hiking barefoot

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Do you like hiking barefoot?

Yes, all the time
2
5%
Yes, under certain conditions
7
17%
No, I value my feet
33
79%
 
Total votes: 42

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azdesertfather
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hiking barefoot

Post by azdesertfather » Aug 22 2011 9:30 pm

Seriously? This is a burgeoning trend? Are there others of you out there??
Tucson REI — Barefoot Running Information Session

Date: 9/21/2011
Event Location: Tucson REI
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (MST)
Presenter: REI Specialist

Description: Are you curious about the new trend in "barefoot" running? Come to our informational clinic to learn more about this emerging sport! We'll cover topics such as the history of barefoot running, the technology behind it, the benefits of this type of running, and some precautions to keep in mind.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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MtnBart01
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by MtnBart01 » Nov 04 2011 7:24 pm

@Jim_H
Merrell makes a barefoot/minimalist shoe with a vibram sole. I wear the leather version at work since it meets our dress code and I've been told I can't wear VFF. I had been working out barefoot for a long time before switching to VFF, but if you like them and stick with them you're muscles, tendons, and feet will toughen up. I haven't worn anything but five fingers hiking in two years except to snowshoe and I think I'll probably use my minimalist work shoes for that this year. I did Humphreys last year with snow on the ground and 20 degree temps with no problems and did the GG hike (5 days with a pack) with big_Loads in May. I have less back pain, knee pain, and blisters since switching. I do smash my toes more regularly which hurts, but so far hasn't caused any permanent damage. :D
LET IT SNOW! Let it SNOW! Let it Snow!

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azbackpackr
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 04 2011 7:52 pm

I am going to have to try those things one of these days. I have knee issues, and I am almost impossible to fit in footwear, with ridiculously narrow feet. However, as Jim showed me, the five fingers are a little more forgiving as to fit.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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te_wa
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by te_wa » Nov 04 2011 9:30 pm

barefoot running still seems to be the flavor of the week. VIVO barefoot is a pair I checked out recently. very light, considering they can be worn for my style of backpacking.. but $100?
(beam me up, scotty)

vibrams have apparently had such success that Adidas now is following Fila in copying them. I saw Adidas toe socks and immediately thought of a rip-off toe shoe, two months later my hunch was satisfied.

I still have my old Vibram "sprint" models.. the first real backpack I did was Aravaipa and dang near killed myself. Since then, have worn them only about 15 miles on trail.
good as camp shoes, though.
ymmv!
:D

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johnlp
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by johnlp » Nov 05 2011 5:31 am

I tried on a pair of the Merrells. Very light & comfortable on carpet. Scares me to think about hiking miles on rocky trails in them, much less running on rocky trails. I'd love to try them though. They are also ~$100.
“Good people drink good beer.” Hunter S Thompson

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MtnBart01
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by MtnBart01 » Nov 05 2011 8:13 am

I've found the merrells to be less durable than the VFF. I've had to shoe goo the toe area of the sole back to the shoe, but the sole seems to be wearing pretty good for the amount of walking i've done on textured rough medal helidecks. I was going through 3 pairs of work shoes a year from wearing holes through the soles. I got mine on sail for about $80 and have used them for 8 months so they have been cheaper than 3 pairs at $60 pair of the Merrell leather chameleons.
LET IT SNOW! Let it SNOW! Let it Snow!

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Jim_H
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by Jim_H » Nov 05 2011 9:44 am

te-wa wrote:barefoot running still seems to be the flavor of the week
ymmv!
The only reason I would agree that they became a flavor of the week amongst the trend following crowd, is the line in the article I posted, about people wearing 5 fingers or going barefooted and still running on their heels, which is about the worst thing I can imagine for injury. Otherwise, I hate to think that people would run more naturally and then suddenly go back to a high heel shoe for running or walking, or everyday use. High heels for heel walking seem to be everywhere. It's hard to find shoes with heels that aren't significantly raised above the forefoot.
Nothing more enjoyable than a good hike out of town.

