Q2: Doesn’t it hurt?
If the only place we’ve ever been barefoot before is inside our homes or perhaps at the beach, our feet are going to naturally be very tender. And, yes, at first there may be some discomfort and it may hurt a little when walking barefoot on rough or uneven surfaces for the first time – such as out in nature, or even on city sidewalks or asphalt.
The soles of our feet each have approximately 200,000 nerve endings, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body, which is one reason barefooting is so pleasurable. The sense of touch in our soles, masked and blocked off so long by shoes, now opens up a new world under our feet that we never knew existed before.
But yes, with tender soles, some of these new sensations we’ve never felt before may seem a little intense at first. However, the more we go barefoot, the more tolerant our soles become, and any little pebbles or roughness that may have bothered us at first won’t even be noticed. (See Q11 for more information about getting feet in shape.)
Also, the longer we go barefoot regularly, we become more aware of what’s on the surface ahead of us – like a sixth sense – and can easily avoid anything on the ground, like sharp rocks or other objects that may hurt if we step on them.
Interested in trying a barefoot hike? Here’s a Beginner’s Guide.