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Hobbits are known to be almost permanently barefoot, with their tough feet protecting them from the ground.

However, it seems that not wearing shoes or boots would have its drawbacks. If you walked around enough, especially beyond the well-maintained roads of Hobbiton, you would probably cut your foot or something at least once.

Are there any instances of Hobbits injuring their feet in a non-battle related way? Book canon is preferred, but instances from any official work is fine.

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    Their feet are likely much hardier than ours- not because they're Hobbits, but because they don't use shoes. I dunno about you, but I walk about four miles a day and parts of my feet are pretty tough. I think that would be even more the case for them. Jun 10, 2016 at 15:16
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    the text of LotR states "they seldom wore shows, since their feet had tough, leather soles and were clad in a thick curling hair" - it sounds like their feet basically were shoes (sorta like Tom's brand) already
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:20
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    Does in-universe fiction count? Sam recites a poem in which someone hurts their foot by kicking a troll, but I can't remember if that person is a hobbit or not. Most likely it is, because Sam hasn't dealt with the 'outside world' before LotR. Jun 10, 2016 at 15:33
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    We are not given the species of Tom (nor Tim) from Sam's poem. Out of universe, Tolkien originally wrote earlier forms of the poem while at University of Leeds, and was later printed privately in 1936 and was titled "The Root of the Boot" - source: "The Return of the Shadow: History of Lord of the Rings, Part 1"
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:56
  • I always thought the implication was that they were as likely to get injured as someone with shoes, possibly less so, as they are closer to the ground an pay more attention to were they place their feet. (accounting for their stealth)
    – Seeds
    Jun 10, 2016 at 16:12

3 Answers 3

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Yup! There was at least one scene in-universe where a hobbit hurt his feet. While it wasn't a cut, it still probably wouldn't have happened if he had been wearing shoes:

The afternoon was turning into evening when he came out again and stumbled and fell in a faint on the 'door-step'. The dwarves revived him, and doctored his scorches as well as they could; but it was a long time before the hair on the back of his head and his heels grew properly again: it had all been singed and frizzled right down to the skin.

This is the scene right after Bilbo Baggins talks to Smaug for the first time in The Hobbit, and Smaug breathes fire at him as he runs away.

Also, in the original trilogy, there were many instances where Frodo and Sam's feet looked pretty bruised and hurt when in Mordor. Not exactly proven, but it is certainly very possible.

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    The quote appears to relate to superficial burns to the hair on his heels, rather than actual injuries to his feet.
    – Valorum
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:59
  • Hmmm true... But it was the only one I could find in the Big Five... I think Tolkien concentrated more on the universe and the story that the hobbits' feet. >< XD
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Jul 4, 2016 at 9:57
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While not quite what you had in mind, the closest I can think of is Lalia Clayhanger, wife of the Old Took's grandson Fortinbras II, who was sometimes referred to as "Lalia the Fat." Tolkien writes of her:

She was not at the famous Party (SY 1401), but was prevented from attending rather by her great size and immobility than by her age. [...] Lalia, in her last and fattest years, had the custom of being wheeled to the Great Door, to take the air on a fine morning.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 214: To A. C. Nunn (draft).

In the real world, obesity has been linked to (among other health effects) a wide array of foot disorders. If Lalia is so overweight that she is unable to move under her own power, it seems likely that she's done some serious damage to her feet and/or ankles.

However, I've not been able to find any reference to foot injuries caused by going barefoot through the countryside. As has been pointed out in comments1, Hobbits are described in the prologue as having tough soles, which would make these sorts of injuries much less likely:

[T]hey seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles

Fellowship of the Ring Prologue 1: "Concerning Hobbits"

SFF.SE's own Darth Melkor once pointed out that Hobbits were capable of wearing shoes (and that Bilbo was intended to have worn boots during the events of The Hobbit), which suggests those sorts of injuries are still possible, though they presumably don't make for very interesting reading.

Out of Universe

As revealed in some of the special features on the Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs, at least two of the film hobbits received foot injuries on-set:

  • Dominic Monaghan (Merry) got a splinter in his foot running down the bridge to Buckleberry ferry
  • Sean Astin (Sam) cut his foot on a shard of glass in the Anduin, while filming the Parth Galen scenes

Presumably this is because, unlike their literary counterparts, film-Hobbits' feet only have latex soles, not leather.


1 By NKCampbell and Matt Gutting

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    Unrelated, but I learned doing research for this that Ian McKellen gained some weight during the filming of Return of the King, leading to a bizarrely hilarious statement from him: "Gandalf the White's pants [...] were let out by a couple of inches" Jun 11, 2016 at 16:51
  • Minor spelling mistake, but too few characters for me to make the edit myself: Buckleberry should be Bucklebury.
    – J W
    Jul 12, 2019 at 19:35
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In some of the earlier drafts of The Lord of the Rings there was a Hobbit named Trotter who were shoes because his feet had hurt after being tortured by Sauron

Thus it was that Frodo learned how Trotter had tracked Gollum as he wandered southwards, through Fangorn Forest, and past the Dead Marshes, until he had himself been caught and imprisoned by the Dark Lord. 'Ever since I have worn shoes,' said Trotter with a shudder, and though he said no more Frodo knew that he had been tortured and his feet hurt in some way. But he had been rescued by Gandalf and saved from death.
The Return of the Shadow - "In the House of Elrond"

Eventually Tolkien decided to make Trotter a man and cut out the whole arc with the wooden shoes. And then sometime after that Trotter was renamed to Strider.

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