Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hiking in Sandals

Earlier this week there were 3 of us who had on minimal shoes for class - that I noticed. As you guys know I'm a huge fan of any shoe that gives you no support or heel.

[Disclaimer: I love Xero Shoes so much that I set us up as an affiliate (check the link out below) and invested in their company - in either case your buying the shoes will make me a millionaire.

As the summer winds down we've been doing some extra hikes before winter claims our souls. Generally, I hike with Illy plus all of the extra water and snacks in the backpack. It's probably 35ish pounds on my back. Lately I've transitioned to the most minimal (and cheapest!) sandal that Xero has. It's just some paracord and a 5mm rubber sole. They've been great for me even with steep, rocky terrain, and a heavy backpack. I can actually actively use my feet to grip rocks and control the descent. I've never felt more stable - even in full mountaineering boots!  That's not surprising; I've talked before about how giving your feet direct feedback tells your brain what's going on and makes everything better. What did surprise me was the energy savings from my brain knowing what was going on.

Before, when I hiked in boots, especially with a backpack on, I would have to step up onto a rock, pause for a few milliseconds, catch my balance and then finish the step. I never really noticed the pause-and-rebalance it until it wasn't there. Normally I would credit my strong posterior chain from all the deadlifts for helping with the smooth step-up on rocks that I'm now experiencing, but I've been strong for more than the last year - so it can't be only that (though that does help a lot!).  The only way I can describe it is that I can walk up or down on rocky terrain just as smoothly as flat terrain. It's almost like I have wheels and not legs.

The energy savings was really noticeable on our last hike which started at 10,000 ft. Even after 18 years here, I still feel the effects of altitude pretty quickly, and climbing at 10,000 ft really sucks. As we started our climb, I was bracing for the slow grind up the rocks, but it never came. I just kept stepping and climbing - slowly but steadily - and I still had enough energy to yell at the crazy kids.

I'm a true minimalist, and that's why I like the Xero sandals, but Amy gets the same effect in the Prio shoe. The added safety from the control and the energy savings are direct benefits, but wearing a minimal shoe will also help your joint alignment for the long term.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


front squat 8-5-3x5


2 TGUs between strength sets

Group Workout

5 rounds at a challenging weight:
5 goblet squats
5 swings


4 rounds:
10 inchworm + push up


2 minute hollow hold


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