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The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Griffin View Post
    I can see how. I wear VFF sprints a fair amount and I still heel-strike when walking. I find running sprints I'm okay but I'm still bad when walking and jogging.
    Without getting too far off topic: when walking, heel striking is fine and totally appropriate. When jogging and running you should want to be on your mid-foot. For sprinting: if you're heel striking you're not really sprinting and vice versa, that to me is a physical impossibility, if you're truly sprinting there's no way your heel is touching the ground first (if at all, during a sprint!)

    Re: walking. If somebody shows me good footage of mid-foot walkers I might change my tune. Heel striking is very natural when walking and doesn't have nearly the amount of pressure or force that happens when one is jogging. I know a few people that don't heel strike but they also have some other issues in their legs. One of my friends has locked knees I think, and another girl walks almost literally on the balls of her feet but I forgot her reason why.

    I don't see a need to alter the way you walk. I know some put babies as an example but I think it's only fair to use a baby/toddler that has gotten their balance down and walks without too much wobble and observe whether they strike heel-first or what. If you have to think about it too much, it's not natural.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Catherine View Post
      VFFs feel like zero cushion to me.
      Yeah, when I got mine almost four years ago, I thought "I'm freaking BAREFOOT!". I stopped wearing them for running after I discovered that they changed my running form for the worse. I did this by switching back and forth between barefoot and the Sprints a few times during the same run and paying close attention to what changed. I decided on the spot to go full monty until I got running dialed. By the time I did, I couldn't stand the Vibrams any more. Now I wear Luna sandals if it's too rough for bare feet.

      Gordo

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      • #18
        Originally posted by gordo View Post
        It's easy. They've got a lot of cushion. Go barefoot for six months and then put them back on. You'll be amazed. Mine feel like hiking boots now.

        If I had a dollar for every person I've seen running badly in Vibrams, I'd be rich. They just block too much feedback from your feet.
        This is what I've slowly come to realize as well. I was very excited about my VFFs last year (when I started "barefoot" running), but I've since decided they aren't the best way to safely learn proper form. They seem like a barefoot experience if you're transitioning from the standard super-cushioned running shoe but they're really not. If you have a tendency to heel strike, then -- unless you remain very mindful of your form during your entire run -- you will probably end up heel striking in your VFFs. And even if you don't end up heel striking in them, you probably still won't run with optimal form (it'll be some sort of in-between heel strike and optimal form blend -- if you follow me). And because the VFFs offer very little protection, you may be more likely to hurt yourself doing small things wrong.

        If you really want to learn how to run right, ditch all footwear. Practice on a variety of surfaces, and run at different speeds (from slow jogs to all out sprints). Pay attention to what your body does naturally. Feel what it's like to run with naturally good form and remember that feeling -- internalize it. With practice, proper form will become habit.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
          Without getting too far off topic: when walking, heel striking is fine and totally appropriate. When jogging and running you should want to be on your mid-foot. For sprinting: if you're heel striking you're not really sprinting and vice versa, that to me is a physical impossibility, if you're truly sprinting there's no way your heel is touching the ground first (if at all, during a sprint!)

          Re: walking. If somebody shows me good footage of mid-foot walkers I might change my tune. Heel striking is very natural when walking and doesn't have nearly the amount of pressure or force that happens when one is jogging. I know a few people that don't heel strike but they also have some other issues in their legs. One of my friends has locked knees I think, and another girl walks almost literally on the balls of her feet but I forgot her reason why.

          I don't see a need to alter the way you walk. I know some put babies as an example but I think it's only fair to use a baby/toddler that has gotten their balance down and walks without too much wobble and observe whether they strike heel-first or what. If you have to think about it too much, it's not natural.
          I always laugh when I hear someone saying it's ok to heel strike while walking barefoot.

          That's all fine and dandy until you get a bottlecap or shard of glass or nail embedded into your foot. Anyone who has walked barefoot consistently for years walks with a mid foot strike. You have to, or else you WILL end up with things in your feet.

          Heel strike is NEVER natural. People walk that way now, because they've been conditioned from birth to wear shoes. Spend a few years not wearing shoes, and the hell strike goes away. Does it look funny to walk with a midfoot strike? Perhaps, but it is natural, and it only looks silly because people aren't used to seeing it.


          Crap! I'm An Adult!

          My Primal Journal

          http://badquaker.com <--- podcast I'm a part of. Check it out if you like anarchy, geekiness and random ramblings.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by CoyoteVick View Post
            I always laugh when I hear someone saying it's ok to heel strike while walking barefoot.

            That's all fine and dandy until you get a bottlecap or shard of glass or nail embedded into your foot. Anyone who has walked barefoot consistently for years walks with a mid foot strike. You have to, or else you WILL end up with things in your feet.

