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Thread: Give me your real experiances of transitioning to barefoot shoes please :) page

  1. #1
    Tribal Rob's Avatar
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    Give me your real experiances of transitioning to barefoot shoes please :)

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    So I'm make the change to spending more time in minimalist shoes on a very minimal budget - as in I have a pair of aqua shoes with the insoles taken out that cost £5.65, very thin soles, very flexible, my toes feel very free to move, and as far as I can tell they are completly flat - zero drop I think the techincal term is. Best I can afford right now, vibrams will be out for the next few years at least, I may be able to stretch so some other minimal shoe at some point but not right now.

    So far for the last month or so I have worn them for days bumbleing arround ikea, short walks to the shops, about 10 mins each way, days when I'm not walking massive distances, Ive done a longer walk on pavements (about 2 miles or so) and a run of 0.7 miles. All been pretty much fine, though I do find I need to make an slight effort to stop heel striking when walking at a reasonable pace as I get a jarring up my leg and discomfort - it dosen't feel like a natural walk to be hitting the ground that hard. That could be down to still needing to lose at least 25 - 30lbs.

    Running was fine as I was mid-foot landing very natually and I really enjoyed it and it felt very natural and flowing.

    Last night I went for a walk on some local trails, lots of rough hardcore/gravel and stones, and I found that really uncomfortable, got a few bruises on my heels from stepping on pointy stones. I was carring my little on on my front in a woven wrap, she is 6 months old and about 18lbs or so, which makes it harder to place my feet and adds weight amd also makes me lean back so mid foot striking is harder. I won't be doing that again for a while.

    My question is; will I ever get used to trails like that with un-padded shoes?
    I really liked barefoot style running but as I can't aford multiple pairs of shoes I need something that I can run on pavements and stoney trails with, I really like the idea of the super thin soles but I'm not so keen and jarring pain in my heels and balls of my feet.

    I think I will be sticking to more conventional shoes for walking the baby for now, but I would really like to hear other seasoned barefooters experaiances with nasty stoney trails.

    thanks
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    Leida's Avatar
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    Oh, boy. I tried out my Trecks for the first time in BC with my mom on a coastal train over the rocks and everything, and it was the BEST DAY EVER! It was raining a bit, but I was as sure-footed as a goat, basically almost running the trail, it felts so natural and soooo good. I have never ever in my life felt so steady and easy going. Last week, I ran sprints in my orthotics-enhanced running shoes. And was paranoid the entire time that I will fall down. This week, I went in Trecks, and I had no fear whatsoever. When I run my trails in the city park, I hop over the roots, jump up and down the stone embankment, and I am not afraid to trip over my own feet and fall.

    For the first time in my life I do not feel clumsy. I do not feel unbalanced. I feel totally in control of my feet! I also danced Zumba classes in them, went on elliptical and bike and lifted weights. Dancing and lifting are also better, no difference on bike and elliptical except higher load on calf on the elliptical.

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    Tribal Rob's Avatar
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    Glad you're enjoying your barefooting

    I also feel very sure footed in my version of minimalst shoes, wondering now if soles of mine are too soft and don't give enough protection over pointy gravely stones or it's just me(being a lard-o boy)???
    Last edited by Tribal Rob; 05-17-2012 at 07:52 AM.
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    SeanC's Avatar
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    Rocks are hard to get used to in unpadded shoes. I still feel them in my Vibram Sprints. My KSO Treks are better for trails and rocks but if you get a sharp point you will still feel it.

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    Here's my real-world experience.

    I hurt my feet hiking in overly stiff shoes. I healed them walking purely barefoot around my neighborhood. Then I learned about the whole barefoot/minimalist shoe movement.

    I tried water/pool shoes. I found the neoprene to be uncomfortably sweaty and hot, but otherwise they are just as minimal as anything else and you can't beat the price. The soles on some are really squishy and allow sharp rocks to really give you some nasty bruises. I got some nasty ones trying to run on trails.

    I made my own huarache sandals. I'm wearing a pair right now. The thing between the toe bugs me a little and gives me a huge callous eventually, but otherwise the soles feel pretty good. I made mine exactly like the Luna Pacers, same soling material and everything and I covered the top with suede. If I step into a creek, that suede is so slippery it's extremely hard to walk for a few steps.

