I’ve written before about how I play tennis barefoot. But I’ve also written about how, while barefoot hiking builds up the soles, barefoot tennis tends to wear it down.
So, what ought I do when I’m preparing for a hiking trip?
Like I said, I play tennis barefoot.
But all the stopping and cutting on a tennis court, particularly an outdoor tennis court, tends to sand off the callus I build up.
As you might have guessed from some of my recent postings (you know, yesterday’s entry in which I carried a 40 pound backpack while climbing hills), I’m planning a backpacking trip and trying to make sure I’m in shape. However, with the arrival (finally!) of warmer spring weather, I’m also playing more tennis as the outdoor season starts.
So, what am I to do to help ensure that my soles are fit for a backpacking trip?
The obvious solution seems to be for me to start wearing shoes for playing tennis.
As regular readers are well-aware, I rarely, very rarely, wear footwear of any kind. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I wore any. But hey, I want to train properly and not undo the effects of that training too much.
Anyways, yesterday evening I played a couple of hours, wearing shoes. It was a constant reminder of why I go shoeless so much.
The first thing I noticed was at the 2nd metatarsal on my right foot. I have a bit of (I think) Morton’s neuroma, which barely bothers me while barefoot. As it says here,
The pain is exacerbated with wearing tight or constricted shoes and alleviated while walking barefoot.
That starting kicking up almost immediately. Normally, while barefoot, I can subtly shift my weight a bit and it feels fine. In a shoe, my foot was locked in place. Ow.
Then my left big toe started up at the main joint. Again, my foot was locked in place and there was no way to compensate. Ow. Ow.
Both of these maladies are basically a result of getting older. I have other parts of my body that are also starting to go. But it is only shoes that exacerbate these effects of getting older.
Then, after about half an hour my arches starting bitching and moaning. I tend to have fairly low arches that bother me not the least when barefoot. But stick them into a shoe . . .
It’s not even as if the shoe had a high internal arch (those used to drive me absolutely nuts), because it didn’t. It wasn’t even the inner arch that started to bother me, it was the outer one. Again, the sole of the shoe wasn’t allowing my whole foot to work the way it is supposed to work. It was freezing the motion of muscles that were used to carrying the load, and forced it all on muscles that really weren’t designed to do so. They still ached 3 hours later.
That’s the subversiveness of shoes. That’s one reason so many people have foot problems.
Let me show again the youtube video of me playing tennis.
The point isn’t to show what a good tennis player I am (I’m not). It’s to show how easy it is when barefoot.
Oh, and when I played yesterday in shoes, I felt clumsier than anything. The shoes really were boat anchors—my movement sucked.
So, there really is a reason . . . that I go barefoot so much.