The wisdom of our barefoot group is a wonderful thing. I had this question in from Lucy about walking barefoot. Here are your replies:
I’m a keen walker and having met a friend who has taken to barefoot running it strikes me that barefoot walking is the way forward for me. Having searched the internet, I can find very little information about barefoot walking. I know there area couple of dedicate barefoot trails but again I can’t find out much about them. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction? Many thanks and great site!
Paul Beales: There is The Coventry Barefoot Hiking Chapter. Stephen Bloor at http://naturalfeet.co.uk/ does a lot of barefoot walks in Cornwall. You could also look for an Amis Sans Shoes 10K event in your area this Summer Lucy – www.facebook.com/amissansshoes
Stewart Bint: The Coventry Chapter’s the one I belong to….if Lucy’s close by we’d love to see her at a meet-up
Just walk barefoot everywhere, Lucy. You don’t need devoted trails. Parks, city streets…they’re all perfect for bare feet. There are numerous barefoot hiking and walking groups on both sides of the pond and many people go barefoot all the time as a matter if course. It’s only when the UK weather gets too cold that stops me….never the terrain.
Ken Skier: I’m a barefoot runner…and am barefoot almost all the time at home, in my car, and walking in my yard. But I don’t walk barefoot out in the world. And I am not at all sure that it would be a good practice. I think that running barefoot is much safer than walking barefoot. Walking involves landing on the heel…and if you land on something sharp, there isn’t anything you can do to mitigate that. But if you run barefoot and you land on something sharp, your foot can adapt as it lands, to transfer your weight away from the point of contact. (The foot can twist easily to transfer weight to a different part of the forefoot..but it cannot twist to transfer weight to a different part of the heel.)I don’t want to pour cold water on your idea…but I thought I’d weigh in here with a perspective that barefoot walking might be a bit hazardous.(But just to be clear: I am not trying to spark a debate here. Just sharing one point of view.)
Sepeedeh Saleh: I bumbled around barefoot a lot in the summer (bit of a wimp with the cold) and will happily run barefoot. I see what you mean Ken Skier, but, yes there are barefoot walking societies about- might be worth speaking to. Also, the society for barefoot living (mainly a yahoo group but also have a website) are really into everything barefoot. Good luck! Perhaps it is just the terrain in England that discourages me from barefoot walking. Lots of small sharp rocks and sticks. Or maybe I am just a wimp!
I’m nr Manchester (UK) if u wanna join me for a bumble.
Steve Bailey: Just remove shoes and walk.
John Lupton: Getting over self consciousness is the hardest bit. I used to quickly bung a pair of flipflops on if I saw anyone, but now I don’t. In fact the surprise element is more fun! Fields and woods are good for a start and offer a range of sensations. Still working up to gravel.
Fizz Fry: Hi Lucy, I’m in the UK, and as I am not a ‘cross over bf runner’ but have started to run because of barefoot running, my fitness level sometimes precludes me running. also I am getting used to different types of terrain in bare feet and I always walk new terrain types first – one of my lives pleasures is taking the time to squelch through mud in bare feet!
You do not have to heel strike when walking barefoot, you can land on your mid foot comfortably with a little practice, which I read is good for building up the muscles in my feet. ( Barefoot Walking: Free Your Feet to Minimize Impact, Maximize Efficiency, and Discover the Pleasure of Getting in Touch with the Earth – Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee) one of many great barefoot books I have soaked up!
I would suggest building up your feet by walking barefoot at home for a few weeks and doing those exercises suggested for new barefoot runners, and then gently venture out. I always take some shoes with me, usually my sock was because I can tuck them into my shorts, and just take your time to feel different surfaces. Most of all, enjoy it, it is the most amazing feeling!
I’m in Somerset if you fancy walking in mud!
Kent Wadenpfuhl: I agree with Stewart Bint, just start going barefoot. I do recommend reading “Barefoot Walking” by Michael Sandler and the “The Barefoot Book” by Daniel Howell.
Jay Goodwin: I agree with Fizz. When barefoot, I have been told I walk ‘flat footed’ or like an NA ‘Indian’. Mid-foot strike is good when walking barefoot. I feel a little like I am reaching out with my foot instead of pounding my heel down.
Steve Bailey: But when walking you don’t “pound” your heel down as you are walking not running.
Paul Beales: Guys. If this turns into one of those long-winded debates on the differences between foot strikes when walking and running, Lucy will put her shoes back on and run away!
Tracy Mercaldo Davenport: Agreed Paul Beales! Just take your shoes off and walk, but be sensible, take shoes with you if you need some and be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Enjoy!
Christopher Cielo: Correct. Just remove your shoe then walk and walk and walk. Barefoot walking is the best practice to be a good barefoot runner.
Chris: My own barefooting started with barefoot walks around the block with my dogs. I remember getting halfway once with my soles burning up wondering how on earth I wasa going to make it the rest of the way. I did and survived and was back the next day for more. I found that I looked forward to those walks. In the crazy hectic modern cycle of life, those walks felt slow, calm and rebelious. I can’t quite explain why they felt so good but they did. I don’t walk much barefoot at the moment because I run but I think that I will go back and give it a go.
Thankyou to everyone taking part in our group discussions. You make the barefoot world go round. You can join in the chat at our facebook group. We are a warm and friendly, family group. You will be made very welcome.