Speaking of breaking the mold, back in April I transitioned over to barefoot shoes! They are essentially zero-drop (no raised heal) and less padded/more flexible for better feel of the ground. I had tried to do this several years ago and failed miserably since it really hurt my feet. At the time, I did not well-educate myself and so did not realize there was a transition time needed to allow my calf and foot muscles to adapt.
I was never a fan of how disconnected my hiking shoes made me feel from my terrain and so I decided to try them again and see how I liked them,
It took maybe a week or two to adapt enough that I could walk around town comfortably. Part was that I had tight calves from all my years of hiking and part was learning how to walk properly. I tended to hit heal-first and with a bit of a stomp, partly from many-a-year as a boot wielding goth in the 90s and early 20s. (That’s a story for a another time!)
I avoided long hikes the first month, and gradually increased the time and complexity of the terrain. Within a month I was doing quite well, albeit a little clunky at times. My feet felt so much better after long hikes, and I was no longer getting ingrown toenails from my boots. Today I am a full convert to barefoot shoes! I just love them. Such a seemingly little change as really upped my game with walking. I feel much more connected with the land on which I tread, and have much more control – less stumbling, etc.
This experience was a good lesson in pacing myself. I needed to educate myself (relearning how to walk) and ease myself into it to facilitate the needed adaptation. Going “all in” does not necessarily mean starting at full force. What is important is keeping to the commitment to allow for the change to happen.