Barefoot Backpacking with Barefoot Jake

My name is Jake Morrison. Among the the Washington state outdoor communities and online hiking forums I’m known simply as ‘Barefoot Jake’ – you may have already heard of me. As far back as I can remember I’ve had an obsession with the outdoors and in particular the Olympic National Park.

When I was a small boy I had a trail map (PDF link) of the park pinned up in my bedroom. I would daydream for hours about some day crossing it with a backpack on my back. I can remember drifting off to sleep while thinking about what route I would take through the park and where I would set up various camps.

After many years of training my feet I have since crossed the Olympic National Park two times, both wearing a pair of minimalist Vibram Five Finger KSO Treksports. My first trip across the park was in 2010 with a hiking buddy taking the Elwha Trail and out the Skyline Primitive Trail.

My second time crossing the park was last year in 2011. I started out near Port Angeles, Wa and hiked over a series of spectacular passes. The route took me over rock, scree, through snow and water. It ended up in the Lake Quinault Rainforest via Obstruction Point to North Fork Quinault. As far as I am aware, I am the only one to have accomplished this wearing Vibram Five Fingers or any other type of minimalist footwear.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I am currently planning an epic 30-day trip where I will be staying off the maintained trails as much as possible, circling the Olympic National Park in a counter clockwise route – you’ll hear more about this and training your feet in future posts. In order to get ready for this trip, I am training a few times a week to keep my cardiovascular and feet strength up – I’m sure I’m going to need it. I am also planning to summit Mount Olympus this July if the weather conditions cooperate.

In the last two years I have come to the realization that pack weight and what you wear on your feet directly effects our efficiency in these types of natural forms of traveling. I guarantee you that our ancestors never carried 50lbs of outdoor gear on there backs or wore $500 dollar mountaineering boots. We need to get back to basics.

I have often been accused of purchasing ‘fancy’ backpacking gear and always having to have the latest and greatest gear technology. I have since made it my goal to get back to the ‘basics’ of what being outdoors is all about and vowed to simply carry less. I have also started to enjoy making a few MYOG/DIY projects and have experienced great joy at using my own gear. The Internet is such powerful tool in helping fuel our creativity and sites such at Brian’s Backpacking Blog are such an asset on giving you the tools you need to unlock your MYOG potential. I will admit the world of minimalist/UL gear isn’t my specialty, but I am learning a little more each day and constantly expanding my knowledge.

Why am I writing here, on this blog? Both Brian and I are passionate about minimalist footwear. Brian has discovered a new lease of freedom with his running via switching to minimalist shoes and based on my many years of training I have acquired the knowledge of what it takes to train your feet to wear minimalist shoes and be comfortable and safe in tough conditions.

By focusing on the importance of proper posture, body mechanics, cadence and keeping a light load in your pack for maximum efficiency I’ll explain how to train your feet to be safe for hiking over rock, snow and even being wet for hours at a time.

The easiest way to train your feet for harsh conditions is to avoid wear shoes as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done right? You can still get started in the simplest of ways, even before you hit the trail. Need to get your mail from the mailbox but it’s snowing outside? Take your shoes and socks off and go for it. The more your body and your feet get use to the feel of handling the cold and wet conditions, the easier it will be to make the transition to doing that more often. Why not take a moment the next time you camp near a small stream or river to take off your shoes and socks and walk across various river rocks practicing distributing your weight and feeling each rock. You’ll need to be very careful and take your time with it, but not only will if feel invigorating it also makes for a great feet stretching tool. I also like to do feet stretching exercise at camp, along the trial or at home using things that are just lying around’.

I have been invited to contribute here on Brian’s Backpacking Blog and plan to post updates on an occasional basis about all things barefoot backpacking. My intention is for my posts to become a multi-part series about the struggles I’ve had to face and my experience in having to address the issues one has as a barefoot or minimalist backpacker – I hope that this will be of help and interest to any of you who are starting off along a similar path. Realizing that all of us blogger’s are a bit narcissistic and occasionally have strong opinions, I am open to positive criticism and will try to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge. ~ Cheers, Barefoot Jake.

Note: I do not represent any particular product or manufacturer. VFF’s work best for me because they give me the glove-like feel that suits my style. As with all new forms of training, please be careful and take your time!


Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Barefoot Jake as a guest writer to Brian’s Backpacking Blog! Jake shares my passion for minimalist footwear and has far more experience in this area than I do, making him the perfect contributor for all things outdoor & barefoot. Be sure to check out his blog for other great posts about barefoot backpacking.

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  • sygyzy

    I usually don’t like cross-posts but in this case, Jake’s story is really appealing to me simply because of how well he writes. I will be following your journey, Jake. Good luck!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m glad you mentioned this, because I really don’t go out of my way to use guest bloggers to ‘fluff” up the amount of content I post here. However I deliberately approached Jake and asked if he’d like to contribute because of my own passion for the subject and because I believe that it is relevant to a lot of the existing conversations we have been having here already.

      I’m just easing my way into minimalist/barefoot running, but Jake has been doing this hardcore for years now – that’s the sort of expertise I want to tap into and share here. It also helps Jake get some recognition for what he does and plans to do in the future. I honestly feel that barefoot backpacking is going to be huge this year and Jake knows way more about this than me – the partnership seemed to make perfect sense.

  • sygyzy

    I usually don’t like cross-posts but in this case, Jake’s story is really appealing to me simply because of how well he writes. I will be following your journey, Jake. Good luck!

  • Cinzen30

     Good stuff!

  • Cinzen30

     Good stuff!

  • Mcchiro

    Enjoyed the read, for it’s honesty and may just have stimulated my minimalist appetite. Traveled to Washington for a seven day around Stephens pass and we had to pull out. One of our group was way to heavy. so much so the rest still couldn’t take some without a strain. Ended up, coming out early. Next year, I’m determined to carry my lightest pack yet. 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Mcchiro – I’m sorry to hear that your trip ended up the way it did. Unfortunately I’ve heard tat type of story all too many times. One of the things Jake has always advocated is barefoot AND lightweight, he calls it getting back to basics and I entirely agree with him.

      I hope you will find some useful information here among my other posts to give you ideas on how you can cut pack weight and show others how to do the same. You’ll have a lot more fun and go further if you carry less.

      If I can help, let me know!

  • Mcchiro

    Enjoyed the read, for it’s honesty and may just have stimulated my minimalist appetite. Traveled to Washington for a seven day around Stephens pass and we had to pull out. One of our group was way to heavy. so much so the rest still couldn’t take some without a strain. Ended up, coming out early. Next year, I’m determined to carry my lightest pack yet. 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m glad you mentioned this, because I really don’t go out of my way to use guest bloggers to ‘fluff” up the amount of content I post here. However I deliberately approached Jake and asked if he’d like to contribute because of my own passion for the subject and because I believe that it is relevant to a lot of the existing conversations we have been having here already.

    I’m just easing my way into minimalist/barefoot running, but Jake has been doing this hardcore for years now – that’s the sort of expertise I want to tap into and share here. It also helps Jake get some recognition for what he does and plans to do in the future. I honestly feel that barefoot backpacking is going to be huge this year and Jakes knows more about this than me – the partnership seemed to make perfect sense.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Mcchiro – I’m sorry to hear that your trip ended up the way it did. Unfortunately I’ve heard tat type of story all too many times. One of the things Jake has always advocated is barefoot AND lightweight, he calls it getting back to basics and I entirely agree with him.

    I hope you will find some useful information here among my other posts to give you ideas on how you can cut pack weight and show others how to do the same. You’ll have a lot more fun and go further if you carry less.

    If I can help, let me know!

  • James Conley

    I’m not into the minimalist shoes type thing but when people say ‘barefoot’ do they really mean ‘minimalist’? When I first read ‘barefoot’ and saw the picture of what looked like black feet I thought perhaps he had frostbite.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      James – I agree that it is slightly confusing. Barefoot means barefoot, nothing on your feet, but it also means minimalist to a lot of people. You’re correct in that these are not the same and they are used interchangeably as far as I can tell.
      I’m not going to argue the point here, but a lot of “barefoot” runners do actually wear a minimalist shoe for protection more than anything, the concept being that it is as close to barefoot they can get without chewing up their feet on the ground.

      That made it a whole lot clearer right…? (not)

  • James Conley

    I’m not into the minimalist shoes type thing but when people say ‘barefoot’ do they really mean ‘minimalist’? When I first read ‘barefoot’ and saw the picture of what looked like black feet I thought perhaps he had frostbite.

