I'm about three days into my journey of trying to get used to walking around barefoot vs. using shoes or sandals and I'm finding that it's crazy how much different shoes make you walk! When I'm barefoot I can walk more on the balls of my feet rather than "heel striking" with each step which I'm virtually forced to do in shoes. I've found that when I roll heel to toe it's very difficult to keep my ankles from rolling in and my feet flattening out, but when I weight the ball of my foot first it causes me to weight the outside of my foot as my heel comes down keeping my ankle from rolling. I'm also shocked at how little my ankles hurt. Spending this much time barefoot in the past would have caused me some serious ankle aches but I'm hardly experiencing any of that; what I am experiencing is muscle soreness... I never knew that there are muscles on the top of your feet! Also my calves are pretty sore from the extra weight on the balls of my feet.
That leads me to another finding. I have knees that hyper-extend and when I'm just standing around I usually have them locked back. I've found that when I do this it cases me to roll my ankles in and stand completely flatfooted. By ever-so-slightly bending my knees and putting a little weight on the balls of my feet I naturally shift weight to the outside edges of my feet keeping my ankles in line. This definitely has to be an intentional change in posture and one that I keep having to remind myself of but I think that if I can keep it up I will spend a lot less time flatfooted...
A lot of the research that has been done on running barefoot and the idea to try returning to that comes from studying the Tarahumara people, a native tribe from Northern Mexico that are known for running barefoot or with huarache sandals for up to 120 miles nonstop. There's a book written specifically about them that I would like to read called Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.
Until next time! -Ty