Who the **** is Grok? Grok is your primitive ancestor. He roamed the earth before the age of Nike or Reebok.
No not the same time as your grandfather, further back than that… back into our evolutionary past.
When Grok climbed up a hill, as he frequently did because he loved the view… he did it without a rain coat and he didn’t have those metal poles. And he certainly didn’t do it with his feet encased in something approaching the sturdiness of a plastercast!
Many traditional hiking boots are like that, they have very thick soles and a huge amount of ankle support, and truth be told they give you confidence that you’re not going to turn over on your ankle and injure yourself half way up a mountain.
That is a good thing, but what if you want something different. What if you want to use that hike to strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. What if you want to be more like Grok?
Well you could be like Grok, you could just live dangerously and forget the shoes altogether. If you are that way inclined go for it.
I do encourage you to wear clothes so not to scare the other walkers! Barefoot hiking shoes typically as (VivoBarefoot say) have no heel, no mid-sole, no arch support and no gimmicks. These are shoes that are designed to feel like you are walking barefoot while still providing the sole of your foot some protection.
The VivoBarefoot Off Road hiking boots looks like a normal hiking boots so the other hikers are not going to laugh at you and throw their flasks of tea at you. They come in men’s and women’s varieties. The soles are a mere 2.5 mm think meaning that you will really feel every bump on the ground.
Merrell offer a range of barefoot trail shoes like the Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove. The Pace glove is really a trail running shoe but will work well as a minimalist hiking shoe. This kind of shoe will give you protection without you getting too many strange looks out on the mountains.
If you don’t care how you look and don’t mind people staring at you you might want to consider the Vibram Spyridons. These shoes are certainly going to attract some attention but if you are alone on the mountains maybe it doesn’t really matter how you look. The Spyridons have a 3mm sole and chunky grips that make them ideal for hiking,trail running or barefoot walking. They will give you that barefoot feet and you’ll need to tread carefully but that’s kinda the whole point of barefoot hiking shoes.
One of the great things about any kind of barefoot walking shoe is that it will make you feel more connected to the environment. I love my Vibrams because I can really feel the ground underneath my feet when I run. I walk in them too because sometimes a man of a certain age needs to catch his breath.
In researching this article I’m thinking I need to get out into the hills more often because getting up a mountain is another superb way to connect with your environment. To steal nikes catch phrase. Just Do It – no matter what shoes you wear!