First I would like to say that I wish I had found a posting like this when I transitioned to barefoot running/walking.
I just came back from my first winter hike of the season. Here in Vermont it is 20 degrees and has been snowing through the night and this morning. This means that the trail my brother and I walked on has a fresh coating of snow over the leaves. On this lovely hike I wore my Soft Star Original Runamocs with medium cushion Wigwam wool tube socks. My Runamocs had been getting a bit cold in weather below 30 degrees.
One night my brothers and I went for a walk around on a paved road with little snow. After about 30 minutes my feet began to get cold and move towards numbing. On the walk back I flexed my feet, stomped on the ground, and stretched them, tightened them, etc. to get some warmth back in them. This did work, to my delight, but it wasn't comfortable, just good enough to get me back to the warmth of my house. However, my experience today has changed everything.
The first thing I noticed on the hike up was that the ground was slippery, and not just for me but also my brother who was wearing thick, waterproof army boots. The snow coating made the trail slick, so one had to be careful on the steep inclines. However, I was able to feel and grab roots, rocks, etc. very well! The ground feel was incredible for the winter! My feet cool actually bend around rocks and roots like they might be able to in the summer with bare feet or huaraches! As a result my feet got a major workout, seeing as I haven't been doing minimalist runs lately. Once back on flat pavement I could feel like slight ache that athletes crave. But the best part of the hike was that my feet stayed 100% dry! While the uppers of my Runamocs got a bit wet in the toe, the Wigwam socks kept me warm and even a little hot at times! I was so happy with this experience that I wondered how my Smartwool toe socks would fair. After getting back home and taking off the moccasins, I check the wool socks and only the tips were slightly damp and I believe some of that was sweat. I am very very please with the result because this allowed me to practice my form on the trail, stepping light and on the mid/forefoot. At the same time I stayed warm but didn't compromise ground feel! I will test out hiking with toe socks soon and post about their effectiveness as well.
Thanks for reading and as always, take off your socks and shoes and go barefoot! (Unless it's below 30)
P.S. I recently got some other great advice on going minimalist in a read cold winter. One comment on birthdayshoes.com recommended going to a shoe guy to get the sole removed and replaced with a zero drop sole (like the Vibram Newporter in his case). He said this cost about $50 and could be done by any shoe repair place. Here's the post:
"Comment from: JD Hall [Visitor]
These are very similar to boots that I modified after falling in love with VFF and minimalist shoes. I had an old pair of Red Wing boots that I stopped wearing because of the huge heel. I took them to a local shoe repair shop and had the sole, shank, and everything else removed. Vibram Newporter soles were then stitched on. I love wearing them in the winter and for work now and the modifications only cost around $50. Any shoe repair store can make this conversion for you. I'll post pics in the forum section.
12/08/11 @ 10:33"
It was from this new post on the Oetzi 3300 Troop Boot:
Good luck and have fun!