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Barefoot... in Texas! Is it safe?

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  • Barefoot... in Texas! Is it safe?

    Hello!
    I already feel really stupid asking this, so if you have something mean to say please keep it to yourself! Anyway... I live in the UK, and basically we don't have any nasty bitey critters to speak of and those that could harm people are very shy (like adders). I have family in Texas who I will visit in August and since I will have 2 weeks in the sun (or hurricane!) I plan to trapse around barefoot where I can. My family is just west of Houston in Fulshear. The last 2 guests I took out there were bitten by spiders on the leg and while it wasn't life threatening it was pretty yucky and really sore, big blisters etc. I don't want to be eaten! A couple of weeks ago my grandmother made a right fuss cos there was a snake by the front door but sadly it was disposed of by passing refuse collectors so I have no idea if it was poisonous or not. Is it safe to walk barefoot outside in east Texas or should I save it for home?
    Thanks in advance!
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread55701.html

  • #2
    One thing to take into consideration besides the snakes, bugs etc is the heat. Most of the Southern/eastern US is being hit by a heat wave. 100+ degree weather + pavement/asphalt etc can burn the hell out of your feet. A friend of mine in high school had to have skin grafts because she walked barefoot across a parking lot. If you are doing mostly trail stuff the heat may be less of a factor but then you have the snakes etc to take into account.

    That said, I do not see there being much chance of a spider biting you while walking/running. They seem to bite people while they are sleeping (if it is the legs/body) or while moving things (bites to the hands and arms). A snake might get you if you surprise it but given how rattlesnakes etc strike (above the ankle) anything short of boots might not make a difference. So...barefoot or tennis shoes...seems about the same to me.

    Hopefully others who actually live in TX will chime in.

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    • #3
      I grew up in the backwoods of East Texas and I used to run around barefoot all the time as a kid.

      I'd be more worried about stepping in a fire ant mound than snakes and spiders, those little bastards can ruin your day whether you have shoes on or not.

      I live in Dallas now and regularly run in five fingers and occasionally barefoot on local mountain biking trails, I've never had any problems. It's no different than any other place... just watch were you step.
      "Canned food is a perversion,' Ignatius said. 'I suspect that it is ultimately very damaging to the soul."
      - John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)

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      • #4
        I grew up in Dallas, TX and live in West Texas. You CAN go barefoot, but if you're coming here in the heat of summer, I'd highly recommend against it if you're doing it in city. Blisters, sore feet, asphalted feet are not your friend. If you're in country or on grass, then yeah, go nuts. Be careful, avoid tall grass and leaf piles, as those are where the animals you're worried about tend to hide. In Texas, for the most part, there's really only 5 venomous creatures you need to worry about, and in all cases, you have to disturb them where they like to hide. The rattlesnake will warn you with it's characteristic rattle if it feels you're coming too close. The cottonmouth and rattler tend to hide in tall grass, leaf piles, and under rocks. The water moccasin tends to live in and around bodies of still water, so if you stay out of murky water, you have no real concern with the water moccasin. The two spiders of concern are the black widow and the brown recluse. Look 'em up, be able to identify them, but don't be too concerned. Unless you go poking around in dark, holey spots or leaf piles and under rocks, you should be fine. You really won't see any of those unless you're out in the country, as they tend to stay out of the city. If you are going out trailhiking, you should be fine, just be aware of your surroundings, which would be my reccomendation for anywhere. Barefoot is really a nonissue if you're not on concrete. Just watch out for stickerburrs, cacti, and mesquite. You'll be in east Texas, so your only concern for your feet would be stickerburrs, fireants, and the odd sticky ball tree nut. Animals are pretty much a nonissue, if you keep aware of your surroundings and don't go hunting them out.
        Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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        • #5
          Thanks for the thoughtful answers everyone, I appreciate your time
          Well, my parent's new place is in a nice landscaped community that has lakes and trails and a golf course I think so not exactly wild, but thankfully there is green space to avoid grilled feet, which is something I had not previously considered!
          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread55701.html

