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Barefoot Walking - Advice please



 
 
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  #11  
Old September 29th 05, 11:33 AM
Peewiglet
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 00:05:11 +0100, "Malcolm Stewart"
wrote:


Why not ask this question on uk.legal ?


Or uk.rec.loopy?

:-)


Best wishes,
--
,,
(**)PeeWiglet~~
/ \ / \ pee AT [guessthisbit].co.uk

"I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #12  
Old September 29th 05, 12:23 PM
Peter Clinch
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Dave Fawthrop wrote:

Not a good idea, I have walked interesting hills in flip flops, in Aden
(South Yemen). Your foot slides about on a layer of sweat, which is not
much of a problem on the level, but caused problems on steep slopes.


I won't dispute this, but note that you were using them as a primary
piece of always-on footwear where these folk will be using it as either
a "just in case" they come across something too sharp for their bare
feet to handle, or more likely not at all. Like the difference between
an emergency bivvy bag and a good sleeping bag, the emergency kit isn't
ideal but most of the selling point is it isn't cumbersome or expensive.

Walking sandals would be light and get you out of most problems.


And cost 20 times as much and still weigh twice as much... Don't forget
these are intended as a stopgap that is unlikely to be used at all.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #13  
Old September 29th 05, 12:50 PM
Peewiglet
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 22:49:20 +0100, Jell
wrote:

I'd welcome your collective advice and discussion.

I am organising a trip to North Wales in a few weeks, ten of us, mainly
experienced walkers, climbers and leaders but with one or two fit but
inexperienced walkers. We aim to do some walking in the Carneddau and
maybe the Glyders/au.

It turns out that one of the new walkers habitually goes about barefoot,
and would like to do that on the mountains.


Maybe I didn't take this seriously enough, as quite a few of you seem
to think it should be ok.

It seems rash and potentially dangerous to me for a number of reasons,
though, bearing in mind that we're talking about a trip to the
mountains of North Wales in October.

First, if the bloke isn't used to walking barefoot *on mountains* then
isn't he likely to encounter significant difficulty walking on sharp
rocks, and the sort of small, loose rocks and shale that one would
expect to encounter up there? Even if he can cope with the pain, what
about the obvious risk of injury to his feet, and subsequent
infection?

Secondly, isn't he likely to lose quite a lot of heat through bare
feet on rock, in October? If we were talking about bare feet on grass
in June then I'm sure it would be different, but October in North
Wales??

Thirdly, what about the increased risk of twisting an ankle through
having no support at all on his feet?

To be honest, this sounds like an idiotic idea to me, and just asking
for trouble. If I was a member of a MRT called out to assist someone
who'd injured themselves by walking barefoot in the the mountains in
October, I think I'd be pretty annoyed.

Best wishes,
--
,,
(**)PeeWiglet~~
/ \ / \ pee AT [guessthisbit].co.uk

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #14  
Old September 29th 05, 02:55 PM
Peter Clinch
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Peewiglet wrote:

First, if the bloke isn't used to walking barefoot *on mountains* then
isn't he likely to encounter significant difficulty walking on sharp
rocks, and the sort of small, loose rocks and shale that one would
expect to encounter up there?


Most rocks aren't actually that sharp. Or kids wouldn't delight in
playing on them (with bare feet) at the seaside! Small, loose stones
aren't really a problem, and nor are big ones. IME it's the in-between
ones that aren't very good in bare feet, but outside of pebble beaches
these aren't actually that common as a surface, or at least unavoidable
surfaces.

Even if he can cope with the pain


What pain? If you're used to walking barefoot then there shouldn't
really be any.

what about the obvious risk of injury to his feet


A bit like the obvious risk of injury to hands when climbing! But
barefoot walkers have very thick skin to protect them.

and subsequent infection?


Don't forget significant numbers of the world's population are barefoot
most of the time and are walking in natural or semi-natural
environments. If infection to bare feet was going to be a major problem
we'd have died out tens of thousands of years ago.

Secondly, isn't he likely to lose quite a lot of heat through bare
feet on rock, in October? If we were talking about bare feet on grass
in June then I'm sure it would be different, but October in North
Wales??


I spent last Sunday in Scotland wandering around in my sandals. Of
course these insulate me from the ground, but they don't insulate me
from the streams and bogs of cold water I spent a lot of the day in (the
Cobbler footpath was basically a river). And my feet were never cold.

