Barefoot Kauai Vacation

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem

By Tania Wailani

I’m sure you have seen those No Shirt, No shoes, No Service signs. But have you ever seen any barefoot-friendly sign like No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem? Yes, they do exist in certain barefoot-friendly places. The following took place a few years ago when I was 12 years old.

We were going on a mini family vacation to the island of Kauai one winter right before Christmas and spend a few days at a resort. Our older siblings (Steve who was in college, and Debbie who was in high school) weren’t coming along as they wanted to spend time with their friends. So it would be 5 of us: dad, mom, my little sister Sharleen (nicknamed Lynn), little brother Kevin, and myself.

Sharleen and I decided to go barefoot the entire time without even bringing any footwear as we wanted to experience “total freedom.” Mom was against it in the beginning. She said we should wear sandals at least while we were flying. But dad managed to convince her that it would be OK since it was an inter-island flight, and he doubted that the airline would give us any problem. He said if they did, we would just buy flip flops at the airport and catch the next flight. Don’t you just love our dad? 🙂

Steve drove us to the airport in the morning. When we arrived Sharleen gave him a kiss to thank him for taking us there. “Oooh, thank you! It’s not very often I get kissed by a pretty girl,” teased Steve. The cute 9 year old blushed a little, and we all laughed.

We ate breakfast at the airport before boarding. Our feet got quite dirty from walking around in there. We boarded the airplane with no problem at all. In fact, the flight attendants were very nice to us. We were the only ones barefoot aboard, though. Oh, in case you’re wondering, this was not a dream like in my blog post, Barefoot Wonderland, where I also flew in bare feet, and Lynn was…well, go read it if you haven’t already 😉

At the resort Sharleen and I shared a bedroom just like at home, and Kevin got to sleep with mom and dad. Kauai is a very barefoot friendly place. We saw a number of barefoot people just about everywhere we went, including in Wal Mart which on the mainland is quite notorious for giving barefoot customers a hard time.

One day we were strolling along a shopping strip by the beach when we saw a restaurant that had gotten quite good reviews online, so we decided to have lunch there. But we were taken aback by the “shirt and shoes required” sign they had on the door. Those signs are common on the mainland, but not here on the islands.

We were about to move on and find another restaurant when a lady came out and said, “Aloha! Would you like to come in?”

“Oh, we would love to, but our 2 girls here don’t have shoes on,” said dad.

Then the lady said very softly, almost whispering, “That’s OK, just come in. The sign is meant more for tourists who sometimes walk from the beach across the street in only their swimsuits. That’s what we don’t want. You guys look like locals, and I know some locals like to go barefoot. So come on in.”

Sharleen and I looked at each other and smiled. “Magic!” she said, and I nodded. You’ve got to believe in magic to experience it in your life on a regular basis. There is nothing too mystical about it, though. You just have to think good thoughts and have a positive attitude at all times or at least most of the time, and you will manifest wonderful things in your life.

Sharleen and I had fun playing this game even when we were kids. Whenever we faced uncertainty, we would think good thoughts, and only good thoughts about the situation, and the outcome was always in our favor. A good example of this is when she went barefoot at school and got confronted by a teacher. The magic is even more powerful when both of us join forces. But I digress.

Once we were seated our bare feet were invisible to most other people. Our server was very friendly, and the food was delicious. So it was quite a nice experience.

no shows, no shirt, no problem signLater that evening we were in the town of Kapaa. Again we were strolling when we came cross a store with a very interesting sign on the glass window (see picture). Quite the opposite of what we saw earlier at the restaurant. The sign has a humorous tone with the added word “skirt”, but it reflects the laid-back attitude of the store and people on the island in general. I believe the name of the store was Hee Fat. So, go visit it whenever you are on Kauai. Note: the picture was taken a few years ago, so the sign may or may not still be there today.

People on the mainland could learn a thing or two from the Hawaiians and just “hang loose,” and this world would be a better place.

The next morning was cloudy and drizzly. Mom made breakfast for us at the resort so we didn’t have to go out. But we decided to go sight seeing after breakfast.

Mom asked Lynn and me, “Will you girls be OK walking barefoot out in the rain?”

What? Would we be we OK? We would LOVE it, hehe!

“Of course, mom. We’ll just have wet feet. Just like when we go to the beach or swimming pool our feet get wet. It’s no big thing,” replied Lynn. What a smart girl.

