Investigating the Odd Case of Barefoot Culture in Australia

By Josh •  Updated: 04/02/21 •  7 min read

If you are newly visiting Australia, you might be surprised to see a lot of people walking barefoot in public places. For people in the US, going public without shoes might be a bit weird. But Australia is different. It is pretty common for people to go barefoot in public Australia. In this article, I will explain this odd case of barefoot culture in brief.

Although the beach culture seems to affect Australians going barefoot here and there, it’s not the case for everyone. Australians are pretty tolerant to others and no matter what you do, nobody raises an eyebrow. If someone goes barefoot in Australia, it is not because they should, but because they can.

So what you think as an “odd” case is not really odd in Australia. And there are actually plenty of cultural and social reasons why that is. To learn more on why going barefoot is so common in Australia, things you should consider doing and things you should avoid, keep on reading till the end. 

Woman walking away barefoot, wearing white dress on the boardwalk
Woman walking away barefoot

The Australian Barefoot Culture

The main reason people go barefoot in Australia is the weather. The weather in Australia is hot, except for a short winter season. People can’t but go barefoot in the hot weather of their country. Australia is known for its beach, and you know you cannot but walk barefoot there.

Australians call themselves the people of the sun, and they do not like to wear shoes. They like to be open and not talk about other people’s habits. They are not going to judge you if you do something uncommon. They are tolerant of all kinds of people.

If you see someone walking barefoot in buses, restaurants, shopping malls, or anywhere, do not worry about them.

They are not poor, they just don’t like to wear shoes. And to be honest, the heat of Australian weather will not allow you to wear shoes all day. Even in the colder areas, you will get pretty tired of wearing shoes and would try to get home by going barefoot. 

Most of the people you see walking barefoot are young. People like going barefoot and their streets are clean.

Although in central cities like Melbourne, you are not likely to see a lot of people walking barefoot. It is more common for people living around the beach. During the summer, you will see more and more people walking without shoes.

Going barefoot is actually helpful for hot weather, and some say that it is able to cure dehydration too. In the summer, people like to wear fewer and fewer clothes. So wearing shoes in the summer is not comfortable at all, especially when you are walking in the hot streets of Australia.

Australian people are proud of their clean cities and feel extremely comfortable walking barefoot. Walking barefoot is much better than wearing flip-flops, and Australians prefer that.

They are open-minded, so if you do not want to go barefoot in the streets of Australia, you are allowed to do that. They don’t mind as long as you are not hampering their works.

Going Barefoot in Public Australia – Do’s and Don’ts

If you are new to Australia and not sure what rules you need to follow before going barefoot, this section is for you. Here is a list of what you should do and not do when you are going barefoot in Australia.

What You Should Do:

  • Ask the host

If you are visiting someone’s house and confused if you should take your shoes off or not, simply ask them. 

Some people may allow you to walk barefoot in their home and some will not. Don’t hesitate to ask your host before walking right into his/her house.

  • Go barefoot on the beach

Australians learned to go barefoot from the beach. So, if you are roaming around a beach in Australia, take your shoes off. You can’t really enjoy the beach with shoes on. Even going barefoot in the nearby areas of a beach should be OK. 

Keep in mind that the weather of Australia is hot, and the beach sand can get uncomfortably heated up on some days. Also, seashells and debris are here and there on beaches, so try not to get a cut from those. A serious cut might cause infection and ruin your vacation on the Australian beach.

  • Home sweet home

Never mind walking barefoot in your home and backyard. It is your own place to enjoy barefoot walking. 

Don’t miss it. As you are a visitor to Australia, I am assuming that you are living in someone else’s home.Ask the landlord to spray the house using a pest controller. Spiders may hurt your barefoot experience.

  • Safety first

Ensure the safety of your feet first before going barefoot in Australia. Try not to step on anything that can cut or harm your legs. 

Go barefoot only if you can ensure that the place maintains hygiene. Keep an eye on the ground when you are walking barefoot. And remember not to climb over rock pools without your shoes. 

  • Wear shoes in populated areas

If you are living in a densely populated area, consider wearing shoes in public. More people mean more lack of hygiene, and you don’t want to get sick just for walking barefoot.

  • Play barefoot bowls

There is a popular game in Australia called barefoot bowls. Play that game with your friends and family while taking sips of beer. 

It is really enjoyable. While you are enjoying the culture of other countries, you should try their games too, right?

  • Go barefoot in water-based activities

Generally, activities related to water do not require shoes, and you should be able to go barefoot. 

Even in the US people love swimming without having their shoes on. So jump into the sea barefoot without hesitation.

What You Should Avoid:

  • Avoid going to university without shoes

You should not go to university barefoot in Australia. Your faculty and friends might not accept it and it is not professional behavior.

  • Avoid taking barefoot culture acceptable for everywhere

Going barefoot is not something that will raise eyebrows in Australia, but you should not take it for granted. A few expensive hotels might not serve customers who entered their restaurant without shoes.

In that case, if you really want to get barefooted, take a seat in the hotel and then take your shoes off. Getting fully dressed is always safer than going barefoot. However, unless you are in a densely populated or unhygienic area, barefoot should not be a serious issue.

  • Avoid driving barefoot

Driving barefoot is not legal. So do not drive in Australia or anywhere without having your shoes on. It is also unsafe as sweaty feet can cause slip on the pedals and accidents in some cases.

  • Avoid going barefoot in professional areas

Unless you are visiting a beach, do not get barefoot where you need to be in a professional outlook. 

If everyone else is barefoot, it should not be a problem for you but in general, don’t forget to keep your shoes on.

Conclusion

Walking barefoot is fun, and in Australia, it is pretty common. After reading the article, I hope you have a clear idea about people walking barefoot in public Australia.

So, if you want to visit Australia anytime soon, do not hesitate to feel yourself at home and walk with no shoes.  Enjoy your summer vacation in Australia. Thanks for reading. And Until next time, farewell. 

Josh

Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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