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Going barefoot in the SN

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Re: Going barefoot in the SN

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:00 pm

As a kid living near Sacramento, we spent much of our summers barefoot. Something I've thought about at times as an adult as worthwhile, toughening up the bottom of my feet by spending time walking about shoeless.

My expectation when going barefoot even if one has well seasoned leathery foot soles, that one has to carefully choose trails. Granite rock and especially granite sands are simply too coarse and often sharp. I do a lot of off trail rambling and even usual Vibram boot soles wear surprisingly quickly. (will be buying boots again this month or next) That is why many dogs often have trouble especially urban dogs, getting their feet torn up. Thus trails below timberline in duff forest or those on well traveled trails where the frequent boot traffic tends to dull and pound down any sharp granite grains.

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I did some barefoot hiking

Postby tomba » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:53 am

I did some barefoot hiking in High Sierra, several miles at a time (I had shoes with me). It works fine. It convinced me to switch from hiking boots to minimalist shoes (Merrell Trail Gloves) for backpacking, and I continue to take off my "barefoot" shoes often. Trail and cross country. Conifer cones are a bit of a pain (some of them have kind of thorns, which I didn't notice before) - not so much on busy trails where they get quickly pulverized. I climbed on talus barefoot. Found that toes can help hold onto the rock edges. One has to start slowly to develop muscles and thick skin. I walked on snow few minutes at a time - no problem for a short time, surprisingly. Smooth slab, meadows, mud, water are nice. No need to worry about getting shoes wet. More options open up when traversing talus-ringed lake or wet areas - just step on underwater rocks as needed (watch out for algae covered slick rocks). One quickly learns to avoid sliding feet and stubbing toes. I was surprised to find out that warm feet are not as important as people often say (of up to a point - would not want to risk a frost bite).
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Re: Going barefoot in the SN

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:25 am

I certainly fall on the hike with boots crowd, but only due to the fact that my feet are about as tough as a babies behind. Not so much!! Barefooting is indeed an up and coming trend that is growing in popularity. My son is in college and some of his friends are promoting the practice for many reasons such as better foot health, posture, back pain, etc. We even did a 4 day trip and two of them wore sandals (not Tevas, but some other outdoor type sandal). I thought they were nuts and both admitted it was alot of work and tehy would bring light hikers next trip, but they made it and we did some slab cross country work as well. Again, not something I plan on doing, but certainly not out of this world crazy or anything. I for one appluad you and your method. Looking for insight and doing some research on how it can be done. As others have said, ease into it at first. Do shorter trips near home first to build up your feet, then choose easier sections (meadows, high turf around lakes, etc)initial in the Sierra.

As a geologist and someone who has been bpacking since the 70's, I am reminded that all things change with new information. When I began bpacking the rule was to wear heavy leather boots with high ankle support. I hated them and have heard others on this board refer to their old boots "fondly" as "blister makers." The lighter boots for the 3 season packing I now wear work fine (not talking about mountaineering) and my feet are much happier these days. If I am not incorrect, some who have posted on this thread wear "Trail Runners" for some of their trips, which if I am not incorrect, are basically T shoes with off road soles. I see more folk on the trail nowadys with the low cut light hikers than I do the larger heavier leather type boots. Who knows, maybe in 50 years you will see more with sandals or no shoes than with boots. Crazy things have happened.
Either way, be safe and let us know how your trips went.
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Re: Going barefoot in the SN

Postby Strider » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:30 am

Definitely want to 'summerize' your feet before the trip. Used to do a lot of barefoot hiking in the streams around Sespe Hot Springs as a kid.
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