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!


  1. Barefoot Running Coach
    Hi Tricia!My name's Michael Sandler and I coach barefoot running schools and clinics and have the nation's largest barefoot running club. I love your likes and dislikes, and as a long-time barefoot runner (got into it for healing) have to agree about the gravel...even today, OUCH. It's run-able, but with a very special...aka light and careful stride.And that brings up a great're right in that your stride changes when barefoot or in mocs, and that's a GREAT thing. When you're on your toes or forefoot you're light and using your forefoot, arch, achilles, calves and quads as your shock-absorber and spring. Over time (if you build up slowly, which it sounds like you are) you'll be able to jog or run farther than ever with this stride, and with less effort, and no wear and tear on the body...instead of the body breaking down, when you're on your forefoot your body naturally gets stronger!Conversely, heel striking brings all of the force up through the heel, shins, knees, and into the hip and back...and for many, even the shoulders and neck can't withstand the pounding and abuse from force transmitted through the heels.Native Americans and tribes around the world were onto something when they used moccasins...and it's why our forefathers and ancestors could run such great distances unimpeded. We needed to for food, shelter, and survival.I'd recommend keeping up with the forefoot jogging and seeing where it goes.Feel free to visit our Fan Page for more helpful tips, it's And off-line, I'd love to brainstorm with you more about moccasins and directions I can turn to try more of these magnificent marvels for our readers.Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work, both with the barefooting, and with such an incredible blog!!!With best wishes,~Michael SandlerCCO, RunBare.comHead Coach, The Barefoot Running
  2. art
    I know the post is old 2009 but was wondering if your keeping up the practice? your feet looked good in the photo.
    Ps I was also featured in barefoot photo's and still adamant about it.
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