Barefoot Hiking – Top 11 Videos

As much as we’re pro-hiking boot, we can’t ignore the back-to-basics movement. How basic, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like hiking around caveman style, but not quite.

Throughout ancient history — from the Egyptians to the Romans — people donned little to no footwear. The Barefoot Hiker, a guide book published in the early ’90s, outlines this bootless culture in 12 winding chapters. In chapter 5, the book even gives advice on how to hike barefoot IN. THE. SNOW. Our feet get numb just by thinking about it!

It turns out barefoot people are a very passionate group that even have a society dedicated to kicking off their boots. According to its website, barefooters “are a group of people who love going barefoot pretty much everywhere, all the time (not just around the house or at the beach), as a lifestyle choice, including out and about on streets, stores, in the country and hiking.”

Due to our natural footwear predilection, we can’t stop gawking at barefoot hiker videos on all kinds of surfaces — jagged rocks, slimy mud and subzero snow. Don’t get us wrong, we truly appreciate this sans shoes group, but we’ll be keeping our hiking boot technology like Thinsulate and Gore-Tex, thankyouverymuch. (By the way, we’re still trying to confirm whether this movement inspired that Britney Spears’ public-bathroom trek.)

In honor of this sole-ful bunch, here are the best of the best barefoot hikers on YouTube.

1. UPDATE: We have a new No. 1 video that comes from Barefoot Ted (BFT). He writes, “Maybe it is just my ego, but I can’t imagine a top 10 barefoot hiking videos that didn’t include a barefoot summit of the tallest mountain in the Continental USA…or am I missing something.” Nope! But apparently we were. BFT said he’s climbed it three times barefoot. Without further ado…

2. “My feet are kind of hurting,” John Sifferman, the man in this video, confesses. “But it’s too late, I don’t even have shoes … it’s just great to get out, exploring nature, going barefoot — that’s just a little perk. The real joy is just being out here, getting some good quality exercise.”

3. The hikers in this CNN report carry advanced hiking tools, yet deem shoes unnecessary. “When we first started out, we’d get a lot of astonishment like ‘did you forget your shoes?!” says one of the barefooters. Gotta love the new guy who tries to hike barefoot but puts his boots right back on. We’re right there with you, buddy!

4. It appears this hiker found a nice carpet of crunchy leaves to stroll upon. Let’s just hope there’s no critters napping beneath them.

5. Titled “Barefoot Hiking Proof,” this video serves as evidence of seasoned hiker going barefoot and is proud of it.

6. This barefoot video shows a man strolling barefoot up a mountainside. However, his trail is paved at first. He promptly replaces his sandals when the trail gets rough. And then the sandals go off again. “How do the little Ethiopian children do it? It hurts!”

7. Filmed by a hyper young boy, there’s a bit of icy barefooting going on in this shaky footage. “She’s bare FOOT. Man, she’s brave!” he calls to his mother.

8. More like a circus act, this barefoot stroller crosses a ravine via tree trunk successfully.

9. Just when you thought the last wintry video was bad, here’s two minutes of snow-crunching bootless hiking. How do his feet not fall off?

10. But is roaming without shoes on a rocky surface any better? This guy seems to think so.

11. Lastly, the “Barefoot Samurai” takes us on a strange (yet artistic?) adventure through a grassy forest.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

6 Comments on “Barefoot Hiking – Top 11 Videos

  1. Pingback: The Minimalist Footwear Movement | Hiking Boots Blog

  2. In the Society for a Barefoot Living’s mail list it has been published reports of some long barefoot”hikings”, like the whole length of New Zealand and El Camino de Santiago (760 Km.472 Ml.)Without any blister indeed 🙂

    On other topic,”natural footwear predilection”looks like oximoron ¿What is “natural” about footwear? Isn’t it always “cultural”?

  3. As a hardcore barefooter who has hiked the classic Inca Trail, several treks in the Himalayas and explored many countries barefoot, I am pleased to see this interest in what seems so natural and ‘normal’ to so many of us.
    Hiking barefoot enables you to feel your surroundings, is quiet and causes less erosion to hiking trails than using boots.

  4. My first hike with the East Bay Barefoot Hikers (now the Bay Area Barefoot Hikers) was in 1995, so I’ve probably logged at least a thousand barefoot miles on Bay Area trails over the last 15 years. Just as the foliage, sounds and scents are enjoyable in different ways at various times of the year or at different times of day, the variety of surfaces underfoot also becomes an enjoyable aspect of the hiking experience for barefoot hikers.

    It is a sobering testament to “the function creep of shoes” that the simple pleasure of going for a barefoot walk in the grass or on a dirt trail – commonplace in the United States as recently as the mid-20th century – is now something so out of the ordinary. Perhaps the barefoot running phenomenon will prompt more people to come to their senses (or at least the sense of touch in their feet) and take the time to “learn how to walk before they learn how to run.”

    For a longer report on barefoot hiking, please see “Barefoot Hiking: Naturally Strengthening the Feet with a Wide Array of Tactile Treats” at:

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/5150115-barefoot-hiking-strengthening-feet-with-tactile-treats

    or bit.ly:

    http://bit.ly/ceHo49

  5. Since you were so amazed about hiking in the snow, you might also be interested in a couple of entries that appeared in the SBL Blog. Once one knows the details and the underlying science, hiking barefoot in the snow looks more impressive than it really is.

  6. Thank you so much for giving equal time to the timeless idea of just going barefoot. As barefoot hikers we understand quite well that ours is an option which cannot, by its very nature, possibly serve any commercial interest. As you have very fairly stated, though, it is nonetheless the prefered option of a growing number of hikers who want a deeper experience of nature, and who have come to value the comfort and freedom, as well as the rich sensory experience, and deep sense of connectedness that bare feet can provide to those who learn to rely on them.
    In the spirit of freedom that going barefoot has always represented to me, I have made _THE_BAREFOOT_HIKER_ free to be read online at
    http://www.bhthom.org/hikertxt.htm

    Thanking you once again_
    Richard Keith Frazine
    Thomaston, Connecticut
    Author of _THE_BAREFOOT_HIKER_
    SOLVE CALCIAMENTVM DE PEDIBVS TVIS
    LOCVS ENIM IN QVO STAS TERRA SANCTA EST

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