family adventure, hiking, hiking in Israel, Israel Trail

Just Call Me The Barefoot Backpacker

I’ve got terrible bunions – inherited from my mom. I figure that I’ll eventually have to go through surgery, as she has. But for now, I definitely have an interest in avoiding that route.

I don’t wear heels and I’m quite sensible about my feet. My husband and I like to joke that you know summer is coming when my Fit-Flops come out, and you know it’s soon winter when my Uggs appear. I’ve got a lot of each – but really only one type of winter shoe and one summer one. Oh, and I’ve got the cutest penguin shoes from UIN. They have got great shoes – and such personality.

UIN Hand painted Design Art Shoes Women/Men Canvas Loafers for Wide Feet Comfort Shoes Outdoor Fashion Sneaker Super Lightweight|Women's Flats| - AliExpress

But I digress….

Back to the bunions. So, in my daily life, the bunions really don’t bother me. But my family got in their heads that we needed to walk the entire Israel Trail. That’s about 1100 kilometers of rugged land for this almost-50-year-old mom. Trying to keep up with six extremely athletic sons is no small task.

We started, and within the first 20 kilometers my feet were on fire. My kids would know when it was coming when I suddenly stopped and seemed completely unable to move another step. Then the “uh-ohs” would start, and everyone would take a seat while I gently peeled my foot out of my boot as I tried not to cry or scream. After about two days of this, I realized that I had to switch to my dependable purple sandals. And that’s what I wore for the next 85 kilometers.

These shoes have seen a LOT of kilometers!

I’ve now been to the podiatrist, tried shoe inserts, tried those over-the-counter bunion blockers, and everything else you might imagine.

On one of these hikes, as I was slipping along the rocks, my 20-year-old son said, “Wait, I’ve got an idea. I’ve been reading about the philosophy of hiking barefoot or nearly barefoot and I think less might actually be more for you.” He said that there is a store in Tel Aviv called, of all things, Barefoot and that we should check it out. This kid knows everything!

Soon after this conversation, we had a surprise night in Tel Aviv, and we found ourselves at the Barefoot store. Their website explains the philosophy as such : “Barefoot hiking allows your feet to sense the changing terrain, making every step a vital one and enhancing your experience of the great outdoors. With minimal hiking shoes your brain is engaged with every foot placement improving balance and reconnecting you with your true potential.”

Now you’ll know why I’m wearing these funny red shoes on the trails while everyone around me is in substantial hiking shoes.

Barefoot has solved my problem for now and allowed me – if not to keep up with my family on the trails – then at least to BE on the trails with them. What a gift!

Now, back to finishing those 1000 kilometers still in front of us.

2 thoughts on “Just Call Me The Barefoot Backpacker

  1. So glad you were introduced by Matan to Barefoot. Apparently, their shoes made a real difference for you. Sorry I gave you the bunions. Mom

  2. I’ve also been wearing shoes that feel like there’s almost nothing on. They’re a stretch fabric and the sole lets me feel every stone. They were cheap, and I’ll wear them until they fall apart.

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