The Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC is an informal group of barefooters that walk barefoot on grass and hike barefoot on non-grassy trails. Walks and hikes vary in length and difficulty and are usually on weekday afternoons, Saturdays or Sundays. The locations are in and around the Metropolitan Kansas City area.
Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC is open to serious barefoot walkers and experienced barefoot hikers. Barefoot beginners should gain experience prior to hiking with our group. There are no dues or costs but a waiver must be signed prior to hiking. There are no age limitations but anyone under 18 should come with an adult and both should have barefoot walking/hiking experience. Well-behaved leashed dogs are allowed.
- To promote, practice and enjoy barefoot walking on grass for exercise
- To promote, practice and enjoy barefoot hiking for the challenging experience
- To have a group that is available for experienced barefoot hikers and walkers that actively participates in finding new places for walks and hikes and enjoys the company of the others.
The essence of barefoot walking and hiking on non-manmade surfaces is that they are the natural way to walk and hike. Generations of humans have been going barefoot for tens of thousands of years and many millions still do today. Our feet are extremely well adapted for unshod walking and hiking outdoors. In our group, we practice both barefoot hiking (on nature trails) and barefoot walking (in grassy parks) because they are natural and very enjoyable, plus they are generally safe when practiced properly. The group size for the hikes and walks is typically very small, usually two or three and rarely above five.
Barefoot hiking groups like ours exist in other areas of the U.S., Canada and other countries. The first ones began over 20 years ago. Richard Frazine's book "The Barefoot Hiker" provides a very good introduction to barefoot hiking. Of course the best way to learn about anything is to experience it.
Our barefoot hiking group is the first in the world to also promote barefoot walking on grass for exercise ("natural walking") as part of an exercise program. Walking barefoot outdoors in safe locations can be beneficial. Dr. P. Brand (a professor of surgery) is one of many health professionals and experts on foot care who extol walking barefoot; "The average person who walks barefoot has much healthier feet than the average person who wears shoes." When proper safety precautions are practiced, barefoot walking usually has little risk and is superior to shod walking in several ways.
We barefoot walkers and hikers enjoy the feeling of the different vegetation, moisture levels and ground textures, as well as the pleasure of getting outdoor exercise without heat-trapping and blister-causing shoes. We enjoy the overall feeling of freedom and health benefits of walking barefoot in nature. If you want to share in these simple pleasures with us and live in or near the K.C. Metro area, contact the coordinator.
Also, please note the following:
- Since the weather and other circumstances can cause a cancellation, it is necessary for each participant to notify the coordinator that you plan to attend at least one day in advance
- We have walks and hikes in the following counties: Douglas, Johnson, Wyandotte in KS AND Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte in MO
- If you want to go on a hike or walk, read The Safety Guidelines for Barefoot Grass Walking
- On any walk or hike, while we all look out for each other, your health and safety is YOUR responsibility
- Practice walking barefoot outdoors and some barefoot hiking before your first hike
The leader of Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of Greater Kansas City is Tom Kutscher who is the world's leading advocate for natural walking (barefoot grass walking) for exercise. He has done over 5,000 miles of barefoot hikes and walks.
- Society for Barefoot Living is an excellent site for those who love going barefoot. It has links to other great sites.
- Barefoot Hikers has other barefoot hiking groups and Richard Frazine's book, The Barefoot Hiker, available online.
- Parents for Barefoot Children -- pretty well what the name says it is.
- Footloose and Boot Free: Barefoot Hiking -- N.Y. Times article that mentions Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC