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The 14ers: barefoot?

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby semitrueskerm » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:06 am

ajkagy wrote: Boots and shoes are not "natural"



So...is using shoes considered cheating? Just axin'. :lol:

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby ajkagy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:18 am

SuperiorTrailHiker wrote:
ajkagy wrote:Boots and shoes are not "natural"



But then, neither are clothes like a beanie or a Marmot jacket. But we have made them so that we can go places where they are needed. Right on?

I don't know a thing about the whole barefoot running debate, since I don't run enough either properly or improperly to have an informed opinion. Barefoot this, barefoot that - whatever, I like and need to use boots to be comfortable. But this sentiment that shoes are superfluous because we did not use them for thousands of years, I just don't get.

We also inhabited a pretty narrow band of temperate climate when we did not have shoes, and we only went the places we could go, doing the things we could do, when we didn't have gear. People were not spending the weekend on Little Bear in 12,000 BC, I don't think, and when they did go up in the hills, as we know from Otzi the Iceman, they very probably put shoes on.


cloths have always been used for warmth, whether it was fur/cotton or polyester, it's just different materials. The big difference with shoes is the fact that close toed shoes were not used throughout history. Sandals and bare feet ruled until modern times. Shoes have altered the gait/running/movement of humans where as cloths have not.

ancient humans traveled and lived all over from the arctic to even 14k feet on most of the mountains in CO. It's silly to think that just because they didn't have the modern gear that they didn't have the ingenuity or common sense to craft their own items for survival. Actually quite the opposite. Inuit's craft Mukluks that keep the feet warm, but also do not constrict the natural movement of the feet. The modern human is pretty weak when it comes to acclimation to the elements/outdoors/cold, ect. People spend 90%+ of their lives in climate controlled rooms. It's hard for people to compare/contrast when they lack perspective. :-D
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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:45 am

ajkagy wrote: The big difference with shoes is the fact that close toed shoes were not used throughout history. Sandals and bare feet ruled until modern times. Shoes have altered the gait/running/movement of humans where as cloths have not.




See, that's the part of this whole debate that I am not informed enough on to craft a useful argument about. But I do know enough to at least ask the question of those who migh be more scholarly on the subject of shoes - do we in fact know that closed shoes were not used throughout history? Or do we just sorta ssume that they were not, because Kirk Douglas wears sandals a lot in Spartacus? And that, when closed shoes were used, they were engineered to provide the retention of a natural gait, kind of a Sumerian Vibram Five Fingers deal?

I mean, Otzi has shoes on. They dig bodies out of bogs in Denmark, and they have shoes on. Romans wore shoes when they were in England. Anglo-Saxons wore shoes when they were in England, for that matter. I know that ancient humans were ingenious and crafty - the fact that our fat soft bodies survived to enjoy climate control and Vasques to this very day is evidence that they were pretty handy back in the Olden Times.

But my point is, people wore shoes when they needed them, and it seems to me like a 14er is a pretty good definition of "needing". I don't know exactly how those Shoes of History were constructed, or if we know that they had no effect on natural gait - maybe we do. But all I know is, people had 'em, and used 'em, because being crafty, they wanted gear to help them out.

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:41 pm

All right, it's bothering me. Just the barest research from a dubious source, i.e. Wikipedia, says, with my bolding for emphasis:

"Ötzi the Iceman's shoes, dating to 3,300 BC, featured brown bearskin bases, deerskin side panels, and a bark-string net, which pulled tight around the foot.[2] However, it is estimated that shoes may have been used long before this, but it is difficult to find evidence of the earliest footwear due to the highly perishable nature of early shoes.[4] By studying the bones of the smaller toes (as opposed to the big toe), it was observed that their thickness decreased approximately 40,000 to 26,000 years ago. This led archaeologists to deduce that wearing shoes resulted in less bone growth, resulting in shorter, thinner toes.[5]"

I just don't get where we're so sure that people didn't wear shoes that altered their gait until recently. It doesn't add up, logically, that everybody was freewheelin' and "legit" up until the recent past. I don't think they were. I think we've been putting shoes on for a really long time.

Now, long enough that it woulda been factored into the evolution of two-legged locomotion mechanics? No, that was probably based on a free-wheel approach, granted, but I also sorta cling to the idea that people contributing to the physical development of human movement were primarily concerned with staying alive in a temperate zone, and not with doing the types of things we regularly task ourselves with today, in the environment we have today.

Could a Greek hoplite outfight you while barefoot? I submit that he could. Could Cody Lundin outhike Otzi in the Alps with no shoes on? Hey, maybe he could, but who knows. Could a Zulu from circa the Battle of Isandhlwana get from one end of Isle Royale to the other without the Merrells I need? I bet he could do that pretty easy.

But I'm pretty sure we have been using shoes to get around for pretty much forever, and since very few people here have been going without on rocks and pebbles and thorns since they were born, using them to climb hills seems like plain common sense to me. In other words, I don't know why not using them is considered cool, in some quarters.

