Many barefooters really enjoy hiking barefoot. As I put it when other, shod hikers ask me about it is
We go into the woods to see the sights, hear the sounds, and smell the smells. And then we turn off our sense of touch.
When we hike barefoot, we turn on our sense of touch and get to appreciate the various textures of all the different surfaces we walk on: mud, dirt, sand, moss, pine needles, hemlock needles, and so much more.
But non-barefooters also worry about whether we can appreciate the rest of the woods if we have to be so careful where we put our feet. Are we missing the scenery because we have to spend so much time making sure we don’t step on rocks?
When you first start hiking barefoot, you probably will miss some of the scenery. You really are taking extra precautions over where to put your feet so you spend quite a bit more time looking down (though, of course, you can always stop to admire the scenery).
However, it turns out that your brain, with a little bit of experience, figures out how to walk and
chew gum keep an eye out at the same time. After you do it for a while, you will discover that you will scan ahead, do a quick memorization of any possible hazards, and then safely negotiate that path. So, you end up being able to look at the scenery while your mind subconsciously handles the placement of your feet. Pretty cool, eh?