How to Walk Barefoot

Most of us learned to walk in heeled shoes, but learning to walk barefoot or in barefoot shoes requires listening to your body and relearning biomechanics to minimize impact. Like a fox.

“How do I walk barefoot?”

As folks transition to barefoot shoes or other minimalist footwear, a common question arises: how do I walk barefoot?

For example, I received the following question in the mailbag yesterday:

Hi, my name is Ben and I’m a recent convert to Vibrams (black KSO’s). I’m building up foot strength as well as calluses so I can run the NYC half marathon in them in August. I am also learning Pose running, which is very similar to running barefoot, as you land on your sole/midfoot.

I was wondering if you could run a poll or something asking how VFF wearer’s walk in them. I notice that when walking in the VFF’s, my heel strikes first, and since there is no real cushioning, it tends to hurt a little bit after a long walk, especially when walking around fast. Do people walk with their soles striking first? I’ve tried walking more softly, but when moving fast but not yet running, the heel strike feels noticeable.

Thanks and keep up the really cool site!



Thanks for writing in and you’ll have to keep us updated on your half-marathon training a la POSE. I’d like to learn some POSE basics at some point!

As for your request for a poll, you got it. Here are the results of a 2010 poll on this subject:

How do you walk in your Vibram FiveFingers?

Total Votes: 61

  • I strike midfoot first and then touch with my heel.: 54% (33)
  • I heel-strike (hit the ground heel-first).: 26% (16)
  • My foot hits the ground pretty flat so it’s hard to tell.: 20% (12)

According to this poll, most people are midfoot (or forefoot) striking but many can’t tell and a few others heel-strike.

“Strike” may be the wrong word for it entirely. The key in walking without padding underfoot is to walk gently — lightly.

If you’re feeling a reverberating wave of force travel up your leg when you walk, you’re probably walking too hard and you need to shorten your gait or learn to land more softly.

Barefoot and barefoot-shod walking experiences

In recanting his initial experiences with FiveFingers Julien described walking as feeling as though he was on a catwalk.

From personal experience experimenting with different walking methods in FiveFingers, one method I tend to use the most is taking short steps and landing midfoot, and when you do this, you do feel a bit like an animal — a cat or a fox — gliding across the ground quickly and effortlessly.

When I switched to wearing Vibram FiveFingers almost all of the time every day, I noticed I had to relearn to walk — particularly as at the time, I was doing a lot of home goods shopping (meaning I was at places like Target and Ikea which have concrete floors). My regular walking style was leaving my feet hurting.

I needed to walk more softly.

On Fox Walking

(Or if you can sneak up on wildlife in the woods, you’re probably walking right)

It might be of interest to look into the art of “Fox Walking.” Tell me this doesn’t sound “right” when it comes to walking barefoot:

In fox walking, the energetic contact with the earth as the energy flows through the legs, into the feet, and into the earth gives one a feeling of being “grounded” or having your feet on the ground or “having a clear head.” Literally in fox walking as the energy moves downward, the earth draws the energy out of the body. This same energy going in reverse can go into excessive thinking, anxiety, or as Freud would say “neurosis.” (Being out of the movement) It is interesting that it seems the further out of the movement we are the more neurotic and less happy we are. This opens up the possibility of using fox walking, and for that matter Toms entire course, with people that are having emotional problems. (It certainly has worked to change peoples lives.) Another possibility is to see if people doing fox walking go into alpha or other states of consciousness by using portable monitors. Subjectively, I personally feel a much deeper state of consciousness when I fox walk.

What is fox walking? Writer By Nature explains it thusly:

It’s placing your foot on the ground BEFORE you put your weight on it, so that your center of gravity is in your hips. It forces you to take shorter strides. In slow-motion you would:

  1. Touch the outside edge of your foot to the ground.
  2. Roll your foot inward until it is flat on the ground.
  3. Before adding your weight, is there a sharp stone, a rounded branch or any other object that would make a noise or irritate your foot?
  4. If so, reposition your foot.
  5. Transfer your weight to your foot.
  6. Repeat with your other foot.