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azbackpackr
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 05 2011 10:52 am

Does anyone remember Earth Shoes, very popular in the '70's? Heel lower than the toe, (negative heel) and they made it look like you had two club feet? They actually are still in business, and you can buy them in several places in Arizona, including in Flagstaff and Sedona. http://www.kalsoearthshoes.com/

I used to wear them all the time. I wonder if I would still like them.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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autumnstars
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by autumnstars » Nov 06 2011 9:20 am

azbackpackr wrote:Does anyone remember Earth Shoes, very popular in the '70's? Heel lower than the toe, (negative heel) and they made it look like you had two club feet?
I have some of these and love how they feel. But, you are right, they do make you look like a 70s hold-out.
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

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Jim_H
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by Jim_H » Dec 05 2011 2:37 pm

@Bart:

http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product ... tomTab_1_1
are these the merrells you refer to?

http://www.merrell.com/CA/en-CA/Product ... erproof-II
and that the Chameleon you refer to?

Are those what you are talking about in the minimalist shoe? I plan to go to Cortez, CO tomorrow to buy a pair, since yesterday in Flagstaff, I found only one type of shoe that has a zero heel to toe rise and they were all white and will get dirty fast. I'd like to start to hike in them, in winter or colder conditions in general, and on longer hikes when five finger are not good enough. I like the 5 fingers, but they are not good for me in cold, and on longer hikes I get sore pretty fast. Plus, I want a sock when it is cold.

As I'm getting on in the minimalist/ barefoot thing, I'm finding that I care less about the goofy look and having no sole, then about having a thin one that still helps my deformed/ unformed feet to go long distances, and I really want a completely flat shoe with zero heel rise over the toe. Since I have switched out of traditional high heel boots and sneakers, my feet , knees, and back all feel better. I also want a high level of flexibility, since a stiff boot is hard to deal with. Yesterday, snow booting Elden I had a hard time and found my knees hurting again. I'd like to get a nice pair of completely flat and 5mm to 1 cm thick sandals for warm weather. Let those puppies air out!

I question how long I will want to snowshoe or boot around in snow in an in-flexible boots with a high heel rise, as that seems to be all that exists for winter and mountaineering. I guess occasional or infrequent use isn't too bad, but you kind of have to train and condition at least a little to go out and do a 10 to 12 mile and 4000' to 5000' day in the mountains in winter.
Nothing more enjoyable than a good hike out of town.

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trekkin_gecko
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by trekkin_gecko » Dec 27 2011 5:58 pm

jim_h
found some trail runners that might work for you:
10mm heel rise, which might be more than you're looking for
good cushioning, fit like a glove, light as a feather
i was able to hike three of the last four days in them without breaking them in
all my hikes are on rocky surfaces
http://www.backcountry.com/salomon-xr-m ... adType=pla

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MtnBart01
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by MtnBart01 » Dec 27 2011 6:58 pm

@Jim_H

The version of barefoot merrells I have are the brown leather tough glove.
http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product ... mensions=0

The one's that I used to use are the low top goretex version of the Chameleons which I got from Sierra Trading Post on sale for $69.

I somehow missed this thread the last couple weeks at work. I have used the Merrels snowshoeing and they work fine. I have a pair of seal skins and a pair of gore-tex socks I've had for 15 years, but haven't tried either except to see if they would fit in them which they do. I've tried and the vff just don't work with snowshoes. The Merrells have the 2mm soles just like the KSO Treks (the leather one's) which are my main hikers. I haven't hiked in anything, but vff in the last two years. As your feet toughen up and strengthen you'll probably be able to do longer hikes. Tough_Boots and I did a 26 miler and the next week Rough Canyon and I haven't had any problems except wearing some skin off my toes in Salt Canyon which was alleviated with putting on a pair of socks. The leather VFF's just stretch out too much while hiking on rough terrain. I don't wear socks in my other pairs. I did Grand Gulch in them, Humphreys in 20 degree weather, and hiked in the snow and sleet last month as well as wading through ankle to waist deep snow with Kyle in the Sierra Ancha last month. I pretty much have given up on trying to keep my feet warm or dry and as long as I'm layered properly I really haven't had any problems and am pretty surprised how well my feet do in the cold wet hikes. I wear injinji wool socks in them as I have found the shoes last longer and I can get more life out of each pair.

I think a pair of the tough gloves or their other models (the mesh ones) with a pair of seal skins waterproof socks would work for winter hiking. They are super flexible and have no rise.

I'm a little late on this thread what did you end up getting in Cortez?
LET IT SNOW! Let it SNOW! Let it Snow!

