Hiking

edited December 1969 in Barefoot(ish) Activities
So , I did a short (~2.5 hour) hike in my KSOs yesterday.  It was an out-n-back on a section of the AT near our house.  This was the first time I was in rough terrain in my VFFs and I have mixed feelings about the experience. 

Most of the section of trail was very rocky.  My partner was in regular hiking boots and had to keep on waiting for me, as I had a much slower pace.  I did not consider this a bad thing, as we weren't in a hurry and slower means you can see more interesting things. However, it took me quite a while to not stare at the trail immediately in front of me.  If any of you are mountain bikers, you know that learning curve.  You cannot stare at your front tire or bad things happen.  I think the same rules kind of apply here.  I was not seeing any of the wonderful surroundings during the first part of the hike because I was staring at my feet.  Once I got a bit more comfortable navigating the rocks, I could look around more and enjoy the hike more.  During really rocky parts, I did have to pay much more attention to foot placement though.  I did have a moderate toe stub at one point and another time I came down pretty hard on a pointy rock with the ball of my right foot, but that was the extent of painful incidents.  The pain from both did not last too long.

In addition to being the first hike with my VFFs, it was also my first hike using trekking poles that I had gotten a year ago. VFFs and trekking poles are an excellent combination!! If I had to take weight off of a foot, the poles offered some much appreciated support.  It was a great combination of gear in my opinion.  When the hike was over, I decided that when we hike that section of trail again, I'll most likely be in my Vibram boots, not KSOs.  But if we hike trails that are less rocky, I will definitely be in my KSOs.
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Comments

  • My husband had the same problem with rocks and his KSOs. I'm looking forward to the Treks and can't wait to try them out, but I'm not throwing out my hiking boots just yet. There's just something about having dry feet and wearing wool socks. I don't know how waterproof the Treks will be.
  • I've hiked portions of the AT in Southern PA in my sprints - it was fairly clean, though. Are you talking about the area of the AT around Cunningham Falls? I've run that portion and I can attest that it is quite rocky!!
  • I had a similar experience last year when I hiked at a local state park.  Some of the trails were VERY rocky, and I had to adjust to a lot of sharp rocks.  I expected my VFF to rip any second, but it never happened.  A year later, they are still going strong.  The next day my soles were a little tender..lol!
  • This was in Maryland, starting from the Reno Monument parking area (http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM45DJ_AT_Intersection_with_Reno_Monument_Road) near Boonsboro. Its only about a 15 minute drive from our house, so it is very convenient.  We can also park at another close point of interest, the Civil War Correspondent Memorial Arch (http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/western/gathland.html), but that tends to be a bit more congested.
  • Did a 2+ mile hike this past Sunday, truly barefoot.  I brought along the VFF KSO shoes just in case, but ended up not needing them:

  • on 1250186206:

    Did a 2+ mile hike this past Sunday, truly barefoot.  I brought along the VFF KSO shoes just in case, but ended up not needing them:




    What was the terrain like?  I think that I would be very hesitant to go barefoot unless it was a nice smooth trail. 
  • Have you ever run in VFFs on gravel?  It's kind of a scary/shocking experience at first, but it's also one where the less you think about it, the more relaxed you get, the better you tend to function.

    You kinda got at this point with the reference to mountain biking.  I think part of the key to looking ahead on MTB is that you're not so focused on the immediate stuff you're rolling over -- you relax into the minutiae of the terrain.  In a way, you start to trust your feet to do the micro shock absorption adjustments instead of your eyes. 

    This is coming from someone who is just getting into trail running, but so far that is been my experience.  I also like to think I'm some kinda deft/swift/agile ninja when I'm running through the woods -- lots of little and quick steps -- think "i'm light and agile" that kinda thing.  Is that as goofy to read as it is to type?

    Two things I've read/watched on this subject that might be of help:

    Scott Jurek (ultra trail runner) on the subject -- note he wears shoes:

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid416421194?bctid=27739096001

    And then this write-up on zendreaming:

    http://zendreaming.blogspot.com/2009/07/gravel-gravel-gravel.html
  • on 1249918185:

    This was in Maryland, starting from the Reno Monument parking area (http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM45DJ_AT_Intersection_with_Reno_Monument_Road) near Boonsboro. Its only about a 15 minute drive from our house, so it is very convenient.  We can also park at another close point of interest, the Civil War Correspondent Memorial Arch (http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/western/gathland.html), but that tends to be a bit more congested.


    Ah - OK . I haven't been out there before but I've heard good things about the area. (Well, I've raced in boonsboro, but never been to the AT there)
  • on 1250253138:

    on 1250186206:

    Did a 2+ mile hike this past Sunday, truly barefoot.  I brought along the VFF KSO shoes just in case, but ended up not needing them:




    What was the terrain like?  I think that I would be very hesitant to go barefoot unless it was a nice smooth trail.  


