Many of the trails in Western Australia include some long sections of beach and we are forever being asked shoes on or off?
Well, the answer is, “it depends”.
Here is our definite guide to help you power along the sands and get the most out of your beach walks.
If the beach is soft…
Walking without shoes on a firm beach is a wonderful experience, but sinking in half a foot each step can be really challenging. Wearing boots or shoes definitely helps by increasing the surface area of your foot and preventing you from sinking in as far as you would have. It is just like the idea of snow shoes. If the beach is soft, shoes or boots will definitely help.
Are there river crossings?
Many of the beach sections on the Western Australian trails such as the Cape to Cape Track and the Bibbulmun Track, have creek crossings from May to October. We definitely recommend taking your boots off to cross creeks and rivers. The chances of foot injury whilst crossing a river is slight, where as walking in wet boots for long periods is bound to effect your feet. If you know you have river crossings and you want to walk on the beach in shoes, pack a small towel to help dry your feet on the other side.
Has there been a storm recently?
All sorts of stuff comes ashore after a storm and some of it is sharp. If there is lots of seaweed on the beach, it can often be hiding nasties for the feet. Dried up blow fish are my personal pet peeve!
There is often a section of really hard beach just near the water which is great for walking. If you find your rhythm walking close to the water, then boots off! Unless you like doing impersonations of hooded plovers running away from the surf, it is going to be much more pleasant if you just get the shoes off and take the plunge…. but be careful to always have an eye on the surf. King waves are not benevolent and they are real… like mermaids and unicorns.
What would Jesus do?
Sandals, Jandals, Thongs, flip flops. What ever you call them, they can be a great alternative to boots or shoes. Good for walking close to the water, through creek crossings and easy to get the sand out of (but also into). If you have a long beach section, don’t let it be the first time you try out your sandals. They often rub in funny places, so unless your feet are used to them, best leave them behind.
So there you have our little guide to the age old question. If you have enjoyed this article we would love you to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter.
Simon and Emily.