Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Today we tried something new: The barefoot Kneipp trail from Wildhaus to Gamplüt in the beautiful Toggenburg. We would also like to dig a bit into why it is good to walk barefoot?
We started at the Gamplüt panorama center in Wildhaus. The trail follows the paved road for about 500 meters before it leads through alpine meadows up the mountain and ends after around 1 hour at the restaurant Gamplüt. Various signs along the way encourage to stop and enjoy nature.
Kneipp therapy is a European naturopathic treatment named after pastor Sebastian Kneipp (1821–1897), based on water and plants, exercise and nutritional recommendations.
We were first hesitant if this trail is something for us, but we were positively surprised! Why is it good to walk barefoot? At first, it feels weird to hike barefoot - as if you forgot something, but already after a few minutes, you start to wonder why you even own hiking shoes. You have a whole different perception of your hike and pay much more attention to the trail. Of course, the trail is specifically targeted towards barefoot hiking so we of course won’t hike barefoot on any hike from now on.
To get back to the valley you can either take one of the many hiking trails down (with shoes), use the gondola or – the most fun way – rent a scooter.
By the way: On your journey to the Toggenburg you should plan a quick stop in Werdenberg located in the St. Gallen Rhine Valley. Werdenberg is the only medieval wooden town left in Switzerland. A stroll around the picturesque little lake, through the town and up to the Werdenberg castle is really worth it.
Why is it good to walk barefoot? 1. It aids healthy foot development: A child's feet cannot develop properly if they are continually restricted (especially in poorly constructed shoes). This can affect the natural walk and produce irreversible alterations in the structure of the foot (or how we walk). As a result, in severe cases, it can cause health problems such as knee, hip, and back difficulties.
2. It improves foot, ankle, and lower leg strength: Greater strength means more agility and fewer injuries. While shoes might provide additional stability, they can also prevent the natural development of ankle and foot stability. 3. It aids especially children in developing body awareness: Our feet contain hundreds of thousands of nerve endings, making them extremely sensitive. As a result, walking barefoot makes us feel safer and more aware of our surroundings.