“OK, point taken. But should you ever feel you need to wear sandals, please let us know, and we’ll go buy them,” said mom.

“Sure, mommy!” 😉

We had the time of our lives walking barefoot on wet surfaces that day. It was a bit cool, so we wore light jackets to keep our bodies warm. We stopped by the farmer’s market to buy some fresh fruit, and our feet got pretty muddy which was delicious! But mom scolded us for walking in the mud, and made us wash our feet before entering our unit at the resort.

Before we knew it, it was time to fly back home but we had a fantastic time there. It was a magical mini vacation, and Kauai is one of the most magical Hawaiian islands. And yes, no shirt, no shoes, no problem! Just hang loose and enjoy life.

Steve picked us up at the airport, and we had a wonderful Christmas with the entire family.

About the author:
Tania is a girl from paradise Hawaii who loves to go barefoot. She is currently a college student. You can read more interesting articles by her and her sister on the barefoot blog.

Also check out their other interesting blogs:
Short Stories For The Night
Personal Development Magic

Going Barefoot in Hawaii

Hawaii is a barefoot paradise

Going barefoot in Hawaii is very natural. If you have ever been to Hawaii you will certainly agree that it’s paradise. Its natural beauty is unparalleled, the tropical climate provides warm weather year round, the culture is exotic, the food delicious, the people are beautiful and friendly, and I could go on and on. And if you like going barefoot you will definitely love Hawaii. It’s very barefoot friendly in the sense that you can go barefoot all year, practically everywhere and people are cool with it. You will also see quite a few other people going barefoot in public. It’s simply a barefooter’s paradise.

barefoot hawaiian hula dancers
Going barefoot in Hawaii is part of the culture.

The first time I went to Hawaii was on a summer vacation when I was in school quite a few years ago. Like most tourists, I stayed in Waikiki which is on the island of Oahu. Walking along Waikiki streets I saw quite a number of people in their bare feet. At first I thought because it was right by the beach, it was just convenient for people to walk around sans footwear back and forth to their cars or hotels. However, I also saw many go barefoot into stores and I thought that was really cool.

I wasn’t a full time barefooter at the time so I wasn’t barefoot the first time I came. Besides, I didn’t know that Hawaii would be such a barefoot friendly place. But it didn’t take long for me to bare my soles after seeing so many barefoot people around. As soon as I got back to my hotel I took off my shoes and went back out for a barefoot excursion around Waikiki. I was even barefoot in a movie theater. I could feel the ground really sticky and when I was back outside I saw my soles were really black. I’m one of those who think having dirty feet is fun, so I was actually quite amused 🙂

A great place to visit in Waikiki is the International Market Place. There are a variety of souvenir stores there along with restaurants, all in a natural setting. Guess what? There are quite a few barefooters there too. Of course, it’s an ideal place to walk around in bare feet. You’re protected from the sun by the giant banyan tree, and you can leisurely browse all the exotic arts and crafts, or at certain times even listen to live music and watch a hula show.

Another thing I like about Hawaii is the casual dress which I believe is due to the tropical climate. Suit and tie are out. Work attire consists of Aloha shirt (shirt with tropical designs) and pants, while out of work most people wear T-shirts, shorts and flip flops or rubber slippers as they call them there just about everywhere. Yet a few others choose to go barefooted.

One day while I was riding on the city bus, a group of school kids boarded and some of them were barefoot with no shoes in sight. In Hawaii it’s actually common for elementary school children to go to school in bare feet. Footwear is optional in many of the schools there. You can read more about that at Parents For Barefoot Children.

Going barefoot in Hawaii was such an exhilarating experience for me and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was sad when the vacation was over but I vowed to go visit again and probably even live there some day. So I went back to Hawaii a few more times as a tourist before I eventually moved there after I finished school for a job training and that was really exciting.

I lived in Kailua (on Oahu). I moved there after discovering that it was such a barefoot friendly town. About 5% of the population there walked around barefooted in public. On any given day you’re almost guaranteed to see at least one barefoot person either walking in the street, inside a supermarket, restaurant, post office, and many other places.

There’s a neighboring town called Kaneohe which has a shopping mall (Windward Mall) that actually sanctions bare feet. By each escalator in that mall there is a sign that says: “For your safety, customers in bare feet or with strollers please use the elevators.” How cool is that!? That’s the only place, even in Hawaii, where I’ve seen such a sign. Needless to say, that’s where I always went when I needed to go shopping at the mall. On occasion I would even go there when I had no intention of buying anything just for the enjoyment of walking barefoot in a mall 🙂

While living in Hawaii I had the opportunity to visit some of the other islands and they’re also barefoot friendly. I’ll summarize some of my experiences below.

