Though this isn't a question pertaining exclusively to footwear, I hope this forum is an appropriate enough place to put it.
For much of my life - as far back into my thirty or so years as I can remember, anyway - I've worn "normal" shoes and boots. My interest in minimalist footwear started some months ago after having bad luck with a number of pairs of work boots. Nothing about these was low quality (save, for the effects they had on my feet), and the price reflected that.
Yet, after bad foot and leg fatigue, toes that screamed to be let free and a weird-feeling gait (stomping down with my heels against my will and a twisted ankle), I discovered - maybe rediscovered - the idea that all these raised heels and cramped toe boxes and supports and all that are not such a good thing, after all. My experience seemed to validate this theory.
I recently purchased two pairs of footwear - Run Amoc Dash, which I have yet to test, and a pair of Arrow Moccasins - the "Lace Boot", seen here: http://www.arrowmoc.com/4.html
(No affiliation, by the way! - and there are better pictures found via an image search.)
I got the double-sole version (double leather soles). The guy behind the operation is pleasant to deal with and patient, even with a worrier like me, and the leather on this is amazing stuff - thick, strong and heady smelling. I'd check 'em out! Custom made to tracings of your feet and you're supporting an independent, traditional business.
ANYWAY - before it sounds like I'm lying about having no affiliation, ha ha - I wore these for a course of errand-running today; I figure I walked a good five or more kilometers in them.
Most of the walking was done on sidewalks and pavement, though I noticed a strong tendency to walk on the snow-covered grass and soil beside the sidewalk - the natural ground felt better underfoot.
Even though 2 leather pieces each up to 1/4" thick may comprise the double-sole, I could definitely feel changes in the terrain underfoot, and the thick leather was still more flexible, giving and less supporting than the rubber-soled footwear to which I've been accustomed.
I had to remind my body to not heel-strike hard, and it took a concious effort. I'm also not sure what to do with my gait, how much my knees should be bending, etc.
I'm certain I have some postural imbalances - a bit of swayback, some joint laxity, and probably tight hips and lower back stiffness...knee pain - haven't been able to run more than a very short distance with any confidence on account of it for years...yadda yadda ya...and I walk around the house barefoot frequently, as well as to step out and check the mail, etc. - but walking a longer distance on pavement, with a loaded backpack on is a different story.
Here's what I noticed:
-I can't seem to take strides that are as long as what I usually do
-I experienced a fair bit of pain - not really joint pain, but muscle or other soft tissue pain on the undersides of my feet, a bit in the arch and more on the bottom of the forefoot/ball of the foot areas.
-When I got home, my feet were kind of sore and uncomfortable.
-My calf muscles definitely felt worked out.
-At the same time, there was a distinct absence of pain in the top part of my leg - I guess, the bottom of my shin bone that joins to the top part of my foot where the foot can flex (above the ankle) - and that area usually gets quite sore and tired after just a block of walking in "normal" shoes.
Having said all that (sorry, this isn't a short first post!), is the pain I experienced a usual thing - ie, muscles that haven't been used this way over any considerable distance in quite a long time, if ever?
Any suggestions on loosening up my stride (or whatever "proper" barefoot/minimal walking technique is)?
I appreciate your input.