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Barefoot Walking - Advice please



 
 
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  #21  
Old September 29th 05, 03:56 PM
Peter Clinch
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Dave Fawthrop wrote:

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

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


Very good idea. Most of us simply don't have any real experience of
what a habitual barefoot walker can do, in which case some empirical
testing is the best way to be sure.

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/

  #22  
Old September 29th 05, 03:59 PM
Peewiglet
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 15:40:57 +0100, Peter Clinch
wrote:


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,


The point is that walkers can expect late October in the mountains of
North Wales to be cold, and quite possibly wet/snowy too. Do you
disagree that one would *expect* to encounter cold, wet conditions up
a mountain there, at that time of year? (Obviously you don't need to
point out that it can be blazingly sunny too. It normally isn't,
though.)


and rocks don't get any softer in summer.


No, but they do get warmer. Cold and difficult conditions make walking
more hazardous than it is in mild summer conditions.

And
kids' feet are typically less hard wearing than adults' feet. I don't
really see where the rucksacks come into it...


I was thinking of the weight, mainly, as a factor both in stability
and in the consequences of any fall.


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.


I'm very surprised that you feel there's a valid analogy there.

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.


No, I didn't make that assumption: why on earth should you jump to
that conclusion? I knew from what the OP said that the bloke in
question is used to walking barefoot, so I drew the fairly obvious
conclusion that his feet have adapted to the conditions he's walked
in. It's just that you and I seem to differ in that I've generally
found mountainous conditions to be more, rather than less, challenging
for my feet than urban conditions. I therefore also concluded, when
the OP said the bloke is new to walking, that his feet won't have had
a chance to adapt to walking in mountains, because he's not done that
yet. I'd have thought it would make sense to build up to it, rather
than starting in high mountains in October, but perhaps I'm over
cautious...

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


Sharp? Do you really believe that pavements and roads are likely to be
sharper than rocks and tracks up in the mountains?

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?


Force? Who's forcing anyone? Not me. It's best to stick to what I
said, rather than something I neither said nor suggested.

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.


I'm still amazed we're having this conversation. Are you sure you're
not disagreeing just for the fun of the argument?


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

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #23  
Old September 29th 05, 04:04 PM
Peter Clinch
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Bob Mannix wrote:

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.


Fine reasoning, but it doesn't stop me from wandering around barefoot on
hard rocks at the seaside... And I don't have /really/ hard feet.

Most rocks just don't have particularly sharp edges because of
weathering. Barnacles are an exception, I /hated/ them as a child, but
these days I can walk on them without too much bother thanks to tougher
feet, despite my much greater weight.

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/

  #24  
Old September 29th 05, 04:22 PM
Bob Mannix
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"Peter Clinch" wrote in message
...
Bob Mannix wrote:

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.


Fine reasoning, but it doesn't stop me from wandering around barefoot on
hard rocks at the seaside... And I don't have /really/ hard feet.

Most rocks just don't have particularly sharp edges because of weathering.
Barnacles are an exception, I /hated/ them as a child, but these days I
can walk on them without too much bother thanks to tougher feet, despite
my much greater weight.

Ah, but, you (as an adult) look where you are putting your feet. Children
are pathologically inacapable of doing that under any conditions. The acid
test is walking into the sea where the beach is stony and you can't see it.
You will see the children get in and out far quicker than the adults, who
are generally going ow! sh*t! and moving slowly until, like rescued beached
whales, they gain buoyancy.

My own view on barefoot walking (damn, I wasn't going to get involved) is
that, as long as you look where you are putting your feet you will probably
be OK (even in Ocober) apart from discomfort brought on by cold etc.
Unfortunately most people don't always/never look where they are putting
their feet - it's bad enough stubbing your little toe on the bedpost, never
mind up a cold mountain. Also, if a rock drops on your hand and smashes it,
you can still walk home. Not so with a foot. This inevitably means an
(small) increased average reliance on MRTs, were barefoot walking to become
more than isolated cases. Of course, the last point goes for sandals too
(and, to be fair, would be a rare occurrence).


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

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/



  #25  
Old September 29th 05, 04:43 PM
Peter Clinch
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Peewiglet wrote:

The point is that walkers can expect late October in the mountains of
North Wales to be cold, and quite possibly wet/snowy too. Do you
disagree that one would *expect* to encounter cold, wet conditions up
a mountain there, at that time of year?