I used to suffer terribly with cold feet, back when I /always/ cooped
them up in socks and shoes. These days they're a lot more capable of
taking the cold.

Thirdly, what about the increased risk of twisting an ankle through
having no support at all on his feet?


Wrong way around, he's got /less/ chance of twisting an ankle. Studies
of mixed barefoot/shod populations have shown that all the really nasty
ankle injuries happen to people wearing stuff on their feet, because it
gives a lever to turn them over more effectively. Homo sapiens have
only had shoes for a few thousand years, and their feet have been
evolving for millions. The basic design isn't prone to disaster in the
absence of shoes.

To be honest, this sounds like an idiotic idea to me, and just asking
for trouble.


But though there aren't /many/ of them, there certainly are people out
there doing this that prove you wrong every time they do it. I'm often
told off for my "inappropriate" footwear but despite all the assurances
of doom I do okay. I think barefoot walkers will find similar.

If I was a member of a MRT called out to assist someone
who'd injured themselves by walking barefoot in the the mountains in
October, I think I'd be pretty annoyed.


There is a tale, very probably apocryphal but never mind, of Hilary &
Tenzing visiting the UK after Everest '53, where they were wandering up
some Welsh or Lakeland peak in plimsoles. Stopped by an infuriated
ranger who did not know who they were, they were told plimmies were
completely unsuitable for the mountains. So they took them off, and
carried on...

Have a google on barefoot hiking: I think you'll find it's more
widespread than you believe and not just limited the hard of thinking
tree-huggers.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #15  
Old September 29th 05, 03:22 PM
Peewiglet
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 13:55:15 +0100, Peter Clinch
wrote:

Peewiglet wrote:

First, if the bloke isn't used to walking barefoot *on mountains* then
isn't he likely to encounter significant difficulty walking on sharp
rocks, and the sort of small, loose rocks and shale that one would
expect to encounter up there?


Most rocks aren't actually that sharp. Or kids wouldn't delight in
playing on them (with bare feet) at the seaside! Small, loose stones
aren't really a problem, and nor are big ones. IME it's the in-between
ones that aren't very good in bare feet, but outside of pebble beaches
these aren't actually that common as a surface, or at least unavoidable
surfaces.

Even if he can cope with the pain


What pain? If you're used to walking barefoot then there shouldn't
really be any.

what about the obvious risk of injury to his feet


A bit like the obvious risk of injury to hands when climbing! But
barefoot walkers have very thick skin to protect them.

and subsequent infection?


Don't forget significant numbers of the world's population are barefoot
most of the time and are walking in natural or semi-natural
environments. If infection to bare feet was going to be a major problem
we'd have died out tens of thousands of years ago.

Secondly, isn't he likely to lose quite a lot of heat through bare
feet on rock, in October? If we were talking about bare feet on grass
in June then I'm sure it would be different, but October in North
Wales??


I spent last Sunday in Scotland wandering around in my sandals. Of
course these insulate me from the ground, but they don't insulate me
from the streams and bogs of cold water I spent a lot of the day in (the
Cobbler footpath was basically a river). And my feet were never cold.

I used to suffer terribly with cold feet, back when I /always/ cooped
them up in socks and shoes. These days they're a lot more capable of
taking the cold.

Thirdly, what about the increased risk of twisting an ankle through
having no support at all on his feet?


Wrong way around, he's got /less/ chance of twisting an ankle. Studies
of mixed barefoot/shod populations have shown that all the really nasty
ankle injuries happen to people wearing stuff on their feet, because it
gives a lever to turn them over more effectively. Homo sapiens have
only had shoes for a few thousand years, and their feet have been
evolving for millions. The basic design isn't prone to disaster in the
absence of shoes.

To be honest, this sounds like an idiotic idea to me, and just asking
for trouble.


But though there aren't /many/ of them, there certainly are people out
there doing this that prove you wrong every time they do it. I'm often
told off for my "inappropriate" footwear but despite all the assurances
of doom I do okay. I think barefoot walkers will find similar.

If I was a member of a MRT called out to assist someone
who'd injured themselves by walking barefoot in the the mountains in
October, I think I'd be pretty annoyed.


There is a tale, very probably apocryphal but never mind, of Hilary &
Tenzing visiting the UK after Everest '53, where they were wandering up
some Welsh or Lakeland peak in plimsoles. Stopped by an infuriated
ranger who did not know who they were, they were told plimmies were
completely unsuitable for the mountains. So they took them off, and
carried on...

