Girl from the Future: The wise professor Lu Fu from The Kindness Ray may be a mild case of this; he wears only open-toed sandals even in cold weather, probably implying a disdain for footwear in general.
  • Subverted in Animorphs. The protagonists constantly end up barefoot because shoes and loose clothing can't be morphed with their body, but find the result more painful and embarrassing than fun.
  • A noted trait of Dante's in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
  • Autumn Rain, from the eponymous book series by Rachel Ann Nunes.
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  • Mr. Jenkins from the Bailey School Kids series avoided wearing shoes until his cabin was filled with wolfsbane.
  • In Border KS, Antigone Richards voluntarily wearing sensible shoes in the summer without trying to sneak out barefoot is enough to clue her father in that she and her sister are planning something. Additionally all the children in the family leave their shoes at the door at home.
  • In Bridge to Terabithia, Jesse and Leslie both often run around without shoes because their shoes are hand-me-downs and because it wasn't unusual in rural 1970s areas. The 2007 film removed this element due to the Setting Update.
  • O. Henry's Cabbages and Kings has one chapter where a shoe merchant tries to do business in a Banana Republic town where no one likes shoes. The solution was some prickly burrs he had to mail-order from back in the USA.
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  • In the Captain Underpants spin-off The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Caveland, Ohio is a town populated by cave-people, so none of them wear shoes. Even when Ook and Gluk are taken to the future and spend quite of bit of time there, they still spend that time barefoot. The only non-caveman character that doesn't wear shoes is Master Wong's daughter, Lan. Save for one moment with Ook, Lan is barefoot in every panel she appears in.
  • In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, Ivy is usually barefoot and (reasonably enough for a tree-climbing dancer) she always tucks her skirt into the legs of her underpants. Martha is used to seeing her this way when they are not in school. One of Alton Raible's illustrations shows that Martha likewise takes off her shoes in the grove where they play.
  • Many characters from The Chronicles of Narnia are related to this trope. This includes Coriakin, Ramandu, possibly his daughter, Lucy and some others. Similarly, stars and nymphs are always barefoot.
    "Edmund and Lucy wanted to [...] do their exploring with bare feet[...]"
    • And, as the above quote shows, Edmund is shown to have a certain amount of this.
  • Princess Eilonwy from The Chronicles of Prydain apparently enjoys walking barefoot; her "unshod feet" are specially mentioned by Dallben in The Castle of Llyr. When she has to wear shoes, like in The Book of Three, she only wears light sandals. (Probably related to her extreme informality in general; though a princess, she tends to dress in plain tunics or hard-wearing boys' clothes and is happier in a scullery than a royal court.) This trait was going to be implemented into the Disney Animated Canon adaptation of the books, The Black Cauldron (pre-production artwork), though she wears shoes in the final version.
  • In the Cross-Time Engineer series, Conrad meets a traveling monk who doesn't wear shoes. He assumes there's something wrong with the man's feet, because they're so leathery and coarse, but in fact they're perfectly normal for someone who's walked hundreds of miles, and disdains shoes as a needless luxury.
  • In Deerskin, Robin McKinley's adaptation of the Brothers Grimm tale "Donkeyskin", protagonist Lissar refuses to wear shoes even when visiting royalty. "I like to know where I'm walking," she says at one point. "In shoes, I'm always walking on shoes."
  • Referred to in Oriana's backstory in the second Dinotopia book, "The World Beneath". Oriana tells Arthur that she adapted to wearing shoes, but that she really didn't like them at first because they separated her feet from the feeling of the grass.
  • In The Gray House, Blind often goes around barefoot (probably related to the fact that he's, well, blind, and it helps him to navigate).
  • Sam Vimes in the Discworld books is a variation. He dislikes wearing good shoes, for much the same reason Lissar in the example above does — he can navigate around Ankh-Morpork in any weather by the feel of the cobblestones, but naturally he can only do that wearing boots with the soles mostly worn through (or very thin to begin with).
  • In Dragon Bones Ciarra often went barefoot when she was younger. Her older brother Ward sometimes treated the resulting wounds, and eventually gave her a pair of men's boots — turns out she just didn't like the uncomfortable women's shoes her mother gave her.
  • Dragon boys (the youths who tend fighting dragons) in the Dragon Jousters series normally go barefoot for practicality. Sandals would just get lost in the dragons' sand pits. But since the series is set in an Egypt-Expy, being barefoot doesn't really stand out.
