For years, I’ve been experimenting with barefoot living. I’ve pondered what the Native Americans in this region did with their thousands of years of experience. How did our naked ancestors work it out? How is it possible in various terrains, to be chasing down prey on foot? How does a body naturally adapt?
It is healthier for posture, locomotion, knees, etc., but what about all of those abrasive, sharp, or biting pieces along the path one takes. I could get by in a forest, generally, especially if my feet were conditioned to be used bare foot, but what about the spiny hot desert?
Traveling in the desert barefoot is just pressing your luck. It is not if, but when, catastrophe happens. I have had short discomfort on one end of the scale. Prickers and sharp rocks happen. The other end of the scale was being laid up for six weeks from a deep toxic cholla thorn embedded in just the correct nerve.
An elderly friend with no feeling in his feet, was under home healthcare because of the first degree burns that he unwittingly sustained one afternoon. He was in his garden in his backyard, on concrete and rocks, while barefoot. He just didn’t realize that his flesh was literally broiling.
So, how did the ancient locals do it?
The Native Americans around here all have had important cultural traditions in long distance running for hunting, sport and travel.
I visited the University of Arizona a couple of days ago. I found the evidence. While most Native cultures around here were pretty much nude, there were shoes to protect feet, at least while running hundreds of miles across wilderness desert.
Living in a grouping of huts, gathering shrubbery carefully, squatting for seating, all may be done naked all over, but there are times when that just isn’t practical.
I was pleased to find this exhibit. It confirmed many questions that I have been carrying about feet. This is a far cry from the rubber tire treads huarache shoes of the Tarahumara of today.
The practicality of the weather and a distinct lack of cloth to be found has brought the general conclusion that clothing wasn’t a daily occurrence. Skins and cotton were available. Evolutionary adapted dark pigment helped protect the locals. My experience over decades has shown me that wearing clothing is ridiculous most of the year.
The first eight chapters of the barefoot living series can be found in the table of contents. The publishing date is there, just look it up from the archives listing on the side of the main page.
I am on the forum of FreeRangeNaturism.com often, if you would like to converse.
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I’ve no great insights, but one branch of my family are farmers in eastern Conn. They’re not nudists, but unless they’re operating machinery shoes’re nowhere to be found.
OTOH, when I peruse pics of people doing the stuff of daily life in the buff, I find frequent, half-joking comments about dangers to various parts of the anatomy. My comments (which I try to make in a humorous way – mostly failing, I suspect) usually say something to the effect of the feet appearing to be in more danger of injury than the rest of the body combined.
While my WFH attire consists only of an appropriate shirt, my feet are always socked & shod, ready for anything.
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My feet are testaments to my barefoot all over lifestyle. Both big toes have purple nails and there’s a contusion on a left toe resulting for a mis-landing of the sledge after a sharp blow to the wedge. Having been a safety guy in the construction industry over the last few decades, I have seen the hazards confronted by our extremities. PPE helps, but goes only so far. Planning and careful execution are the best preventions.