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Undead Barefooter

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Many undead characters look very similar to humans, and may only be distinguished from them by some subtle detail; one of the common choices is a lack of footwear. This has to do with the fact that while some items of clothing have a more social role (i. e. reflecting a person's inner side), shoes are largely worn for convenience; therefore someone who no longer feels cold or pain may be more comfortable barefoot. It may also give an effect of surprise or act as a supernatural "tell": when you see that a seemingly human character is barefoot in very inappropriate circumstances, like cold weather, you may suspect that there's actually something strange about them.

Within this trope, the term "undead" is interpreted extensively: from common zombies and vampires to angel-like souls from Paradise (in the latter case, the absence of shoes may also symbolize enlightenment). In works of East Asian origin this is a relatively common occurrence with the spirits of those who were Driven to Suicide (that is, if they have feet) because it is seen as normal to remove your shoes before killing yourself.

May overlap with Magical Barefooter, when the character in question also has magical abilities. Sometimes overlaps with Jacob Marley Apparel, especially in the case of a Barefoot Suicide or a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl. If the undead is female, this is often paired with an Ethereal White Dress.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Combatants Will Be Dispatched!: Grimm, an functionally undead being who can resurrect from death through the power of her patron deity is an accidental example: one of her curses backfired and robbed her of the ability to use footwear, and trying to cover her feet results in Grimm's black magic overloading and enveloping her in an explosion. Notably, her state of being does not protect her feet in any way; combined with her other backfired curses, she's now restricted to a wheelchair for most practical purposes.
  • The Eminence in Shadow: Exclusive to the anime version, when Olivier is brought back as an undead minion, she only wears a robe with no shoes or underwear. In the light novel and manga versions, she was wearing a full suit of armor.
  • Happiness: Near all the vampires go barefoot.
  • Overlord (2012): Ainz Ooal Gown's skeleton army do not wear shoes with their suits of armor (with the exception of Death Knight) and it was not shown if Ainz himself has any shoes under his robes.
  • In Sankarea, Rea (the protagonist's zombie love interest) seems to enjoy going barefoot; justified, since she doesn't feel pain.
  • The titular protagonist of Vampire Princess Miyu is usually barefoot even in the snow, since she doesn't get cold.

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: A noticeable difference between the regular Judges and their bizarro undead Evil Counterpart the Dark Judges is that while the former wear big fascist-type boots, the latter are all barefooted to make them look more like cadavers.
  • Wonder Woman:

    Fan Works 
  • Total Undead Drama: Stormy, despite wearing modern clothing, admits he hail from vampire family that's a bit old fashioned. As such all his female servants mostly wear gowns with no footwear, either going barefoot or wearing stockings. Brock, the one sole male vampire servant, likewise goes around in his socks mostly because Storm likewise has a no shoe rule in his house (plus one of the oddball powers keeps the socks and stockings from tearing, getting dirty or smelling).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Blood Spattered Bride, Lesbian Vampire Carmilla walks around barefoot, which does her no good when she steps into a Bear Trap.
  • Dracula's Brides in Bram Stoker's Dracula are likewise always shown barefoot to add to their seductive nature.
  • The Brides of Dracula, two of the Baron Meinster's brides are barefoot. Justified as the women were interred with little clothing outside a gown when they resurrected as vampires.
  • In Count Yorga, all of Yorga's brides go barefoot after having been turned into vampires.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, the vampire queen Santánico Pandemonium is perpetually barefoot, to the fetishistic Richie's (and Tarantino's) delight.
  • In Harry Potter, post-resurrection Voldemort is depicted barefoot to signify that he's no longer human.
  • The vampire girl Abby from Let Me In is usually barefoot. She does wear boots in one scene but its mainly to make the boy she has a crush on feel more comfortable around her, as he noted how weird it was that she walks around the snow barefoot.
  • In The Mummy (2017), Ahmanet is the titular mummy antagonist, and she is barefoot always on screen after her resurrection all she wears are a bit old bandages, and they show us some close ups from her feet. Although she was a barefooter even before of her unholy pact in her human life.
  • In The Ring and its Foreign Remake, Sadako and her American counterpart Samara are barefoot when they emerge from their wells.
  • In Solaris (1972), Hari is not undead in the literal sense, but she's a replica of a deceased person. And she's perpetually barefoot, probably to signify that she's not an ordinary human.
  • In the first Subspecies movie, Radu claims two of Michelle's friends, Mara and Lillian. Mara is initially buried in clothing before she resurrects but Lillian is dressed in a tattered gown as Radu slowly drains her with no shoes. When he captures Michelle with intent to turn her as well, he dresses all three girls in white gowns with no footwear.
  • In That Lady in Ermine, the ghost of Francesca always appears barefoot and wearing only a white ermine coat because she was depicted this way in the painting (a form of Jacob Marley Apparel).
  • Inverted with Tae-ju from Thirst (2009) who preferred going barefoot while she was alive, but started wearing higher and higher-heeled shoes as she transformed into a vampire.
  • In the Paul Naschy movie The Werewolf Vs Vampire Woman, the vampire main villainess, Countess Wandesa is barefoot. There are proofs of this in the official poster and in the movie itself at her skeletal remains. She was buried barefoot with only black funerary medieval clothes.

