According to The Concise Ulster Dictionary 'futless' means to be unsteady on the feet or staggering about as in 'futless drunk'. I have also heard it being used to insult someone's dancing ability as in, 'ye wouldn't want to be getting up with Jimmy for he's futless'.
'Futless' may also be used to describe the situation of being without decent or serviceable shoes. I once heard someone tell my mother that she was futless and hadn't a shoe to her fut.
Matty says that during her childhood it wasn't uncommon for children to go without shoes during the summer. She also said that she and her sisters and brother weren't allowed to go barefoot and that having their children decently shod was a big priority for her parents. She said she felt envious of the children who could go without shoes during the summer months.
Meanwhile over at my father's homestead going barefoot in summer was perfectly OK even though his parents were quite well off and able to afford luxuries like paid-for education. But then my father's mother was a mountainy woman and as everyone do know mountainy people are very rugged and don't care much for the conventions of flatlanders.
There are very few people today who cannot afford a decent pair of shoes yet among my friends and fellow bloggers foot injuries due to futlessness abound. The first was Stephen who spiked his foot then Mrs The Wee Manny (pictured above with her hubby The Wee) had her daughter's horse clip clop the big hoof on her bare foot. Mrs The Wee being as tough as old boots, and she should have been wearing those old boots, swears it wasn't a bit sore but it seems she's going to lose a toe. The horse's newly shod hoof ripped all the skin off to the bone and the doc says it could take six months to heal. Part of the nail bed remains which means she'd grow a big horny protuberance on the flayed toe so the best advice is to chop it off. Luckily it's a middle toe so her balance shouldn't be affected.
Nelly's advice to those of you who like a bit of air about your toes is to get yourselves a nice pair of comfy sandals. But not flip-flops unless you've been invited to the White House where they are de rigeur. However if you're hanging out with horses it's boots you need.
*My 1996 Christmas present from Ganching. Invaluable resource.