  • Dipink1

    I’ve been reducing the heft of my hiking footwear for the last couple of years, and have been going more minimalist in my daily footwear as well.  One thing that has put me off the toe-shoes has been pictures I’ve seen of hikers with nasty toe injuries.  Footwear of some sort has been around for millenia, but they usually didn’t have free toes.  I like toe socks to prevent my two smallest toes from rubbing on each other, but I’ve been reluctant to go to toe shoes.   Did you have any trouble when adapting to toe-shoes, Jake?

    • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

      Dipink1 – It took me around 2 years to fully adapt to VFF’s.  I would start off by just wearing them for a while and then putting my shoes back on.  I have had my share of stubbed toes, but in all fairness.  If you acquire a foot injury.  Chances are you just weren’t plain watching were you were going.  You need to slow down (about half pace that when you would walk with Shoes/Boots) and focus on foot placement.  After you master that, then you can work on speed.  Hope this was helpful.  - Jake

  • Dipink1

    I’ve been reducing the heft of my hiking footwear for the last couple of years, and have been going more minimalist in my daily footwear as well.  One thing that has put me off the toe-shoes has been pictures I’ve seen of hikers with nasty toe injuries.  Footwear of some sort has been around for millenia, but they usually didn’t have free toes.  I like toe socks to prevent my two smallest toes from rubbing on each other, but I’ve been reluctant to go to toe shoes.   Did you have any trouble when adapting to toe-shoes, Jake?

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Jacob Morrison

    Dipink1 – It took me around 2 years to fully adapt to VFF’s.  I would start off by just wearing them for a while and then putting my shoes back on.  I have had my share of stubbed toes, but in all fairness.  If you acquire a foot injury.  Chances are you just weren’t plain watching were you were going.  You need to slow down (about half pace that when you would walk with Shoes/Boots) and focus on foot placement.  After you master that, then you can work on speed.  Hope this was helpful.  - Jake

  • Josey

    I’m convinced of the benefits of minimalist running and hiking, but there are also risks you must be aware of. If you choose to go completely barefoot, be aware that many areas have endemic parasites. Roundworms, hookworms, and Pseudomonas bacteria are just a few of the parasites present in the soil in many parts of the US.  Wildlife, cats, dogs, and many unknowing people carry parasites that evolved specifically to enter bare feet from the soil.  The southern Appalachians are particularly notorious for roundworm cases.  You can carry Strongyloides roundworms for 30 to 40 years before thy symptoms become noticeable and severe.  Many people pick it up simply by gardening or walking a short distance barefoot in contaminated soil.  You may not know you’re infected until it’s too late.  Be careful.

  • Josey

    I’m convinced of the benefits of minimalist running and hiking, but there are also risks you must be aware of. If you choose to go completely barefoot, be aware that many areas have endemic parasites. Roundworms, hookworms, and Pseudomonas bacteria are just a few of the parasites present in the soil in many parts of the US.  Wildlife, cats, dogs, and many unknowing people carry parasites that evolved specifically to enter bare feet from the soil.  The southern Appalachians are particularly notorious for roundworm cases.  You can carry Strongyloides roundworms for 30 to 40 years before thy symptoms become noticeable and severe.  Many people pick it up simply by gardening or walking a short distance barefoot in contaminated soil.  You may not know you’re infected until it’s too late.  Be careful.

  • http://www.adayak.com/ David

    I’m interested in how minimalist footwear can keep your feet/toes insulated while hiking through snow or during cold weather. You can’t wear Smartwool socks under those shoes.

    • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

      David – They don’t keep your feet warm much at all.  They do however provide some insulation barrier against the wind elements.  Just like an Athlete for any event, one must train. Training your feet for Winter Environments is very important.  I will cover the basics of my Training in future posts.  You should stay tuned here on Brian’s Blog.  You can also Follow Me on Twitter and Facebook.  Links are on my Blog posted above.  Cheers – Jake 

  • http://www.adayak.com/ David

    I’m interested in how minimalist footwear can keep your feet/toes insulated while hiking through snow or during cold weather. You can’t wear Smartwool socks under those shoes.

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Jacob Morrison

    David – They don’t keep your feet warm much at all.  They do however provide some insulation barrier against the wind elements.  Just like an Athlete for any event, one must train. Training your feet for Winter Environments is very important.  I will cover the basics of my Training in future posts.  You should stay tuned here on Brian’s Blog.  You can also Follow Me on Twitter and Facebook.  Links are on my Blog posted above.  Cheers – Jake 

  • Jim

    I agree that with training you can adapt to conditions that most people consider unbearable.  One of my favorites is to adjust to the cold by not heating my house above 52.  At night it is down to 45.  I have been doing this for years – no problem.  Obviously I live alone and warm up the house when my daughter’s visit.  