Sounds about right to me.

So how do you walk naturally (barefoot)?

I don’t think there’s a firm answer to this question. The vague but conceptually accurate answer is similar to the one for “how to run naturally: walk to minimize impact, which should in turn maximize efficiency and reduce likelihood of injury (from a sharp stone or joint pain). And like learning to run, doing a bit of actually-barefoot walking (not on grass but on surfaces like concrete or asphalt) is quite the teacher.

Any other ideas on how to walk barefoot? Comment below and share with the rest of us!

Originally published August 31, 2011. Updated June 2024.

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

47 replies on “How to Walk Barefoot”

I have owned a pair of Vibram Five Fingers Sprint’s for a little over two years now. I am still on my first pair despite the 2,000 miles or so I’ve put on them, and the several seams I’ve hand stitched. I use them for running, work, hiking, climbing, and swimming.
I have learned to walk differently with these shoes. Like the bare-footing ideal I am looking to strengthen my lower body as well as decrease impact on my knees. I’ve found in any shoe my knees will hurt if I land heel first and move to my toes in one sweeping motion. The landing of the heel first is where 90% of the impact damage occurs. The ‘jerk’ or rate of change of acceleration is what causes the high stress impacts on the knees other joints. When you land on your heal first it is practically solid bone. When the impact occurs at your heel it travels up your leg to your knees, hips, and lower back. The longer this impact takes to occur (spread out the force) the more force is spread over more time, minimizing the impulse damage from the rapid stopping of your heel as you land on it first. By landing on midsole to outer foot (from the outside to the ball of the foot) I can dampen the impulse (rate of change of acceleration) so the change is spread out over more time. I roll from the outside of my foot to the ball of my foot to the heal and the rock backwards from the heel to the outside of the foot to the ball of my foot for each step. As my heel touches I rock and spring with my calf rolling to the ball of my foot. This dampening where my foot extends until my foot touches the ground. Then as the ball of my foot and the man pad of my foot is in full contact I apply my weight to my foot as a lower my heel. Once my heel leaves the ground all my power is in that leg and my other foot is just contacting the ground. If you can keep a power push with each foot consistant enough, you should feel like you are sneaking around when you walk. Not only is there less impact this way but you will get a better calf workout, and toning happens in weeks, not months. I also find balancing on the ball of my foot and balancing on small ledges also tones my legs, and feet.
Walking this way increases the amount of work your calfs will do proportionaly to the work normally done by the upper legs and buttocks. When going up or down hill you will need to squat a little more to get the flexion required for the spring action to decrease impulse. Keep in mind walking this way is much more exhausting. When I started I couldn’t wear the VFF for more than 3 hours, now I can wear them all day with no problems.
And remember.. Humans were hunter – gatherers. We sneak around trying to be as quiet as possible. This is one of the reasons our bodies are made to walk on the ball of the foot (Forward section of the foot). Grass and natural surfaces also help get used to VFF, and the change in dexterity required to use them regularly.
I hope this review helps.


What would help a lot of us, possibly, is a video of someone properly walking, in both standard time and slo-mo for a close look, even on something like a treadmill. Sometimes I feel like SEEING it done right is better than READING about it.

And yes, when I try to “walk proper” I feel like a cat or maybe even a sneaky thief trying to make a quite getaway!

I’ve noticed that my stride has gone from 3 feet to just over a foot, I am taking twice the number of steps to cover the same distance. I am landing with a midfoot strike. At first it feels like you are over exaggerating like a marching band but eventually you realize it is just smooth and comfortable.

I have been wearing VFFs and homemade Hauraches for the past 3 years … I have always naturally run forefoot strike but walked with a heel strike … I watched out kids walk barefoot many times and they do the same thing … heel to forefoot walking … forefoot to heel running … I think they are a good example of what nature intended. thoughts?


