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An "alternative" new (old!) modality of walking

Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
#1
I would like to share with this group of Pilgrims a beautiful modality of walking, a sort of walking meditation, or walking yoga, to use in Caminos.
A way to bring awareness in your every single step and, at the same time, to prevent a lot of injuries.
The basic rule is very simple: instead of walking landing your foot with the heel first, you softly and gently touch the ground with the front of it (toes and anterior plantar arch).
This is the way the human beings walk and run when they are barefoot. Just see the babies when they learn to walk.
Personally I practice it since a few years and I truly regret to have learned this walking attitude late in my life. Besides, a good deal of long-distance runners and sky runners have adopted it with a galore of advantages: less heel stress, less injuries, much less plantar fasciitis and shint splints, much more ankle stability.
The German physician Peter Greb a few decades ago re-discovered the way human beings used to walk before the invention of the shoes. This is the book he wrote, where he explains this technique and its benefits:
The true Walk: From heeling to healing - The dynamic Yoga GODO
You can also read a shot description of "natural wakling" in this website: https://www.godo-impuls.de/index.php/godo-englisch
The Tarahumara People are among the masters of the natural running.
In Youtube you can find a good deal of video tutorials.

So... many wishes for your Pilgrimages in whole awareness! :cool:
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#2
I would like to share with this group of Pilgrims a beautiful modality of walking, a sort of walking meditation, or walking yoga, to use in Caminos.
A way to bring awareness in your every single step and, at the same time, to prevent a lot of injuries.
The basic rule is very simple: instead of walking landing your foot with the heel first, you softly and gently touch the ground with the front of it (toes and anterior plantar arch).
This is the way the human beings walk and run when they are barefoot. Just see the babies when they learn to walk.
Personally I practice it since a few years and I truly regret to have learned this walking attitude late in my life. Besides, a good deal of long-distance runners and sky runners have adopted it with a galore of advantages: less heel stress, less injuries, much less plantar fasciitis and shint splints, much more ankle stability.
The German physician Peter Greb a few decades ago re-discovered the way human beings used to walk before the invention of the shoes. This is the book he wrote, where he explains this technique and its benefits:
The true Walk: From heeling to healing - The dynamic Yoga GODO
You can also read a shot description of "natural wakling" in this website: https://www.godo-impuls.de/index.php/godo-englisch
The Tarahumara People are among the masters of the natural running.
In Youtube you can find a good deal of video tutorials.

So... many wishes for your Pilgrimages in whole awareness! :cool:
Hi Piero
This is interesting and not sure how long before it becomes automatic instead of having to consciously try and do so. How long did it take you?
What I read elsewhere to take shorter steps and place the foot FLAT on the ground to reduce the strain on ankles etc. I also practice waking more slowly than i used to and aim for 4 km an hour or a little under. Used to be a macho thing to walk fast and I see many doing it but realise for me anyhow it comes back in the form of tendonitis and or shin splints.
Happymark
 

Gigipro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coming this month - June 2018. Deciding route.
#4
I would like to share with this group of Pilgrims a beautiful modality of walking, a sort of walking meditation, or walking yoga, to use in Caminos.
A way to bring awareness in your every single step and, at the same time, to prevent a lot of injuries.
The basic rule is very simple: instead of walking landing your foot with the heel first, you softly and gently touch the ground with the front of it (toes and anterior plantar arch).
This is the way the human beings walk and run when they are barefoot. Just see the babies when they learn to walk.
Personally I practice it since a few years and I truly regret to have learned this walking attitude late in my life. Besides, a good deal of long-distance runners and sky runners have adopted it with a galore of advantages: less heel stress, less injuries, much less plantar fasciitis and shint splints, much more ankle stability.
The German physician Peter Greb a few decades ago re-discovered the way human beings used to walk before the invention of the shoes. This is the book he wrote, where he explains this technique and its benefits:
The true Walk: From heeling to healing - The dynamic Yoga GODO
You can also read a shot description of "natural wakling" in this website: https://www.godo-impuls.de/index.php/godo-englisch
The Tarahumara People are among the masters of the natural running.
In Youtube you can find a good deal of video tutorials.

