As I've gone through the questions related to barefooting, I've found a lot about barefoot running but not so much about barefoot walking. Everyone seems to concur that running should be fore/midfoot, but walking doesn't appear to have a consensus (though there appears to be some evidenece for heel-striking).
In October 09 I started either going barefoot or wearing moccasins with super-thin soles. This successfully cleared up some weak arch problems I've had since high school (win!). I also noticed that on just about any surface except grass or something manmade (and clean) walking heel first seems to be worse than forefooting. Placing the pad of my foot down gives me a chance to deload the leg if there's something sharp that I didn't see, whereas putting down my heel on a rock is much harder to recover from.
A really simple case is when I check the mail. It's maybe a hundred foot walk on asphalt. If I try to heel strike my way there, the little bits of gravel that I step on cause a ton of pain. If I forefoot strike my way there, stepping on a bit of gravel is much less painful, because I can adjust my foot before my weight gets there.
A more complicated case is a long hike. There I REALLY have to forefoot strike or else I might cut my foot open.
Since many barefooters have basically said, "Take off your shoes and your feet will teach you", I'm wondering why my feet are teaching me to fox-walk rather than heel-strike, if heel-striking is the most optimal way to walk.
So my question is: what is the best way to walk barefoot? What evidence do you use to support your argument? How do you go about recovering from the inevitable stepping on a rock heel-first? I'll upvote any well-supported and constructed argument regardless of what the argument is on this, since I'm not sure there necessarily is a right answer. :)