I think this just goes to the “there isn’t a right way to walk naturally” argument. If heel striking walking barefoot works for you, then I think that is right. FWIW, I’ve noticed very young kids (toddlers) walk on their forefoot (though it’s exaggerated IMO).

I used to wear the KSOs, as of yesterday my primary footwear is the TREK LS.

If I am idling along or just walking from place to place, I heel strike. If my velocity increases to a “hurried” walk, I must use the forefoot-strike. It takes awhile to become accustomed to landing on the ball of one’s foot at walking speed but you get used to it.

To the OP – if you are building up calluses, you are doing it wrong. I run 50mi a week in KSOs with no calluses. Get a pair of Injinji socks so any rubbing of the VFF is against fabric, not skin.

I’ve been wearing minimalist shoes or barefoot for a bit over 3 years now. I also tend to cover 20+ miles/week between walking the dogs, getting around town, and just going for a walk.

The most important thing to start – shorten your stride. The rest will come with practice. As has been mentioned, there really is no one right way to walk naturally. Just like no two fingerprints are identical, no two sets of feet are either so what works for me (pretty much flat landing on the outside of my foot and quickly transitioning to a great toe push off) may or may not work for you.

Start by shortening your stride, by like 1/2 to start, and see how that feels, the one thing that you’ll notice immediately is that it’s actually hard to land on your heel since your foot is pretty much right under your hips (center of mass/gravity).

I cover miles nearly every day like this and with the exception of when I really have to hurry and get calf cramps, all is well!

To me walking fore/midfoot feels awkward. I heel strike, softer than before with thick heels. My 3yo daughter does heel strike when walking but forefoot when running.

Walking is not running. I’ve been barefoot/minimalist running for over two years and it’s been fantastic.

First, you do need to axe “strike” from the natural walking terminology. If you’re coming down on your heel hard, my guess is you’re walk as you would in conventional shoes with a thick heel.

You “place” your heel on the ground and gentle role forward. By placing your heel on the ground you will also avoid coming straight down will your leg is extended with a “locked knee” (so your knee would never be locked straight, it’s always slightly bent). When you’re doing it right, it should almost feel like you’re gliding.

As mentioned by a previous poster, watch how young children do this when barefoot.

Thanks Justin!! Agreed .. I find it a little odd walking with small strides … probably because I’m always in a hurry 😉

ONE DAY humanity will admit the fact
modern shoe companies (actually are just the puppets of some bad-ass entities) had hurt the true evolution of our kind. for two reasons:
1. greed
2. hinder the population’s mental, physical, and astral progress on all levels.

sounds like a conspiracy?
then why most people will look at your
minimalist shoes with doubt and ridicule, beliving their super jumbo-hi-tec shoe soles are the way to go??

if you consider yourself a true, honest
human that involves in b-f activities
you should know our connection with the
core, earth, mother, planet is crucial:
we get and send information through our
feet. modern shoes had made our tiny muscles and tendons so ridgid that some of that communication had stopped.
and yes, i know you can connect to the earth with your heart but the feet are another basic channel that is NOW BEGINING TO FLOW.
people talk about 2012 and all… sometimes i think it’s just a bull, but, look around and see how many shoe brands are making b-f versions of their own… little by little, it does make a difference.

amen to that, see ya!

I don’t see what’s “wrong” with heel striking at all. If it’s not causing you distress or pain then who cares? Do what works for you, if it doesn’t work try something else. I tried walking as described here and it just seems awkward. I can see if I’m actually trying to sneak up on somebody that this would be useful, also when walking around in the dark on uncertain footing I know I’ve walked like this. But day to day, the heel-to-toe walk works for me and probably millions of other people. Key is not to “strike” anything but to always walk/run with softness in mind. If heel striker were bad we wouldn’t have this huge fat pad on our heels! 🙂

Arguing that “heel striking walking is right!” or “forefoot striking walking is right!” really misses the point of this article, which is what is “right” 1) varies from person to person when it comes to walking and 2) is about stepping gently. Usually this means you shorten your stride and land softly. You don’t stomp around. Some folks find landing midfoot (evenly) first works best, others forefoot, others still at the heel.

