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6 Best Types Of Gravel To Walk On Barefeet

walking barefoot

Gravel costs less than solid materials like concrete and it comes in a wide variety of different styles and colors. It is comparatively easier to install and, in most cases, it is considered environmentally beneficial to the alternatives. The different appearance of different types of gravel means that you can find one that fits the aesthetics of your driveway or path.

Although there are many factors to consider when choosing gravel, if you enjoy walking barefoot in the garden, you will want to find gravel that is comfortable on the feet. Avoid sharp edges and try to ensure that the gravel is large enough that it won’t get stuck in the skin, but not so large that it will be uncomfortable. Below are 6 of the best types of gravel to walk on with bare feet.

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The 6 Types of Gravel Comfortable Enough for Barefeet

1. Polished Pebbles

Polished Pebble
Image Credit By: Farzan Lelinwalla, unsplash

Polished pebbles are considered multipurpose. They are commonly used in gardens and potted plants. Their polished finish means that they make an attractive addition to formal and informal settings, and the polishing of the pebbles helps to remove sharp edges and ensure that the gravel does not dig in and cut the feet.

The pebbles are usually coated in wax or other substance that prevents dust, and although they do have this manufactured finish, they retain a natural look thanks to the variety of stones that are used.

  • Elegant aesthetic
  • Choice of colors
  • Pricey

2. Beach Pebbles

Beach Pebble
Image Credit: Wil Stewart, unsplash

If you want an even more natural look, then beach pebbles have not been artificially polished, nor are they coated in wax or other material. These are large pebbles that are most commonly used in planters and pots, but they can also be used on driveways and backyards.

These pebbles typically measure around 3 inches, but some are smaller at 2 inches, and there are some that measure as much as 5 inches. Like the polished pebbles, they usually come in a range of colors in a single batch, but you can also buy batches that are sorted by color. The rounded shape of beach pebbles makes them comfortable to walk on.

  • Natural finish
  • Less expensive than manufactured pebbles
  • Can be dusty

3. River Rocks

River Rocks
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

River rocks have undergone a similar process to beach pebbles. That is, they have been washed downstream by the water, being bashed against one another, until sharp edges and points have worn off. These can be highly polished or they can be left with a natural appearance like beach pebbles. You can also find some river rocks that have been colored with bright and bold finishes.

  • Naturally smooth
  • Natural appearance
  • Expensive

4. Pea Gravel

Pea Gravel
Image Credit: Robin Louw, unsplash

Pea gravel is commonly used for outdoor areas. As well as being used in planters, it is used between pavers and stones. They look good wet, and they look even better when they are dry. However, pea gravel tends to include a lot of dust so it will need washing before it can be applied to your driveway or path. Like pebbles, colors vary and you will usually get a good variety of different hues within a single bag.

  • Cheap
  • Readily available
  • Choice of colors and size
  • Can be compacted
  • Not the best looking
  • Tracks in the house

5. Crushed Granite

Crushed Granite
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

Granite tends to have sharp edges, lumps, and other uncomfortable shapes. However, crushed granite can be compacted, which means that it will have a virtually flat surface and it will not cause any discomfort to bare feet. The granite is intentionally crushed and the resulting pieces are sorted by size. They may also be sorted by color, which is usually a stone or granite color, although this can vary according to the source of the granite.

  • Choice of colors and sizes
  • Can be compacted
  • Not as cheap as gravel

6. Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is granite that has been artificially crushed down to a very small size. It will compact, like crushed granite, and comes in similar colors. Once compacted into a driveway, it is comfortable for you to walk on and equally comfortable for cats, dogs, and other pets. Decomposed granite does tend to be affordable, and comes in a good selection of different styles to match your exterior.

  • Can be compacted
  • Good variety
  • Cheap
  • Looks and is dusty

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Other Factors To Consider

As well as the comfort level of gravel or other stone, there are certain factors you should take into account when choosing the right type of material for a driveway or path.


Gravel, pebbles, and rocks, can range in size from an inch to several inches. Smaller gravel tends to compact, essentially creating a solid surface on which you can walk comfortably and safely. Larger rocks do not tend to do this, but they are less likely to get stuck in the skin of your feet, too. Above all, ensure that the gravel you buy is a uniform size.


Some gravel is readily available and does not require treatment or manufacturing. This usually means that the material will be cheaper to buy. More heavily manufactured and “worked” materials will cost more. Consider your budget and find gravel that doesn’t cost too much.


Natural stones tend to be stone-colored, but this can vary from a sandstone yellow to a slate grey or nearly black color. Some gravels are artificially colored so that you get bold reds and blues, and other manufactured colors that can be used to create your driveway. If color matters, ensure that you choose gravel that comes in a uniform color, and not a pack that includes a host of different colors.

colorful gravel rocks
Image Credit: PIRO4D, Pixabay


Some gravels can be laid straight away and look great. In particular, polished pebbles and those stones that have been manufactured or finished can usually be laid straight away. They are not covered in dust. Other, natural stones, may require washing before laying. This washing process gets rid of the dust but does nothing to improve the smoothness of the finish.

Some gravel may need compacting for you to enjoy all of its benefits, and this may mean that it requires compacting every year. Loose gravel may need sweeping back into location.


One of the reasons that gravel needs to be swept back onto paths and drives is because it tracks on shoes and under feet. It can make its way onto lawns, causing mayhem with mowers, and even into your home. In either case, you will be losing gravel every time and you will have to sweep it back into the driveway.

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Best Types Of Gravel For Bare Feet

Walking barefoot in your own garden is a pleasure many people enjoy. If you want to experience this feeling, you will want to choose comfortable gravel that won’t cut, scrape, or dig into your bare feet. Choose soft and smooth pebbles, gravel that is designed for compacting, or manufactured stones that have had the sharp edges effectively manufactured out of them before being used. We’ve included six basic options, above, but there are many others, including a wide variety of colors, sizes, and finishes.

Featured Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

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