  • The Beatles were the subject of a conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney died and was replaced with a lookalike is supposedly supported by the cover of Abbey Road symbolically depicting a funeral procession, with Paul, the only one going barefoot and out-of-step with the rest, representing the corpse. (As for the rest: John Lennon in white is an angel, or perhaps Jesus; Ringo Starr in a black suit is an undertaker; and George Harrison in denim is a gravedigger.)

  • The Country of Comers-Back by Lafcadio Hearn is set in Haiti and features a beautiful barefoot zombie woman who seduces men and lures them to their death.
  • The illustrations to The Divine Comedy (including the canonical ones made by Gustave Doré) usually depict all the deceased characters (including Virgil) barefoot; Dante wearing shoes literally symbolizes that he's the only living person there.
  • Lauren from If Only It Were True by Marc Levy becomes a ghost after getting in a car crash (she's actually not dead, but in a coma). She is described as barefoot in a public place, obviously having no need for shoes; since the protagonist was the only one who could see and sense her, she used this to play Footsie Under the Table on him.
  • Since human civilization dissolved a hundred and fifty years ago in Janitors Of The Post Apocalypse, all ferals on Earth were born to feral parents and none of them wear clothing of any sort. Except for cured humans who'd reverted and didn't quite have the faculties to tear off their garments, and regular well cared-for ferals dressed by sympathetic unmodified humans.
  • Let the Right One In: Eli tends to go barefoot even in snow; that's one of the first signs that there's something weird about her.
  • In Once Upon A Zombie series, all the zombie princesses go barefoot.
  • Return of the Wolf Man set in the Universal Monsters franchise have Sandra Mornay, risen as Dracula's vampire bride, is barefoot. As she's an undead monster, she does not care, despite she mantain her past human mind and scientific knowledge to revive and use Frankenstein's Monster. Dracula ordered Sandra to walk in water when, preventing that the Wolf Man track her via scent.
  • In Solaris, the visitors (both Rheya and an unidentified black woman) always appear barefoot, and their feet aren't calloused; this is one of the indications that they are not actually human. An uncommon example, since they are not literally undead, but are replicas of deceased people.
  • In The Twilight Saga, the vampires James and Victoria traveled barefoot, since it gave them no discomfort and allowed to run faster. Bella may also be getting into this habit: after her transformation into a vampire, she kicked off her shoes before going on her first hunt.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Black Regiment in Deadlands features as an enforced version of this trope. It is comprised of soldiers from both sides of the Civil War who have been slain in combat and reanimated by The Reckoners, their coats stained black from the blood and gore of the battlefield. They appear only when a battle is in progress and only when one side is losing. They will aid that side, not out of any concern or sympathy for them but purely to prolong the suffering and increase the number of casualties on both sides. Traditionally the comrades of a fallen soldier would take his boots after a battle, which is why every member of the Black Regiment is barefoot. The only way to prevent a soldier from reanimating and joining them is to leave him wearing his boots.

  • A stage adaptation of Carmilla uses bare feet as a visual indication of vampirism.

    Video Games 
  • Lower-ranked vampires in Daemon Summoner are all barefoot. In the backstory, your wife Emily was infected by the vampiric curse, and your Vampire Hunter protagonist must kill her in a Staking the Loved One moment; she's then depicted barefoot for the remainder of her screentime.
  • The Beheaded in Dead Cells doesn't usually bother to put shoes on the corpses he possesses, outside of certain costumes and some weapons. Since it's hard to see on his sprites, his bare feet are mostly seen in artwork.
  • Most of the Special Infected from Left 4 Dead 2 have discarded their shoes—in fact, only the Tank and the Smoker still have footwear. The Boomer has lost his shoes and goes around in socks. All of the other Specials are barefoot, though the Hunter in particular is unusual in that, as a former traceur, he's deliberately shed his shoes in order to improve his mobility and tactile response (versus the others who seem to have lost their shoes incidentally). He seems to have a habit of picking his clothes off in general, as his sleeves and pantlegs are also torn off, presumably to minimize wind resistance in his traversal.
  • In Quest for Glory series, the mysterious woman Katrina is perpetually barefoot, which seems really strange given that the protagonist meets her in a dark forest and nearby a very creepy cave. This may be one of the first hints that she's actually a vampire. Especially noticeable in fan art.
  • A lot of the zombies in Resident Evil are barefoot, despite otherwise being fully clothed.
  • Downplayed in World of Warcraft: although the Forsaken Undead, just like any player character, can wear footwear, their shoes or boots are always open in the front so that their bony toes are visible.

    Web Comics 
  • The title character of Daisy Is Dead usually walks around barefoot.
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night: Dracula's brides all wear no footwear since they float or Wall Crawl most of the time. Lucy, after she turns, likewise adopts this save for some thick nylon stockings. As well as her mother, Minerva, after she's bitten and later Helsing's wife, Milly. Dracula presumes this is due to the vampirisim compromising with their modern ways after reanimating their bodies since his original three brides are from ancient times when fashion wasn't that big a deal. Essentially just an odd side effect he finds amusement in.
  • The Order of the Stick: Xykon the lich for most of the comic's run, not that you could really tell with the art style. But after Team Evil does some dungeon delving he finds a pair of magic boots and starts wearing them, saying he was getting sick of his phalanges getting stuck between cobblestones.
  • In Violet Zombie, the zombie girl Penelope Martinez goes barefoot at any opportunity; when she has to wear shoes, they are always open-toed sandals.