I learned several very useful footcare techniques from my friend and partner Burl Guido...
1. Go barefoot often. It strengthens aspects of the feet protected by shoes as well as builds the climbers legs we all need. Lol Little sections of barefooting at first, as tender feet will injure more easily.
2. Size hiking boots with a VERY roomy toebox, particularly if you aren't going to be doing any front-pointing in crampons and such. The toes should not contact the inside front of the boot even if you kick a rock or something. If your toes are coming into contact with the front of the boot on long down hill slogs they are too short. The boots, that is.
3. Wear your toenails LONG, not short. Hard grade rock climbers may not have the luxury of this choice but I tried it after years of hiking related toenail problems, from in-growns to come-offs. We humans have toenails for a reason you know.... wearing them longish solved ALL of my toenail problems and haven't had an ingrown or bed separation in many seasons now.
4. When walking down hill, barefoot or otherwise, try to come down on the ball of the foot first as often as possible. Its not ALWAYS the best footfall for going down hill, but often it is and it greatly reduces impact and bruising associated with heel stomping.
5. When hiking, wear two pairs of socks, and STILL your toes should not come into contact with the front of the boot.
6. At every stop, every break, first thing on is a warm jacket or layer (season dependent) and first thing off is the boots. Let those feet breathe! Let em dry out. Every stop now!
I did a decent hike last weekend and approx half of it was barefoot, maybe 4 miles of barefoot total. I try to do some on the way up and down as well. Now there wasn't any snow on the ground where I was hiking mind you... though I've done a bit of barefootin when there was patchy snow. It was still quite cool by our standards, 40s F, and I was walking through mud a lot.
I like the feeling of cold mud on my bare feet! I also like leaving barefoot prints in the mud in winter, let the poltroons know a climber has been there.