For some values of cold and wet. My feet were soaking through all day
Sunday up on the Arrochar Alps, wasn't exactly /hot/, my feet were fine.
Wet of itself is less of an issue than most people think.
"Cold" can be too cold. This time of years I've seen snow up at
Arrochar and so I did have something a bit more solid in reserve, but
looking at the weather when I started and backed up with a few forecasts
I knew the chances of snow were very remote, so I wore my sandals.

I have walked around winter campsites, in snow, in barefeet, and I've
done that from since before I'd really hardened up my feet. Why?
Because it's a lot less fuss than putting on shoes and socks to go
outside. I couldn't sustain it for long, granted, but most people would
assume it be instant pain and damnation, and they'd be wrong.

(Obviously you don't need to
point out that it can be blazingly sunny too. It normally isn't,
though.)


it's normally cool, but not *cold*.

No, but they do get warmer. Cold and difficult conditions make walking
more hazardous than it is in mild summer conditions.


As long as your feet are happy at the local ambients then it's a bit of
a moot point. My point about kids playing happily on rocks was that
hardness wasn't really an issue of itself. Cold is a different issue.
One that needs to be addressed, yes, but a different one I wasn't
looking at with my kids playing analogy.

I was thinking of the weight, mainly, as a factor both in stability
and in the consequences of any fall.


As I've pointed out, shoes actually tend to make the consequences of a
fall worse than having bare feet. How much weight are you carrying for
a day in October? There's no real need for the sort of loads that will
affect balance.

I'm very surprised that you feel there's a valid analogy there.


People were wondering about the pain of walking on rock. It's a pretty
good illustration that it isn't intrinsically painful walking on rocks
because they're hard. Nothing more, nothing less

No, I didn't make that assumption: why on earth should you jump to
that conclusion?


Because I'd taken what you said as a general rather than a specific
case. Wrongly as it turned out, so sorry about that.

I knew from what the OP said that the bloke in
question is used to walking barefoot, so I drew the fairly obvious
conclusion that his feet have adapted to the conditions he's walked
in. It's just that you and I seem to differ in that I've generally
found mountainous conditions to be more, rather than less, challenging
for my feet than urban conditions.


But how much time do you spend barefoot? Assuming that what carries for
shoes also carries for bare feet isn't really a safe assumption, because
towns have evolved for people in shoes and feet evolved for natural
surfaces.

One thing feet are very bad at is /relentlessly/ hard surfaces. Very
few natural areas are very hard for long distances, which is why horses
need shoes for roads but wild horses never had shoes and get on fine
without them. Urban areas are characterised by relentlessly hard
surfaces. Mountains aren't, in the UK they're mostly grass, heather and
bog.

the OP said the bloke is new to walking, that his feet won't have had
a chance to adapt to walking in mountains, because he's not done that
yet.


The main thing is are they tough enough?, and an urban environment will
toughen them up probably better than anything else, because it's all hard.

Sharp? Do you really believe that pavements and roads are likely to be
sharper than rocks and tracks up in the mountains?


I know very well they are from personal experience. A typical suburban
road is actually very rough, rough enough that a rollerskater has
relative trouble on it and seeks out smooth tarmac. And not only is it
very rough, but it doesn't move around, and there's no escape from it.

A track up a mountain is usually very easy to escape from, simply by the
expedient of walking by it rather than on it. But many are no rougher
than a suburban road. People stay on the track because it's easier in
shoes. If it's easier walking off it in bare feet, walk off it.

Force? Who's forcing anyone? Not me. It's best to stick to what I
said, rather than something I neither said nor suggested.


You'll tell them it isn't safe and it isn't sensible. That strikes me
as trying to get them to change their mind, which involves a degree of
force even if it isn't the same as forcing them into shoes at gunpoint.

I'm still amazed we're having this conversation. Are you sure you're
not disagreeing just for the fun of the argument?


I'm disagreeing with you because I know for a fact that people go out
and hike barefoot. And I also know that urban environments are very
tough on feet (I walk around this one barefoot once in a while) so I
expect it's a better preparation than most people would expect.