    My other eccentric habit to prep for my backpacking lifestyle is to never sleep on a mattress, just bed down on the floor.  I think I am seven plus years in this regard.  My only exception is when I get a woman to spend the night.  I warm up the house then as well.

    • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

      Jim – These are all really good points.  That is one of the reasons I moved onto a little Sailboat and dont drive my car almost for 2 years now.  Adapt to being Outside as much as possible, then it dont seem like its much of a change while Backpacking.  I also walk/run a minimum of 2 miles a day in Town with a minimum of 2 mile Bike ride as well.   That is just my daily commute.  One should have there body usto moving at random times during the day as well.  Such as one would before Cars were even invented.  Being physical is key.  Convince makes man lazy.  

  • Jim

    I agree that with training you can adapt to conditions that most people consider unbearable.  One of my favorites is to adjust to the cold by not heating my house above 52.  At night it is down to 45.  I have been doing this for years – no problem.  Obviously I live alone and warm up the house when my daughter’s visit.  

    My other eccentric habit to prep for my backpacking lifestyle is to never sleep on a mattress, just bed down on the floor.  I think I am seven plus years in this regard.  My only exception is when I get a woman to spend the night.  I warm up the house then as well.

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Jacob Morrison

    Jim – These are all really good points.  That is one of the reasons I moved onto a little Sailboat and dont drive my car almost for 2 years now.  Adapt to being Outside as much as possible, then it dont seem like its much of a change while Backpacking.  I also walk/run a minimum of 2 miles a day in Town with a minimum of 2 mile Bike ride as well.   That is just my daily commute.  One should have there body usto moving at random times during the day as well.  Such as one would before Cars were even invented.  Being physical is key.  Convince makes man lazy.  

  • John

    Jake – just wondering how heavy a pack you carried on your hikes wearing VFF’s.  I’ve been wearing them for almost 2 years, daily. I did a week-long trek last summer and while my feet held out great over the 70+ miles, my ankles swelled considerably, I’m guessing because of the 50lb pack I was wearing. 
    I have three trips scheduled for this year and am contemplating the VFF’s but I’m wondering how pack weight plays in on how much support our ankles need. 

    • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

      John – My biggest Trek last Summer I had 52lbs Pack (mostly food) and my body payed the price.  I promised myself that point on that I wouldnt go over 30lbs.  My last few treks were between 8lbs and 20lbs (with water and food) I enjoyed those treks much, much more.  I have no plans on going over 30lbs again. Meal planning is key and I do a lot of Freezer Bag Cooking now.  Hope this answers your question – Jake

  • John

    Jake – just wondering how heavy a pack you carried on your hikes wearing VFF’s.  I’ve been wearing them for almost 2 years, daily. I did a week-long trek last summer and while my feet held out great over the 70+ miles, my ankles swelled considerably, I’m guessing because of the 50lb pack I was wearing. 
    I have three trips scheduled for this year and am contemplating the VFF’s but I’m wondering how pack weight plays in on how much support our ankles need. 

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Jacob Morrison

    John – My biggest Trek last Summer I had 52lbs Pack (mostly food) and my body payed the price.  I promised myself that point on that I wouldnt go over 30lbs.  My last few treks were between 8lbs and 20lbs (with water and food) I enjoyed those treks much, much more.  I have no plans on going over 30lbs again. Meal planning is key and I do a lot of Freezer Bag Cooking now.  Hope this answers your question – Jake

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    James – I agree that it is slightly confusing. Barefoot means barefoot, nothing on your feet, but it also means minimalist to a lot of people. You’re correct in that these are not the same and they are used interchangeably as far as I can tell.
    I’m not going to argue the point here, but a lot of “barefoot” runners do actually wear a minimalist shoe for protection more than anything, the concept being that it is as close to barefoot they can get without chewing up their feet on the ground.

    That made it a whole lot clearer right…? (not)

  • Dave Cutherell

    Nice post! The timing is really good because I am at the start of my transition to a more barefoot approach. I just got back from winter OR and this was a huge topic area. It would be cool if future posts included a bit more about the backpacking gear approach you take so we can see how you think there too. Thanks again for putting this together and I look forward to seeing more.

    • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

      Dave - I fully believe in UL and the benefits of not having all that extra weight.  I try to live a true Minimalist Lifestyle (live on a boat, dont drive my car in almost 2 years and walk or bike everywhere).  I plan on doing 1 or 2 trips a week this year, that sometimes means that Income is Minimal as well.  Unfortunately it took me 4 years to piece together the gear i currently have.  It wasnt till the last year until I started being a true believer of carrying lighter loads.  Lets just say I learned the hard way.  
        So for the last few months I have been taking on several little DIY gear projects trying to shave ever ounce I could.  Until I am able to invest in UL stuff for my adventuring.  Hope this answers your statement?  - Jake

      • Kimber Braaten

        Jake Morrison, Long Time… Glad to see your doing wonderful and enjoying all that nature has to offer.
        ~Kimber Braaten

  • Dave Cutherell

    Nice post! The timing is really good because I am at the start of my transition to a more barefoot approach. I just got back from winter OR and this was a huge topic area. It would be cool if future posts included a bit more about the backpacking gear approach you take so we can see how you think there too. Thanks again for putting this together and I look forward to seeing more.

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Jacob Morrison

    Dave - I fully believe in UL and the benefits of not having all that extra weight.  I try to live a true Minimalist Lifestyle (live on a boat, dont drive my car in almost 2 years and walk or bike everywhere).  I plan on doing 1 or 2 trips a week this year, that sometimes means that Income is Minimal as well.  Unfortunately it took me 4 years to piece together the gear i currently have.  It wasnt till the last year until I started being a true believer of carrying lighter loads.  Lets just say I learned the hard way.  
      So for the last few months I have been taking on several little DIY gear projects trying to shave ever ounce I could.  Until I am able to invest in UL stuff for my adventuring.  Hope this answers your statement?  - Jake

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

        I like the, “back to basics” approach you are choosing to take. I too am looking towards this approach as well. Perhaps someone could point me in the direction of a gear site that I could take a look at for canvas or other material packs as well as other gear including a bedroll rather than some crazy tiny sleeping bag and air mattress? 

        Recently i went hiking and brought along a self inflating sleeping pad but found myself rolling every which way on it. To top it off, my nylon mummy bag wouldn’t stay zipped up and caused even more slippage. 
      
          I’m new to all of this and would love to find some better information from people who aren’t trying to cram products down my throat. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

        I like the, “back to basics” approach you are choosing to take. I too am looking towards this approach as well. Perhaps someone could point me in the direction of a gear site that I could take a look at for canvas or other material packs as well as other gear including a bedroll rather than some crazy tiny sleeping bag and air mattress? 

        Recently i went hiking and brought along a self inflating sleeping pad but found myself rolling every which way on it. To top it off, my nylon mummy bag wouldn’t stay zipped up and caused even more slippage. 
      
          I’m new to all of this and would love to find some better information from people who aren’t trying to cram products down my throat. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ravitz Evan Ravitz

    I’ve been going barefoot when practical since i was 12 (1964) and have climbed several 13,000′+ peaks barefoot in Colorado, as well as easy (5.5) rock climbing. I do carry sandals so I can jog the descents, and just bought a pair of Invisible Shoes http://www.invisibleshoe.com/ based on Tarahumara huarache design, but lighter, similar to 5-Fingers I think but much tougher -with a 5000 mile warranty. MUCH cheaper too. Here’s a photo of me when I was a barefoot tightrope artist: http://www.evanravitz.com/evan.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/ravitz Evan Ravitz

    I’ve been going barefoot when practical since i was 12 (1964) and have climbed several 13,000′+ peaks barefoot in Colorado, as well as easy (5.5) rock climbing. I do carry sandals so I can jog the descents, and just bought a pair of Invisible Shoes http://www.invisibleshoe.com/ based on Tarahumara huarache design, but lighter, similar to 5-Fingers I think but much tougher -with a 5000 mile warranty. MUCH cheaper too. Here’s a photo of me when I was a barefoot tightrope artist: http://www.evanravitz.com/evan.jpg

  • Burton

    I have to laugh every time I go into REI and people are lined up to try on the latest minimalist footwear. It is a joke. It is a fad that people get into trying to avoid other proven footwear. In the end they end up doing exactly what they are trying not to…be part of a group looking to belong to something. I grew up hiking Olympics…some summers in Tevas…so you are not the first to travel across the Olympics in minimalist footwear. But for most people it simply does not work….listen to the stories and injuries…but people keep trying it. Get over it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnpavoncello John Pavoncello

