Do You Forefoot Strike While Walking?
May 2015--The Peaceful Runner Newsletter #56

Dear Friend,

Welcome to our monthly newsletter -- Do You Forefoot Strike While Walking? We hope you enjoy this article and it inspires you to explore your foot strike while walking. 



Do You Forefoot Strike While Walking?


Most of us don't pay any attention as to how our foot lands when we walk, but if we use a forefoot landing while walking, it can have a significant and positive effect on how we run and walk.

It seems that most people tend to heel strike while walking. Heel striking while walking will cause you to overstride and continuously put on the brakes and jar your body with each step—the same effect it can cause while you are running.

Forefoot Strike While Walking

Take time to notice how others walk. If they are overstriding and landing on their heels, you can see the entire bottom of their shoe as they walk towards you (as in the picture above). All their weight will rest on their back leg, making a forward movement more difficult.  With a forefoot strike, their weight will be over each foot as they gracefully touch the ground rather than jam on the brakes with an abrupt stop each time. 

Walking with a forefoot strike can be very fluid and graceful if done properly, but there are many other benefits to walking this way.

Benefits of Forefoot Strike While Walking

  • Lets you practice your running form while walking
  • Provides maximum shock absorption as foot lands under the body
  • Strengthens calves
  • Strengthens feet as the foot is being fully utilized with each step
  • Promotes better posture
  • Develops core strength
  • Elongates the body as you feel taller
  • Naturally develop a quicker cadence and a quicker pace
  • Walking feels more effortless


Why I Changed to a Forefoot Strike
While Walking

I try to go barefoot as much as possible (especially when I am at home) to build strength in my feet. I ditched my house slippers a number of years ago as I like my feet to have complete freedom of movement.  I have found that cozy warm socks do the trick when it is too cold for bare feet. However, sometimes my heels feel sore when I am on my feet a lot so I began to explore how my foot lands when I walk.

As it turns out, there is a technique called "fox walking" that is used to promote a forefoot strike while barefoot walking. I have been practicing this a lot lately; not just around the house, but also when I am out walking in minimalist shoes. It feels really great now that I have mastered the technique. It makes me feel taller and I am walking faster without any extra effort. It also makes me more aware of how my foot lands when I am running. 

How to Forefoot Strike While Walking

This style of walking will feel a bit unnatural at first, but as you get the knack of it, you will love it! Try it at home first in your bare feet. 

1) Stand with both feet slightly apart. Raise one leg slightly and then the other keeping your feet and ankles relaxed. Do this a few times and notice how the foot naturally lands on the forefoot (ball) when it is relaxed. 

2) As you step forward, continue to let the ball of the foot come down first and with a slight roll inward (the outside by the little toe touches first and then the inside by the big toe). Slightly raising your heel as you land will help you get the feel for this movement.

3) Let your heel come down and touch gently before the foot springs off again. You will be make quick short steps as each foot lands under your center of gravity (not out in front of the body). You should feel an immediate improvement in your posture as your chest comes forward and your shoulders move back. 

4) Your arms should be swinging slightly. As your left leg moves forward, right arm swings forward and left arm swings forward as right leg moves forward. 

Try not to bounce. The movement will feel springy, but it should be smooth and graceful—not bouncy.  

And don't worry too much about the inward roll of the foot. If you find that complicates the movement too much, just leave it for now and try to add it in later. You will still get a good forefoot landing without it.

"Do the difficult things while they are easy
and do the great things while they are small.
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
-- Lao Tzu
 

 

Practice this movement whenever you walk and you will notice an improvement in your running foot strike and perhaps even your running form. You can also take pleasure in knowing that others will not be able to see the soles of your feet while you are walking as you will not be overstriding as so many do. 

Flat shoes (minimalist shoes) are best for practicing this as your foot is freer to have more movement. I found a great walking shoe for the summer that I absolutely love. It has air vents in the sole, which keep my feet from sweating and they are very comfortable without socks. They have zero heel drop so they are also perfect for practicing fox walking. It is actually a boating shoe, but it is also great for walking. 


It is the Adidas Climacool Sleek Boating Shoe, which is also available at Zappos.com in styles for both Men and Women.

So what about you? What is your opinion on a forefoot strike while walking? Will you give it a try? Have you noticed just how many people overstride when they walk? We would love to hear from you. Please share your opinion in the comments section below.

Other related articles you may be interested in:

Running Foot Strike

Barefoot Running Form

Barefoot Running Shoes


As always, keep running, smiling and be happy and peaceful!

With love and peace,

Jackie


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