If this character is new to hillwalking anyway then what would be
foolhardy would be doing a huge expedition as a first thing with no
bail-out possibilities etc. etc. /whatever he is wearing on his feet/.
Given it would be an introductory walk in any case and will be thus
loaded with extra cautious planning, surely that is a good place and
time to see what one can do?

FWIW I don't think it's the smartest move in the known universe, but I
am *far* more interested in encouraging and enabling and letting people
set their own boundaries than just deciding things are best left
untried, especially when other people have shown they can be done.

I ride a unicycle: it's a ridiculous form of transport, often no quicker
than walking with limited control and range. I ride it because I /like/
riding it, not because it's the best way to cycle from A to B.
Similarly if someone wants to walk barefoot then if it's at all possible
I think he should. The suggestion of some walking in advance to gauge
how good his feet are was an excellent one, and I think if people set
out to help him do what he wants to do then everyone could have a better
time of it as a result. It's not too much to carry some emergency
bail-out footwear and on an introductory walk for someone who hasn't
been up hills before one shouldn't have to use it for too great a
distance in any case. The usual limit for first time hillwalkers is
they don't have the muscles to get up big hills, and that would remain
the case and limit the seriousness of the walk in any case.

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/

  #26  
Old September 29th 05, 04:53 PM
Peewiglet
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 16:43:27 +0100, Peter Clinch
wrote:

Peewiglet wrote:

The point is that walkers can expect late October in the mountains of
North Wales to be cold, and quite possibly wet/snowy too. Do you
disagree that one would *expect* to encounter cold, wet conditions up
a mountain there, at that time of year?


For some values of cold and wet. My feet were soaking through all day
Sunday up on the Arrochar Alps, wasn't exactly /hot/, my feet were fine.
Wet of itself is less of an issue than most people think.
"Cold" can be too cold. This time of years I've seen snow up at
Arrochar and so I did have something a bit more solid in reserve, but
looking at the weather when I started and backed up with a few forecasts
I knew the chances of snow were very remote, so I wore my sandals.

I have walked around winter campsites, in snow, in barefeet, and I've
done that from since before I'd really hardened up my feet. Why?
Because it's a lot less fuss than putting on shoes and socks to go
outside. I couldn't sustain it for long, granted, but most people would
assume it be instant pain and damnation, and they'd be wrong.

(Obviously you don't need to
point out that it can be blazingly sunny too. It normally isn't,
though.)


it's normally cool, but not *cold*.

No, but they do get warmer. Cold and difficult conditions make walking
more hazardous than it is in mild summer conditions.


As long as your feet are happy at the local ambients then it's a bit of
a moot point. My point about kids playing happily on rocks was that
hardness wasn't really an issue of itself. Cold is a different issue.
One that needs to be addressed, yes, but a different one I wasn't
looking at with my kids playing analogy.

I was thinking of the weight, mainly, as a factor both in stability
and in the consequences of any fall.


As I've pointed out, shoes actually tend to make the consequences of a
fall worse than having bare feet. How much weight are you carrying for
a day in October? There's no real need for the sort of loads that will
affect balance.

I'm very surprised that you feel there's a valid analogy there.


People were wondering about the pain of walking on rock. It's a pretty
good illustration that it isn't intrinsically painful walking on rocks
because they're hard. Nothing more, nothing less

No, I didn't make that assumption: why on earth should you jump to
that conclusion?


Because I'd taken what you said as a general rather than a specific
case. Wrongly as it turned out, so sorry about that.

I knew from what the OP said that the bloke in
question is used to walking barefoot, so I drew the fairly obvious
conclusion that his feet have adapted to the conditions he's walked
in. It's just that you and I seem to differ in that I've generally
found mountainous conditions to be more, rather than less, challenging
for my feet than urban conditions.


But how much time do you spend barefoot? Assuming that what carries for
shoes also carries for bare feet isn't really a safe assumption, because
towns have evolved for people in shoes and feet evolved for natural
surfaces.

One thing feet are very bad at is /relentlessly/ hard surfaces. Very
few natural areas are very hard for long distances, which is why horses
need shoes for roads but wild horses never had shoes and get on fine
without them. Urban areas are characterised by relentlessly hard
surfaces. Mountains aren't, in the UK they're mostly grass, heather and
bog.

the OP said the bloke is new to walking, that his feet won't have had
a chance to adapt to walking in mountains, because he's not done that
yet.