    The terrain looked like so:

    IMG00132-20090809-1111.jpg
    IMG00135-20090809-1133.jpg

    My 8 year-old daughter and I.  She has a pair of taupe/clay KSO's as well...
    IMG00131-20090809-1111.jpg
  • Nice pics. Wish we could go barefoot down here in south Texas. There are too many mesquite bushes with those killer inch thorns and cactus everywhere. Not to mention rattlesnakes.  :o
  • We have that up here too in North Texas.  I just came back from Austin actually today.  I hiked the trails around Lady Bird Lake barefoot as well while I was down there...
  • This is just a weird observation, but your pinky looks really short compared to your other toes!
  • Now we have a foot critic  ::)

    Have you seen Barefoot Ted's stubs?  ;)
  • haha I haven't. And I'm not being critical. Was just something I noticed. You can critique my feet if you want. They're really small with a high arch haha. I wear a men's size 40 and tried a women's size 39, but it sucked the life outta me.
  • Thanks for posting the pics.  That terrain looks doable. Though that talk of mesquite thorns and cacti gives me pause.
  • iamcam, the women's sizes are narower and smaller than the men's. You'd be  41 or so in womens.
  • Careful hiking!  I broke my poor toe last weekend.  Ouch.  Is there a trick to rocky desert hiking in these things?
  • on 1253580578:

    Careful hiking!  I broke my poor toe last weekend.  Ouch.  Is there a trick to rocky desert hiking in these things?


    Ouch how did that happen?
  • I have done some rather agressive hiking over very rocky terrain - and in the beginning the 2 guys i was with were waiting for me - but I do have mountain biking and hiking experience, and know that I need to look a little out in front to see what's coming.  Have you ever snow shoed??  to avoid banging the snowshoe and crampon on rocks and falling, you need to pick up your feet - the same thing with hiking in my KSO's. 

    I also had to land softer, can't just plod along like I to i hiking boots either.  It takes some getting used to - I did some less agressive hikes first, just to get familiar with how I had to walk in these, as well as breaking my feet in.  I know that for me, when I first started walking in these, I noticed that my feet were rather "non-flexible" (is that a word!?!?) - but since I have been wearing them for a while and hiking in them a few times now, my feet are much more flexible and that certainly helps when dealing with very rocky terrian. 

    the hike that I did was Hawk Mountain, in Pennsylvania.  Its a rather agressive trail going down into the valley, with lots of pointy rocks.  but if i took my landings easy and placed my foot down gently, and was light on my feet - it just felt like a good reflexology massage.  afterwards, there were some "hot spots" on my feet, but nothing bad, it was gone the next day.  my feet muscles were also fatigued, it gave them a workout they certainly weren't used to getting!

    I personally like the feeling of my foot "molding/bending" to the shape of a rock - its hard to describe, but I feel more of a sense of connectedness to the earth - its also very primal feeling or something.  does that sound strange?? 

    Kristy
  • The rock jumped out at my foot!  Naw, I just wasn't being careful and I smacked it into a fairly sharp rock.

    Toaster girl is right.  I have been thinking too that you do need to pick up your feet more and be careful where you pick up your feet and then swing them as much as where you put them down.  The swing forward before your foot enters your sight is ESPECIALLY important cuz you may have missed a big toe killing rock.  That is when I smack my toes the most often.  Usually I don't hurt anything but this time, oh holy cow.  Old habits developed from shoe wearing die hard so if you aren't being pretty deliberate, cracking your toes is pretty easy to do on a rocky trail.

    I was hiking Pima Canyon Trail.
    http://www.tucson-rocks.com/pima_canyon_tucson.asp


    My favorite trail.
  • Marne - yeah, I smacked my foot on a rock one time - ooch! 

    I have actually been to Pima canyon - was on a vacation in Tuscon last March - WOW! Such a beautiful area for running and biking.  I did a race in Pima Canyon - by the race directors from "Everybody Runs"....it was a 5mi or 11mi trail run.  What great scenery for a race - was more concerned with looking around than going fast! LOL! :)
  • You're right re: old habits.  Now, when I put on regular shoes (even with very slight heels) I almost instantly start heel-striking while walking again (I don't really heel-strike barefoot or in VFFs).  It's crazy how unintentional the shift is ... it's the shoes!
  • "was more concerned with looking around than going fast"

    Haha that is so my problem, ya know?  I'm not adjusted well enough to barefoot hiking so when my mind starts to wander, and it is very easy to do in such a gorgeous place, bam! I'm walking all dumb and smacking into everything.  Of course I did this in shoes too but at least then no worries for jambing my toes.  Remarkably, running the trail seems to be a bit easier in terms of avoiding rocks.  The momentum helps me dance around the obstacles.  I started calling trail running trail dancing.... :)

    I will say that barefoot hiking is a much better experience and I recommended it highly.  Just take 'er easy!
  • Erwan Le Corre trail running barefoot:

  • I personally like the feeling of my foot "molding/bending" to the shape of a rock - its hard to describe, but I feel more of a sense of connectedness to the earth - its also very primal feeling or something.  does that sound strange??


    I know what you mean!  It's sort of like a massage plus that "yay!" feeling you get when you walk on grass or sand. :)
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