Many people have seen those brave students traipsing around Cougar Walk without shoes, and it seems the trend is becoming increasingly popular as the year progresses. But what is behind this Hobbit-like, even homeless-type look? It’s about time somebody found out what these barefoot beauties have to say for themselves.

Freddie Reid, junior sociology major, is not new to the barefoot scene, but has recently gone back to footwear.

Q: When did you first decide to go barefoot?

A: Probably second semester [of my] freshman year was when I started.

Q: What prompted you to ditch the shoes?

A: I had just left San Diego, and in the summer, when it was hot, I would go to the beach without shoes. When I came to APU, it felt like summer [during the] second semester, so I just kept the trend going. It was so much easier to leave the house without them than to bring them.

Q: Why did you go back to wearing shoes on a daily basis?

A: Because some people were getting offended and very grossed out, so I was like, “I’ll just put on sandals to make people feel better.”

Q: What was the most interesting thing you stepped on while barefoot?

A: I stepped on a nail in the street once, but that was OK. I just took it out. It didn’t really get stuck in my foot, it just nicked me, so I just pulled it out.

On the other hand, freshman English major Millie Reese is rather fresh on the barefoot scene, and she’s not quite sure if she’s sold on it.

Q: Why aren’t you wearing shoes right now?

A: I’m not wearing shoes right now because I’m studying in the amphitheater and I went to pick up a package.

Q: How often do you wear shoes around campus?

A: I wear shoes, like, 98 percent of the time.

Q: What do you think about the people who never wear shoes around campus?

A: I think it’s kind of weird and kind of gross when people walk into food places without shoes. Or class. … For class you kind of need shoes.

Reese’s hallmate and fellow freshman Lexi Subra was caught walking on campus without shoes as well. The global studies major was a little more in her element than Reese was.

Q: Why aren’t you wearing shoes right now?

A: To be honest, my sandals were giving me blisters.

Q: Are you a typical shoe-wearer?

A: Well, there are some days where shoes are just too much.

Q: Do people ever give you strange looks for going barefoot?

A: Oh yeah, but you’ve just got to do you, you know?

Q: Will this be the last time you grace APU with your bare feet?

A: Absolutely not. Some days you just get blisters, or other days you just don’t feel like putting shoes on.

Lysh McAllister, a sophomore global studies major, is a barefoot pro here at APU.

Q: When did you first go barefoot?

A: I first went barefoot in high school, but then apparently it’s against the California fire code, so I got in trouble. I had to wait until my freshman year here at APU. I was walking to class [with shoes on], and I saw someone walking in the opposite direction barefoot. I then got really excited and stopped wearing shoes to class.

Q: What prompted you to do so?

A: First of all, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. I’m just going to walk barefoot, foot, foot, foot, foot. But on the real, I love going barefoot because I get to feel the ground with my feet. In a world where we put as many layers between ourselves and nature, going barefoot is reversing that trend. It makes me think more about where I’m walking and I begin to appreciate the nature around me. I walk slower. I also grew up running around my backyard without shoes, so it feels more natural to be barefoot. Also, it’s easy. I don’t have to pick out shoes with my outfit.

Q: How do people react to your barefoot presence?

A: People don’t seem to understand going barefoot and everyone stares. I just smile. I like to break out of boxes that people try to put me in. However, I don’t try to draw a lot of attention to it. I don’t think it defines me.

Q: What is the grossest thing you’ve ever stepped in?

A: Gum. Plus every bacteria or microorganism I cannot see.

There you have it, folks. Every barefoot boy or girl on campus has a reason for choosing the stubbed toe and dirty sole life, so give the Cougars some credit!