So... many wishes for your Pilgrimages in whole awareness! :cool:
You know I am wondering about camino shoes. I was born and raised in Florida where I've been barefoot except where shoes are required. I'm getting ready for the camino ( in about ten days). I see suggestions to have one pair of heavy shoes on hand, but I feel like Sparticus on Bird Cage, "the shoes, they make me fall down." Not really that, but I find I have best grip with water shoes or in bare feet. Of course, I'm going to need good shoes, but I'm in midst of these considerations. I find that with water shoes or without shoes, i tend to walk as you said, and with heavy, stiff arch supporting shoes, the heel strikes first.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#5
Hi Gigipro
some people walk barefoot and others in sandals or five toe footwear. It is a matter of what you are used to. Reflect that 800 km is an average of 1,600,000 foot strikes so the feet, ankles, legs, knees etc get a lot of work and anything that can protect and in some cases cushion impacts is very helpful. There will be stoney places, possibility of glass and other things that can cut so bare foot would be last choice. Years ago only great saints or sinners walked bare booted.
My first Camino was walking in Salomon low cut walking footwear which were OK but no ankle support. From the on depending on the backpack weight and terrain (some paths are very rough, stony and steep) I prefer boots with ankle support like the Lowa Renegades. In my last one on the VDLP half the boots on the shelves where we entered were Lowa Renegades; relatively light, waterproof and comfortable providing I have purchased boots that allow my feet to spread and swell; usually need half to a full size bigger than normal shoes to avoid losing toe nails and generating blisters. Thee are many brands to choose from but buying by brand can be a mistake; it is a matter of what suits your own feet not mine.
Hope this helps.
Happymark
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#6
You know I am wondering about camino shoes. I was born and raised in Florida where I've been barefoot except where shoes are required. I'm getting ready for the camino ( in about ten days). I see suggestions to have one pair of heavy shoes on hand, but I feel like Sparticus on Bird Cage, "the shoes, they make me fall down." Not really that, but I find I have best grip with water shoes or in bare feet. Of course, I'm going to need good shoes, but I'm in midst of these considerations. I find that with water shoes or without shoes, i tend to walk as you said, and with heavy, stiff arch supporting shoes, the heel strikes first.
I'm trying out some Xeroshoes Terraflex shoes right now. They have a zero heel drop, and flexible sole. https://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-shoes/new-terraflex-trail-running-hiking-shoe/
 

Gigipro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coming this month - June 2018. Deciding route.
#7
Hi Gigipro
some people walk barefoot and others in sandals or five toe footwear. It is a matter of what you are used to. Reflect that 800 km is an average of 1,600,000 foot strikes so the feet, ankles, legs, knees etc get a lot of work and anything that can protect and in some cases cushion impacts is very helpful. There will be stoney places, possibility of glass and other things that can cut so bare foot would be last choice. Years ago only great saints or sinners walked bare booted.
My first Camino was walking in Salomon low cut walking footwear which were OK but no ankle support. From the on depending on the backpack weight and terrain (some paths are very rough, stony and steep) I prefer boots with ankle support like the Lowa Renegades. In my last one on the VDLP half the boots on the shelves where we entered were Lowa Renegades; relatively light, waterproof and comfortable providing I have purchased boots that allow my feet to spread and swell; usually need half to a full size bigger than normal shoes to avoid losing toe nails and generating blisters. Thee are many brands to choose from but buying by brand can be a mistake; it is a matter of what suits your own feet not mine.
Hope this helps.
Happymark
Thank you for this information. Yeah, after looking at various descriptions of the rocks and cobbles, it does seem I will need something with to cushion my steps, and as you say, ankle support may be important. I hadn't planned on coming w/out shoes but I think even the lightweight shoes can be only for a switching off. Sounds like a plan. It does help. : )
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#8
Thank you for this information. Yeah, after looking at various descriptions of the rocks and cobbles, it does seem I will need something with to cushion my steps, and as you say, ankle support may be important. I hadn't planned on coming w/out shoes but I think even the lightweight shoes can be only for a switching off. Sounds like a plan. It does help. : )
There's no real proof that boots provide much if any support for your ankles. If you have no ankle problems it shouldn't be necessary.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
#9
Hi Piero
This is interesting and not sure how long before it becomes automatic instead of having to consciously try and do so. How long did it take you?
Like Gigipro, I grew in an area (farmland in North West Italy) where we used to wear shoes only in cold seasons and when we had to go to school or to church. And I kept on walking barefoot at home all my life.
So, for me, walking with the modality of soft landing the anterior plantar arch first and then (gently) the heel is totally spontaneous.
When I teach that to other people, they take the principles very quickly. And two hours of practice are enough to intake that kind of walking. IMHO the key of that result is that we ALL know how to walk barefoot - it's in our genes and in the biomechanics of our body - it's just a matter of recalling it.
I always recommend to practice front-foot walking (barefoot or wearing zero-drop shoes) in sessions of increasing length to make the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles more elastic and reactive and the tibialis anterior more relaxed.
An important part of the practice is the stretching routine before walking: all the muscles of front and back of the legs have to be warmed-up, including iliacus and psoas.
The spontaneous reflexes are usually recalled/restored in ten sessions.