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nibbler View Post
            Thanks for the thoughtful answers everyone, I appreciate your time
            Well, my parent's new place is in a nice landscaped community that has lakes and trails and a golf course I think so not exactly wild, but thankfully there is green space to avoid grilled feet, which is something I had not previously considered!
            You'll be fine. Very few self respecting venomus critters would live anywhere landscaped.
            Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
            My Latest Journal

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nibbler View Post
              nice landscaped community that has lakes and trails and a golf course
              In that case I would not worry about a thing except the heat.
              "Canned food is a perversion,' Ignatius said. 'I suspect that it is ultimately very damaging to the soul."
              - John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)

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              • #8
                i grew up in texas as well and remember going barefoot all the time. of course kids are a lot tougher then adults at times lol

                i also second the fire ant warning. nasty little critters
                Primal Chaos
                37yo 6'5"
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike Gager View Post
                  i grew up in texas as well and remember going barefoot all the time. of course kids are a lot tougher then adults at times lol

                  i also second the fire ant warning. nasty little critters
                  I went barefoot so often that summer concrete didn't bother me and my calluses has calluses. I think the only time I put on shoes was to go into the woods, when it was cold, or if we actually went inside somewhere that required shoes, like school or the store. Fireants were/ are still evil incarnate, especially red ants.
                  Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                  My Latest Journal

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                  • #10
                    I'm from there. Visiting Houston from the UK in August? Wow, you are truly punishing yourself. Beware the fire ants. I would not go barefoot. For starters, anything paved will be hot enough to fry an egg on....
                    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TigerLily View Post
                      For starters, anything paved will be hot enough to burn an egg on....
                      Fixed that for ya.
                      Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                      My Latest Journal

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                      • #12
                        yeah you're crazy to visit Houston in August. It's hot and muggy. It's 80 deg F at 7am (yes i know it's hotter in west tx, but the humidity is just awful! I'm so sick of taking off my workout clothes & hearing them go splat on the floor because they are 100% drenched, wringing wet from sweat.) Anyway, august in texas is a good time to go to Colorado.
                        Last edited by Catherine; 07-22-2011, 10:01 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I do have to disagree with fellow native texans here.

                          The problem with going barefoot in grass or dirt, like others said, are fire ants. The problem is, you will have to be continuously focused on looking where you are going to avoid fire ant mounds, even in golf courses and communities. All you have to do is kick over ONE and you will pay for it dearly. And frankly, I suspect you would rather be focused on enjoying yourself than watching where you step.

                          And yes, solid surfaces such as pavement will fry your feet off.

                          Get vibrams, or just have peace of mind and forget about barefeet while in Texas in August.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wildwabbit View Post
                            I do have to disagree with fellow native texans here.

                            The problem with going barefoot in grass or dirt, like others said, are fire ants. The problem is, you will have to be continuously focused on looking where you are going to avoid fire ant mounds, even in golf courses and communities. All you have to do is kick over ONE and you will pay for it dearly. And frankly, I suspect you would rather be focused on enjoying yourself than watching where you step.

                            And yes, solid surfaces such as pavement will fry your feet off.

                            Get vibrams, or just have peace of mind and forget about barefeet while in Texas in August.
                            Indeed, it's hard to escape the fire ants in Texas, no matter where you go. Something else that I haven't seen mentioned is poison ivy. You never know where the sneaky, nasty stuff will turn up. My own yard is currently a jungle of it.
                            We must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility
                            -Sparrowhawk, The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wildwabbit View Post
                              All you have to do is kick over ONE and you will pay for it dearly.
                              Thing is... you will most likely get blasted by them just as bad if your wearing shoes.

                              And in a landscaped public park type situation I would not worry about it in the least. I run in areas like that all the time and have not had any trouble. The only experience I've had with fire ants in the last few years actually involved me mowing the yard while wearing shoes. I felt that sting on my ankle and next thing you know my foot is being blasted by them, little bastards had ninja'ed their way inside my shoes.
                              "Canned food is a perversion,' Ignatius said. 'I suspect that it is ultimately very damaging to the soul."
                              - John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)

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