Its my job to talk to patients at the accident and emergency about the dangers of heavy drinking. During my night shift I took a group of young people who had come to the hospital after an nasty incident at a club to a side-room for an interview. One of them had removed her high heels and was in stocking feet. As we entered the A & E ward, a nurse immediately told the girl she needed to put her shoes back on.
Naturally, the hospital staff have to be concerned about health and safety. But it is amazing to contrast this to many hospitals in India where both staff and patients are expected to remove their shoes and go barefoot! In Britain going barefoot in a hospital is seen as a safety hazard, while in India, it is viewed as a standard hygeine measure. It is fascinating that across the world there are such conflicting attitudes to feet and shoes.
Even in Europe attitudes are different. In Finland (a shoes-off country) you will see staff in supermarkets and department stores wearing open-toed sandals, which would rarely be permitted in British stores.