Most people don't feel comfortable in their feet anymore. With no shoes they walk differently, creeping along self consciously as if naked. So they encase them in leather and plastic and feel better up top but lose connection completely with good old mother earth.
I remember tramping high in the Pasubio Mountains north of Venice with friend of the family Piero who knew no English and I knew no Italian which is a great way to experience the landscape together. Anyway we kept meeting these very well dressed Italian climbers with all the gear including alpine hats with feathers who were aghast that I was up there in bare feet. It was summer so there was no danger of my feet falling off and after time the soles harden and climbing becomes a breeze.
Of course there are plenty of times when I have to wear shoes so I don't get an errant knife in my foot, but I can't wait to get them off and stand in some lush grass.