The main thing is are they tough enough?, and an urban environment will
toughen them up probably better than anything else, because it's all hard.

Sharp? Do you really believe that pavements and roads are likely to be
sharper than rocks and tracks up in the mountains?


I know very well they are from personal experience. A typical suburban
road is actually very rough, rough enough that a rollerskater has
relative trouble on it and seeks out smooth tarmac. And not only is it
very rough, but it doesn't move around, and there's no escape from it.

A track up a mountain is usually very easy to escape from, simply by the
expedient of walking by it rather than on it. But many are no rougher
than a suburban road. People stay on the track because it's easier in
shoes. If it's easier walking off it in bare feet, walk off it.

Force? Who's forcing anyone? Not me. It's best to stick to what I
said, rather than something I neither said nor suggested.


You'll tell them it isn't safe and it isn't sensible. That strikes me
as trying to get them to change their mind, which involves a degree of
force even if it isn't the same as forcing them into shoes at gunpoint.

I'm still amazed we're having this conversation. Are you sure you're
not disagreeing just for the fun of the argument?


I'm disagreeing with you because I know for a fact that people go out
and hike barefoot. And I also know that urban environments are very
tough on feet (I walk around this one barefoot once in a while) so I
expect it's a better preparation than most people would expect.

If this character is new to hillwalking anyway then what would be
foolhardy would be doing a huge expedition as a first thing with no
bail-out possibilities etc. etc. /whatever he is wearing on his feet/.
Given it would be an introductory walk in any case and will be thus
loaded with extra cautious planning, surely that is a good place and
time to see what one can do?

FWIW I don't think it's the smartest move in the known universe, but I
am *far* more interested in encouraging and enabling and letting people
set their own boundaries than just deciding things are best left
untried, especially when other people have shown they can be done.

I ride a unicycle: it's a ridiculous form of transport, often no quicker
than walking with limited control and range. I ride it because I /like/
riding it, not because it's the best way to cycle from A to B.
Similarly if someone wants to walk barefoot then if it's at all possible
I think he should. The suggestion of some walking in advance to gauge
how good his feet are was an excellent one, and I think if people set
out to help him do what he wants to do then everyone could have a better
time of it as a result. It's not too much to carry some emergency
bail-out footwear and on an introductory walk for someone who hasn't
been up hills before one shouldn't have to use it for too great a
distance in any case. The usual limit for first time hillwalkers is
they don't have the muscles to get up big hills, and that would remain
the case and limit the seriousness of the walk in any case.


Ok! No point in going round in circles...

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

"We cannot let terrorists or rogue nations hold this nation hostile, or
hold our allies hostile."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #27  
Old September 29th 05, 05:22 PM
Dewi
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 16:53:37 +0100, Peewiglet
dropped their trousers and said:

On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 16:43:27 +0100, Peter Clinch
wrote:


I'm still amazed we're having this conversation. Are you sure you're
not disagreeing just for the fun of the argument?


Wonder if he toughens up his hands by taking things out of the hot
oven with his bare hands, just to save time on oven gloves etc...

--
Dewi,

(no email)
  #28  
Old September 29th 05, 05:28 PM
Dominic Sexton
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In article , Peewiglet
writes
Ok! No point in going round in circles...


It don't float my boat but others find it good training - each to their
own ;-)


--

Dominic Sexton
  #29  
Old September 29th 05, 05:47 PM
Peewiglet
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 17:28:11 +0100, Dominic Sexton
wrote:


Ok! No point in going round in circles...


It don't float my boat but others find it good training - each to their
own ;-)


True enough, and I suppose there's alway track and field. Oh, and
mice, of course.
:-)


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

"I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy."
g.w.AT [guessthisbit].com
  #30  
Old September 29th 05, 06:35 PM
Simon Caldwell
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 22:49:20 +0100, Jell
wrote:


Has anybody got any experience of this?


Not personally, but Gwen Moffett used to habitually rock-climb in
Wales barefoot (including presumably the descents) so if you're used
to it (and hence have the necessary extra thickness to the sole of the
foot) it shouldn't be a problem.

S.

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