            Heel strike is NEVER natural. People walk that way now, because they've been conditioned from birth to wear shoes. Spend a few years not wearing shoes, and the hell strike goes away. Does it look funny to walk with a midfoot strike? Perhaps, but it is natural, and it only looks silly because people aren't used to seeing it.
            What you call midfoot, I might call a heel strike. It's kind of a whole heel landing, rather than landing on the back corner of the heel the way you do in shoes. And it's more under the body than the classic heel strike. I've been walking barefoot that way for years and haven't gotten anything in my feet. And yes, I walk through broken glass all the time. I mostly avoid stepping right on it, but I do land on it sometimes.

            Gordo

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            • #21
              Originally posted by CoyoteVick View Post
              I always laugh when I hear someone saying it's ok to heel strike while walking barefoot.

              That's all fine and dandy until you get a bottlecap or shard of glass or nail embedded into your foot. Anyone who has walked barefoot consistently for years walks with a mid foot strike. You have to, or else you WILL end up with things in your feet.

              Heel strike is NEVER natural. People walk that way now, because they've been conditioned from birth to wear shoes. Spend a few years not wearing shoes, and the hell strike goes away. Does it look funny to walk with a midfoot strike? Perhaps, but it is natural, and it only looks silly because people aren't used to seeing it.
              You mean to say your walking and jogging foot landing is identical? I don't see how one could do that, and also again, I've yet to see any indigenous culture that spends time barefoot walk in the fashion you describe, unless gordo above me has a point and we may just be using different terms.

              When I think of heel strike I think of the classic jogger landing on the back of their sneaker and rolling forward, when I think of mid-foot I'm thinking of an unshod runner that lands with the middle of the foot but the heel follows closely and does in fact touch. In order for me to replicate that when walking I have to shorten my step a lot (so stride could come into play here too)

              I just did some more walking, looks like when I walk I land sort of in between heel-and midfoot but it's certainly different than when I jog when it's absolutely midfoot then heel...

              I still hold that walking closer to the toes is rather unnatural, and like I said, I've not seen evidence of cultures that walk that way.
              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by WhatAboutJason View Post
                I have been running in Vibram Five FIngers for about 7 months now. It seems as though i am still a chronic heel striker.
                I wrote a short post over on my blog about it....I would love some advice form some fellow barefoot runners!

                The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker
                I currently run in Newtons, they kind of force the forefoot/midfoot strike. Tried Chi running, didn't care for the mystical crap. Plus my instructor was fat and out of shape and didn't run well so that turned me off. Too much BS about feeling with chi and this and that.

                Didn't want to dish out the money for Pose, so I bought the Evolution Running DVD for $20 and it made sense to me. Been at it for 6 months now. Eventually I'd like to switch to running in my Merrell barefoots but for now I like the little bit o cushion. I'd love to try the Pose thing out one day, but once again no seminars nearby and I'm cheap, and the Evolution thing is working.
                Last edited by capt46f3; 07-11-2011, 06:26 PM. Reason: can't type drunk wtf

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by capt46f3 View Post
                  Eventually I'd like to switch to running in my Merrell barefoots but for now I like the little bit o cushion.
                  I have a pair. They've got a ton of cushioning, probably double what my VFF Sprints have. They've been compared to VFF Treks, but I've never worn those. I really do use them as hiking boots for wet, muddy, rocky terrain. They're so light that I can tie them to the pack most of the time and not pay a big weight penalty.

                  Gordo

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                  • #24
                    Re: walking and heel striking.

                    I was watching this video and at the 50 min mark a woman asks "can you talk about walking?" and K-Star of Mobility Project talks about it...

                    the whole video is very worth it, and has made me slightly re-think my standing desk (the video is mostly about proper sitting, mind you, but standing for work is discussed as well)

                    Episode 276/365: MobilityWod Google Talk: Desk Bound | Mobility WOD

                    If you're lazy: watch children walk, they heel-strike, then he's asked about running he says "running with your heel down is the most dangerous sport in the world"

                    /thread over?
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                    • #25
                      The earliest preserved human footprints in the world are the Laetoli footprints. They are at least 3.6 million years old.

                      They show a modern human bipedal gait:

                      The early humans that left these prints were bipedal and had big toes in line with the rest of their foot. This means that these early human feet were more human-like than ape-like, as apes have highly divergent big toes that help them climb and grasp materials like a thumb does. The footprints also show that the gait of these early humans was "heel-strike" (the heel of the foot hits first) followed by "toe-off" (the toes push off at the end of the stride)—the way modern humans walk.
                      Laetoli Footprint Trails | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program

                      It's apes that land on the midfoot not humans. There are more exhaustive analyses in the literature of human gait and ape gait for those who are interested enough to pursue it. Suffice to say humans—and hominids—have been walking as we do now for a very long time indeed.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                        You mean to say your walking and jogging foot landing is identical? I don't see how one could do that, and also again, I've yet to see any indigenous culture that spends time barefoot walk in the fashion you describe, unless gordo above me has a point and we may just be using different terms.