Have a google on barefoot hiking: I think you'll find it's more
widespread than you believe and not just limited the hard of thinking
tree-huggers.


Well, you amaze me. Each to his/her own opinion, though!

Best wishes,
--
,,
(**)PeeWiglet~~
/ \ / \ pee AT [guessthisbit].co.uk

"Is our children learning?"
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #16  
Old September 29th 05, 03:42 PM
Peter Clinch
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Peewiglet wrote:

Well, you amaze me.


A good few years ago I'd have said the same. Many years ago I'd have
said it would be mad going out in the hills in anything other than
walking boots, but my mind was very much changed when I saw what was
involved in a Mountain Marathon, found geologists often preferred
wellies for fieldwork, etc. Evidence in front of your own eyes can be
pretty amazing...

Each to his/her own opinion, though!


It's not so much an opinion as just watching what people do, even if
they're people outside of your immediate circle. There are people going
out walking serious stuff barefoot, and "you can't do that!" is pretty
comprehensively answered by "but people have been doing it for thousands
of years!"

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #17  
Old September 29th 05, 03:58 PM
Peewiglet
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 14:42:26 +0100, Peter Clinch
wrote:

Peewiglet wrote:

Well, you amaze me.


A good few years ago I'd have said the same. Many years ago I'd have
said it would be mad going out in the hills in anything other than
walking boots, but my mind was very much changed when I saw what was
involved in a Mountain Marathon, found geologists often preferred
wellies for fieldwork, etc. Evidence in front of your own eyes can be
pretty amazing...

Each to his/her own opinion, though!


It's not so much an opinion as just watching what people do, even if
they're people outside of your immediate circle. There are people going
out walking serious stuff barefoot, and "you can't do that!" is pretty
comprehensively answered by "but people have been doing it for thousands
of years!"


Right, but that's nothing to do with the scenario painted by the OP,
which is why your response amazed me. He said the person in question
is new to walking (in the URW sense), so he has no experience in the
mountains. If he'd painted a different picture then my response would
have been different.

I was also surprised by some of the other things you said, including,
for instance, your suggestion that the risk of injury to bare feet
from walking on rocks in the Welsh mountains in October is a bit like
the risk of injury to hands from climbing. Um... since when did
climbers climb with their entire body weight on their hands, for 8
hours at a time, whilst carrying a rucksack?

Your analogy with children playing on rocks at the seaside seemed a
little misplaced to me too. Um...? We're talking about people carrying
rucksacks mountains in Wales in winter, not beaches on sunny days in
the summer.

You seem to have assumed that I take the view that only sturdy
footwear is appropriate in the mountains, but you're wrong. I wear
trail shoes myself in the summer, and fell shoes when I go fell
running. If a beginner asks me whether it's safe or sensible to walk
up Welsh mountains in late October, though, in bare feet, I'll be
telling them it isn't. If it's Hilary or Tensing then the situations's
a bit different...

Best wishes,
--
,,
(**)PeeWiglet~~
/ \ / \ pee AT [guessthisbit].co.uk

"More and more of our imports come from overseas."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #18  
Old September 29th 05, 04:40 PM
Peter Clinch
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Peewiglet wrote:

Right, but that's nothing to do with the scenario painted by the OP,
which is why your response amazed me. He said the person in question
is new to walking (in the URW sense), so he has no experience in the
mountains. If he'd painted a different picture then my response would
have been different.


I will freely admit I misread the original and had thought it was one of
the experienced walkers that wanted to go barefoot. However, if his
routine barefoot experience is around town, roads etc then those are
actually considerably harder and more foot-hostile than most
mountainsides. Really!
I'd want to find out what "habitually goes barefoot" means: I routinely
go barefoot round the house and garden but am not up to serious hiking
that way, as I know from wandering up the lane to post a letter without
my shoes on (which I do from time to time, to help toughen up my feet).
That's slow going for me, but someone who did it every day would have
no trouble.

I was also surprised by some of the other things you said, including,
for instance, your suggestion that the risk of injury to bare feet
from walking on rocks in the Welsh mountains in October is a bit like
the risk of injury to hands from climbing. Um... since when did
climbers climb with their entire body weight on their hands, for 8
hours at a time, whilst carrying a rucksack?


