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Changing Habits: One Step at a Time

March 25, 2011

I am giving up shoes. Not for Lent, I’m not Catholic. Not for fun, I’ve got lots of things to do for fun. But, I am having fun while I’m getting used to going without shoes.

No, I’m giving up shoes because they don’t fit me. I’ve never had a shoe that felt great and right and good and wonderful. They are always a little too wide here and not wide enough there. They are longer than my toes need or way too short, women’s shoes are just not long enough for me.

I began what will be a 2-month experiment on March 17, 2011 and have been spending progressively longer and longer lengths of time without shoes and I’m here to report there is a great deal that is changing. Talk about getting rid of a habit. The habit of clopping along and just pushing through the difficulties that come up on long distance walks just might be a thing of my past.

I’ve been reading The Barefoot Book, by Daniel Howell, Ph.D. The book contains a great deal of information about feet, about shoes, and how to make the transition from shoes to no shoes. But, what Dr. Howell does the very best is debunk all the reasons why you should wear shoes, most of which are just not true.

The first thing I noticed when I began to walk in a pair of almost-not-shoes (Vibram 5-fingers) was that I was still walking like I had shoes on and that I couldn’t keep it up very long since my heels were taking a beating. In order to be comfortable I had to move more forward in my stance and when I did, my sacrum and the ever-famous sacro-illiac joints began to loosen and relax. My legs relaxed. In fact, after a few minutes of practice of the old-way and then the new-way, it was clear that the new-way lent a springiness to my step that had not been there before.

I got the idea to let my walk be springy from my dogs. My dogs don’t slam their heels down on the ground. They pad along silently with a little spring in their step and even though they have four feet and I only have two, I instantly knew that if I copied them I’d also be able to be springy and resilient. They are so light on their feet they can hop sideways out of the way of something.

All this reading and practicing and copying my dogs is working. I’m on Day 8 of my experiment and no worse for the wear. By May 21st, I expect I’ll still be copying my dogs. They’ve always been my inspiration, now more than ever.

One Comment
  1. jill permalink


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