So, now it comes the 1,000,000$ question: when do you use this walking modality in Caminos?
My answer is: the shoes that I wear in Caminos are zero-drop ones, so I always walk "toes > heel;
the only exception is when I do nordic walking, that requires the roll "heel > toes", pretending that my feet were round.
By alternating front-foot walking and nordic walking in a stage (usually 30% ff and 70% nw), I can balance the use of my muscle system (and of the joints as well!) in a way that I can reduce to the minimum the risks of injuries.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#10
As to the long held idea that boots provide ankle support, long term studies and research have shown this to be not quite the case.

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#13
You know I am wondering about camino shoes. I was born and raised in Florida where I've been barefoot except where shoes are required. I'm getting ready for the camino ( in about ten days). I see suggestions to have one pair of heavy shoes on hand, but I feel like Sparticus on Bird Cage, "the shoes, they make me fall down." Not really that, but I find I have best grip with water shoes or in bare feet. Of course, I'm going to need good shoes, but I'm in midst of these considerations. I find that with water shoes or without shoes, i tend to walk as you said, and with heavy, stiff arch supporting shoes, the heel strikes first.
I spend most of my life barefoot too, wearing shoes only when I have to. In fact more than once I have jumped in the car, got out at a gas station or supermarket, and realised I dont have shoes and gone ahead anyway despite the strange looks. The floors near the freezers in supermarkets are really cold! And the concrete at gas stations has oil residue. I really should remember to leave shoes in the car for emergencies. Even in the office I walk around barefoot or in tights, unless I have visitors. I leave my shoes under my desk so I can slip them on quickly when required.
So I'm like you, my style of walking changes when I'm wearing shoes. Its an automatic adjustment. Because I live at a beach, I walk a lot on sand and grass, and walk barefoot at roughly the same pace as in shoes but the surfaces are softer. (The grass makes your feet green and the wet sand cleans them off.)
Walking a Camino involves hard surfaces and gravel, so my Caminos are done in shoes in my 'shoe' walking style.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
#14
I would like to share with this group of Pilgrims a beautiful modality of walking, a sort of walking meditation, or walking yoga, to use in Caminos.
A way to bring awareness in your every single step and, at the same time, to prevent a lot of injuries.
The basic rule is very simple: instead of walking landing your foot with the heel first, you softly and gently touch the ground with the front of it (toes and anterior plantar arch).
This is the way the human beings walk and run when they are barefoot. Just see the babies when they learn to walk.
Personally I practice it since a few years and I truly regret to have learned this walking attitude late in my life. Besides, a good deal of long-distance runners and sky runners have adopted it with a galore of advantages: less heel stress, less injuries, much less plantar fasciitis and shint splints, much more ankle stability.
The German physician Peter Greb a few decades ago re-discovered the way human beings used to walk before the invention of the shoes. This is the book he wrote, where he explains this technique and its benefits:
The true Walk: From heeling to healing - The dynamic Yoga GODO
You can also read a shot description of "natural wakling" in this website: https://www.godo-impuls.de/index.php/godo-englisch
The Tarahumara People are among the masters of the natural running.
In Youtube you can find a good deal of video tutorials.

