The above photos, which I assimilated into a collage (click the image for a larger version), were taken by Calvin on a recent hike through Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Calvin wrote in about the experience:
This was actaully my second hike in my KSOs, I find hiking in them to be extremely eye opening — the feelings of the cold dirt, the warm pavement, the crisp grass its all very natural, very right. I love hiking in them.
Yesterday I played paintball in them, it was an interesting experience, the field where we were playing has a small stream running through the middle but the way thw “valley” was worn it left the wall at about 75 or 85 degrees and that was easily scalable with the KSOs, the only thing I don’t love is sharp rocks; I landed on a few in the beggining, after a while I got used to watching my periphery and adjusting my selected path accordingly.
Thanks for sharing the experience. “Fivefinger view” hiking photos seem to capture the experience of covering varied terrain in VFFs — you really do feel the ground and experience the hike in a new, more elaborate and sensational way through the lens of your feet.
Sidenote: I think the smidgeon of EVA material in the soon-to-be-availble Vibram KSO Trek fivefingers is intended to help reduce “stone bruising.”
The primary way to minimize the potential for hurting your feet while barefoot or VFF-shod when trekking over hard, rocky, rooty, and varied surfaces (like gravel) is to relax, take more steps, feel light and nimble, and let your feet (and knees and hips) handle the shock-absorbing calculations rather than trying to brain it and think your way through the terrain*. That’s my take, anyway!
Feet are powerful pieces of equipment. Our goal is not to impede them from doing their job!
* this requires having logged some hours minimally shod or barefoot on varied terrain. I say this because most of us have learned a great deal of bad habits with regard to walking, running, etc. thanks to the “foot casts” that are modern footwear. These bad habits have to be unlearned and/or we have to reteach our feet how to handle shock absorption.