It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, and the time we get questions about how we handle hot parking lots that have been baking in the sun. Here are a few tips.
First of all, if you go barefoot all the time, you’ll probably build up a much thicker layer of skin on your sole. This acts as a pretty good insulation, so it means that I can just walk across most surfaces without too much problem. It also helps that, while walking, one’s foot is in the air about 50% of the time, so they can having some cooling off time. Running gives even more air-cooling time, but isn’t always as dignified.
Many don’t have the luxury of going barefoot all the time. Jobs can have such restrictive demands. Thus, the soles of many barefooters just don’t have the chance to build up that sort of insulation. So here are two other tricks:
- Walk on the lines. The painted lines in a parking lot (or along the side of a road, if that’s where you are walking) are often quite a bit cooler than blacktop. Sure, to walk along them you need to practice your tightrope walking skills, but who knows when you might need them?
- Walk on the shady side of any cars. If there are any cars in the parking lot, you can plan your route so that you at least spend part of your time walking in their shade. Just a little bit of this allows your feet to cool off enough to handle, yet again, a longer stretch that has been heated in the sun.
If you overdo it, you can get blisters. If you get close to overdoing it, but without causing problems, the bottoms of your feet will feel just a little bit “loose.” (Don’t let that progress to “blister loose”!) However, just that little bit of looseness won’t hurt you, and it prompts your feet to strengthen up, temperature-wise, just as walking on a rough surface just to the challenge-point prompts your feet to create the extra skin to handle the challenge.
It’s a fine line to walk, challenging the soles enough to strengthen them, temperature-wise, without damaging them. Kind of like the fine line of walking on parking lot lines.
[Update: I've added a third trick, at the entry entitled Another hot tip.]