One other thing I’d like to point out is that even VFFs can change your biomechanics. I walk more “barefoot-like” in Classics than I do in Treks. This is because the Classics give me a lower ground clearance thanks to the thinner sole.

I’d also like to point out that most 3 year old kids have been wearing hard soled (often heel-lifted) shoes. My two year old has been *mostly* in soft-soled shoes (though certainly not exclusively) and walking for about 15 months now. She’s still landing forefoot.

And no, I’m not using that to argue you *should* walk forefoot first! Just pointing out that pointing to kids doesn’t make a bulletproof case for how we should walk.

Tread softly!

I think of it as a batting stance in baseball. They are all different but all that matters is that they work. The truth is if heel, mid, or forefoot striking didn’t work for walking, we probably wouldn’t do it. All three sound like acceptable methods and it is probably a matter of personal preference and what you are wearing.

If it’s comfortable, stick with it. You aren’t putting massive loads on your feet when walking like you do when you run, so you are probably ok. And truth be told, building a heel callous when walking to compliment a forefoot callous from running would give you a stronger, more protected foot. I can almost guarantee if you inspect the foot of a person who has never worn shoes they have callouss in both places.

I think John basically nailed the way I walk, though I must admit it has evolved over time and I had to train myself to walk like this

1. The first part of the foot to strike the ground is the outside of the ball of the foot (so under the knuckle of the little toe)

2. The foot then rolls across the “inside knuckles” of the toes(ball of the foot), from smallest toe to big as the toes spread out to distribute the weight.

if running, it’s simply rinse and repeat as the heel doesn’t touch the ground, if walking, the heel touches the ground gingerly after the weight has been distributed across the entire foot.

As mentioned, when going downhill you need to squat a little to lessen the impact, but it also allows you to use a lower centre of gravity to help speed your descent.

First I just did it via heel-strike, but after a few weeks exclusively going barefoot I started striking with the forefoot, then getting down to my heel almost immediately.

After all, it’s the best way for me, cause my forefoot is the strongest and most resistent part of my foot, followed by my heel, followed by the arch. So, if something really nasty is on the way and I can’t see it, I feel it imeediately causing me to not step on it but go on without getting my foot hurt.

Nevertheless, at first it felt really weird, ’cause you use your whole leg differently. You’re walking with an a bit bent knee, so you’re striking with a body that’s completely able to put the whole weight of the body somewhere else when encountering something not so good. It is a much more dymanic movement. And it feels just great.

I had actually retrained myself how to walk after I got my pair of Vibrams. I had become so used to heel striking, it was second nature (as ironic as that is). I actually had some kind of problem with my knees where I could feel them popping or cracking while I walked, and would start to hurt quite badly after a while.

I started off with what seemed like an awkward fox walk; I’m sure I looked like I was wearing heels or something with how painfully odd it looked. But over time, it gradually became more smooth and easier to do.

Now, a year later, I’m at the point where it’s the only way I walk and it’s like second (or in this case, first) nature. The average person watching me walk would have no idea that I walk completely different than they do, aside from my toes not pointing toward the sky with each step. Plus, I walk way quieter. It feels so good to walk now, it’s always hard to not jump into a jog. It just feels so right.

I definitely heel strike when I walk. I walk quite a bit barefoot in the house and we have tile. Has been this way since I could walk. When running I am a mid foot striker.

One thing I notice when I walk is that I use my knees and quads a lot to absorb impact. I have never had knee, foot, or heel issues and I am flat footed. I even play badminton and that POUNDS your knees if you play at speed and jump smash.

