Barefoot Walking - Update
It has been 4 weeks since my last post where I shared my intent to try out barefoot walking. I decided to give it a try after talking with our many customers who are quite devoted to barefoot running - and who love Soft Star Shoes for when they "have" to wear shoes. My goal was to ease back into exercise and to try and do my daily walk in my "Roo" suede moccasins which are basically a soft, glove-like covering with some nice sheepskin in the bottom. Aside from the cushioning of the sheep, my foot moves and flexes as if it were completely barefoot. You can feel the ground through the sole - all the bumps, stones and sticks.
The initial verdict is a bit of love, a bit of hate, and a bit of ambivalence. Definitely I have not given it a fair shake yet - more trial is needed -so I'm going to give it another month. For now, here are some initial observations:
Dislikes: Landing full force on BIG sharp pieces of gravel. Maybe my barefoot enthusiast friends will tell me my feet just need more time to toughen up -- but at this point all I can say is - it hurts :-) The good news is most gravel roads I walk on have normal, ground up gravel which is fine and landing on the big chunks only happen a few times during the walk... it wakes you up, in any case.
Love: I LOVE wearing my mocs on dirt woodland trails! I even ventured running (instead of walking) this past weekend through the woods simply because my lack of shoes made me feel so surefooted, so grounded, and so... CHILDLIKE. I loved it- my feet loved it - I felt so coordinated and light. I also love seeing how much punishment our shoes can take. I rode down our long gravel driveway on my daughter's little bike dragging my mocs as brakes all the way down... and the shoes still look fabulous. I wouldn't recommend this as a good use of your mocs-- but I sure enjoy product testing!
Hmmmm: What am I still ambivalent about? The mechanics of how I walk/run is quite different when in mocs vs. standard running shoes. With my running shoes, I walk heel-to-toe. With my mocs, I walk more consciously and tend more towards toe-to-heel, especially when I start running. I'm not sure if this is good or bad... just different. My husband thinks my running "glides" more when I'm running in my barefoot-like mocs... but it feels quite strange still at this point.
More next month when I wrap up this experiment. Until then, any suggestions are very welcome!