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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Khmm... on 04/24/2013 14:34:24 MDT Print View

Greg,

I wouldn't try to change your walking stride. I never even thought about mine until a few years ago when I did a long day hike. We walked several miles making our way to a summit. I was leading. When we got to the top he told me I walk on the balls of my feet. He is an engineer and notices these things.

Just hike and enjoy the view.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Khmm... on 04/24/2013 15:32:54 MDT Print View

Agreed. The only time I would change the way I walk is if the ground called for it - steep uphill or downhill.

All of us in the forefoot running camp seem to have switched to it as a means of avoiding pain and injury. For anyone wanting a good way to be convinced to switch, go to a set of stairs and walk down quickly (and carefully) by landing on your heels at each step, instead of your forefoot. You can literally feel the shock run up your legs. Don't do it too much. Compare that with landing on your forefoot (which I assume we all do naturally while going downhill).

Here's my point - if you are running, each step is almost like going down a stair (not quite, but close). If your heels take the impact, you are going to pay for it. It also leaves room for your knees and hips to be out of proper alignment. If your forefoot takes the impact, it gets transfered through muscles and ligaments, which were made to take that impact.

I feel like I'm probably preaching to the choir now.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Minimalist shoes on 04/26/2013 12:43:23 MDT Print View

I've been extremely happy to see the growth of less substantial shoes in the last 5 years. In the 90's when I was in high school I ran XC and middle distance track, averaging about 40 miles per week my Jr and Sr years. I found that I liked running in my 'racing flats' better than my running shoes so I just ran in flats all the time. I just sort of adopted a midfoot strike from there. I got all kinds of unsolicited advice about how bad it was for me, but I was one of only 2 team members in my 4 years of HS to never have an overuse injury (I rolled my ankle on a trail run my Jr year)despite running 150% of the per-week mileage that I probably needed to run 5k's as a teen.
While in the Army I was essentially forbidden from wearing anything but a traditional running shoe, and I paid the price with shin splints and achy knees. So much so, that after my 2nd enlistment was up I got out and figured I was just to 'broken' to run. Then a year ago I realized I had put on 20 lbs and was horrifically out of shape. I tried to run in standard Nike's and barely made it a mile in 10 minutes, and my knees hurt for days. I did some reading and tried a pair of the NB minimus shoes. Immediately the pain was less, though I was still a slug.
I've been running in NB MT701s for about a year now and can't envision myself ever going back to a traditional shoe for running. I literally never hurt, regardless of how far I run or how often. I've run 27 miles this week so far.

Edit: this morning I went for a run and noticed my shoes are actually 730s not 701s. Mah bad.

Edited by COHiker on 04/28/2013 15:19:50 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Merrell Trail Glove 2 - Running Smart, Review, and Barefoot Running on 04/27/2013 10:24:26 MDT Print View

"Anyone else on here running barefoot?"

Rather than running, I'd be more interested if anyone is backpacking barefoot. Anyone?

My profile pic is me on my first try, summer of 2011. ~4 miles from the car, I decided to take my shoes off. Unbeknownst to me, 3/4 of this consisted of broken granite and gravel. The granite, and other rock I've found, is not the problem. It's the gravel...at least for me. I have since done another ~3 miles at the beginning of a trip (lots of gravel again) and many miles day hiking a familiar local trail with a variety of surfaces minus much gravel. The latter trail is where I realized I could run again, sans shoes, after a long hiatus.

I don't say this to try to be cool but rather as a genuine observation. I find that going barefoot is liberating in ways I can not articulate well. It makes me feel more youthful and lets my natural agility expand, fly. It feels good on my feet....soothing. I find it meditative, focusing on what my feet are feeling and how they move. My feet are able to wrap around the terrain, whatever it may be, naturally for grip. There's also mounting evidence of the benefits of being grounded to the earth, literally (check out the book "Earthing"). I believe it's one of many reasons I feel alive, good, when I'm barefoot. Everyone knows how good it feels to go barefoot on the beach and dip our feet in the ocean. There's no more conductive spot...so I believe there's more to it than what may be generated in the mind.

Also, I've been interested in Anthropology and primitive technology most of my life, and have studied it fairly strongly the last decade. Most of the natives in the west were unshod the bulk of the time....and, in every old photograph I have seen showing their feet, their forefeet are noticeably wider. Their feet and ankles in general are better formed and more muscular than contemporary feet...presumably from their feet being free as opposed to being entrapped in modern shoes. Genetics may have played a role here but it goes to reason their feet looked they way they did due to the exercise they got. I have noticed changes in my feet structure as well...but they are no where close to those who had gone natural all their lives.

The real drag of going barefoot for me is broken glass, dog crap, and vanity chemicals/weed killers.....oh, and gravel. When my feet are strong enough to deal with gravel, they'll be tough SOBs!

Edited by rustyb on 04/27/2013 10:59:34 MDT.