I don’t think there is a set 100% correct walking stride. Even walking I take about a 2 foot stride and I’m only 5’7″.

I feel we need to get rid of the term “strike” from our vocabulary when discussing BF or minimal shoe walking and running… The point is to land softly. I really like what Ken Bob Saxton says in his book “Barefoot Running Step By Step”:
Turn your feet into hands, not shoes!

The idea here is that if you land softly enough (without the vertical bouncing that shoes have artificially created in our habitual movement) it will not matter how hard the surface below you is. If someone throws you a bowling ball, and you catch it, there’s no pain. If you “strike” the bowling ball, it doesn’t matter what part of the hand you use, there will be pain.

There’s a video of barefoot sensei Mick Dodge on YouTube that I found helpful as well. I STRONGLY encourage all VFF users and aspiring BF or minimal runners to read ” Barefoot Running Step By Step” by Ken Bob Saxton… seriously, this book should be included with every pair of VFFs sold! ( it would have saved me a lotnof pain and a year of trial and error)

I’ve found walking on hard surfaces with VFF to be a major challenge, much more so than running, and it has impacted my running. During long runs, I usually alternate four or five minutes of running with a minute or so of fast walking. Walking, i.e., heel-striking, with shoes with thick heels, provides rest for the muscles used in running. But with VFF on hard surfaces, prolonged heel striking is painful and it wears out the heels of the VFF (I destroyed my first pair of Bikilas in a few weeks).
The alternative, which is what I’ve been learning to do for the last 15 months, is to walk in a manner that is almost identical to running. The primary difference is that in walking one foot is always on the ground.
Walking like this is starting to feel somewhat natural, though it doesn’t provide nearly as much rest for the running muscles, particularly the calf muscles, as does walking on the heels.
I’ve contemplated gluing a bit of extra rubber on the heels of the VFF, though I haven’t done so. I’m still hopeful that with time I won’t miss being able to rest on my heels.
I wonder, though, if human bodies (or those of any other animal) have evolved for travel on hard smooth surfaces. Smooth concrete or asphalt sidewalks and roads are an extremely recent historical development. It’s hard to imagine humans encountering any large expanses of equally hard surfaces in the two million years that we’ve been evolving and running and walking upright.


It’s quite possible to walk pain-free on hard surfaces, also running. But it’s much more fun to run on soft earth or gras. I think you’ve gotta have a natural walking and running style if you want to run or walk pain-free at all. I guess it’s better to do that without VFFs at all; more pain at first, but your whole body is aware that something gotta change.

I found it quite easy to run on asphalt if I do an sliding movement over the ground. It feels like I’m not hitting the ground at all, but just touching it.

After all, you have the same thing as in climbing: First you will grab the stone way to hard, and you have to adjust in a way that you have a energy-saving method which doesn’t cause the rest of your body to suffer.

I too had problems walking in the VFFs until I went ALL THE WAY barefoot. Please, just try it… It’s really not as scary as you might think. Once your skin feels the ground (or pavement) you will quickly re-learn to walk gently on ANY surface. (really, hard and smooth is by far the easiest, once you get it) The trick, then, is to translate this natural stride back into VFF use. Let’s face it, we can’t be barefoot all the time.

The above picture was taken from Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival, which is where the website referenced took it from.

I know because I was given this book as a child in 1990, and it was my bible.

This is my advice for what it’s worth:

I think we are all looking at this from the wrong end.

Forget the feet, forget your lower leg or even the knee. Your leg/foot starts at the hip and on down to the thigh. It is this area of your body that you need to be mindful of whether running or walking, and to keep the rest of the leg and foot relaxed.

