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The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

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  • #31
    Originally posted by CoyoteVick View Post
    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.
    Can I come heel-strike walking to you instead?

    Do this: post a video of your 'natural gait' walking please. I want to see how it compares to the video below. It is my theory that in order for you to land similar or exactly how the runner below is landing you have to take much shorter steps to ensure that your hips align with your feet. This is easy to do when running since you're propelling, or pushing yourself off, then "catching' yourself at the right time. When walking you lack this momentum, not to mention the amount pressure is less, so it's perfectly safe to land heel-first.

    (I'm incredibly bored, thus elaborating way more than I should...)

    Also, you may be under the impression that I'm pointing my toes up and taking extra measures to put all my weight on my heel, because you keep saying how I'm going to drive a nail into it and my walking days will be over, but that's not the case. My midfoot makes contact with the floor very soon after my heel. In the event that some random object is threatening the health of my heel it can only do so for a fraction of a second before the rest of my foot lands.



    If I had to walk like the runner above runs I'd never get anywhere. I can't see any other way to mid-foot strike than to walk super slow or lean forward ala chi-running, even then...
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #32
      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.
      Unless you used a high-speed video camera, you don't actually know how their feet land. Besides, everything important to running well happens from the ankles up. As long as your body is properly aligned and your feet are relaxed, you'll be running just fine. The less you 'do' with your feet, the better. Attempting to control your feet is asking for injury.

      Gordo

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      • #33
        I do when they walk, you can *see* how their feet land, and it isn't in that stupid goosestep heel strike that people in shoes do. It's a natural midfoot strike often times the heel doesn't come down at all, and when it does, it's more of an afterthought.

        Edit: if I had a camera and a treadmill, I'd show you what I mean, but I don't so all I can do is say that I walk naturally, at a normal pace, without looking bizarre, and I do not land with a heel 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.

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        • #34
          I just hope that some people aren't reading this thread and getting turned off or confused about how to walk barefoot. Some here have mentioned that their heels touch the ground first when they are walking. Others have mentioned that their midfoot touches first. I say do whatever works well for you. If you're heel is hurting thats probably a sign that you are touching it to the ground too hard. I notice with my feet that if I step on something sharp, everything about my stride changes almost instantly, often before I consciously realize I have stepped on something painful. The very first thing that happens is that I get "light on my feet." I switch my weight to the other foot if its early enough in my stride. If i'm late in my stride (its important to mention here that I would have already felt something sharp in my heel) and my now painful foot, is the only thing touching the ground, my other foot instantly comes to the ground and bares my weight. This all happens before I realize I've stepped on anything sharp. Its so fast and instinctive. It doesn't matter if the sharp thing is pricking my heel, midfoot, forefoot or my toes.

          I'VE NEVER SEEN ANY NAILS, EVER. Someone would have to be deliberately putting nails into the concrete or something with the sharp ends up. They would also have to secure them down somehow to prevent them from falling over. I can't think of any other time when I would be walking barefoot that I would encounter a nail that could pierce my foot. Ever. maybe I'm wrong.

          Glass in my experience is nothing. Even if it hits my heel. It does no damage to my feet whatsoever. There has only been 1 time in the last 2 years that I have had a piece of glass get stuck in my foot. I was walking through a parking lot with TONS of glass in it. I didn't alter my stride at all except to shorten it slightly in case I stepped on something sharp and would need to adjust my stride as I mentioned above. I didn't even notice the glass in my foot until about 20 to 30 steps after the parking lot. It felt like a rock that wouldn't go away. I looked at my foot, noticed the glass, and scratched my foot a little to get it out. Then continued walking pain free. I've walked through glass like that tons of times and nothing.

          I really believe that the fear of pain and uncomfortability limits us so much in our worlds today. Don't be afraid. If you trust and listen to what you're body is telling you, you will find the safest and best way to live for you.

          Best of luck

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          • #35
            Originally posted by CoyoteVick View Post
            I do when they walk, you can *see* how their feet land, and it isn't in that stupid goosestep heel strike that people in shoes do. It's a natural midfoot strike often times the heel doesn't come down at all, and when it does, it's more of an afterthought.
            Better a stupid goosestep than walking like an autistic child. LOL

            I don't do a stupid goosestep, but I do land heel first. My forefoot is probably a whole quarter of an inch off the ground when my heel touches. Since both my medial and lateral arches are still functioning properly, the only way that I could possibly land midfoot is to step on something that sticks up and put the middle of my foot on it. I don't do that since it hurts, it's awkward, I would look dorky, and it's hard to find enough rocks and humps of dirt to land on. I suppose if your arches are collapsed, you could actually land midfoot on flat ground, otherwise not.

            Heel not coming down or barely coming down wastes energy unless your cadence is up in the 180 steps/min range. If your cadence is that high, you're running, not walking, and then what you describe is natural.

