We’re now moving into tick season. If you look for advice on ticks, almost all sources say the same thing. Here, for instance, is what it says at Wild Survival:
Dress for the outdoors by wearing light colored clothesl Wear long pants tucked into socks or boots. Long sleeves protect bare arms. Do not go barefoot or in sandals. Routinely inspect clothing for ticks.
So, there you are, in the middle of summer, wearing your shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, long sleeves, hat. You might as well be wearing a space suit. At least a space suit has air conditioning.
The advice we see here looks typical of a lot of advice that is given. Somebody, somewhere, made a best guess, and then everybody else just picks up on it without really analyzing it. We see that a lot when it comes to the myths regarding bare feet. Somebody makes a guess, and it becomes “accepted wisdom” without any strong factual basis.
How do we really dress for the summer? Shorts. Light clothing.
So, if you are wearing shorts anyways, does wearing shoes really make much of a difference in regards to ticks? Probably not. But then again, maybe it does. Because the socks that are being worn give the ticks a new hiding place while they search for a place to attach.
The solution to that is, ta-da, go barefoot. If you are not into completely wrapping yourself up for the summer (yuck), then the best solution is to expose as much skin as possible so that you can see the ticks. Wear shorter shorts; go barefoot.
That way, it is very easy to spot them before they have a chance to attach anywhere. After or during a barefoot hike, I have occasionally found one climbing up my leg, but I have never had one attach. The only time I’ve ever had ticks attach was when my dog brought one home.
So, bottom line? Going barefoot adds no additional risk from ticks, and in fact may reduce the risk by making it easier to find them before they attach and can transmit disease. And once again, the common “advice” is promulgated without actual knowledge.