Hiking Barefoot (How to Start Barefoot Hiking)

Walking barefoot: Why is walking barefoot healthy?

Walking barefoot is strange, uncomfortable, or even dirty for many people.

However, there are many health benefits to walking barefoot regularly.

Here are some of the reasons why barefoot running is healthy for you. Read on to learn more.

Benefits of walking barefoot

The decision may not be as easy as it sounds.

Still, it’s safe to say that many people are getting rid of their shoes and going barefoot occasionally.

This may be due to the following three main reasons:

  • Better health
  • Better performance when running
  • Stronger feet and muscles

Improved health of the feet

Let’s face it: We’ve become a society of couch potatoes, and as a result, our bodies are paying the price.

Experts agree that sitting for long periods is harmful and can lead to many different health problems and diseases – from obesity to diabetes to heart disease.

Barefoot running, however, can help reverse this trend by encouraging the body to be active.

For example, walking or running without a shoe forces you to adopt a more natural gait pattern, where your foot lands flat on the ground with each step.

This puts less stress on your knees and other joints, which has been shown to reduce back pain.

At the same time, various muscle groups are strengthened as they have to work harder to maintain balance.

In addition, walking barefoot around the house or even at work can help strengthen the feet and improve balance.

Improved performance in sports

It’s no secret that athletic shoes have been redesigned to make them more comfortable and effective for a particular sport, whether running, basketball, or soccer.

However, traditional sneakers don’t offer much support beyond that purpose.

In other words, they are not suitable for various terrains and conditions – This is exactly where barefoot shoes come in!

Since these shoes offer a variety of health and performance benefits, as mentioned earlier, they are ideal for people who play different sports on different surfaces.

For example, suppose you primarily run indoors on a treadmill and enjoy running outside on trails. In that case, you’ll want to choose a pair of barefoot shoes that offer more stability than a minimalist shoe, but are still flexible enough for off-road use.

Stronger feet

As mentioned earlier, barefoot running requires your muscles to work harder to keep your body stable and balanced.

Over time, this strengthens the entire foot, resulting in stronger arches and toes.

So if you’re looking for something that will strengthen your feet without breaking them in simultaneously, it’s probably best to choose a pair of minimalist barefoot shoes.

It won’t happen overnight, but choosing shoes that allow your feet to move naturally is a way to improve the flexibility of your feet over time.

The disadvantages of walking barefoot

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of barefoot running.

Proponents say that running without a shoe increases efficiency, strengthens the feet, and reduces the risk of injury.

However, there are also some definite disadvantages to barefoot running – disadvantages that many people don’t consider before choosing to run barefoot.

Below are some reasons why you should think twice before starting barefoot running:

  • The arch of the foot slumps: While it is true that the arch of the foot becomes stronger when running barefoot, many people find that they can no longer adequately support their weight without shoes. When the arch slumps due to overpronation or other foot problems, barefoot running can do more harm than good.
  • Sidewalk scrapes: when you run without shoes, you venture onto streets and sidewalks where your feet are exposed to the hot sidewalk, sharp concrete edges, glass, or other sharp objects in the summer.
  • Dirty feet: You know how dirty streets and sidewalks are.
  • Chafing: Unable to wear their regular running shoes, many barefoot runners opt for sandals with the thinnest soles possible. While this may be less restrictive than a shoe, it exposes the foot to rubber straps that can rub against sweaty skin until it becomes sore. Plus, the spaces between the toes are prone to blisters from rubbing against each other.
  • Slower times: Even though running without shoes tones muscles and strengthens the foot’s arch, most barefoot runners are not as fast or agile as runners with shoes because their feet are not as sturdy.

It is important to approach any new form of physical activity with an open mind and realistic expectations.

Just because you can run barefoot doesn’t mean you should.

If your feet are healthy and injury-free, you should try them. However, if you have any particular ailments, you should consult your doctor first.

Tip: If you’re sure barefoot hiking isn’t for you, check out my other blog article on how to find the right hiking shoes. Just follow the link to do so.

Can you hike barefoot?

Can you hike barefoot

There is a lot of discussion on whether barefoot hiking is safe or not.

Some swear by it. Others think it’s too dangerous. So what is the verdict?

Is barefoot hiking a good idea, or is it better to stick with shoes?

If you’re an experienced hiker who has mastered the art of walking without pain, barefoot walking might be right for you.

