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Feet and toes are not usually as dexterous as hands and fingers but they can grip and hold things. With training and practice they can be like third and fourth hands. Are there any astronauts who make use of their bare feet in this way?

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    $\begingroup$ It's rare to see a crewperson bare-footed on a mission. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2019 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ I had wondered if there is a dress code - that going barefoot is considered uncouth. I do use my feet/toes to pick small things up off the floor around the house and pass them up to my hands, usually without conscious thought. I think if I were in the ISS I would be using my toes to grip and hold with. I suppose the follow up question is whether astronauts should be encouraged to use their feet and toes? $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Sep 22, 2019 at 2:52

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Seems unlikely astronauts would spend much time bare foot in the ISS, for example. There are blue handrails on different surfaces, in all four orientations, where astronauts secure themselves by sliding their feet underneath. You can see the handrails at the bottom left, top right (two on the "ceiling" and more on the right "wall"), and especially at the bottom right, where you can see an astronaut with his feet secured underneath it.

enter image description here

The astronauts wear socks to prevent chaffing while securing their feet underneath the handrails.

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    $\begingroup$ Is chafing a problem? I had heard something about dead skin on feet being inclined to peel and flake from lack of use - but there are such things as foot gloves which would stop it from getting use whilst allowing toes to grip and hold. $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Sep 22, 2019 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ That should be "getting loose". (missed the time window for editing comments). $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Sep 22, 2019 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ @KenFabian if you missed the time window for editing comments, you may open a new comment box, copy and paste your old comment into the new box, edit the typos and close and save the new comment. Than simply delete the old comment with the error. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Sep 22, 2019 at 9:48
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Crew members generally wear socks all the time while working aboard the ISS. I don't think I ever saw a single barefoot astronaut float past the six pack video downlinks in the 3 years I was an ISS flight controller.

@Bob516's answer shows two astronauts using the blue handrails to hook their feet under for stability, which is the most effective way crew members can work without floating away. Students with the NASA HUNCH program (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) developed foot pads to protect against chafing on the top of astronauts feet. Feedback from crew members was quite positive.

enter image description here

Source: https://www.hunchdesign.com/uploads/2/2/0/9/22093000/footpads.pdf

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    $\begingroup$ images.nasa.gov/details/s131e006074 He got a lot of good natured grief about this; it ended up on "the wall" $\endgroup$ Jan 26 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Ha! That's pretty funny. $\endgroup$
    – Doresoom
    Jan 26 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like a persistent blind spot and possibly unthinking prejudice to fail to see the potential for human feet to act as auxiliary hands in space. $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Jan 27 at 2:34

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