Barefoot or shoes/boots?

Do you go barefoot?

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Russell Coight
Feb 11, 2014
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I like boots that come up to mid-calf primarily for snake protection. Have heard that fully laced boots can cause shin splints/fractures so only lace them to just above ankle height these days. Don't know if that's nonsense but ankles definitely feel better over long distances anyway.

As for boots falling apart I guess this is where preparation comes in...all equipment should be checked before heading out.


Les Stroud
Feb 14, 2012
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I'm barefoot full time when in the bush. I chucked a pair of volleys in my bag when hiking Hinchinbrook just in case though never took them out.

I've never worn shoes for most of my life beside from school, work and the days at uni when I need to be in the labs so my feet are pretty tough and take a good beating.
But as others have said, I'll do what I see fit for my situation. If I feel I need shoes for something I'll take them. If not, I won't. The latter is the most common.

Not trying to follow any weird trends or follow people like Cody, it's just how I've grown up and I enjoy it. I find I walk slower and pay much more attention to the ground in front, so the risk of foot injury, to me, is probably decreased. I don't advise it to other people or think others should go barefoot however. If they feel comfortable doing so, good for them, go do it and just be careful. If not, wear shoes. It's pretty simple.


Les Hiddins
Feb 14, 2012
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Ive copped a bite from one of those huge bastards.
I had a bite welt the size of a 50 cent peice on my foot.
This was when I was about 12 in camp. Really hurt ...ive heard the bracken fern remedy before but hadnt back then ..though I dont recall there being any around but there could well have been.


Les Hiddins
Jan 2, 2014
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Wide Bay Region, Qld.
Boots in the bush, crocs/boots around camp depending on the task at hand. I find it just gives me one less worry, so to speak, knowing my feet are protected, ive never found stings, bites or cuts on the feet to be a pleasurable experience so I avoid them as best I can with foot ware.


Lofty Wiseman
Sep 8, 2011
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Hi all,

Unless I missed it, no-one mentioned Vibram Five Fingers which are a compromise of barefoot and shoe. I recently got a pair and am so far enjoying them greatly (but it is early days and I haven't used them in great anger, as it we). I can now wander around milder areas in a sort of barefoot way. I really like moving in them. That said, you wouldn't catch me going and doing serious bush hiking with them - they are for 'tame' areas or good, well established trails. They would also make a good a camp shoe, in my opinion. Also I may use them for crossing water where I don't want my boots getting soaked (the Vibrams should dry quickly, I gather - yet to be confirmed).

I have heard some braver folk do use them as kind of modern day moccasins which means they do take them out into real bush but that would not be my expectation for myself.

Still - you may want to try them out!


John McDouall Stuart
Feb 8, 2014
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Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia
I think one point not fully recognized by people who don't tend to walk around barefoot (yet is repeated by those who do) is..... you tend to walk WAY slower when walking barefoot, and far more carefully.
You don't walk without checking where you're putting your foot, like you might when wearing shoes.

I've stepped on a rusty nail..... while wearing shoes. (I was at a quarry, surrounded by heavy machinery, so IMO that's a good place to wear shoes.)
Let's just say the shoes did NOT help at all.

I would actually say they were half the reason I stepped on the nail in the first place. When walking barefoot I check where I'm putting my feet (very carefully usually).
When I was wearing shoes this time I was complacent and so I didn't check where I put my feet.

I noticed when I took another step a block of wood was stuck to my shoe.
I lent down and pulled the chunk of wood away from my shoe, as I felt against my foot, the rusty nail sliding out.

I had stepped on it, and it went straight through my shoe sole. The nail was about the same length as the thickness of my foot.

Luckily the nail has just missed my foot, and had slid in between my foot and the edge of my shoe.
So absolutely zero damage happened to my foot.
I didn't even realise the nail went through my shoe until I pulled it out and felt the sharp rusty nail scrape along the edge of my foot.

I still think that if I was there barefoot, I would have checked where I put my foot, before I put my foot down. That's simply because that's what I do when I'm barefoot.
Wearing shoes made me complacent, and I was walking around feeling like my feet are protected, and therefore I didn't look where I was placing my feet.

In that sense shoes could provide, in some cases (definitely not all) a false sense of security.

I'm NOT saying going barefoot is safer.
I'm simply pointing out that the theory that wearing shoes is safer is not as simple as it's portrayed.
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Mar 18, 2014
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Southern Tablelands, NSW
Each to their own. If wearing nothing on your hooves out scrub is a bad idea, it will eventually be revealed as such to the unwary, while the deep thinkers will adapt and modify their travel style to reduce any risks.

I usually wear modern hiking boots when bushwalking, either Keens or Merrells, although last weekend I wore Vibram Five Fingers for some hard cross-country scrub bashing. It wasn't as bad as one would think, but it did have its downsides -1. it was cool watching tiny leeches surfing through the mesh of the shoe's upper; 2. stuff was forever getting caught between the big and middle toe on my right foot, which led me to discover an ingrown toenail; 3. the "lugged" "hiking" tread is not grippy enough to me for wet weather. The 4mm thick sole was plenty thick enough me for rock-hopping and bush bashing.