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By Diane Spicer
Barefoot hiking seems counter intuitive to me.
When I walk around with bare tootsies, I'm in the safety of my own back yard.
I'm not worried about trail hazards such as:
Yet there are people who wax poetic about barefoot hiking.
So I've done a bit of sleuthing about hiking without footwear.
And I'm ready to share it, if you're ready to discover why folks do this type of hiking.
Ready, set... let's go barefootin'!
First off, there is the nostalgia angle.
Remember running around barefooted as a kid?
I sure do!
My feet always toughened up during the first few weeks of summer, and I didn't think twice about walking on rocky lake bottoms, squishing through mud, picking things up with my dexterous toes, or running down the driveway chasing a ball - all without shoes!
So it makes sense to me to "get back to basics" on some level.
Except for one thing:
I'm still very risk averse as a hiker.
I don't take chances with my feet during hikes, because there's no way I'm going to get out of the back country unless I pay for a very expensive helicopter ride in the event of a foot injury.
Next reason for hiking boot avoidance?
Sensory deprivation and its consequences.
By that I mean that we encase our feet in socks and shoes for most of our waking adult life.
And we expect the same for our children.
But hiking barefoot literally connects you with the Earth.
And if a banana slug can navigate trail hazards without footwear, so can you.
And what about defiance?
I use that word in a good way, as in "test the limits".
And don't you just love the sideways glances you get from other hikers when they see your toes?
This motivation could also be wrapped up in re-living your "foot loose and fancy free" days (see above), which might have included a bit of defiance.
To get a more well rounded picture of typical barefoot hiking motivations, try these links:
If you're a barefoot hiker yourself, please drop me a line and share your thoughts about what motivates you to get on the trail with nothing on your feet.
And I'll try not to stare when I meet you on the trail.
Ready to give up your barefoot ways and consider the best hiking boots for your feet?