Over the last few days I’ve come to one scary realisation…
I need to relearn how to walk when barefooted. It’s a completely different movement to walking with shoes. Even the most minimal of shoes like the vivobarefoot shoes, which I use at work, change your “natural” movement.
What is this shod movement I’m on about
The heels comes down, makes ground contact and you roll on to your foot before pushing off on to the other foot.
This doesn’t work on harsh surfaces or over any given distance. Your heel will start to feel sore and if you don’t change your movement pattern, the mother of all blisters is going to erupt, like a volcano, at the base of your heel. I’ve been experiencing it, but sensibly stopping before a blister forms trying to work out if it’s how hard I stroke the floor, the position if my foot in relation to my knee or pelvis, or just how I place my foot down.
So, I now need to incorporate some serious retraining of something I’ve been doing all my life. It’s inevitable that I will walk a fair chunk of the route from Land’s End to John O’Groats, so if I don’t address this need for change, I can see lots of pain in the near future.
The way of walking that seems to work is to place your forefoot down first and let the foot squash down as you move forwards, adding a certain salsaesc swing to the hips! It’s lots quieter, feels smoother and seems to be faster than moving with the same cadence (number of steps per minute) as heel striking.
It’s kind of interesting since the general consensus is to land forefoot first when running too.
So, if you see someone wandering around, looking like they should be holding castanets as they walk, it might just be that they’ve mastered this barefoot skill. Who knows, if they’re not wearing shoes and it’s summer, it might even be me 😉