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    brahnamin's Avatar
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    Heel Strike Havoc

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    Okay, so I live in my VFFs. I walk in them, sprint in them, hike in them, even work in them. But unless I'm consciously making myself walk on the balls of my feet I slip right back into my old heel-first habits.

    Anyone ever overcome this problem? And if so does anyone have any tips beyond just paying attention and consciously building new habits?

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    Alex Good's Avatar
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    If you look where you're going (choosing where to place your feet), it happens automatically.
    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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    lizch's Avatar
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    I instinctively run toe-first but walk heel first. That makes me wonder if heel first IS the instinctive way to walk? I have to really concentrate to walk without heel strike first, whereas the running is effortless.
    Liz.

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    What happens when you don't concentrate and end up walking heel toe? Do your heels get bruised?
    I found that mine did, which forced me to change the way I worked even when I wasn't thinking about it. My body naturally tried to avoid landing on the bruised heels.

    I do find I slip back into heel toe when wearing normal shoes sometimes and have to remind myself to change, but once I change gear it feels normal again and I don't have to think about it.

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    Back when I first started going barefoot I wondered about this a lot. Whats the best way for me to walk. I ended up deciding that heel first was the most efficient way to walk, and it is what came naturally to me. I tried to switch to hitting the balls of my feet first when I would walk, but that caused my gait to get all weird and I had to walk much slower. I heel strike and walk a pretty good amount to and from class and around campus. I dont get bruised heels. I like what Misabi said though, that if youre heels do bruise then change the way you walk. I feel like the pain from the bruised heels hitting the ground would change your gait naturally.

    Also, I just wanted to mention that when walking barefoot I shorten my stride and land lighter on my heels. It took me a while to figure out the timing and balance so that i didn't land hard on my heel, and I find that when I wear shoes with a raised heel it messes with my timing/landing when i do go back to barefoot. I've chosen to heel strike, but I did have to learn how to land a lot lighter on my heel when walking.

    P.S. Thats cool you guys wear your five fingers at work. Keep it up

  6. #6
    ProtoAlex's Avatar
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    I am slowly starting to slip into a natural midfoot strike walking pattern in my vibrams. I'd say it's definitely the way to go, forefoot while walking just makes me want to start sprinting on every step. When I was young I'd walk barefoot everywhere and had the thickest callouses possible. Back then I definitely had a midfoot strike long before I was thinking about what's healthy for my feet.

    Think about it in ninja terms, operate in w/e way causes the least amount of noise. Most times less noise also means less shock to your joints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizch View Post
    I instinctively run toe-first but walk heel first. That makes me wonder if heel first IS the instinctive way to walk? I have to really concentrate to walk without heel strike first, whereas the running is effortless.
    Yup. I've always walked heel-first, and this frequently barefoot over dirt, grass, and sand. Break into a run though (especially a sprint) and I land on the ball. Walking is a low-impact activity and thus the issue of mitigating impact to the joints is moot -- as long as you're walking properly. I've noticed that the stride length that feels most "right" is short, just like running: the foot makes contact with the ground under, not in front of, you.

    Check out Richard Nikoley's article on how he relearned how to walk to relieve some chronic foot pain, arriving through self-experimentation at the very recommendation made by the experts.

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    peril's Avatar
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    If you lean forward slightly and shorten your stride it becomes natural to land midfoot. You have to consciously lean forward for a while, then it becomes second nature
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

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    +1 on the heel first walking. Heel strike running is common in VFFs because they have too much padding to enforce a good landing. The best way to learn proper running technique is to lose the shoes. Yes, Vibrams are shoes. Go run barefoot on chip seal. Coach Chip Seal is the best running coach in the world when it comes to technique, bar none. Continue running barefoot on all surfaces until your better form is ingrained. Once it's automatic, you'll be able to run in the VFFs without problems.

    Gordo

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    Quote Originally Posted by peril View Post
    If you lean forward slightly and shorten your stride it becomes natural to land midfoot. You have to consciously lean forward for a while, then it becomes second nature
    +1...this is how i got over heel striking.

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