I am the founder and head of an organization called The ***** I am based in the state of Missouri, though our advisory board is located in various states and countries throughout the world. We advocate for countless people throughout the world who prefer to go without shoes (i.e. barefoot), even in public. Although it is admittedly unconventional, there is a lot of scientific and medical evidence that shows that shoes can be damaging to the feet and going barefoot can be beneficial. We believe that it should be acceptable for persons in our society to go without shoes IN PUBLIC if they so choose.
There are many misconceptions and myths floating around this practice, however. Many people believe it's against health codes or illegal when it's not (except for a few specific individual venues), and it's also not illegal to drive without shoes on (except for motorcycle riders in Alabama).
Another misconception is that, if a barefoot person hurts themselves while in a business - say, a grocery store - that the store would be "liable" for the person's injuries. That's a lot of the basis for stores having policies requiring shoes of their customers. We acknowledge that stores can generally set whatever policies they'd like (short of violating civil rights law), however we would like to discuss here the issue of "liability."
We've been doing a lot of research on this and it looks as though a store's liability if a barefoot customer is injured is also largely mythical. According to your site's section "Shopping Injuries -- Overview," it appears that someone who goes barefoot into a business and gets hurt because of it would have a near impossible time suing said business. Do you agree? What do you see as the barriers a barefoot patron would face if they were to injure themselves in a business BECAUSE they were barefoot?
From what we can surmise, it seems reasonable that a business' management can avoid any concern for litigation IF they 1) inform the barefoot customer that there may be risks on the ground and 2) say that the barefoot customer takes on his/her own risk because they are going barefoot. Do you agree? If not, what would a business' management be able to say/do to relieve this concern (besides barring the barefoot patron from entering)?
Thank you for your time,
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