The barefoot thing gets a lot of press because it bucks most folks' upbringing in this society. Growing up, my parents were cool with bare feet in general so I just never outgrew it (or got told otherwise) and now can't imagine having shoes and socks on more than necessary. But I know lots of folks for whom taking shoes off anytime before bedtime would be heretical or sacrilegious.
Dude, I don't think you really WANT to go welding without shoes, now do you?? I think that is a situation for which you should be grateful to HAVE shoes. So don't sweat the work thing. Just start to kick off the shoes off-duty. Since you asked for all our opinions, here is mine: going barefoot is good for you, so start doing it.
Just try not to be so hick that you neglect to trim the toenails... that will go a long way toward barefoot acceptance (as will washed feet after a long shift).
You can keep most of the country boy and still be Primal. But, yeah - the chaw has to go...