July 11, 2013 by scratchtype1
I don’t think I’ve ever really looked much at other people’s feet or shoes when hiking or running. I do some looking now, because I’m curious to look for others who might be doing something like me. But as I’ve found over the past few weeks as I’ve been hiking in the Xeros, it’s that other people certainly do look at other people’s feet and shoes. It happened again last night.
I had gone to a Ridley Creek State Park for a meetup to hike a trail there before dark. We were just coming off a section of trail that must have once been a gravel road or driveway, so I had been dancing some with picking places to land the balls of my feet. There were some people going the other direction as our group went along, and at one point, as I passed a middle-aged fellow, I caught in the corner of my eye him glancing down at my feet and uttering the word, “Wow!” I could just see him trying to imagine himself flying over that gravel path in a pair of thin sandals.
I now suspect that walking barefoot on gravel and rough chip-seal roads may do some myofascial release of the plantar tissues of the feet. I walked again this morning before work, and did it all barefoot, all the way down and a bit past the gravel driveway I had used yesterday, then back and onto that gravel driveway, then home. When I stepped on the smooth asphalt of the home driveway, it felt like butter and there was a pleasant tingling in my feet and up into my calf muscles. The driveway felt like soft, smooth, non-slippery butter. I felt a slight tint of happiness as well in the gray of an overcast morning and the first few stray drops of approaching rain showers. 6 weeks ago I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea that someone could walk barefoot all that I had just walked. But I just had. One step after another, some easier than others, some with rough pebbles pushing into the bottoms of my feet. I’m still not ready to run it yet, but it’s possible.