EXPLAINED: Do Javanese people go barefooted often?

Javanese and most Indonesians go barefoot quite frequently, but that depends. The closer we are to the city, the less frequent we go barefoot.

In the house

What we all do similarly is most of us are barefoot in the house. Even when we live abroad where the floor is covered by carpet, we prefer to walk barefoot, or at least we change our shoes to in-house slippers.

Barefoot in a four-star hotel, despite they provide a pair of nice slippers

It is almost like Japanese. We have a shoe rack near the door, and leave everything from outside there. Be it shoes, umbrella, jacket, etc. whatever we wear outdoor it’d be better to leave it at the door.

If you ask me why, probably it’s because of the nature of Indonesia with its humidity, fertile soils, and dust. Cultural wise, being barefoot in the house means you leave bad things from outside right in front of the door. You don’t bring any dirt into the home.

By being barefoot, we are more sensitive to the cleanliness and the texture of the floor, or the soils we step on. That’s the reason why we mop the house every day. Even some people clean several times a day.

Outdoor barefoot

I think nowadays fewer people go barefoot out of the house. But still, we don’t wear shoes as frequently as Western. We like wearing sandals a lot. Most of us have a pair of shoes, but we have more than a couple of sandals.

We have sandals for going to the mosque, sandals for the loo, sandals for hanging out, sandals for lyfe!

Joger Bali Sandals for a casual hangout

It is essential to remember which sandal for a mosque, which one for the bathroom, cuz you can’t swap.

Typical personal sandals for going to a mosque. Usually they’re stolen in Fridays.

Sandals for loo should stay in the loo! If the loo doesn’t have sandals, always remember to wash your foot before leaving the loo. That’s why most of the Javanese bathroom is a typical wet bathroom, not the dry one.

Spiderman sandals for kids


Some people might go barefoot for morning/evening walk, especially elder Javanese. My parents still doing this for foot reflection. It increases our foot-palm sensitivity to nature, let alone the “massage” done by the stone we step on somehow make your life longer.

Barefoot at Foot Massage Park.

Javanese believes most of our body parts are controlled by the nerves in foot palm. Hence they like to walk on sharp pebbles to maintain the health. In Foot Massage Parks, the pebble sharpness usually well arranged from the easier (blunt, round, bigger) to the most difficult one. If you are healthy, they say, you can bear any kind of pebble without pain.

Some of us might also go barefoot in the rice field or in the garden. Actually, it depends on the weather. In the wet season, we might go barefoot. You don’t want your hundred dollars Nike Jordan get stuck and gone sucked by the mud, do you?

In the dry season, we wear sandals. Again, it should be the sandal for a garden, not the one from the loo.