June 25th, 2018
The barefoot movement is the latest outdoor trend to hit Snowdonia.
Along Snowdonia and the Welsh coast are miles of glorious footpaths, just waiting to be explored. They lead across sandy beaches, smooth pebbles, rough gravel, silky grass, soft heather, spiky gorse and muddy paths. But most of these terrains are trodden over by boots, shoes or sandals. For the vast majority of walkers, feet are trussed up in cotton, leather and mesh, in order to protect delicate feet.
But, there’s a new revolution taking place across the Welsh coast. The barefoot revolution challenges the idea that we need shoes to protect our feet, and that going barefoot is much better not just for the physical health of our feet, but also for our emotional well-being.
And it’s easier than you might think to ditch the shoes, at least for some of the day. It wouldn’t be practical to throw away the walking boots altogether, but just a short amount of time spent barefoot can reap big rewards.
The foot is one of the body’s smallest parts, compared to legs, hips, arms or ribs but each foot contains a quarter of the body’s bones and a huge 200,000 nerve endings – the highest concentration of nerve endings in the body. So it’s little wonder that going barefoot is believed to be beneficial in many ways.
One of the huge advantages is that you have to stay focused in order to be safe –and that organically induces a state of mindfulness. We are all so busy these days, usually doing several things at once. You can’t do that when you are barefoot, you have to look where you are going – and that keeps us in the moment.
Barefoot walking is something that everyone can try and just padding around the garden to feel the sensation of the earth beneath your feet is a good place to begin.
Take it very slowly to start, and choose friendly surfaces like sand or grass. Your feet will need time to adjust to avoid injury.
So why not try a walk this weekend and take your shoes and socks off for a few paces – an easy way to try Barefoot Walking in Snowdonia. You never know what you might learn about yourself and the world around you.