    I have a million pairs of zero drop and/or minimalist shoes including VFFs, Feelmax, Altra Lone Peaks, Invisible Shoes and various things I have made myself. I have run in them, hiked, backpacked. I wear almost nothing else except sometimes I wear Chacos.

    I have had a hell of a time adjusting to running without ending up with sore calves. I can't seem to do it, although the last time I went for a run was the very first time I wasn't crippled so maybe I'm getting somewhere after 4 years of this. Getting the hang of walking is difficult for me, too. I still have to adjust to not coming down hard on my heels when I walk each and every time I put on my huaraches.

    I have come to the conclusion that ground feel sucks because the ground hurts. Too many rocks everywhere. I have come to the conclusion that minimalist commercial shoes suck because thin soles suck, shaped foot beds suck and narrow toeboxes suck. Not a single company out there makes a truly wide toebox and too many commercial shoes are all shaped on the bottom with a concave footbed for the foot to rest in that kills my morton's neuroma and way too much toespring at the toe forcing my foot into a permanently flexed position. My feet are too small for the smallest mens and womens are always too narrow. For hiking, cushioning is a good thing. It allows me to hike long distances, go fast and keep up with my friends without having to run. It protects my feet from rocks. Actual cushiness is not important, but protection from rocks is important.
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    Owly's Avatar
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    I've been wearing my Treks for hikes and rough terrain for a couple of years now, including some pretty stony scrambles. I also run on some rougher pavement in my Sprints. I still feel things more than I would in conventional shoes, but this is mitigated by my adaptation to the shoes. I walk much more lightly than I did before. I was never much of a heel striker, but I find that with time, I move through the step more, so rather than just coming down flat, my foot transitions through the movement.

    It's hard to describe exactly, but I saw a guy in VFFs running in the half-marathon group at the trail marathon my partner ran on the weekend. Some sections were on paved trail, and when this guy ran by on the pavement, I could hear his feet sort of slapping the ground. He wasn't heel striking, but he also wasn't rolling through the step properly. My partner ran the full marathon in his, and although the soles of his feet were sore, he didn't have the bleeding toes/toenails and blistering that some of the other runners experienced wearing conventional shoes.

    Also, I think you just sort of get used to it. Our feet get really delicate after so many years in cushioned shoes, and it takes time to get used to the feeling of bumpy ground. Unless I step on a really pointy rock, I don't feel it nearly as much as I did.
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    I've been wearing VFF Treksport exclusively for close to 6 months now. I completely love them. My feet, knees, hips and back feel better. I walk 2-4 miles 3-5 days per week. About half on concrete and half on trails. I don't have any issues stepping on stones, roots or whatever along the trails. I don't jog ever and can see how that might cause problems if you land on a rock or something. It took a few weeks or so for my feet muscles to strengthen and get rid of the soreness and tiredness. But, it wasn't a aching feet type of pain, it was a post work out, tired muscles pain so I powered through it and it went away just like when starting any work out routine. I sprint, always in grass, park or soccer fields. Sprinting in VFFs is amazing, total control, total comfort. I also play basketball in VFFs, again total control and total comfort.

    I'll never wear anything besides Vibrams again, except for some flip flops at the beach.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought you're supposed to walk on your heels and run/jog on your forefoot. Walking on your toes seems unnatural.

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    Tribal Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnywhisky01 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought you're supposed to walk on your heels and run/jog on your forefoot. Walking on your toes seems unnatural.
    You are neither wrong or right, I think it is really hard to know what is natural - kids are flat footed early on, that may stay the same if they keep barefooting, I have seen vids on youtube of barefoot walking stride with a flat foot placement and a survay on a barefoot shoe site I looked at once came up pretty evenly split between fore foot, flat foot and heel first placement when walking. I heel first feels right for you then do it, it doesn't for me unless I am ambling along real slow.
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    I come down with my weight toward the back of the midfoot when I walk, not hard on the toe or heel. I then roll through the foot. I think that may also be why stones hurt less--more of my foot is in contact with the ground so my weight is more distributed.

    You also don't run purely on the forefoot. The landing is shifted forward, but you should still use more than just the toes.
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