The trick is to raise your thigh high enough so that the knee bends the leg naturally with your lower leg and foot hanging below. As all who follow this site know, the ankle and foot are springs so there is really no need to use too much strength or tensed control in them. Doing so can lead to injury. When your thigh and knee are in the right place the rest of the leg just follows through doing the right thing. A correct mid-foot strike is the result of your upper leg doing the right thing in the first place. It is the result of the equation not one of the inputs!

All this means that your stride can actually be as long or short as you like depending on how fast you want to go. The toes are there to be used for foot lift off, and in addition to giving extra propulsion, have the effect of helping your thigh get back into the high position of the next step.

The sedentary lifestyle of modern man that spends much of the time sitting down has weakened the muscles in the pelvic area in particular. Normal shoes have allowed us to walk/run “comfortably” without the need to raise our legs as mentioned above.

One really does need to mindful of this as it is all to easy for us to fall back into our old habits. Maybe after years of training, my body will finally walk properly by default without the need for this mindfulness.

*Interestingly in the fox walking picture, you can see the man with a raised thigh, almost exactly as I have described.

By the way, I’m purposely saying thigh here instead of knee as it is there where I believe your mindfulness needs to rest. The pelvic muscle socket on one end and thigh muscles on the other — that is the key.

I have been wearing my sprints walking around San Diego. Last Sunday I wore a pair of regular shoes and I noticed my shoes seamed to big for my feet. I automatically went back to heel striking and my shoes all around felt clunky. Has anyone else noticed a change when switching between VFS and regular shoes?

Victor, you have already succumbed to the “Five fingers curse” Welcome to the club. It happened to me about a week after I got my first pair of VFFs. The “curse” is that once your feet have felt the joys of VFFs, you no longer can tolerate “foot coffins” anymore! Rejoice in your newfound intolerance of harmful shoes… Over the last couple of years, I have given almost all of my pre-VFF shoes away to the local veterans shelter. Something tells me, you will soon be doing the same thing:)

I’ve been successfully running in Bikila’s and KSO’s for about a year and one half up to the marathon level. I heard a comment from an older runner who ran many miles in racing flats, that having no cushion in your shoes causes your feet to loose their fat and therefore makes any running uncomfortable and causes permanent food damage. Does anyone know if their is any truth in this? I would almost rather quit running than have to go back to clunky shoes.

Fox Walk or Weasel Stalk?

I searched through three or four books by Tom Brown, looking for the original image of that which is displayed above. His “Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking” has a lot of verbal description but I didn’t see the illustrations. I did find them in “Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival,” pages 168-173.

What is illustrated is not the Fox Walk, nor even the more stealthy Weasel Walk. It is an all-out stalking movement, intended to move with maximum quietness and control at an extremely slow speed.

In the Fox Walk the body and head are held erect and the eyes are fixed on the horizon. There is no crouching, nor are the hands on the knees. The feet roll from the outside to the inside.

Are there any stretches or exercises one can do to strengthen the foot/ leg/ hip muscles that will make the transition to walking barefeet any easier? I am just starting to walk barefeet… and only around the house right now. But I can already foresee some pain in my future. Thanks!

If you do it slowly enough your body should adjust just fine.

I guess you could take as a rule that if you need stretching you’re doing it too fast. 😉

Hi, I thought I would share my experiences. Hope it is useful for other neophyte barefooters. I am 51 with a background in running, back when I was young and skinny. I always wore shoes as an adult. I am a heel striker and have had a few injuries over the years: two incidents of torn ligaments in the right ankle, loosey-goosey knees that make scarey noises when I bend them and a tendency toward knee, top of foot, hip and lower back pain when I run or walk long distance( big stride with heel strike.) I currently weigh 190 (5′ 11″) so, yeah, I need to lose weight as well. Just got a pair of VFF Bakilas and I am realizing that I need to learn how to walk. The shoestore gave me an informational booklet from The shoe manufacturer showing foot and ankle stretching and strengthening exercises to do before running. And they recommend a slow and gradual transition into it. Run? I find I can barely walk in these things farther than a block! I have to learn how to walk! How wierd is that. I was running 6 miles three days a week a month or so ago (granted with pain.) now I find myself gingerly stepping around the house barefoot. I have to remind myself constantly to walk on the ball of the foot. My feet hurt when I heel strike. Is my body trying to tell me something? I am going to do the %*#@$ exercises and slowly transition into this. I don’t like it, but I don’t think I have a choice anymore. It is somewhat frustrating to put it mildly. My wife, who is a lifetime barefooter from birth and was a hip minimalist before there even was minimalist footwear thinks I am nuts as you might expect. I will let you know how it goes after about a month or so. I keep telling myself,” ball of the foot, ball of the foot, tiny steps.” I really want my New Balance running shoes back.

