One of my first tastes of the ultralight life was the change of the footwear that happened about one year ago. A few people in my surroundings had been introducing barefoot shoes. I had tried them and felt the freedom that comes along.
Now, changing into barefoot shoes isn’t as simple as – let’s say, changing from a heavy shirt to a lighter one. The change of shoes effects all your movement, which changes everything for you. So, one needs to be aware of that.
Dedication is needed for your step to adapt and become more versatile. When walking in supported shoes, one can be walking lazy without noticing how it effects the body, until it is almost to late. But when walking with barefoot shoes – one needs to be continuously attentive to the step.
This will in time make your step powerful beyond your imagination. Absolutely versatile with a strong self supporting ankle and awareness in knee and hip.
But, like I said, it is a process of adaptation.
I did this journey myself, that is why I know. Last year I bought the Xero Shoes sandals. And since then I have been walking with them for consecutive months. With a break for the winter time(where I switched to a pair of ultralight winter insulated zero drop shoes).
In the beginning of this switch I was doing a quite dramatic walk of about 170 kilometres. I thought that would be a good process of adaptation into the new sandals. What it was good for was to show me what not to do. As I kind of pushed my limit with stressful steps and felt pain in my knees for several weeks afterwards.
Now, one year later, I can see how my step have become stronger, faster, more precise and definitely more versatile which also means it’s constantly adapting itself to the environment. If the surface is hard then my “style of walking” changes accordingly, if it is steep it changes accordingly and if it is a soft ground it changes accordingly.
And still my legs and especially my calf feel more supple. How come? I think it is because I now know how to use the muscles of my legs. During walk they are being stressed and relaxed at the same time. It’s a constant on- and off stimulation.
This is definitely the way to walk if someone considers to walk the walk of walking ultralight.