From the News & Observer – 5.29.08
As the warm days of summer roll in, some folks are ready to shuck their shoes
No shoes, no problem
Michael Dodd grew up in Raleigh, played football and baseball at Broughton High School. He went barefoot in the backyard and on family vacations at the beach and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t like his mom was constantly trying to keep shoes on him. Then he went off to college.
Wearing shoes wasn’t an issue early on at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Until summer.
“Our fraternity house was in Travelers Rest,” says Dodd. (Travelers Rest, for those not familiar with greater Greenville, is a neighboring tourist town at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains.) “I spent several summers down there and we wore as little as possible.”
Upon venturing into civilization, that required some accommodation, he says. But not much.
“We went into stores and restaurants down there without shoes,” recalls the 23-year-old, “because nobody cared.”
Going barefoot quickly emerged from an occasional indulgence into a lifestyle. A lifestyle that required adjustment upon graduation and his return to Raleigh. Again, though, not much.
Todd works at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village where, as store spokesman Chuck Millsaps says, “We make him wear shoes.”
But as he prepares sportswear for reshelving, a glance at his feet reveals he’s wearing a high-tech descendant of those hippie Barebottoms: Vibram Five Fingers, a kind of foot glove deemed by Time magazine as one of last year’s 10 best inventions. He’s had them for several months now and says they accommodate every activity in his active lifestyle.
Every activity? I ask the five-handicap golfer.
“I haven’t tried them with golf,” he says, warming to the idea. “The only thing [golf courses] restrict are metal spikes.”