I really like the description of the fox walk. I am vividly against forefoot strike on a regular basis because it goes against human functional anatomy. Let me try to explain. The reason why so many people get acute aquiles tendon inflamation is because when you land forefoot first, you land with your tendon in a lax position. Then when your heel touches down, the tendon suddenly snaps into tension and then the tension is increased naturaly as you prepare to strike off. This is fine if it happens sporadically, as when you land from a jump, when you’re speeding up in a sprint etc. However, the repetitive snap WILL cause trouble unless your body thickens that tendon-bone insertion enough to minimise repetitive tear forces.
On the other hand, if you land midfoot or heel first, your tendon is already streched when you hit the ground and is only subjected to gradual tension as you roll your foot and strike off.

As I saw somewhere above here, what is important is to land your foot softly. Personally I always land heel first, but because running barefoot makes you actually feel the impact of the concrete, I started landing almost midfoot and a lot softer than I used to. That alone made all my running aches disappear.

I still tend to heel strike when walking in VFFs, but I’m working on landing mid-foot/forefoot more. It’s definitely taking more “re-training” to walk that way than it was to run more on the forefoot.

I’m 37 year old, 5’11” in height, & 260 pounds right now (but with about 188 pounds of that being fat free mass). Half of my L5-S1 disc is gone at the moment too, so minimalist/barefoot running is the only way I can run without killing my back. Of course, run is being generous. At my size it’s more like a controlled lumber with the occasional bit of barreling if I get a nice downhill. 😉 Funny thing is my doc goes by the BMI charts & says I need to be 185 to be a healthy weight… So I need to lose almost 80 pounds of weight, with almost 20 pounds of that being muscle? Eh, I’ll pass & shoot for 210-215 overall weight, with a bit of added muscle.

The guy above that said he’s 5’11” & 190, but needs to lose weight. If he’s going by BMI he’s overweight, but I’d say check bodyfat too.

Soft shoes are training wheels: they correct your mistakes so you don’t feel when you’re making them. You can’t learn how to walk when you’re blinded by your mistakes: you need minimal shoes. But because of how easy it is to pain yourself from a heel strike, I’m not surprised to see how many people are afraid to land on their heels. Unfortunately, we just weren’t made to walk like foxes.

I’ve been casually wearing Vivobarefoot shoes since last December (9 months now), and I will admit, walking was the most difficult motion to learn. In minimal shoes, you’re much more aware of the ground and when you’ve struck your heel. I tried fox-walking which removed heel striking from the equation, but that was a very unnatural movement. It wasn’t until I read Vivobarefoot’s Training Clinic by Lee Saxby that I got the courage to try walking with a heel-toe roll.

The heel-strike problem can be solved with both shorter strides and a smooth momentum. I stopped pounding my heel and started rolling the impact from back to front. Eventually the roll stopped being a conscious effort, and my feet stopped getting sore from all the contrived effort. That’s when I knew my walking was good. Even if a situation calls for a faster walk, I still don’t have to switch to a midfoot strike because my foot is adept enough at rolling the impact. However, learning this proper movement took a month or so to get right, and about 6 months to perfect. From a flat sidewalk to soft grass and then to a rocky asphalt, every situation is different.