      For years doctors told us eating red meat and eggs were unhealthy, now it’s been proven wrong. For many people, minimalist footwear is not a fad, it’s part of our lifestyle. I wear Vibrams or Merrell minimalist shoes every day if I can’t go barefoot, have for the past year. The few occasions that I do put “regular” shoes on my feet, I can hardly walk within a couple of hours. In the past year, ALL of my physical problems with shin splints, aching knees, and lower back pain has completely disappeared. Nothing has changed with my exercise levels, health or lifestyle except for the better. At 43, I am in better shape than I was at 20, and I contribute a majority of that to giving up conventional shoes.
      We are not born with shoes, we are barefoot because that is the way our body is designed, evolved for several million years. Just like the foods we are intended to eat (veggies, nuts, seeds and MEAT) our bodies have specifically evolved so that our feet, ankles, knees, pelvis and back all align properly and function as created. By adding heels, unnaturally shaped footbeds, soles, ankle supports, we are weakening our bodies from heel to shoulders.
      Yes, people are injured by using minimalist footwear. Because they’ve destroyed the natural balance of their body since they were toddler’s by wearing regular shoes.

  • Burton

    I have to laugh every time I go into REI and people are lined up to try on the latest minimalist footwear. It is a joke. It is a fad that people get into trying to avoid other proven footwear. In the end they end up doing exactly what they are trying not to…be part of a group looking to belong to something. I grew up hiking Olympics…some summers in Tevas…so you are not the first to travel across the Olympics in minimalist footwear. But for most people it simply does not work….listen to the stories and injuries…but people keep trying it. Get over it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnpavoncello John Pavoncello

    For years doctors told us eating red meat and eggs were unhealthy, now it’s been proven wrong. For many people, minimalist footwear is not a fad, it’s part of our lifestyle. I wear Vibrams or Merrell minimalist shoes every day if I can’t go barefoot, have for the past year. The few occasions that I do put “regular” shoes on my feet, I can hardly walk within a couple of hours. In the past year, ALL of my physical problems with shin splints, aching knees, and lower back pain has completely disappeared. Nothing has changed with my exercise levels, health or lifestyle except for the better. At 43, I am in better shape than I was at 20, and I contribute a majority of that to giving up conventional shoes.
    We are not born with shoes, we are barefoot because that is the way our body is designed, evolved for several million years. Just like the foods we are intended to eat (veggies, nuts, seeds and MEAT) our bodies have specifically evolved so that our feet, ankles, knees, pelvis and back all align properly and function as created. By adding heels, unnaturally shaped footbeds, soles, ankle supports, we are weakening our bodies from heel to shoulders.
    Yes, people are injured by using minimalist footwear. Because they’ve destroyed the natural balance of their body since they were toddler’s by wearing regular shoes.

  • http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com Tim

    Great read Jake. My wife and I just recently made the switch and so far we are loving it. Although my feet are a bit sore, I know it will get better the more I’m in barefoots. It may be a fad for some Bruton, but for others it is the way we should be.

  • http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com/ Tim

    Great read Jake. My wife and I just recently made the switch and so far we are loving it. Although my feet are a bit sore, I know it will get better the more I’m in barefoots. It may be a fad for some Bruton, but for others it is the way we should be.

  • http://twitter.com/AdventureStrong Adventure Strong

    I hike in Vibrams too. I enjoy the lightweight and comfort of minimalist shoes when I hike and I’ve used them on all trail types – Angel’s Landing in Zion, Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Punchbowl Falls in Oregon. For me, it’s the way to go. Keep things simple, light and focus more on enjoying the trail.

  • Joel Masson

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve enjoyed up to 5.9 rock climbing and backpacking in my sandals since the early 90′s. Though I’m in my 40′s now I’m leaning towards getting back to some basics and lighter weight. Ive never been one much for heavy “hightop” boots. In the past few years been on multiple day hikes and some 30+ mile backpacking trips in my Chacos. My feet felt substantially better at the end of the day than wearing some great backpacking boots. The funny thing about all this ultralight talk in the world of backpacking, bicycling etc is that most of the time it’s not the 2-3 lbs of gear that needs reduction, it’s the 5-10 extra pounds I’m carrying around my midsection that needs to go.