After my Around the Bay 30K walking experience I threw out my blister-maker, toe-holed, 10-year-old shoes but was at a loss as to know what to replace them with. The sandals that held so much hope proved to be duds when 1/2 hour into the last walk with Candy we had to turn back as blisters were forming on my feet again. I completed most of the walk on the way back, barefoot which, though it left me with blackened soles, was a vast improvement in the comfort department.
I used to often walk barefoot around McMaster campus in the early '70's (ah the days of my free-spirited, youth). Through high school and university when I did have to wear shoes they were simple deerskin hide moccasins that I tied on to my feet. And putting these things on feels surprisingly similar.
Without layers of rubber, air cushions, springs and all sorts of gimmicks that the latest style of running shoe offers, I can once more feel the earth, concrete and gravel under my feet. Knowing this most people ask "Doesn't that hurt?" when they stop me to check out my unusual foot ware.
Believe me I've gotten stopped a lot. I can tell you that I was a real hit at Mom's nursing home the other day when one of the little old ladies began pointing and yelling, "Look at her feet! Look at her feet!" everyone came running thinking that some horrible affliction was breaking out amongst the residents only to find a crowd gathered around me and checking out these funny looking shoes. And, just today a woman stopped me in the grocery store's parking lot, "I hope you don't mind me asking but, at first I thought you were some kind of nut walking around in your socks, then I took another look and I just have to see them." After I flashed them at her she exclaimed, "How cute," asked me a gazillion questions and then stated, "I just have to get a pair."
In answer to the question...no it doesn't hurt to walk in them, amazingly not, I think it's because I have to be more mindful of every step. So, not only do my feet feel happy, I in turn feel more grounded and connected to everything around me. I walk and run more naturally with the most impact on the balls of my feet rather than pounding on my heels.
Sure my feet sweat a little in them, but it's not been a problem for me and people don't recoil when I take them off so I know there's been no problem for anybody in my immediate vicinity.
Though I plan to walk Around the Bay 30K next year in them, I'll probably have to buy another pair before then as I'm wearing these everywhere, all the time. Anything else pales in comparison. It's a good thing I'm not a dress wearing kind of gal, that really would look weird.