June 14, 2013 by scratchtype1
So it’s been about a week and a half since I’ve started going around barefoot more. Perhaps the most noticeable, but simply cosmetic adaptation is that the stark tan line between where the skin of my legs was exposed and where it was covered by socks and boots or shoes is not so stark. The ankles and feet have gained a little bit of color to them and maybe in a couple more weeks there’ll be hardly any difference.
A more useful adaptation is that the soles are growing tougher. They’re still a long way from being really tough, but I can feel a difference underneath my fingers when I examine my feet during the day and before I go to bed at night. The big blister that opened up under the ball of my right foot the day after my soggy hike in boots and socks is fully healed. Of course, when that blister had popped open on its own and eventually lost its skin, I took measures to keep it sanitary. Eventually I found that perhaps the best cover was this — after showering in the morning and getting the foot all clean, I would wipe with an alcohol swab, apply some antibiotic ointment, a thin piece of gauze covering the tender area, then a patch of duct tape. There would be no pain. The first couple of nights I would keep that patch on until the next morning before showering. Then I switched over to removing the patch before bed and let the area be exposed. After showering the next day, I would carefully trim away some tiny bits of dead skin at the margin, then apply the patch. By yesterday, I opted out of the patch completely. It’s all healed over.
I’m gradually increasing how much barefoot walking I do on pavement, again just working to make the soles tougher bit by bit. Better to slowly make them tough than to try to push them too fast and possibly open up skin again and slowing things down while getting that healed back up.
Tomorrow, I hope to maybe do some hiking, with some of it barefoot, and then golf barefoot in the afternoon. I really liked golfing barefoot last weekend and I expect that my calves won’t tire out so much this next time because both the calf muscles and feet ought to be a bit stronger than last weekend.
More distantly, I’m beginning to ponder the concept of some day doing section hikes of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, and maybe some day be able to say I’ve at some time hiked all of it in bare feet. Should be a good challenge, considering this state’s reputation for being the rockiest section of the Appalachian Trail.