12 Weeks No Shoes

Today is a big milestone for me in my barefoot experiment – 12 weeks/3 months sans shoes!

I was very pleased at how well my feet recovered after having to wear shoes all day for one day this week. My thin skin healed up well and I was able to walk without the extra sensitivity today. Back to normal! The feet heal so fast!

The changes in my feet are subtle to detect in pictures.

Here is Week 1, Compared to Week 12, topsides:

Week 1

Today, Week 12

I feel that my 4th and 5th toes have more knuckle functionality, and that they have untwisted slightly to face more downward instead of inward.  They operate a bit more independently. They are also slightly longer, as the skin underneath has broken and stretched the toes to nearly full length. There may be an additional 2-3mm more of stretching to take place, ouch! The spacing is also a bit more even, the weight is being distributed more evenly.

I feel the biggest difference is probably in the strength of my hamstrings and the shape of my calves, neither of which I bothered to collect data on along the way! I walk totally differently now. It would be fun to find a video of my walk before and make one after. It is night and day. My legs spend so much more time behind me, and my steps land under me instead of way out in front of me. One of these days I’ll get on a ham/quad machine and test my relative strength. I used to do about 2 times more work in my quads than in my hams. For example, if I was extending 110-120 pounds on quads, I was curling only 50-70 pounds in my hamstrings for the same number of reps and fatiguing just as fast. I probably could get this data from my college workout cards. A new acquaintance remarked at how differently I walk compared to other people, in a complementary way.

So many things have changed, that I sometimes get discouraged that my arches haven’t developed drastically just yet. But they are coming along. This week I finally started to feel some perpetual soreness in the muscles in the arch along my 4th toes. The entire structure of the foot and the way it lands has had to change, in order for me to have a foundation on which to reconstruct my arches. I suppose it is all happening in due time. Now I nearly have the hamstring and calf strength to perform additional strengthening exercises for the arches. The calf muscles really have to support the arch work, I have found, and the calf muscles are still not fully developed, as they are sore every day I walk any distance. I predict it may take another 6 months before I see major, lasting change in my arch shape now.

All in all, still a very satisfying experiment. I have learned so much about my fantastic feet and have come to appreciate them and the muscles that support them so much more.