Soul in your soles

  • Illustration of a bare foot

  When was the last time you felt mud ooze between your toes? Richard Frazine in The Barefoot Hiker encourages readers to free their feet as well as their minds. No joke: Frazine, who lives in Connecticut, has been hiking unshod for over 20 years even through sleet and snow. He recommends a woodland trail for a barefoot debut; to avoid cuts and bruises, he advises stepping straight down without any heel-to-toe motion. Frazine includes tips for hiking in snow, dealing with thorns and tells you what to wear and carry above your naked feet. And don't worry about getting ugly, callused feet: Going barefoot cleans and polishes them. Going barefoot in the forest is "almost mystical," says Frazine. "It is also an experience that brings into question our entire relationship with nature in a way that disturbs and challenges our ideas about ourselves as civilized beings."

Ten Speed Press, Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707 (800/841-2665). $7.95 softcover, 98 pages - Sara Phillips