Is it okay to go barefoot at the mall? A podiatrist weighs in

  • 27/11/2018
Kid wearing jeans trousers walking on muddy ground
Photo credit: Getty

A podiatrist has weighed in on the debate over whether it's acceptable to go barefoot at the mall.

An Auckland woman is furious after she was ejected from Sylvia Park shopping centre in Mt Wellington last Tuesday because she was barefoot.

Rachelle McDonald told Stuff she was approached by security and asked to leave for "failing to adhere to the mall's policy".

Ms McDonald was taken aback by the request as "[going barefoot] was a huge part of my Kiwi culture growing up".

She says she had forgotten her shoes and phone as she urgently needed to use a computer.

Masterton podiatrist Adam Phillips has given his expert opinion on the debate that's split the nation as a result of Ms McDonald's story.

He says while it's fine to go barefoot at home, "I wouldn't go 'round a mall without my shoes on".

He goes on to say that his daily practice has made him aware of the potential dangers of being barefoot in busy public areas. 

"The things I see every day in my practice [such as] infections in legs caused by cracks in skin around the toes..."

He says that the more sub-tropical areas of New Zealand have "potential for bugs, hookworms getting into your feet and the like."

Aside from the potential for bugs and infections, Mr Phillips understands the mall's policy, because "it's more of a health and safety thing. They don't want customers to be getting glass in their foot, or picking up a bug from a urine soaked floor".

Perhaps graphic images, but the point remains. Although going barefoot is definitely a part of Kiwi culture, it might not be the best idea to do it in one of the busiest malls in Auckland.



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