BIO | Barefoot through job and life: freedom or whimsy?


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Disclosure & Image Rights: The French National Tourist Board has taken over the cost of flights and accommodation on various research trips. The Comité Régional de Tourisme Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur has taken over the cost of flights and accommodation on various research trips. Picture material created with a free provided camera of our sponsor Olympus. Image location: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.

Star fashion photographer Russel James has successfully demonstrated this: living and working without shoes. And there are more people who share this attitude: One of them, the Frenchwoman Elizabeth, I met during the weekend hiking in the Calanques near Marseille. And I asked myself: How much personal freedom is possible today in work and everyday life - and when does it get really ridiculous? Walking barefoot in the Calanques, Marsaille, Provence


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Barefoot as a life setting?

Susanne Zürn-Seiller, press officer of the Comité Régional de Tourisme Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in Marseille, who not only made my research on site possible through her sponsorship, but also supported me logistically, warned me extra: In the Calanques at Marsaille hiking only with sturdy shoes!

And while I am now on the safe side with my solid walking boots, and secretly blaspheming the people I meet on my way with little sands, I notice Elizabeth who is barefoot. Barefoot, without shoes, which could offer on the rocky, uneven and steep protection from stones, thorns and kinks.

I have to think of the Australian star fashion photographer Russel James: He photographed models like Giselle Cirrus or Heidi Klum of the world, but can according to own data in shoes "don't shoot a single clever picture". He runs barefoot even in the middle of winter. And there are more people like him - you just have to enter life barefoot on Google.

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Socially not accepted

Just: Here, without shoes to crackle, seems to me a trace harder. So a reason for me to address Elizabeth. It is a life setting, she tells me. As often as she can, she walks barefoot. Unfortunately, it is often not. For example, at work, because Elizabeth has a serious job as an accountant in the Toulon region of southern France.

Even in her free time, when she goes out in the evening, she often has to discuss your attitude with people. "Running barefoot is often not accepted in society .." she sighs. She finds it funny that I want to publish a photo of her. "If you want," she says. Walking through the area without shoes is nothing particularly worth mentioning for Elizabeth.

Unprotected on stony paths?

I ask if walking barefoot is not a bit dangerous here. Although the main hiking trails, especially for southern European conditions, are excellently well developed. But like me, Elizabeth keeps taking the small paths that shorten the long hairpin bends on the way down. And they are anything but wide and comfortable.

She fends off with a laugh: "It's just the way to the beach, barefoot walking is not a problem," she says. In fact, it runs amazingly safely on the rocky road. Even if she has to walk a bit more carefully than people with sturdy shoes. Sometimes she stumbles a little, but that can also happen with sturdy shoes.

Hiking Calanques Marselle Provence

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Only apparent security?

"Bravo," said a woman who comes puffing towards us from below and points to Elizabeth's bare feet. And I suddenly wonder why I have been carrying heavy hiking shoes with me all week. Maybe you really have more freedom if you walk barefoot through the area?

Perhaps we should simply take things from which we believe that they provide us with security, but which really confine us to reality? Or is barefoot running just a crazy spleen, the consolidation of a somewhat spun identity, as Russell James himself says?

Barefoot at work - what is allowed?

And what would you say if your boss, your staff or colleagues suddenly wanted to get barefoot to work? How far does it go, in the wake of the often cited shortage of skilled workers, in Company the tolerance to allow employees such and similar nastiness?

Or is it, for example in creative professions, not even necessary, the employee have such freedoms to do their job well, as the example Russell James shows. Or can the stars just allow themselves? Looking forward to opinions!

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  1. Marco

    Venite a paseggiare scalzi a Rimini, ance io amo girare a piedi nudi quando posso.

    • Simone Janson

      Magari .. Almeno li c'e la spiagga per andare scalzi. Ma sono contenta se la autotraduzione di Google sembra cosi bene che si capisce i articoli. Saluti in Italia!

  2. Mario Voegtlin

    RT @SimoneJanson: What do you mean: Barefoot to work? How whimsical can employees be? #kleiderordnung

  3. Axel Haitzer

    RT @SimoneJanson: What do you mean: Barefoot to work? How whimsical can employees be? #kleiderordnung

  4. Simone Janson

    Hello Manfred,
    Nice! Thank you! I am also completely against restricting shoes and high heels. There are more barefooters than you should think. It's worth thinking about the safety aspect - sometimes shoes are safer - or not?

    • Esther Stratmann

      Well, if you work in the chemical laboratory or the steel works, sure. If one goes through the city or the nature, one can hardly draw more than a small incision, and that weighs very little against the feeling of freedom. You do not believe how sturdy feet are when you're used to barefoot ...

      Esther, barefoot walkers since 9 years

      • Simone Janson

        Thank you for this assessment! But when I think of rough asphalt alone.
        One question: how do you handle that in the job? Elizabeth says she has to keep her shoes on in her job ...

        • Esther Stratmann

          At the moment I am still studying; in my evening job (waiters in a quite quaint pub) is barefoot no problem.
          I do not know later in my working life ... I always hope that my dream with free journalism will become something.
          Asphalt is not a problem: if you have healthy feet and have run 2-3 weeks down without, you have forgotten how shoes feel. As long as it tweaks and pokes a bit; I started barefoot running pretty suddenly with 17, and remember that the first few weeks on hot big city asphalt were pretty painful in midsummer; thick blood bubbles under both bales. But since then I run without any complaint ...

        • Esther Stratmann

          In rough asphalt I see (in contrast to stony hiking trails) no problem. You have to run barefoot for three weeks, then you do not care how rough the asphalt is (I started barefoot all of a sudden, the first weeks I had bloodballs etc., after a few weeks no more complaints).

          My job? Binn at the moment Sudentin, in the evenings working as a waitress in a local pub - there is no problem barefoot, of course not know, as it is in the job, studier Germanistik: If my dream, free journalism, true, it can go, as a teacher it would be probably more difficult ...

  5. Manfred (Ten)

    I too belong to the species that lives all year round and consistently barefoot.

    Isn't it rather a “whimsy” to break your feet (and more) with “high heels”, to grow bubbles and athlete's foot in warm, damp shoes and to deny yourself the sensual experience of being “grounded”?

    Me and many barefoot friends from all over Germany, with whom I exchange ideas in our BArfüßer forum and with whom we always have some meetings and hikes in the year time and again state: It works! Easily! If you want to be authentic, well-groomed and do not want to provoke - then there are very few reactions - and then they are almost always curious-friendly / positive ...

    And should I really do my life after the few others who (still) are caught in their constraints?

  6. dirt foot

    What do you mean barefoot to work? How can employees be?

  7. Andreas Prokop

    Series - Career & Life Pictures Worldwide: Barefoot Through Life - Freedom Or Quirks? #Business

  8. Andreas Prokop

    Series - Career & Life Pictures Worldwide: Barefoot Through Life - Freedom Or Quirks? #Business

  9. Andreas Prokop

    Series - Career & Life Pictures Worldwide: Barefoot Through Life - Freedom Or Quirks? #Business

  10. Holger Froese

    Series - professional & life pictures worldwide: Barfu ß durchs Leben - Freiheit oder Spleen?
    Commented on Twitter

  11. Simone Janson

    What do you mean barefoot to work? How can employees be?

  12. Competencepartner

    Series - Careers & Life Pictures Worldwide: Barefoot Through Life - Freedom or Spleen ?: Star-Fashionable ...

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