  • In Dr. No, Honeychile Rider is depicted as a perpetual barefooter and special attention is paid to her toes gripping carpet for the first time.
  • Flute/Aphrael/Danae in David Eddings's The Elenium and The Tamuli cycles. The cleaniness of them (minus the green-grass stains that seem to be important in some way to her as noted by Sparhawk) is justified as she's the Child Goddess of the Styrics.
  • Jenny Tan in The Eleventh Plague is a barefoot rebel from the beginning till the end of the whole book: in the classroom, in wastelands, on snow - you name it. She will never wear even a pair of shoes no matter what.
  • In Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper Saga, Wild Child Firekeeper grows up barefoot, and prefers to stay that way.
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "God's Grandeur" briefly expresses a disdain for shoes with the line "The soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod."
  • Many female characters from the Grinlandia series have a penchant for going barefoot, including Assol from The Scarlet Sails, Molly from "The Golden Chain", and Daisy from "She Who Runs on the Waves".
  • In The Guardians by Meljean Brook, Michael's signature style is to go barefoot, no matter what the rest of his outfit may be. It's later explained that his senses have grown so acute he can feel the vibrations in the ground and know where everyone is. His aversion to shoes is so strong that, when he possesses Taylor, he vanishes her shoes for the same reason. She gets to the point where she doesn't even notice after he leaves.
  • Lauren Kline from Marc Levy's If Only It Were True (it may be due to her ghost/angel nature). In one scene, she playfully strokes Artur's leg with her bare foot (since nobody else is able to see and sense her).
  • In the Israeli short story Images from Elementarynote , which takes place in the early years of Israel, the protagonist, a Jewish immigrant from Syria, protests his teacher saying (with some racist undertones) that Egyptian farmers are so poor they can’t afford shoes, explaining that while they are in fact poor, this trope is the real reason they don’t wear shoes. He continues and argues that (predominantly Ashkenazi) kibbutzniks don’t usually wear shoes either, and asks his teacher if it means they’re poor too. The teacher, faced with the intense fervour he argued with, backs down and tells the protagonist, ‘You win. You win!’
  • Farid from The Inkworld Trilogy grew up in the Middle Eastern desert prior to Inkheart (being a character from The Arabian Nights) and isn't used to wearing shoes. Dustfinger buys him a pair, but he's almost constantly taking them off in favor of going barefoot.
  • Junie B. Jones has a minor example. In the thirteenth book, a recurring joke is that Junie B.'s parents tell her that girls like her need to be "footloose" and "fancy-free". Junie B. takes this literally, telling her parents that she doesn't need "loose feet". In the end of her Aunt Flo's wedding, her feet start to hurt, so she takes off her shoes. There, she realizes it's so much better to have "loose feet" and even talks her friend Bo into joining her. After that, the two girls spend the rest of the wedding and are even taken home barefoot.
  • Molly Grue from The Last Unicorn goes barefoot, apparently by choice; on the other hand, it is mentioned that her feet were "covered in blisters".
  • Archie Monday, from the Mac Faraday series by Lauren Carr. When she has to wear shoes, they will probably be sandals.
  • In Anne Rice's Merrick, there are (quite) a few mentions of the title character's aversion to shoes both as a child and grown up.
  • Susanne from Miss Temptation by Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Modesty Blaise grew up in Barefoot Poverty, and still often goes barefoot on country walks because having tough feet helps with her fighting style.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Clary Fray, Isabelle Lightwood and Jace Wayland usually go barefoot indoors.
  • In The Neverending Story the Childlike Empress is described as being barefooted, even as she is walking over ice-encrusted snow.
  • Nim's Island: Nim is almost always barefoot, unless she's climbing a mountain or going on top of a roof.
  • In Ángela Becerra's O que falta ao tempo (What Time is Missing), the young Parisian artist Mazarine goes barefoot all the year round, even in winter.
  • Denise the camp counselor in Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. One day Sheila discovers the reason Denise doesn't wear shoes is because the bottoms of her feet are "covered in warts".
  • Rain Teslar from A Path Of Petals, who is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for the main character, is quirky and almost always barefoot.
  • Maura Sargent, the main character's mother from The Raven Cycle, is noted for going barefoot very often; Lampshaded by the Gray Man.
