Julia Roberts is not only America’s sweetheart, she’s also a red carpet veteran, having walked for more movie premieres and events than we can probably ever imagine. But now she’s done something that she’s only ever done once before (she did it at her 1993 wedding to Lyle Lovett), and it’s definitely not what you’d expect or even for the reason you’d assume.

Julia Roberts barefoot Cannes 2016

While we’ve all probably kicked off our stilettos at the end of the night to get down and dance-y with our besties, the Cannes red carpet doesn’t really qualify in that category. That’s why it was strange to see Julia Roberts waltzing around totally barefoot. Yep, no shoes, toes out, giant smile flashing at the cameras.

While blisters might be the obvious culprit, it turns out that there might be a completely different reason for Julia ditching her heels. Equality, y’all, and a seriously silly policy that popped up last year. Yes, Julia’s feet are protesting!

Julia Roberts Cannes 2016

While walking the red carpet to promote her new movie Money Monster, co-starring George Clooney and directed by Jodie Foster, Julia showed up in a flowing black Georgio Armani Prive gown with a neckline that was reminiscent of the famous red dress she wore in Pretty Woman. That plunging neckline showed off what appears to be a HUGE emerald which distracted many from the matching shoes she wore. At first.

Julia Roberts Cannes 2016 _ shoes

It wasn’t long before she ditched her shoes and began walking around, posing and chatting with friends, all while barefoot. But why? You might remember the kerfuffle last year when Cannes denied entry to some of their events (including the red carpet) to any woman who was not wearing high heels. That included anyone elderly or with a disability who needs or prefers to wear flats. This, obviously, did not go over well. Stars spoke out about the sexist policy, like Emily Blunt, who The Guardian reported as saying, “That’s very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.”

Money Monster Cannes 2016

The absurd policy, which still has not been changed, seems to have prompted Julia’s barefoot appearance. It also prompted Kristen Stewart to address the issue this year with Vanity Fair, reporting her stance with the celeb saying, “Things have to change immediately. It has become really obvious that if [a man and I] were walking the red carpet together and someone stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, young lady, you’re not wearing heels. You cannot come in.’ Then [I’m going to say], ‘Neither is my friend. Does he have to wear heels?’ It can work both ways. It’s just like you simply cannot ask me to do something that you are not asking him. I get the black-tie thing, but you should be able to do either version — flats or heels.”

Footwear freedom FTW!

What do you think about Cannes footwear policy? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Andreas Rentz, Tristan Fewings, Clemens Bilan/Getty)