Hundreds of do-gooders kick off their shoes for charity barefoot walk
Habitual barefoot walkers Chris Wright and Andrew Howard were in their element at a charity walk which banished shoes.
The Nottingham Barefoot Walk, which is now in its third year, attracted more than 500 people on Sunday while raising vital funds for five charities.
Chris, of South Road, Beeston, said it was great to see people of all ages taking part in the event.
The 47-year-old added: ‘‘I go barefoot all the time so for me it was fine. It is good for your feet. The walk was nice and easy and it was good that everyone could do it.’’
Fellow walker Andrew, 47, travelled from Pinxton in Derbyshire to take part in the event. He said he regularly walks barefoot to the shops, pub and business meetings.
Andrew, of Widmerpool Street, said: ‘‘I only ever put shoes on for important occasions. I just love the connection to the earth and the different textures you feel.
‘‘This event was an experience after my own heart, plus it raises money for charity, so how could I not? It has been great. Very well organised with a lovely route.’’
Participants were asked to pay a fee to enter either the 3k or 5k walk, which saw them taking in the picturesque surroundings of Wollaton Hall.
Money raised will be split between Shoe Aid, the NSPCC, Double Impact drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme, the British Heart Foundation and Rainbows Children’s Hospice.
Debbie Blake, 60, of Stapleford, led the second 5k walk.
She said: ‘‘It is good to walk barefoot because it makes you aware of your surroundings, the surfaces and textures. Sometimes we noticed everything on our delicate feet but sometimes it was like walking on cotton wool. When we put our shoes back on it really makes you appreciate them.’’
Event founder Lee Todd, of in Long Eaton, set up Shoe Aid in 2010. So far it has sent more than 30,000 pairs of shoes to Africa and Eastern Europe.
Event organiser Toby Hewson said: ‘‘The event is fantastic, it has grown so much year on year. Everyone loves it, we have never had a single piece of bad feedback about the walks. People have been surprised by how much they enjoyed feeling the grass underneath their toes. One person even said at the end they didn’t want to put their ‘foot cages’ back on. Raising money for the charities is the most important part of it. It all benefits the community.’’
More than six boxes of unwanted shoes were collected at the event. Anyone wishing to donate one of their old pairs should visit the Nottingham Barefoot Walk Facebook page.