You’re gonna have to realize how difficult it is before you’re able to do it right. The tradeoff of forcing yourself to learn biomechanics is a greater understanding of cushioning impact in the long run. I used to get sore from walking in my sneakers all day, and I blamed this on “not enough cushion.” So when I took my Vivobarefoot Neos to Downtown Disney, I also made sure to bring the soft, cushy, removable insoles just in case. I never had to use them. Everyone else was tired from walking, but I felt like I could go on forever! Learn to walk the right way, and you’ll never feel sore again.

One last note, make sure to understand that walking does not transition into jogging. Jogging is a heel-toe pound that is only made possible by soft shoes that artificially cushion the heel-strike. Running is a normal forefoot spring. There is no natural transition for our feet from walking into anything else but a forefoot run, and it’s a lot easier to run slow than to walk fast.

When it comes to walking, I try to remember the image of a woman walking with a basket on her head, like this:
Rather than obsessing about which part of the foot “strikes” first, I focus on softly “catching and releasing” the ground with each step, having as little bounce as possible in my walk. I focus on allowing softness in every part of my stride. Ken Bob Saxton’s book “Barefoot Running Step By Step” is money well spent, BTW!

Another way to think of it is to avoid “overstriding”… In other words, take shorter steps so as not to pound your feet on the ground.

hi there! today was my first minimal shoes experience. i started on the very low end with a pair feiyues. after walking across town in them today I was a little worried about the awkwardness I felt when i all of a sudden started to take shorter steps, feeling like a ninja or something. this article and the comments successfully cheered me up, guys! seems i’m on the right track and not alone in my awkwardness! yay! 🙂

like most i still tend to land on my heel but i must admit that in the feiyues this doesn’t feel quite right. i felt most comfortable with like a “rolling motion” if that makes any sense. landing gently on heel or midfoot (it’s still a bit hard to tell for me where i actually land, just getting a feel for this) and then working with the rest of the foot to lower the impact.

so pretty much in the vein what others have said. only thing i’d like to add: i noticed that i seem to bent forward while walking the way i used too. with taking smaller steps i found this damn near impossible! i had to walk with a straight back and my whole posture changed.

and it feels great! 😀

I don’t know if its been mentioned, but wouldn’t how you pronate also affect your foot strike? For example I under-pronate so striking on the outside of the ball of my foot and rolling towards the inside is natural, where as someone who over-pronates and strikes on the inside of their foot first would have difficulty doing this.

I have been using vibram shoes last three months. It has been an interesting journey for me. I find to run barefoot is much easier than to walk barefoot. Hmm. I am still experimenting how to walk barefoot. Right now I am walking like if I am ape by doing a heel striking and using more of arch side of my feet. Hmm. I have sciatica and when I do the ape method walking I feel it stretches the sciatic nerve. I have to rotate my feet inward to do this. When I do just regular heel striking while walking for few long miles, I do feel pain in my heel parts.. This is where I alter my walking into ape like method. Let’s see how I will do in next few weeks.

Tim, yeah it may be true that pronating the feet makes walking barefoot a difference. Under-pronating and doing the heel striking walking seem working well with me too.

I want to update… Also to walk with feet close to each other does work too. I could walk all the day without getting in pain. Keys are to keep feet close to each others and keep outer feet line parallel to each others instead of inner line of feet to be parallel to each others. This method can give you sense like if you are related to ape because the touch base when walking will be mostly on the outer feet line (arch) like ape would do. For running or dancing, of course use forefoot to jump. 🙂

And how could anyone walk by forefoot all the day?! Heel to toe walking is more feeling natural and in sense.

I’ve only got VFF for a short while now, but even before I got them, I tried forefoot walking and realized I can only do it and not feel like chicken shaking head front to back if walking uphill or downhill. On flat ground it’s heal first. This city has lots of hills so I switch from one to anotehr all the time

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