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby Rarefied » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:08 pm

While it's most definitely not for me :shock:, evidently there has been enough interest in barefoot hiking that clubs have been formed:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/travel/escapes/22hike.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I read elsewhere that the trip the Letcher sisters mentioned in the article did on the Appalachian Trail was about 1000 miles out and 1000 back in :wft: . I don't care what they did, I still remain intimidated by my cold kitchen tiles! 8-[

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:38 pm

I view them askance, O my brother, these clubs.

Look, man, I can appreciate the aesthetic, right on, the "connectedness". I've read of (and seen) more than a few musicians who perform the same way, for example and to take it away from climbing, in order to feel connected to what they're doing. If you can hack it and not get an infection or a laceration that at worst endangers you or the people with you and at best cuts a fun trip short, then fine - freewheel it.

But what I don't get, at all and legitimately, is the part of the whole barefoot hike / barefoot run thing that says "it's not natural" to use shoes.

It seems to me it's about as natural as using any one thing to do another thing - like cutting meat with a knife is not natural, that's why we have teeth. Wearing a hat is not natural, that's why we have hair. Wearing a Patagonia jacket is not natural, that's why you have skin. Carrying stuff in a pack ain't natural, that's why you have opposable thumbs. I just doesn't ring the bell for me.

I counter with the idea that as a sentient and crafty creature it's entirely natural for me to invent and use things that make what I am doing less painful and more fun, i.e. shoes, dude.

Now, as I said, there may be something to the argument that people run more "naturally" and efficiently without shoes. I don't know anything about that other than a few articles in Outside, which isn't saying much - those same articles mention that it may just be a buncha hooey. So if running without them actually helps not wreck yer knee, then good. I am not getting on this particular bus, however - and I suspect that the people who think we all went without any sort of shoe until approximately the Renaissance are largely and wholly mistaken.

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby ajkagy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:20 pm

SuperiorTrailHiker wrote:But what I don't get, at all and legitimately, is the part of the whole barefoot hike / barefoot run thing that says "it's not natural" to use shoes.

It seems to me it's about as natural as using any one thing to do another thing - like cutting meat with a knife is not natural, that's why we have teeth. Wearing a hat is not natural, that's why we have hair. Wearing a Patagonia jacket is not natural, that's why you have skin. Carrying stuff in a pack ain't natural, that's why you have opposable thumbs. I just doesn't ring the bell for me.

I counter with the idea that as a sentient and crafty creature it's entirely natural for me to invent and use things that make what I am doing less painful and more fun, i.e. shoes, dude.


Just because you've used shoes all your life, shoes are all you know and everybody has told you that you have to use shoes doesn't mean it's the only way. It's like saying that eating bugs are more nutritious than the fruit/veggies you eat, most people have never had to eat insects thus they'll never be able to accept the fact that it very well might be.

There have been many studies done and what it comes down to is heel strike vs. toe strike. Studies have shown wearing shoes when running promotes a heel strike method of running which pre-disposes people to various injuries. Do some research on the Tarahumara people, they grow up running many miles barefoot or in sandals and that is all they know. I'm sure they would find your shoe rant amusing :-D
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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby ajkagy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:34 pm

good reading right here, fantastic book for anybody that is interested in the subject.
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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby myfeetrock » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:35 pm

I'm game! I love not wearing shoes! I walk on just about anything and I still have nice looking feet.
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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:52 am

myfeetrock wrote:I'm game! I love not wearing shoes! I walk on just about anything and I still have nice looking feet.



And yet, O my brother, in that picture there of you, you are on what appears to be a hill, and you have boots. Which is prudent in my opinion.

To that post above with the reading recommendation, that looks very interesting and if I spot it, I will pick it up.

But.

Thing is, in my experience, you're gonna find some dudes somewhere doing just about anything. For those people, it's "natural" to freewheel it, but it's just as "natural" that a Dane or an Icelander or me doesn't, right? I mean, context is everything, including here.

I'm not against it, but I continue to not understand the argument for it which includes anything along the lines of using gear not being "natural".

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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby myfeetrock » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:46 am

SuperiorTrailHiker wrote:
myfeetrock wrote:I'm game! I love not wearing shoes! I walk on just about anything and I still have nice looking feet.




And yet, O my brother, in that picture there of you, you are on what appears to be a hill, and you have boots. Which is prudent in my opinion


I hear you, and I hear you. Who needs a toe ripped off by a rock. I still find a freedom in walking barefooted. I use to do it all the time until a random rusty wire found it's way up my heel. People use to say "your feet rock". So my feet rock. You may see me this summer hiking without shoes.
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Re: The 14ers: barefoot?

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:06 am

myfeetrock wrote:People use to say "your feet rock". So my feet rock.



While I have absolutely no doubt that they do, and I couldn't be more stoked that you have been gifted in such a manner, I still find that to be one of the most random phrases that it would be possible to say to someone. Like "Sweet elbows, dude". Context being everything, as we have established, under what conditions would someone sling that statement your way?

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