Sophomore Brad Horn has been barefoot for more than a month.
Horn said he averages four to five miles per day without shoes. He said he only puts on shoes when he enters restaurants.
“But as soon as I walk outside, I’m barefoot again,” said Horn.
Horn said he has also been forced to stop doing certain exercises because of the physical stress it puts on his feet.
“I’ve had to stop running, which is bad in a sense because it’s a stress reliever for me, so I’m having to find other ways of stress relief,” he said.
The religion major gave up his shoes for Lent. He said he decided to go barefoot during a hike.
“I walked up this hill and it was just complete rocks and roots and you name it just tearing up my feet,” Horn said, “And as I was walking, I was thinking, ‘You know I bet this was the kind of terrain that the disciples had to walk across or something similar when they were doing their ministry with Jesus.’”
Although spending close to 40 days barefoot has been physically tiring, Horn said the experience has allowed him to interact with new people and share his faith.
“I expected this to be something that I just did for myself and that I would grow in my relationship with the Lord and that would be the end of it,” he said. “I naively thought that no one would really notice, but you know when it’s 40 degrees outside, raining, cold and you’re not wearing shoes, people tend to question it.”
Horn said one experience allowed him to talk about his faith with a TCU security officer and invite him to TCU’s Catholic Community mass.
“It turns out that he’s also a Catholic, but he hasn’t been to mass in a long, long time due to different events, different situations, and people that hurt him in the church,” Horn said. “He was just so pleased and excited to come back and join in with that community again.
“God is using this in ways that I didn’t even expect,” Horn said.
The sophomore said that his friends and family were initially surprised by Horn’s decision and worried about the physical wear on his feet.
Horn’s roommate, sophomore marketing major Christian Morrow, said he was concerned about the cold weather but supported his roommate’s decision.
“My initial reaction was thinking how cold it was going to be on his feet because when he told me about it, it was still really cold outside, so I was just worried for him there,” said Morrow. “Other than that, I thought it was really cool. Just to be able to think about Christ’s sacrifice for him in every single step.”
Morrow said that he did not grow up practicing Lent, but acknowledges the expense that Horn is going through.
“I think that if I were to be somebody who is actively practicing Lent, that it would be hard for me to be hard to give up something that vital to every single day,” Morrow said.
“I think that he got to a point where it was really hard for him, both emotionally and physically, but then I think at this point he’s kind of had a renewed spirit and excitement about it,” said Morrow.
Horn’s friend Nikki Howard had a similar reaction when she realized what Horn was doing.
“At first, I didn’t really know why he was barefoot all the time and why he didn’t have shoes on, but then I asked him why he was walking barefoot through the Commons,” Howard said. “He told me that he gave up his shoes for Lent and I thought that it was a really cool thing for him to do.”
The sophomore speech pathology major said she was not sure if she could give up her shoes.
“I really admire him for doing that because I feel like my feet would just hurt all the time,” she said.
Horn said that the experience has given him a greater appreciation for people in cultures who cannot afford shoes.
“It’s just a humbling reminder of so many things that we take for granted here in our culture,” Horn said. “These material things aren’t always the things that make us happy, but it’s the people that we’re with, our relationship with the Lord. Those are the things that truly bring us joy.”