Cold Weather Barefooting
I have had plenty of experience with cold weather barefooting this year. Once the toes and soles go numb you are better off warming them than pushing on and risking damage. Running on a surface that is not likely to cause damage(grass,etc.) is a good idea in frigid conditions if you push past the numb stage. The damage to your skin is one thing to worry about, but the lack of feeling allows more impact and more trauma to everything beneath the skin level.
If you are very experienced with your barefoot form you may be able to avoid injury during numb barefoot activity. Frozen tissue is nothing to take lightly from frost nip to full on frostbite. I doubt that many of us would be outdoors running or doing parkour in temperatures that would result in these conditions, but I have seen Barefoot Ricks pictures of his frostbitten toes after a lengthy snow run, so it is possible. When people say,” We count on our feet for feedback,” when they go numb they are giving us plenty of feedback. If we push on past the initial warning we get what we get and that is usually some form of trauma in my experience.
With my regular barefooting the last two months in cold weather( low 30’s-40 degrees) would say that my feet have become a bit more used to cold temperatures. I have experimented with keeping the core warmer with hopes of keeping blood flow moving to the feet regulating my core temperature with a little success. This allows more training time, but running that warm on top is not that nice either. I have come to the conclusion that when things go numb I loose the benefits of barefoot sports which is the ability to feel the impact of my foot and when that happens it is like putting on shoes without the protection of the rubber sole.
When my feet go numb today I stop and take a break and warm them up and continue on until they need warming again. Pushing past the numb point provides limited benefits if any. The real challenge is cutting the fun short so I can play tomorrow