                        When I think of heel strike I think of the classic jogger landing on the back of their sneaker and rolling forward, when I think of mid-foot I'm thinking of an unshod runner that lands with the middle of the foot but the heel follows closely and does in fact touch. In order for me to replicate that when walking I have to shorten my step a lot (so stride could come into play here too)

                        I just did some more walking, looks like when I walk I land sort of in between heel-and midfoot but it's certainly different than when I jog when it's absolutely midfoot then heel...

                        I still hold that walking closer to the toes is rather unnatural, and like I said, I've not seen evidence of cultures that walk that way.
                        You certainly shouldn't walk on your toes, but the center of your foot is flexible, and it's that way for a reason. If you come down on a rock with your heel, too bad. You can't flex around it, you can't skip up to your toes or back to your heel to avoid it. If you land on your heel, whatever is under your heel is going THROUGH your heel. If you land with a midfoot strike, then you can roll your foot away from the object, of lift up your foot without breaking stride, or cushion the impact.

                        Look at little kids who have been barefoot for most of their lives (luckily, I know a few hippie children like that) they walk briskly, with a midfoot strike. Sometimes the heel comes down, sometimes the foot lifts up on to the toes. A midfoot strike gives you range of motion to avoid driving a rock into your foot.


                        Crap! I'm An Adult!

                        My Primal Journal

                        http://badquaker.com <--- podcast I'm a part of. Check it out if you like anarchy, geekiness and random ramblings.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                          Re: walking and heel striking.

                          I was watching this video and at the 50 min mark a woman asks "can you talk about walking?" and K-Star of Mobility Project talks about it...

                          the whole video is very worth it, and has made me slightly re-think my standing desk (the video is mostly about proper sitting, mind you, but standing for work is discussed as well)

                          Episode 276/365: MobilityWod Google Talk: Desk Bound | Mobility WOD

                          If you're lazy: watch children walk, they heel-strike, then he's asked about running he says "running with your heel down is the most dangerous sport in the world"

                          /thread over?
                          What children are you watching? Because all the hippie kids I know who run around barefoot do so with a midfoot strike.


                          Crap! I'm An Adult!

                          My Primal Journal

                          http://badquaker.com <--- podcast I'm a part of. Check it out if you like anarchy, geekiness and random ramblings.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by WhatAboutJason View Post
                            Perhaps i have cheated myself wearing the Vffs from a true barefoot experience. However where i live there is nothing but miles a concrete that are full of things i shouldn't be stepping in. The closest parks aren't very big and don't really have a nice grassy trail to run..but hey i'll try anything once.
                            I run in the road. rarely do I run across anything I shouldn't be stepping on. Wait till traffic is light and give that a shot.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by CoyoteVick View Post
                              What children are you watching? Because all the hippie kids I know who run around barefoot do so with a midfoot strike.
                              I'm with you that running with a midfoot strike is better/more natural. I'm with that.

                              I'm not with you that walking with a midfoot strike (read: the SAME strike you use when running) is natural. The mechanics of running and walking are different. The only reason shod runners run similar to how they walk (that is, with a heel-strike) is all the padding. They don't feel pain in their heels so they continue. In order for me to walk and land mid foot I have to actually think about making that touch first, thus producing a decisively un-natural way to walk.

                              Imagine if you're walking up a decently steep hill, the type ideal for hard sprints, now imagine having to heel strike when walking up that hill. It's far from natural or practical, so you have to consciously force yourself to heel strike when your body knows it's more efficient to use your midfoot and balls of your feet to help you walk up. That's how heel-strike walking on flat land makes me feel, like I'm doing the opposite of what makes sense to my body.

                              Go watch that video, I trust Kelly when it comes to mobility. Also check out the link Lewis' posted.

                              Lastly, it's really not so much about right or wrong here, if you like walking midfoot and it doesn't negatively impact your life I'm not trying to convince you to heel-strike. Similarly, I don't think I'll take up midfoot walking if it continues to make me think about each step. It makes perfect sense when increasing one's speed, but not when casually walking. For what it's worth, I'm always either barefoot, or in socks (at work) or in minimalist sneakers (when out in the street) so I spend very little time with heavily padded shoes.
                              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                              • #30
                                God, not what I meant and you know it. I didn't mean they ACTUALLY run, it's just an expression. *rollseyes* When they WALK they land with a midfoot strike. Go ahead, walk however you want. When you're pulling bits of glass and rocks out of your heel, don't come running to me. Meanwhile, I'll walk with a natural gait, not plodding along like dull sheep, and NOT bruising the everloving hell out of my heels.


                                Crap! I'm An Adult!

                                My Primal Journal

                                http://badquaker.com <--- podcast I'm a part of. Check it out if you like anarchy, geekiness and random ramblings.

                                Comment

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