I can pitch in a little on the barefoot thing. I have been going minamulist for over a year now. And like they say, it takes some getting used to. But I will never go back to real shoes. They just don't fit my foot comfterably anymore.
Although I have not done much long distance hiking in these shoes I have done some short but very large elevation drops. I have used the vff (vibram five finger KSO type) in all of the situations. From climbing the highest mountains in the state to running the hardest half marathon in the northwest. Robie Creek.
The only time I have ever backpacked with much weight (40 lbs or so) I found them very comfy. I never had a feeling that I was going to roll an ankle because I have built up all of those muscles and tendons.
A few things to remember when wearing a vff is that you must size it almost a bit small. They tend to stretch out when they get wet. Also, they suck in rain. It takes hours for it to dry inbetween your toes.
Edited by Cole Pendell (02/15/12 09:42 AM)