Why You Should Entertain Barefoot

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor

Assuming that when you entertain you’re doing so in your own home, you can do it however you want. You can serve eggplant because you’ve been craving it all week. You can play “Birth of the Cool” on repeat for the entire evening. And you don’t have to wear shoes if you don’t want to.

That last one may sound flippant—it may even sound as if you’ll convey a sense of flippancy to your guests—but hear us out. We speak from experience. Lots and lots of cocktail-dresses-and-bare-feet experience. 

1. Shoes impede stability. There’s a reason gymnasts eschew them: Our feet come equipped with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles. They are pretty powerful tools, in other words, built to absorb and dissipate the stress we put on them when walking and running—or hopping back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room. The skin on the soles of our feet also helps with balance because it grips onto the floor better than say, a stiletto, so you don’t fall when reaching into the crisper. This is why barefoot fitness training has become such a big trend. And this is why barefoot cooking—given that your kitchen floor is clean and you’re skilled enough not to dump sizzling oil on yourself—should become a practice in your home.

2. Bare feet go with everything. You’ve been struggling with what footwear to pair with that new fruit-patterned jumpsuit you bought, but nothing in your closet is quite right, and there’s been no time to hit the department store. Guess you can’t debut the jumpsuit at your dinner party. Guess again! Naturally neutral skin, no matter its color, suits any kind of outfit. Mo’ shoes, mo’ problems—so avoid them.

3. Bare feet put your guests at ease. Even if you’re wearing sequins, the presence of your naked feet will say to them, “Relax. We’re all friends, here.” It’s a signal to them to fill their glasses a little higher and have that second helping of pie. Plus, when they’re comfortable—and when you’re comfortable—nothing will detract from enjoying that perfectly roasted chicken on the menu. 

So even if the shoe fits, don’t wear it. 

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If you're comfortable, your guests are comfortable. (Photo credit: Matthew Novak)

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Go barefoot even if the tone is otherwise fancy. Pictured here, table designs by Department of Decoration. (Photo credit: Matthew Novak)

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You’ll be happy you made yourself comfy when you’re running to and fro, filling wine glasses. (Photo credit: Matthew Novak)

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Very happy. Plus: Shoeless feet make for a solid chopping stance. (Photo credit: Matthew Novak)