  • Room: Five year old Jack hates shoes after going barefoot all his life in the room where he and his mother were kept captive.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Harry Wong is revealed to be this as early as Hide and Seek. He can dig trenches in the ground with those feet. He will wear sandals and will only put on shoes if he really has to.
  • Honora Menapace, from Skin Deep by E. M. Crane.
  • In The Slow Regard of Silent Things Auri spends the entire novel barefoot.
  • Arya Stark of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire prefers to go barefoot unless decorum dictates otherwise. Later in the series, while undergoing assassin training with her Stealth Mentor (who may well be her actual mentor under an assumed identity), she's explicitly told to consider going barefoot because you can be stealthier that way.
    • Septon Meribald, who walks from town to town ministering to the smallfolk, goes barefoot in penance for his past as a Dirty Old Monk.
  • Zara in A Sorceress Reconstructed is always barefoot. Her main reason is because she can use both her hands and feet to cast her spells. Her ability to channel destructive magic through her feet led to her accidentally destroying a number of shoes when she was young, causing her master (at the time) to half-heartedly suggest she stop wearing them. Zara did so and eventually got used to it, by the time she learned how to properly control her powers. Zara is also the kingdom's previous Queen and the people often express their support for her by kissing her feet; which is another reason why she wears no shoes. There are times when her feet get injured and/or dirty, but her healing magic handles both of those problems and is naturally triggered whenever she touches water - her source of power. Although in the end, when she visits Eric in New York, she admits that the terrain there is a bit rougher than she is used to.
  • Hannah Schneider from Special Topics In Calamity Physics is a quirky and charismatic teacher who has a penchant for going barefoot.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Tahiri Veila, due to being raised by Sand People and liking the cool floors (in contrast to her native planet Tatooine's hot sands).
    • Senator Gaeriel Captison was also fond of removing her shoes and going on barefoot walks in the park in her free time.
    • One of the hats of the Togruta species (like the Jedi Shaak Ti) was that they wouldn't wear shoes for a spiritual connection to the land.
  • Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth:
    • Zhirem, from Death's Master, grew up barefoot; and after he has grown up into the powerful (and pretty evil) sorcerer Zhirek, he dresses in rich vestments, but still goes barefoot, as he is used to it. Later on, after he had become the philosopher Dathanja, a kind-hearted princess gave him shoes, "which he even wore sometimes".
    • Azhriaz, Night's Daughter, usually wanders barefoot as she scorns human convention and is completely indestructible so isn't inconvenienced by stepping on anything sharp.
  • Princess Diahan from Lloyd Alexander's Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth, who was an obvious precursor to Eilonwy (evident in both her appearance and personality), is also described as wearing sandals.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Hobbits don't need shoes because they have unusually tough and leathery soles and fur on top of their feet.
    • Idril of the Silver Feet in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Book of Lost Tales runs around Gondolin barefoot, except during major festivals. It is not mentioned whether she puts on shoes when she puts on armor.
  • Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Those kids (particularly Huck) are barefoot whenever possible even if it is against the rules. It was actually common in America in the 1800s for kids (mostly boys but sometimes even girls) to go barefoot most of the summer, but there were still rules about when it was and wasn't appropriate. Huck broke 'em all.
  • Tunnel in the Sky has Caroline, who departs for the off-world survival test barefoot and with a duffel bag of gear. She ditches the bag and somehow keeps all her gear for a month.
  • On a single occasion, Bella Swan from Twilight: before her first hunt, she kicks off her shoes and goes barefoot to the forest.
    • The actress and the character seem to have a lot in common. Along with sharing her characteristic lip-biting, Kristen Stewart also seems to have acquired a habit of walking barefoot, even at otherwise well-dressed occasions.
    • James, Victoria, and Laurent prefer going barefoot so they can run at maximum Super Speed without destroying them.
  • In The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, the doctor is visited by Prince Bumpo, who is in England to study at Oxford. Bumpo says that he enjoys England immensely, except for the algebra he must learn and the shoes he must wear, which hurt his head and feet respectively. He cheerfully says that now that he's on break from his studies, he's forgotten the algebra and thrown the shoes over a wall, so all is well.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Waldo, Waldo doesn't like shoes because he has lived his entire life being unable to walk, so when he finally is able to do so, he avoids them as they make his feet feel dead. He only makes himself wear them when he has to.


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