Going Barefoot Photo

I love going sockless with shoes and sneakers. The only time I wear socks is with boots. This habit began way back in my childhood growing up in Massachusetts where sockless was not a preppy 80’s fad, but a regional lifestyle and look that still persists today.

After all, New England is the land of prep schools, bow ties, khaki’s, Topsiders and pink pants with whales on them – and not just on Nantucket.

Moving West to California meant that the need for socks never really came up. Yes, being in San Francisco, we do get weather that is a bit cooler than the SoCal beach communities, but nothing these Boston tootsie can’t take.

And by the way, I’m not a fan of anything coming between me and my shoes including peds, nylon hose that only fit on your toes, etc. I have never found anything that isn’t slipping or sliding. Anytime I’ve tried a solution that is supposed to provide the “sockless look”, I’ve found it more annoying that helpful. But if it works for you, great!

And while I love the sockless look, there’s one tiny downside. Ok, let’s face it, without socks to absorb moisture, sneakers and shoes tend to get a bit smelly. Usually, it’s nothing that some sneaker balls or a little foot spray can’t combat. On occasion, I’ll get a pair of sneakers that get a lot of wear and I have to upgrade the odor from a little smelly to a downright stank. If I have to put the shoes outside in the open air (on the back porch), then I know it’s time to toss them.

But that’s ok with me because I adore shoes and sneakers so much and that give me an excuse to buy new ones, which is half the fun of being a shoe-aholic. All of this is just a way of saying that I don’t perceive being sockless a major problem (as long as I remember not to wear certain shoes to friend’s homes where they have a no-shoe indoor policy).

Cardboard Insoles?

Still, I admit I was intrigued when a free pair of zBeest shoe inserts (from Wildebeest Inc. in Berkley, CA) arrived on my doorstep. I didn’t order them and I didn’t check them out online or search for them before receiving them in the mail. But once I did get them, I got a little curious. Was there really a business out there selling a corrugated cardboard shoe insert to the sockless population?

These insoles were touted as disposable and bio degradable. That’s cool and eco-friendly. Made locally to me. I love that. I like their marketing, “zBeest sockless insoles: The sock-free lifestyle.”

Wildebeest had a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.  However, their website has been down for a week (as of this posting) with an Internal Server Error showing up on their home page.  But I did find them on Amazon. There weren’t any reviews so I have no idea how others feel about them. And because I couldn’t access the website, I’m not even sure how many times I can reuse them.

So, while I sort of like the concept, I’m not sure I like the price. Paying $45 on Amazon for 50 pair doesn’t seem like that great a deal to me. Maybe If I was only occasionally going sockless, zBeest might be worth the investment. But if you’re like me and go sockless every day, that’s a hefty cost to solve a problem that I’m not sure is really a problem per se.

Here are some alternatives from AliExpress and Amazon if you must have something on your feet while appearing to be sockless. There are solutions for sandals, high heels, sneakers, pointy flats, and even flip flop – nearly everything you can imagine.

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