So... many wishes for your Pilgrimages in whole awareness! :cool:
Gracias
I would like to share with this group of Pilgrims a beautiful modality of walking, a sort of walking meditation, or walking yoga, to use in Caminos.
A way to bring awareness in your every single step and, at the same time, to prevent a lot of injuries.
The basic rule is very simple: instead of walking landing your foot with the heel first, you softly and gently touch the ground with the front of it (toes and anterior plantar arch).
This is the way the human beings walk and run when they are barefoot. Just see the babies when they learn to walk.
Personally I practice it since a few years and I truly regret to have learned this walking attitude late in my life. Besides, a good deal of long-distance runners and sky runners have adopted it with a galore of advantages: less heel stress, less injuries, much less plantar fasciitis and shint splints, much more ankle stability.
The German physician Peter Greb a few decades ago re-discovered the way human beings used to walk before the invention of the shoes. This is the book he wrote, where he explains this technique and its benefits:
The true Walk: From heeling to healing - The dynamic Yoga GODO
You can also read a shot description of "natural wakling" in this website: https://www.godo-impuls.de/index.php/godo-englisch
The Tarahumara People are among the masters of the natural running.
In Youtube you can find a good deal of video tutorials.

So... many wishes for your Pilgrimages in whole awareness! :cool:
Gracias Pierro for your advice, I will try to walk with the front first,as I always have done the heel first.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
#16
As to the long held idea that boots provide ankle support, long term studies and research have shown this to be not quite the case.

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.
Thank you!!! You spoke my mind! :cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#18
Those look amazing!
And great value for the projected mileage.
Did you get the recommended + half size or did you go for a full size larger?
My feet are too long for their women's sizes, so I phoned them for help in determining my correct size in men's sizes. The size that they recommended was actually too small, but the next full size up is perfect. The company is very good about exchanges and working with you to get the correct size. When you make an exchange you don't pay for shipping for the return. I've walked about 20 miles in them so far, and I think that they will work on the Camino for me.
I'm not sure that the soles will actually last 5000 miles, and if they did I can't imagine what the uppers would look like. Also, their phone rep said that the soles will wear down faster on pavement.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2011, 2013) Roncesvalles to Belorado
CLeP (2013) - Le Puy to ?
CF (2018) Belorado to Astorga
#20
I also grew up walking barefoot in Florida and go barefoot still whenever possible. When I can't, I wear shoes with no arch and NO shank....very flexible with little between me and the ground. And that's what I did the Camino in. My feet are fine. And I'm in my 60s. Best not to force feet that function well naturally into stiff boards with forced arches. The Camino is not a challenging surface compared to other hikes. I had the only foot pain I ever had coming into Burgos. The cement was an issue.
 
#21
This is also the way many in the martial arts learn to walk. It is a more balanced way of doing so. There are practicalities and tcan be, ocassionally, where toe/heel make traversing difficult.
 
#22
No-one has yet mentioned the effect, on the way we walk, of having done ballet.
I did it from 2.5 yrs. until I reached Elementary at around 12 yrs.
It left me with stretched ligaments, particularly hyperextension at the back of my knees. :(

But it also left me with a walk which reverts to ball first, whenever it’s comfortable - both in bare feet and in completely flat shoes, for instance.

The Xero Terraflex shoes @trecile mentioned would probably work really well for those whose feet naturally want to land ball first. The wide toe-box would be great, too.

This old habit seems to keep me agile, as I age, allowing for quick movement.

Oh .... I’ve just realised where that phrase “keeps you on your toes” comes from .... I can be catatonically slow sometimes :rolleyes: :)
 
#23
@davebugg
I study your posts on boot/shoes, footwear in general, and really appreciate all the time you put into helping so many. Thank you :)

I did wear my Salomon Mountain X in 2009. I’ve had them since the mid-80s. They are so light on my feet that I can dance in them, even at the end of a long day’s walk. I have no idea why they’ve lasted so long. I also wore my Tevas as often as possible :)

But if and when I can walk El Camino again, I will almost certainly use the Xero Terraflex, and try to alternate my natural front-first walking style with the Nordic walking, which I found so comfortable and helpful for my upper body, as well as my lower one, as suggested by @Piero Frustascarpe.

I just wanted to thank you - all three of you actually .... @trecile and @Piero Frustascarpe, too. I’ve realised that I don’t need my boots and that I can walk naturally and comfortably without them and also spread the load and so avoid excess strain on my ageing/ed body.

Btw, I used to work, for a while, in an outdoor shop, and well remember fitting Boots (and shoes) for customers ... I still push my feet to the front of a shoe/boot (unlaced) and see that I have the right gap at the back, outdoor or everyday wear :)
 


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