I took my new Feelmax shoes backpacking. The Man and I did a 14 mile each way trip on the Sespe Creek. The trail used to be a road long ago, so it is gently graded. There were a lot of creek crossing that were deep so we had to take off our shoes to go across.
I wore the Feelmaxes for about 4 miles on Saturday and maybe 3 miles on Sunday. I put the hard plastic part of a pair of Superfeet insoles under the thin flimsy insole the Feelmax shoes come with. I was worried I might hurt myself on rocks on the trail. I think I worried too much about that. I took the Superfeet plastic out at one point and while I could feel the difference, there wasn't any pain.
They feel like being barefoot without the fear of hurting your feet on little rocks. They kind of smooth the rocks out. You can still feel everything underfoot, except for those little rocks that stick to your feet and hurt the most. Without the fear of pain, you are free to experience walking with your feet as god made them.
I really didn't want to get them dirty, which is kind of silly if you are going backpacking, but I took care to keep them clean. We took a side trail to a hot spring and I tried not to step in any mud or get them wet. The hot spring was wonderful. What a luxury to sit in a hot pool of water looking at snow on the Topatopa bluffs above!
After a soak in the pool, I continued to wear them as we hiked cross country to avoid two creek crossings. The feeling of walking through an old pasture in them was extraordinary. I could feel the softness of the dirt. As we continued toward rejoining the trail, we crossed some rocky section of an old trail and then bushwhacked through a flat area with small shrubs. About this time I started to feel like my feet were getting tired and I put my regular shoes back on.
When we finally found our campsite, I used them as camp shoes. They feel nice as camp shoes.
On the way home, I waited until there was a long stretch without creek crossings and tried wearing them again. Now I could feel how sore I was. There are all kinds of muscles in your feet and legs that don't get used when you wear regular shoes. All kinds of things were sore from the thighs down. It wasn't the sore I get from wearing motion control shoes, the absolute pain and agony of my feet being injured. It was the sore of working new muscles. It was also the soreness of bad habits formed from wearing chunky shoes. All that crashing on the heels walking fast is really hard on the knees and you notice it in these shoes.
My hope is that my feet and legs will get stronger. I think it might actually work.