There used to be that rule about “having shoes on the bike and run courses” for any World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) event, which included the Ironman brand triathlons.
I opted to do the Ironman Florida WITH shoes, but was kinda OK with that decision as I was plodding over VERY rough tarmac (which I could even feel through shoes) in the dark at 2300h. Truly though, it would have been much cooler (in all ways) to have done it barefoot. Besides, at that time, there was some concern over that practice being legal and I did not spend over $2K to be DQ’ed (or even get a point).
Before that I did the Vineman in Northern California barefoot. I asked the USAT official beforehand if it was legal to do without shoes and he said “You CAN, but I do not understand why you WOULD”!! I thought that was funny.
Later I, too, tried to find the “shoes rule” in the books. I did not find anything under Ironman or WTC rules and they referred me back to USAT rules. Try as I might, I could not find a rule referencing that matter in the USAT rules. Though I did see the part where it says something like “upper body garments must be worn”. I think that was because at the time (obviously before I was doing triathlons!) so many women were doing triathlons topless with absolutely nothing covering them that some other (probably jealous) women got mad and instilled the rule.
I have worked with many USAT officials and I am a USATF (Track and Field) official. Specifically in the USATF rules (a subsection of rule number 143), it specifically states that barefoot IS acceptable for any sanctioned USATF event.
In fact, I am currently working in Florida and in just a couple days I hope to be on Haulover Beach (you can look it up) where I will also be barefoot.
Barefoot Todd (Byers)