Not really what I meant. I meant that hands are not normally expected
to do what rock climbers ask of their hands (how many people heave their
bodyweight up from small holds on hard rock, and jam their fists into
cracks?), but despite that people go rock climbing and come through it
smiling despite numerous small scrapes on their hands, which they
continue to put in dirty places and not typically suffer infections.
Feet have evolved to support weight all day long and get you about the
place. So all we're asking of them here is they do just that.

Your analogy with children playing on rocks at the seaside seemed a
little misplaced to me too. Um...? We're talking about people carrying
rucksacks mountains in Wales in winter, not beaches on sunny days in
the summer.


October isn't winter, and rocks don't get any softer in summer. And
kids' feet are typically less hard wearing than adults' feet. I don't
really see where the rucksacks come into it... people have been walking
barefoot for millennia, including carrying loads in their hands, on
their backs and on their heads.
The illustration simply serves to show that if children can play happily
by choice on hard rocks then consenting adults can probably manage to
walk on them without being in pain.

You seem to have assumed that I take the view that only sturdy
footwear is appropriate in the mountains


I have? Sorry if I gave that impression, but I don't think that. I was
simply using an illustration of conservative thinking that many people
do think like that, I didn't particularly think you're convinced of it
yourself.

running. If a beginner asks me whether it's safe or sensible to walk
up Welsh mountains in late October, though, in bare feet, I'll be
telling them it isn't.


But the basic assumption is that they'd be like 99.999+% of the
population who don't typically walk around barefoot. Since such people
would have trouble getting to the local shops without footwear of some
sort then that would be the right answer, but if they're quite used to
walking around on sharp, hard road surfaces throughout the year on a day
to day basis and are uncomfortable in shoes then is it /really/ right to
force them into something they won't find comfortable and aren't used to?

Feet are pretty capable things, if you let them be. And the UK's hills
aren't necessarily /that/ daunting in October, and a weather forecast
will give a reasonable idea of how cold it'll be for exceptions.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #19  
Old September 29th 05, 04:47 PM
Dave Fawthrop
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 22:49:20 +0100, Jell
wrote:

| I'd welcome your collective advice and discussion.
|
| I am organising a trip to North Wales in a few weeks, ten of us, mainly
| experienced walkers, climbers and leaders but with one or two fit but
| inexperienced walkers. We aim to do some walking in the Carneddau and
| maybe the Glyders/au.
|
| It turns out that one of the new walkers habitually goes about barefoot,
| and would like to do that on the mountains.
|
| I don't have a problem with his lifestyle choice, but I'm worried about
| the consequences.
|
| Has anybody got any experience of this?

It all depends how hardened said person's feet are.

Can you organize a local afternoon stroll for the ten?
Finding some surfaces and slopes representative of the Glyders?

--
Dave Fawthrop dave hyphenologist co uk
The London suicide bombers killed innocent commuters.
Animal rights terrorists and activists kill innocent patients.
  #20  
Old September 29th 05, 04:54 PM
Bob Mannix
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"Peter Clinch" wrote in message
...
Peewiglet wrote:

snip

Your analogy with children playing on rocks at the seaside seemed a
little misplaced to me too. Um...? We're talking about people carrying
rucksacks mountains in Wales in winter, not beaches on sunny days in
the summer.


October isn't winter, and rocks don't get any softer in summer. And kids'
feet are typically less hard wearing than adults' feet. I don't really
see where the rucksacks come into it... people have been walking barefoot
for millennia, including carrying loads in their hands, on their backs and
on their heads.
The illustration simply serves to show that if children can play happily
by choice on hard rocks then consenting adults can probably manage to walk
on them without being in pain.


Not really interested in people' choice to go barefoot, that's up to them
but I must take issue here. The reason children can play more happily on
rocks in bare feet is that they are hugely lighter than most adults. The
pressure that is induced when stood on a knobbly or sharp bit is therefore
hugely less for them and much less painful. The issue of the feet being
smaller is irrelevant as, when stood on a sharpish bit, it's just the area
of the sharp bit that matters.

I did climb Brendan mountain in Ireland a long time ago and met a Dutchman
in wooden clogs also climbing. His feet were bleeding by the time we got
down and I had to give him a lift to his campsite - I can't help feeling he
wouldn't have been any worse off in bare feet!


--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)


 




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