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Jim_H
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by Jim_H » May 20 2012 11:06 am

Since my recent foot puncture occurred in my Merrels, I wrote a review on the company website. As expected, I got a typical corporate response that ignores the obvious statement and makes it seem like I am writing about something else. Style and minimal/barefoot are not even related at all. I will continue to use these shoes, but am going to look for a shoe that has a sole of Vibram which covers my entire foot bottom, and doesn't leave a gaping hole for injury. Oh, they allow an image to be uploaded, so I attached an image of my inflamed foot puncture. It didn't make it into the review. I wonder why?
I use these shoes and enjoy them primarily for hiking. However, a serious safety flaw has been incorporated into the shoe, and from what I can tell, it is strictly the result of stylized design. The Vibram outer sole is designed to produce an idealized foot impression. This has the affect of producing an exaggerated hour glass design on the bottom of the shoe in Vibram material. The Vibram is narrowest in the arch region, and leaves the arch of the foot unprotected from punctures from below. While this may sound trivial, I use these minimal shoes to protect my feet from environmental hazards. With a thick sole, this likely would not be an issue, but the thin sole and 0 mm heel rise are the appeal to a shoe such as this. However, I do not want to give up the safety of a tough outer sole. Recently, I had a chance encounter with a sharp pointed wood splinter that penetrated the shoe's 4 mm foam like mid-sole, and entered my arch to a depth of approximately 1/2 an inch. This was extremely painful, and it remains to be seen whether an infection will develop. Also, this was entirely preventable if the Vibram material had been designed to cover the entire bottom of the shoe. The Vibram either would have prevented the wood from penetrating the shoe's sole, or only allowed for minimal depth of penetration, rather than a free penetration of my shoe and foot. Not only did this enter my foot, but I had to remove the object and then hike out with a painful hole in my foot. This is less than desirable for a shoe, and a simple fix can be made by extending the material to cover the bottom of the arch. Doing this would greatly improve the safety of the shoe.

Merrell's Reply:
Your review is very important to us, thank you. We try to keep the soles of the Barefoot styles as minimalistic as possible to stay with the benefits of a using a Barefoot shoe. We always appreciate feedback like this, and thank you for your help.
I do not think this injury would have happened with the 5 fingers, as the bottom is all Vibram. I wish those were less weird and were more like a moccasin than some glove that gets very sweaty and is uncomfortable when slightly warm. About 5 or 6 mm of material is all my foot seems to need to be protected from rough surfaces such as rock and such. That should be material of a tough, puncture resistant kind, and not thin foam like material.
Nothing more enjoyable than a good hike out of town.

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johnlp
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by johnlp » May 20 2012 3:26 pm

Doesn't look like they will change anything. I tried on a pair of Merrills and really liked the weight and feel of them, but didn't think they would provide enough protection to hike or run on loose rocky trails.
“Good people drink good beer.” Hunter S Thompson

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big_load
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by big_load » May 20 2012 6:34 pm

@Jim_H Thanks, I've been curious to hear more about your injury. I hope it heals quick. Unfortunately, no sole is entirely immune to puncture. I got a cactus spine in my sole once while wearing a pair of traditional boots. I considered it a fluke, since the odds of having enough force long enough in precisely the right direction (so as not to break the spine) must be awful low. It sounds like your puncture was less of a fluke.

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MtnBart01
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Re: hiking barefoot

Post by MtnBart01 » May 20 2012 9:14 pm

@Jim_H
Sorry to hear that happened. VFF's all have different set ups. My leather ones have an extra layer of leather at the arch, but actually stuck a thorn clean through the heel on a hike right through the vibram sole. My newest pair spyridons which is the trail runner actually has the toughest sole. It's a little thinner 3.5 mm instead of 4, but it has a nylon reinforced layer under the sole, plus the arch area is much wider rather than vibrams merrell sole or most of the vff formats. However, I'm having to warranty them because the upper was destroyed by rough canyon. I wish they would make the leather version with this sole so I can stop being a shoo goo expert. Hope the foot heals. I had to check when I had my last tetanis shot because I walked into the back yard yesterday to get something and stuck a dry sharp branch through the crocs I use for turning on irrigation. It gave me a nice puncture wound in the center of my mid foot pad. It actually stuck my shoe to my foot. Cleaned it out good and filled it with new skin. It is going to be tender for awhile.
LET IT SNOW! Let it SNOW! Let it Snow!

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