I never ride barefoot. Always in booties. The profile helps a bit, when the wax is worn out a bit.
I've been using Billabong warm water wax for more than a year. (It doesn't have any smell
I've never bothered with ugly old wax. I simply applied some in worn out areas every second session or so.
I switched to EVA foam pads (thin, light & soft).
The biggest drawback with wax for me are beat up heals (and other exposed bone areas). Imagine jumping barefoot on concrete one session! It feels similar. Riding several days in a row is a big pain.
But consider, I am talking about wood base UD, so no dents, the heel gets it all
I had a board with ''sand paper'' finish. Good grip but very abrasive, so barefoot will leave your feet bleeding. It will leave damage on your wetsuit (when carrying it, body dragging with board,...), bag, clothes,... It is in the neighborhood of 60-80 grit sandpaper.