Pictured in Byron Bay are two young shoppers wearing their bikinis. Photo Marie Cook / The Northern Star
Pictured in Byron Bay are two young shoppers wearing their bikinis. Photo Marie Cook / The Northern Star Marie Cook

Readers say in the Northern Rivers bare feet are fine

WEDNESDAY 12.30PM: AN OPINION piece has sparked comment among our readers over what is considered appropriate dress when at the shops.

Our editor David Kirkpatrick raised the topic of whether or not bare feet and bikinis, as well as a shirtless look, was okay to wear in public, sparking conversation on our Facebook page.

"For me it comes back to what location - On the beach, coming from the beach it's ok. I don't have an issue with properly fitting bikinis in other areas like shopping centres however I would prefer if the women wore something over the bikini in areas like this. Shoes of some sort should be worn in shopping centres or places such as this. And blokes with no shirt on is only ok on the beach or in outdoor areas such as parks. It's showing respect for yourself & those around you by wearing appropriate clothing. But you won't get many who agree with me in these parts. If we were having this discussion in Canberra it would be a different story," Shane Koning said.

"Barefoot is fine. I hate wearing shoes. Always preferred barefoot. As for clothing, Bikini / swimmers are fine at the beach or pool but cover up with a sarong or beach dress if you are going shopping. Boardies are just shorts, but again if you are away from the beach or the pool put on a top," Kerri Johnson said.

"More bikinis the better probably bit cold in winter though. Bare foot - well I wouldn't due to dirt and crap staining bottom of your feet. Boardshorts always unless you're working or going to a job interview. No dramas relax, why should you have to get all dressed up to do shopping? Not like you're in a vogue or girlie magazine," Tony Den said.

In response to Tony's bikini comment, Shane Koning added: "That would be ok if everyone who did not want to wear clothes had a good body lol - Some of them would put me of my lunch! And try as I might it's hard not to notice them. Seriously though wearing shoes/thongs or sandals in shopping centres etc is more respectful than bare feet. And better for your feet. And blokes throwing on a shirt is how hard."

"We are a beach side town. This sort of dress is to be expected when you step of the beach and do a little shopping. I see men in board shorts around town every day," Marcus Dorsman said.

"I feel that people have strange choices, bare feet why not, but dress code are a sense of respect to all around," Nino Giamboi said.

"If you can wear it at the pool or the beach which are both public places you can wear it anywhere there is no issue and no valid reason not to," Craig Murphy said.

"No shoes is a Northern Rivers way of life," Joma Meleth said.

"As long as it's not illegal, do want you want," Neil Butler said.

"Back in the 70's 80's 90's people did why is so bad these days?" Leanda Headford said.


TUESDAY 5.30PM: WHAT'S the appropriate dress standard when you go out in public?

It seems we are fairly relaxed with what we wear in Australia where bare feet, bikinis and hair shirts are the order of the day.

Yes, we live in a hot climate, so perhaps we've got more of an excuse for wearing less rather than more in public.

This has been a topic of conversation both at work and at home for the past week after I discussed a recent letter to the editor.

It was about children at a local shopping centre running into and out of shops with bare feet.

What do you think is OK to wear into the shops?

This poll ended on 12 April 2016.

Current Results

It's ok to skip the shoes and go barefoot


I think it's fine to go barefoot and skip the shirt too


Swimwear and barefoot is fine


Swimwear and barefoot is fine only if you're near the beach


Fully dressed is the only decent way


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Here in the office we came to a fairly non-binding conclusion there was a sliding scale depending on how far you were from the ocean.

While it may seem okay to pop across the road from the surf and into a cafe or supermarket, is it the same 500m down the road?

And if you get way inland shouldn't some sort of footwear become mandatory?

Gold Coast airport won't allow urchins from the North Coast past the security checkpoint without footwear.

I'm sure there is all sorts of OH&S issues around having footwear in an airport, not to mention cleanliness.

Personally, I don't like to shop in my hair shirt, nor do I wanna be standing next to a shirtless man picking through the mixed lettuce leaves.

One of my family members said she'd spotted a girl in a bikini shopping in the main street of Mullum the other day. Last time I checked Mullum was a long way from the coast, so why hadn't she bothered to get dressed?

Is it okay to go barefoot or wear just a bikini or boardshorts in public? 


Primal Influence: "Barefoot?! Yes! We're barefoot 99% of the time because it's far more comfortable for us and better for our health (in so many ways). We've been happy to hear we've even inspired others to go barefoot more often, which is awesome! It's a silly stigma that barefoot is bad. We get so many funny looks from people when we're out and about but we don't care, we're just happy being comfortable."

Jenny Carruthers: "Can not believe why this is an issue it worked fine in the 70/80s everyone theses days think it's their right at being a judge get a life and leave others be."

Jenny McMahon: "No, no, no way! - You put a T-shirt on at least , a dress, or be Charged for indecency in Public.....this is ok for the Beach or Pool, not walking around the shops!!!!"

Jacinta Holcombe: "We live in an area where it's hot and in places like Mooloolaba you come straight off the beach to the shops which is why they have rented the commercial space there."

Bec Van Jole: "It's funny how people think this is ok but breastfeeding in public isn't. How about we just leave everyone alone. I have no problem with it as long as your not naked cause that would be unacceptable."

Kristina Marie: "Aside from the visual (my eyes have been soiled) its also a hygiene issue.I do NOT want to sit on a seat that someone's exposed crotch has just left nor do I want chest hairs (or worse) in the produce aisle.Bare feet feral too."

Ashleigh Brooks: "Um yes, why can't people wear whatever they want too? Obviously there are particular places that it wouldn't be acceptable such as some restaurants but people should absolutely be able to wear what they feel comfortable in walking down the street."

Nicole Beard: "As long as everyone that thinks it's OK would be OK with obese people doing it as well, people come in all shapes and sizes."

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