Believing bare feet the best choice for the woodland trails of Western Connecticut, the
Barefoot Hikers of Thomaston leave shoes behind when they meet for an intensive (and therefore
leisurely paced) exploration of some suitable section of trail. We are reorganising presently, but
shall attempt in future to do at least two Saturday morning and one Sunday morning walk a
month from April through November. walks in the winter months will be less frequent. Richard Frazine, the groups founder and leader, is also the author of THE BAREFOOT HIKER (Ten Speed Press, 1993), which, as a thorough presentation both of the advantages to be had by hiking in bare feet and the skills required to do so safely, is the first book of its kind. Barefoot even in winter, Richard has always hiked barefoot, and has done so over much of England, Europe, and North America. His experience as an instructor in barefoot hiking goes back to the spring of 1989, when he organised the 'Barefoot on the Mattatuck Trail' walks for the Sierra Club.
We are an open group in the sense that anyone interested is more than welcome to participate in the programme; and this welcome is expressly extended to children and well behaved dogs. All new participants are placed on our telephone and e-mail lists and given free sign'd and footprinted copies of THE BAREFOOT HIKER. We have no dues or membership fees.
Free and open as we are in these respects, however, we must nonetheless insist on certain rules:
First of all, we
are strictly barefoot. We are committed to providing a competent programme of
instruction to develop the sensitivity and awareness necessary for SAFE and
enjoyable barefoot hiking. In order to fulfill this commitment without distraction, we must insist
that everyone go barefoot. Although we ordinarily recommend that shoes be left at home,
first-timers may, if they feel more comfortable in doing so, carry some light footwear with them.
Everyone, however, is expected to arrive barefoot and begin each hike in bare feet.
bring water, and should carry a rucksack or other bag, a light, fold-into-a-pocket waterproof, and
a lunch or snack, depending on the length of the walk and the weather.
The photographs above are from barefoot hikes allong the Mattatuck trail.
Betty Gene Buda, whose bare feet are featured on the left, also appears seated with her dog on the right (with Beth Frazine in the background). Betty Gene is now a physical fitness instructor who uses barefoot hiking as part of her teaching programme.
The logo used at the top of this page, first associated with the Barefoot
Thomaston, and now also used by a growing number of sister groups, is protected by copyright and
will be defended if dishonour'd or misused. It may, however, be freely used by any Society for Barefoot Living members and bona fide
barefoot hikers. To facilitate this, the next hyperlink will load the 16 grey, 500x300 pixel,
transparent GIF file of the Barefoot Hikers logo as its own page for ease of copying. Users are free to change the colours used, or
add embossing or other mechanical
barefoot bullet GIFs used here may also be freely appropriated.
Of General Interest to Barefooters:
The State of Connecticut has never had any State laws (nor any Health Department regulations)
of any kind regarding footwear or the lack thereof. Despite the simplicity of checking this fact (which we have repeatedly verified) there remain widespread and persistent beliefs both that it is illegal to drive a car while barefooted (when in fact there has never been any such prohibition anywhere in the United States) and that bare feet violate either state laws or Department of Health regulations for establishments ranging from restaurants to publick libraries (which is not only untrue of Connecticut, but of every one of the more than 30 other states concerning which we have so far been able to find any accurate information). You should be aware that anyone discriminating against the unshod and claiming any state mandate to do so is illegally usurping the authority of the State or of a taxpayer supported State agency, and is also spreading a type of disinformation which amounts to slander. While the Barefoot Hikers per se are not directly involved in helping those who have been the victims of such discrimination and disinformation, we can quite readily refer them to affiliated organisations which are so engaged.
We prefer to patronize stores and restaurants that are barefoot friendly.