            It sounds to me like you've decided that whatever you do is natural, in spite of contrary evidence. You're confusing normal(for you) and natural.

            Gordo

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Barefoot Paul View Post
              I'VE NEVER SEEN ANY NAILS, EVER.
              I've stepped on dozens, wandering around construction sites barefoot. Of course they were all laying down.

              Originally posted by Barefoot Paul View Post
              I really believe that the fear of pain and uncomfortability limits us so much in our worlds today. Don't be afraid. If you trust and listen to what you're body is telling you, you will find the safest and best way to live for you.
              +1 At first you probably will walk forefoot first out of uncertainty and fear. As you gain confidence and skill, you'll relax and walk normally.

              Gordo

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              • #37
                I took off my VFFs tonight while out for my walk. It felt great - and no heel striking!
                There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

                My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

                The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!

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                • #38
                  Gonna go for a run tonight in Vibrams first then take them off and see how it feels to run completely barefoot. I'll let you know how long I keep up this whole heel striking business during that time.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by WhatAboutJason View Post
                    Gonna go for a run tonight in Vibrams first then take them off and see how it feels to run completely barefoot. I'll let you know how long I keep up this whole heel striking business during that time.
                    Remember to bend your knees, you might be heel striking because as you land your leg is "locked" at the knee, your leg doesn't have to be fully straight when you land, that's what heel strikers do. Bend the knee, exaggerate it at first even, and shorten your stride.
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                    • #40
                      So i went for my 1st barefoot run last night. I ran completely barefoot for the 1st mile and then slipped my vibrams on for the last 2. All i can say is wow. There is no comparison. I don't believe i did any heel striking simply because my mind told my feet it would hurt. It felt pretty cool. I did end up with the beginnings of a blister on the ball of my left foot, but thats to be expected. Other than that it did hurt a bit pound on the pavement for a mile on my bare skin, but im sure that fades with time. I hope to build up to at least one 3 mile barefoot run a week to help improve my form in my vibrams for the longer distances.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                        Without getting too far off topic: when walking, heel striking is fine and totally appropriate.
                        I heel strike when I walk shod and barefoot, but it's two totally different things. When shod, I slam my heel hard into the ground, without thinking about it. My husband noted it for years, but it wasn't until I started taking walks barefoot that I really noticed what I was doing. The softer and more shock-supportive the shoe, the harder I slam. I read something that says this is what we do b/c we subconsciously expect a firm ground underfoot, and if it's soft, we adjust till it's the level of shock we expect. That totally describes what I do in shoes.

                        I'm so used to it that when walking barefoot in my house, I still slam. I have to talk mysel fout of it.

                        No matter what, though, unless the ground is very rocky or otherwise rough, I don't find it natural to midstrike while walking. I absolutely do in those rough or hilly conditions, but not otherwise. But there is a huge difference between my shod heelstrike and my barefoot heelstrike. So perhaps the argument here is not as important as the force with which one lands on the heel?

                        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                        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 do find myself shortening my stride significantly when walking barefoot, especially on natural surfaces, even heel striking. It's kind of annoying, but it's hard to walk any other way without landing forcefully on the heel.
                        5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                        Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                        Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                        Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                        ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                        • #42
                          I'm curious how you walk or run on pavement without pain. I can't even make it 2 miles without hurt feet, with a gentle heel-midfoot-strike. I don't have tender feet; I've gone barefoot at home and in my yard my whole life. But pavement, yowch!! Maybe we have rougher roads in my neighborhood than most!
                          5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                          Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                          Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                          Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                          ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                          • #43
                            Believe me, it wasn't any fun running on the pavement. I kept picturing soft grassy fields.
                            Heres my story about my 1st official barefoot run. If it wasn't for the awesome feed back in this thread, i might have never taken the plunge!

                            It Feels Like the First Time

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
                              I do find myself shortening my stride significantly when walking barefoot, especially on natural surfaces, even heel striking. It's kind of annoying, but it's hard to walk any other way without landing forcefully on the heel.
                              Keep your back heel low as long as you can and extend your hip using your glutes to lengthen your stride. You still want to land closer to your body than you would in shoes.

                              Gordo

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
                                I'm curious how you walk or run on pavement without pain. I can't even make it 2 miles without hurt feet, with a gentle heel-midfoot-strike. I don't have tender feet; I've gone barefoot at home and in my yard my whole life. But pavement, yowch!! Maybe we have rougher roads in my neighborhood than most!
                                You're doing it wrong. Sorry. Running barefoot well requires a forefoot landing. Your foot and ankle should be very relaxed so that the entire foot flattens out upon landing. The only time your heel doesn't touch the ground is when sprinting. My feet are not particularly callused, and 5 miles of chip seal are no problem.

                                Gordo

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