If you tend to get blisters or are afraid of hurting your feet, then I would say limit barefoot hiking at home.

But let’s back up a bit. What exactly is barefoot hiking?

Barefoot hikers argue that modern shoes weaken our feet over time because they are not used properly with all their cushioning and support.

Without shoes, the muscles of the feet work as they are naturally designed to do and become stronger over time (think cavemen).

Barefoot hikers cite studies that show shoeless tribes have stronger feet than we do. They also claim that barefoot walking lowers the risk of injury because the feet feel the ground and thus know when something is wrong.

In defense of shoes, there are just as many – if not more – studies showing that wearing shoes is better for us than barefoot running because of the protection they provide.

I tend to hold this view because I have seen too many people hiking without shoes and then suffering from blisters.

A few years ago, a friend was backpacking with me and refused to wear shoes. Instead, he decided to walk barefoot in camp and even wore his trekking sandals as he hiked through rocky areas (we were in Bavaria, Germany, so it was especially bad).

After the first day, his feet were bloody. He lasted three days before he couldn’t take it anymore and switched to boots.

So what is the right thing to do? Is barefoot running healthy or not?

Well, that’s for you to decide.

I like hiking with fewer shoes (and socks), but it’s one thing to walk barefoot on a nice clean trail and quite another in rocky terrain or snow.

If you decide to hike barefoot, take extra care of your feet, so you don’t get cuts or scrapes. And if they start to hurt, please don’t be stubborn like my friend – take care of them!

A quick word about barefoot running

There are special shoes called “minimalist” shoes that fall between regular and completely barefoot running.

They are a good option for those who want the benefits of barefoot running but have concerns about the dangers. This type of walking shoe is more expensive than regular shoes. Still, if you’re looking for an alternative to wearing boots all the time, this can be a good investment.

I created a review with barefoot hiking shoes in my other blog article. Click on the link to read the article.

Wear barefoot shoes to get started

Barefoot walking has many benefits, including better balance and strengthening of the foot muscles.

However, many people are hesitant to go barefoot because they fear the risk of injury.

Suppose you’re looking for a way to enjoy the benefits of barefoot running without risking injury. In that case, you should wear barefoot running shoes to start.

Barefoot running shoes offer the best of both worlds: They strengthen muscles and improve balance through barefoot running while also protecting you from an injury, as traditional shoes do.

If you’re interested in trying out a pair of barefoot running shoes, I’ve compiled a list of the top five shoes you’ll love. These shoes are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy barefoot running benefits.

I’ve put the link to the blog article for you above in the text.

How long can you run barefoot in the snow?

Many people love to hike in the spring and summer when the weather is nice, and the trees are starting to turn green.

However, hiking in the winter can be just as much fun – you have to be prepared for the colder weather.

When most people think of winter hiking, they picture themselves trudging through snowy landscapes that come up to their waist.

Many hikers ask one question: How long can you walk barefoot in the snow before your feet start to hurt?

In general, feet suffer in cold weather once the temperature drops below 32 °F (0 °C). However, it quickly becomes uncomfortable as soon as it gets even colder – say, -5 °C or below.

So unless you have extremely tough skin or are used to freezing temperatures, I wouldn’t recommend walking barefoot in the snow for more than a few minutes.

Of course, this is just a general guideline. Many other factors determine how long you can walk barefoot in the snow without getting too cold.

These include things like wind speed, percentage of body fat, and the type of clothing you wear when hiking.

If it’s really cold outside, I recommend wearing hiking boots for winter until the temperature is above 45 °F (7 °C).

Of course, if you want to go barefoot, even if it’s cold outside, I would try to cover your exposed skin as much as possible or take frequent breaks to warm up inside.

When it comes to barefoot hiking in the winter, I recommend taking it slow and listening to your body.

You probably won’t be able to walk fast, and you won’t want to hike for long periods at a time.

Some days I like to try short hikes in my neighborhood – they usually only last about 15 minutes. Still, they help me stretch my muscles and refresh after sitting at a desk all day!

Have fun hiking barefoot!

Photo of author
Hi, I'm Dave. I'm an avid outdoors and sports enthusiast who loves to share my passion with others. I publish the experiences I've gained over the years on Outdoormeta to give beginners helpful tips and bring people closer to the outdoors.

Keep Reading

Sorry, no posts were found.