The Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC website is primarily a free information service to the public. Group barefoot hikes were discontinued in 2015 and Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC is no longer a hiking "group" with official scheduled events. However, if you are an experienced barefoot hiker, informal barefoot hikes may be arranged with the founder Tom Kutscher. Please refer below for the link where it says "contact Tom."
One of the primary roles of Barefoot Hikers and Grass Walkers of GKC during the previous 10 years through 2015 was to provide a barefoot hiking group for the Metro Kansas City area. That group role has now been discontinued as a result of most of the core members having moved out of the area, and over time not enough replacement core members could be added. The other primary roles that the site had that included providing free information on barefoot walking, barefoot health benefits, barefoot exercise, general exercise, and barefoot living are being continued.
- To provide information on walking barefoot on grass and natural surfaces for exercise (natural walking for exercise)
- To provide information on barefoot living and the health benefits of going barefoot
- To provide other useful information such as on exercise ratings, barefoot safety, and barefoot hiking
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. Both barefoot hiking (on nature trails) and barefoot walking (in grassy parks) are done by barefoot enthusiasts 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 formerly was) exist in other areas of the U.S., Canada and other countries. The first ones began over 30 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.
For those who would like to try barefoot hiking, I recommend starting with barefoot grass walking. Then once you are ready for hiking trails, try barefooting on easy hiking hiking trails with mostly dirt and grass and eventually graduate to more challenging surfaces. Over time hiking barefoot on rocky, stoney, very uneven surfaces, surfaces with lots of tree debris, roots and stubs, etc., will become easier and easier. Becoming good at barefoot hiking takes time and becoming an master of it takes several years.
While barefoot grass walking (natural walking) for exercise can be done with others, it best to do alone so that you can maintain the pace that you want. Likewise, barefoot hiking can be done alone or with others, but I believe that hiking alone is best for connecting to nature, for appreciating nature, for quiet contemplation, for avoiding distractions, and for chilling out.
Our barefoot hiking group was 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 are an experienced barefoot hiker, live in the Metro KC area or close to it, and would like to arrange a barefoot hike with Tom Kutscher, contact TOM.
The founder 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 7,500 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 Hiking 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