‘I haven’t worn shoes for a month’: RHUL finalist goes shoeless for charity

Puddles keep her warm

Rhian Griffiths, a third year Maths and Music student, is over half way through her No Shoes November charity challenge, where she has gone almost a month without being able to wear any shoes at all.


Pretty much anyone who wants to is taking part. Rhian made the event specific to the Musical Theatre Society, but has got friends of the society and other students doing the same, although not necessarily for the whole month.

In terms of why she chose to do it, last year her friend at Cardiff Uni did it with five other people and they raised so much money for their charities.

“It’s a really fulfilling way of raising money,” she said. “It tests your endurance and making you really value the things you take for granted on a daily basis.”

Rhian is raising money for War On Want, a charity fighting global poverty, and thought that by giving up shoes, something we view as a necessity, she would be more challenged and worthy of the donations people are making.

The challenge has proved to actually be a lot easier than she anticipated, although she has had moments where she has struggled.

“I’ve had so much support, and lots of people joined in, sharing the experience with me. We’ve raised a lot of money, but we still have a long way to go to reach our target of £3,500.”

Reactions to Rhian’s shoeless-ness have been mixed, with her receiving a lot of confused looks from strangers when she passes them by.

Funnily enough, it’s apparently children that seem to be the most disapproving at first glance, yet when people see the writing on her feet they realise, and often stop to chat to her about the cause.

Luckily, she’s hasn’t had to travel much outside of Egham as of yet, although an upcoming trip to London could prove eventful.

Regarding the weather, the coldness is an issue, as when her feet are cold they get extremely sore, although Rhian has found a unique way of dealing with these issues.

“Weirdly enough, puddles are a godsend! They warm your feet up for a second and refresh your feet when they’re painful,” she said.

“With the harshness of the cold, there’s also issues with the texture of the ground. I’ve worked out all the best routes up to campus, and tend to walk in the road as much as possible, as the ground’s way softer than the pavement.”

Every time Rhian goes home she has to wash her feet, mainly to sooth them as well as clean them. She also always has antiseptic wipes on her wherever she goes so she can keep them as clean as possible and stay healthy whilst being shoeless.

Cuts and grazes are inevitable, but she’s very careful to keep them clean, as infections could turn pretty serious if she’s not sensible.

All in all, the experience sounds like it has been a good one.

“There have been days when it’s been difficult, but everyone in MTS and all of my housemates have been so supportive.”

Whilst Rhian is going to be giving next year a miss with the No Shoes November campaign, as she’s set to go travelling, there are plans to make the event annual for the Musical Theatre Society, which she’s very excited about.

If you would like to donate to War On Want, you can visit Rhian’s JustGiving page here.