Maui and Kauai
Those islands are really beautiful, even more so than Oahu, and I have seen quite a number of barefooters on both. Some of them were tourists from the US mainland while others were locals.

Update: Read this interesting article about 2 girls vacationing barefoot on Kauai where they saw a very barefoot-friendly sign – more proof that going barefoot in Hawaii is widely accepted.

This is one of the smaller islands in the Hawaiian chain. It’s not as lush as Kauai or Maui, and life there is a lot simpler even by Hawaii’s standard. There’s only one hotel in the main city and that’s where I stayed too. When I first arrived the girl at the front desk was telling me about a couple of the restaurants at the hotel, and I asked her about the dress code, and she said it was casual but I couldn’t go in barefooted, and I was like, “Oh, shucks!” Oh well… Exploring the town, I only saw a couple other people barefoot; one was a tourist girl at a fast food place, and the other a local guy in the grocery store.

The Big Island of Hawaii
Going barefoot in Hawaii (the Big Island) is very common. There are two major towns on the island: Hilo and Kailua-Kona, and both are barefoot friendly. I saw quite a number of people barefoot in public just about anywhere, like in my home town. A little town worth mentioning is Waimea. It’s located inland far from the beach, and it’s a quaint little town where everyone seemed to know each other. I drove up there while I was staying in Kona and it was quite a nice experience. I saw quite a few barefooters there in the little stores and eating in the restaurant.

I had the greatest time of my life living in Hawaii. I was able to live the barefoot lifestyle to the fullest. I went barefoot just about everywhere; to the grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, post office, banks, and shopping malls just to name a few and nobody gave me a hassle about it. Unfortunately, like many good things, it had to end. It was very hard to find a permanent job and the cost of living was very high, and I was forced to leave barefoot paradise and move back to the mainland. However, I plan to move back there and I know it’s just a matter of time.

Are you planning to visit Hawaii? You owe it to yourself to spend at least some of your time there barefooted. Trust me, it will be an exciting and enjoyable experience. Who knows, you will come home a barefooter 🙂 If wedding is in your future, you may want to consider a Barefoot Kauai Wedding. By the way, be sure to also read the page on barefoot vacation which is about another experience in going barefoot in Hawaii.

Here’s an interesting article in a Honolulu newspaper: Going barefoot part of Hawaii’s heart and soul.

Living the Barefoot Lifestyle

What is it like to live the barefoot lifestyle, and what does it even mean? It means you go barefoot a lot, including in public places. You probably spend more time in bare feet than not.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be barefoot 24/7, though. Not many people are fortunate enough to be able to live that kind of lifestyle due to their jobs, social activities, the weather etc. But you can try to go barefoot as much as possible. It feels fantastic as it’s so natural, and liberating.

Many people wish they could live the barefoot lifestyle, but they are a little apprehensive in the beginning which is understandable. So I suggest you start slowly, like some call it taking baby steps. If you have never been barefoot even inside the house except when taking a shower or sleeping (some people are actually like that for whatever reason) then obviously that’s the place to start.

Put your house slippers or whatever you usually wear on your feet at home away, and just walk barefoot in the house at all times, starting when you wake up in the morning going to the bathroom, getting your coffee or breakfast, and so on. Don’t put your shoes or even socks on until you’re ready to leave for work or school. Then as soon as you get back home, take off your shoes and socks, and relax. Your feet will surely appreciate it.

The next step would be to walk barefoot outside your house like in your yard, getting the mail, etc. and begin to enjoy the sense of freedom and appreciate the sensation as your bare soles touch the earth. Believe me, there’s nothing like being able to feel the different textures and temperatures of the surface you walk on. Let nature caress your feet.

Another thing to consider is doing some exercise that’s done in bare feet such as swimming, yoga, and martial arts just to get yourself to feel comfortable being barefoot with other people around. Those exercises have a lot of benefits and are fun to do anyway.

When you get a little more comfortable you can start expanding your barefoot adventure to the neighborhood. If there is a nearby park where you can stroll in your bare feet, that’s even better. You’ll probably start noticing other people’s reactions to your going barefoot.

