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hiking form

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  • hiking form

    I've heard people say you should land with your heel, then roll forward onto your foot. I've also heard you should 'high step' and place your foot down flat, then left the foot, rather than rolling it forward. This seems like it would place less stress on your arch, but require more leg muscle power.

    Anyone have any tips for better/more efficient form? Particularly on flatish terrain?

  • #2
    If you are prone to blisters on the back of your foot you might want to try the approach of placing your feet flat on the ground. The problem for me is that I have to consciously think about this all day, (to the detriment of everything else), and it's very difficult to do when descending. Even for flattish terrain, it's somewhere between awkward and impossible to truly lift my foot rather than rolling it forward. I've tried....

    Are you having particular foot problems?
    Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

    Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO Views And Brews!

    Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to


    • #3
      I tend to blister on the balls of my feet, I think from overusing my foot to 'push'. I agree that doing the leg-lift-flat-foot method is harder, and seems unnatural, unless I'm just not used to doing it? I've also suffered from plantar fasciitis and most recently, a Jones fracture on the left foot, again because I think my feet are doing more work than they ought. My theory is that by placing the foot flat down and then lefting it, I let the arch flex and absorb shock, but I'm not using the structure of the foot itself for leverage.

      I've had terrible blisters on the outside of my heels literally for 20 years, and solved them only recently by simply carving away the hard plastic heel cup edge of my superfeet (which I wear because I overwork my arches!).


      • #4
        When walking, whatever feels most natural is most efficient. We're walking all the time, our body got that sorted out. Running is very different though and the most efficient gait is speed dependent.


        • All Downhill From Here
          Editing a comment
          I would agree with you were it not for my history of foot problems.

        • Natlife
          Natlife commented
          Editing a comment
          Did you mean longevity instead of efficiency?

          I think most problems on our hikes are overuse issues. We don't do it often enough and don't build up slowly enough for our body to adapt to the stress we impose to it.

          In any way, varrying your gait is a good idea on long hikes. You don't want to stress exactly the same spot in the exact same way all the time. That leads to shortest time to limping

      • #5
        There is another factor here. If you roll too much when climbing, you can spin out with your toes. Don't do that. It damages the trail.
        I might be kidding...