Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Barefoot hikers?


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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Barefoot hikers? on 05/22/2013 00:00:38 MDT Print View

Anybody here hike barefoot? I mean actual barefoot, not barefoot (minimalist) shoes.

I have a goal to be able to hike at least a few miles barefoot. I think it would be awesome if there is someone hiking 20+ miles per day barefoot.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Barefoot hikers? on 05/23/2013 12:58:14 MDT Print View

I think a lot of people hike from time to time barefoot. It depends what condition your feet are in.

People do thru-hikes barefoot.
Remember the Barefoot Sisters yo-yo'd the AT barefoot.
The people who hike the full or most of the trail barefoot spend most of their lives barefoot and so their feet are conditioned for barefoot hiking.

If I remember correctly the Barefoot Sisters wore shoes during the the icy winter part of their Southbound leg, but only for traction reasons, not the cold.
Bare feet don't get good traction on ice.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Barefoot hikers? on 05/23/2013 13:08:54 MDT Print View

I wouldn't make it across the trailhead parking lot!

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Barefoot hikers? on 05/23/2013 14:47:43 MDT Print View

I grew up wearing shoes only at school.
I could and would walk on anything back then, broken glass, thorns, cactus,...

Not anymore after having to work a job that requires shoes:-)

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Little girls on 05/23/2013 20:24:41 MDT Print View

When I was little I hopped around the Alps barefoot for hours on end. My feet have gone soft now.
Four years ago I went on a trip with my Swiss nieces and one of them, aged 12 , hiked all 18 miles barefoot. Some of it was craggy and quite rough. Her feet were sore by the end as her callouses had been "exfoliated".

I would love to work back to tougher feet and leave my shoes at home.
Here are a couple of pictures of the area and the girls and I.


Alps



Alps



Nieces



Edited...autocorrect sucks.

Edited by Kat_P on 05/23/2013 20:25:44 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Little girls on 05/24/2013 01:38:44 MDT Print View

Tough girls. It's funny when a 12 year old girl with no shoes can outhike you.

Kat, I think I briefly heard you talking at the last GGG and I noticed an accent. Are you Swiss?


I hike in minimal shoes so my feet are conditioned for impacts but it's my skin that's soft. I can step on rocks all day in 3mm soles but it hurts to walk barefoot on prickly leaves.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Little girls on 05/24/2013 07:20:28 MDT Print View

Hi Justin,
Yes, the barefoot twelve year old beat us all on the way back to the car; partly because she was having a pre-teen attitude problem and was making a point :)

I have an accent??. What?? I sure can't hear it!
I am half Swiss and half Italian, which does not make me Swiss Italian by the way. Swiss Italian is a Swiss person from the Graub√ľnden region, where Italian is the main language. I am Swiss, from the German speaking part of Switzerland, AND Italian, as my dad was Italian. I was raised in the Alps the first 10 years, then we moved to my father's hometown, Firenze ( Florence).

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Barefoot hikers? on 05/24/2013 14:15:59 MDT Print View

"If I remember correctly the Barefoot Sisters wore shoes during the the icy winter part of their Southbound leg, but only for traction reasons, not the cold. "

I think they wore shoes/sandals of some sort for the White Mountains also.. (i really need to read their books one of these days)

since that is my home turf i'm happy wearing trail runners but would be fine in teva/keen/chaco type sandals if they would ever put stickier rubber on them. I use Tevas and now Keens for rock climbing approaches and slide type sandals daily unless there is snow.

going totally barefoot would definitely be a process to build up the calluses and tune yourself to avoiding things that will hurt no matter what.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
barefoot sisters on 05/24/2013 18:17:56 MDT Print View

One got hurt and had to wear them some. Then in the winter they both did. But I think it is important to note that they crawled along at a very slow pace when barefoot. They were amazed at how much faster they could go with shoes.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
barefoot sisters on 05/25/2013 04:52:33 MDT Print View

The Barefoot Sisters books are great examples of the advantages and disadvantaes of doing a thru-hike barefoot.

I read them a long time ago, so I don't remember all of the details.

I believe the sister had a knee injury or something unrelated to being barefoot.

Yes, they did have to walk a little slower and more carefully, not to avoid sharp object, but to avoid bruses from stubbed toes and such.

They did have to apply lotion to their feet regularly to keep their calluses from cracking. A cracked calluse would be like a split sole on a hiking shoe.