Some may smile, some may give you a dirty look, some may gasp in shock but still not say a word. Yet others may say something to complement you and express their wish that they too could be barefoot. If it helps, you can try carrying a pair of shoes or flip flops in your hand so that people think you’re barefoot because your feet are hurting or tired. Who knows, some may actually follow suit! 🙂

going barefoot in public
A woman walking barefoot in public.

On occasion you might hear some snide remarks from those that are less well mannered. That might be nerve rattling to some the first few times but after a while you’ll learn to dismiss them and continue going barefoot and enjoying your life. Remember, how people treat others reflects who they really are. It has nothing to do with you. So, just focus on the positive and ignore the negative.

You may also want to join a barefoot hiking group in your area. Barefoot hiking is really an adventure in itself and is worth exploring. If there is none in your area, maybe you can start one 🙂

After you become even more comfortable and confident, you may want to start going barefoot into establishments. Again, start slowly. Some people prefer to do it in a different town where nobody knows them and that’s fine if that suits them.

You could probably start visiting a less crowded store or a small fast food restaurant to buy something real quick and leave. Then you gradually walk your way to large grocery stores, the mall, even the bank and other restaurants. Again, you may feel nervous the first few times, but you will feel more at ease with practice.

I must warn you though, that the potential for confrontation is greater in establishments. Managers and employees alike may tell you it’s against the law to go in without footwear, and you may have to defend yourself (some non-confrontational barefooters would just walk away). That’s when a copy of the Health Department letter of your state (you can print a copy of it for free from this page) comes in handy. It would serve as a hard black-and-white proof that you’re not breaking any law by going barefoot.

Some people, for whatever reason, would never actually go barefoot into establishments and that’s perfectly fine. You know your limits, and do what you’re comfortable with. Remember, you do it because it feels good, and if you feel uncomfortable in certain places it beats the purpose, right?

In closing, if you’ve never gone barefoot in public and you have the desire, I strongly urge you to try it. You’ve got nothing to lose except your $hoes, he he he! Who knows, you may even get addicted to it like me and start going barefoot just about everywhere most of the time 🙂 So have fun, live the barefoot lifestyle, and enjoy life!

By the way… have you ever heard of barefoot sandals? They’re really cool. You can wear them to casual parties such as a barefoot wedding and sometimes even to not-so-casual parties because they can actually fool people into thinking that you’re wearing sandals when you’re not! Many barefooters wear them to stores and other establishments that require shoes and most of the time get away with it 🙂

Check out some great barefoot sandals here.

Here’s a couple of quotes encouraging going barefoot…

“… Barefoot, we’re almost always at peace. We’re gentle and tolerant with our fellow man. Stress and anxiety evaporate and grief itself seems bearable as long as our feet are free …”
~Barbara Holland~ in Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences

“and forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the Winds long to play with your hair”
~Kahlil Gilbran~

Well, what are you waiting for? Kick off your $h%es, $ocks or $andals now and start walking barefoot. Even the earth will appreciate that, and certainly will your feet! 🙂

Interesting comments reflecting the barefoot lifestyle

Following are just a few of the comments people left in my guestbook.

Being barefoot is great in so many ways. It’s a spiritual experience in that you can commune with the earth and feel closer to nature. I feel more relaxed and happy when my feet are bare. There’s nothing like walking barefoot and feeling all the surfaces and getting your feet nice and dirty. I LOVE being a barefooted boy!


Being born and bred in Nth Queensland has enabled me to live my whole life being barefoot. For 43 years I’ve never had the need for any footwear!

Went to Primary School in barefoot, High School barefoot and University barefoot. No looks of disgust or signs prohibiting barefeet. It’s part of life here. Probably about 70% of our towns population are barefoot constantly with the other 30% only during the wet season.

Visitors to the town were here early this year and I heard them comment on the amount of barefooters. They were shocked when I told them that I’ve never had to wear shoes – not even to work! So long as you are aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing, foot injuries become non-existant!

Anyway, to those who want to see another barefoot paradise, come to Nth Queensland – especially the smaller country towns!


In New Zealand and Australia a lot of people go barefoot during Spring and Summer, and in Queensland year round. Just returned from a holiday in Hawaii Big Island and Oahu Waikiki. Loved going barefoot everyday. Surprised to see not as many barefooters as expected. Most wore jandals or sandals. Hotels stated they wanted guests to have footwear. I ignored this.

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