Author Topic: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits  (Read 10531 times)

ericrugiero

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Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« on: November 20, 2018, 03:00:32 PM »
About 8 years ago I switched from wearing "normal" shoes to wearing "minimalist" or "barefoot" shoes.  They are thin soled, minimal cushion, flexible, zero drop (no slope from back to front), wide around the toes and lightweight.  The basic idea is that your feet and ankles work amazingly well at absorbing impacts, adjusting to uneven surfaces, preventing sprains, etc if you let them do their job.  If you put your feet in a supportive shoe, it works like a cast and your muscles atrophy.  The shoe doesn't let them work like they should which causes knee pain, back pain, sprained ankles, and a host of other ailments.  This also puts more stress on your other joints.  Plus, most are narrow in the front which causes additional foot problems.  Supposedly, we as a society have MUCH more trouble with foot injuries than people did prior to the invention of protective and supportive footwear. 

As for my experience, I was relatively healthy (loved playing sports) but had frequent sprained ankles (1-3 per year), frequent knee pain, occasional back pain, pain in my Achilles tendon and foot pain if I was on my feet a long time.  I was pretty sure I was going to rupture my Achilles at some point while playing sports.  I switched to a pair of Merrell barefoot shoes and my issues slowly got better.  As my body adjusted, most of those pains went away.  I haven't sprained an ankle since switching, knee pain is basically gone (but quickly comes back if I have to wear supportive boots), back pain is greatly reduced, and my Achilles pain took about 6 months to go away.  I do my best to wear nothing but minimalist shoes these days and am pretty successful.  Steel toe boots at work are the biggest challenge.

Most of the barefoot/minimalist shoes are not cheap but many of them will tend to last a long time.  There is no padding to wear down so there isn't really a need to replace them until they literally fall apart.  I've bought most of mine on ebay or on sale.  These days I primarily wear either Merrell Trail Gloves or Xero Shoes Prio.  (The Xero Shoes come with a 5000 mile warranty on the sole and they are having a black Friday sale right now.) 

If you do try these out, take it easy at first.  It's easy to overdo it when using muscles that aren't used to being used.  If you are a runner, start with small distances and work up to prevent injuries. 

smalllife

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 03:18:36 PM »
The xero 5000 mile warranty is pretty cool. I just replaced my sandals through it - 60% off the replacement and a $5 processing fee.

+1 on ankle health.

Adge

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2018, 05:08:36 PM »
Does anyone have any suggestions for winter? My feet were super happy in my xero sandals all summer, but the lems primal sneakers I have arenít cutting it for winter. I have Reynauds syndrome, so I need something really warm to keep my feet from freezing. Iím having trouble finding anything minimal thatís warm enough and less than like $200.

Also, a recommendation for correct toes. I got a pair because my bunions were getting progressively worse and worse, to the point that I couldnít even face a couple miles of walking, and Iíve always loved walking. With the correct toes the pain is virtually gone, something I never thought possible. And my feet are definitely getting stronger! Theyíve been really great.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2018, 06:18:15 PM »
I've thought about this for a while but I have orthopedic insoles due to tendonitis in my left foot. I'm in the Army and have spent a lot of time running, rucking with 40+ lbs, and sometimes both. That was the cause, running for miles with all that extra weight in boots. Even after 5-6 years the pain still comes back if I over do it or walk around too much without my insoles in.

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2018, 10:07:22 AM »
I live in Minnesota and have worn barefoot shoes for a few years - some day I'll get custom Mukluks made from buffalo hide for winter, but until I do I'm wearing a lower-end model of Columbia winter boots that are wide enough for my forefoot, where the insoles are removable and the sole is completely flat and a tiny bit flexible. They aren't rated for as cold as it gets here, but a cheap wool liner and wool socks kept my feet warm last year even with very cold extremities usually (I wear gloves in my office in the winter).

Adge

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2018, 06:59:19 PM »
Does anyone have any suggestions for winter? My feet were super happy in my xero sandals all summer, but the lems primal sneakers I have arenít cutting it for winter. I have Reynauds syndrome, so I need something really warm to keep my feet from freezing. Iím having trouble finding anything minimal thatís warm enough and less than like $200.

Also, a recommendation for correct toes. I got a pair because my bunions were getting progressively worse and worse, to the point that I couldnít even face a couple miles of walking, and Iíve always loved walking. With the correct toes the pain is virtually gone, something I never thought possible. And my feet are definitely getting stronger! Theyíve been really great.

My rubber soled (cheap?) slippers are so comfy that I wear them out of the house in winter (eg. to choir practice or to a friends' house).   They have a memory foam inner, but otherwise are just a wide, flat surface on the inside, with warm upper and insulation (memory form) between my foot and the flat rubber sole.

Great minds think alike, I actually just bought a pair of cheap slipper boots with that idea in mind. I have workable snow boots from my pre minimalist days that I can wear outside on the handful of snow days we get here. Bought a size larger than I need, they accommodate correct toes and wool socks, so I have high hopes!


kenaces

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2018, 10:12:35 AM »
A long time ago I made the switch to "no heel" shoes, so it is pretty cool to see so many companies making shoes like this now :)

Xero has sale on now - I just got a pair of their could sandals for $20.

I also like Altra sneakers, which are zero drop but not minimalist.  I much prefer these if I know I am going to be on my feet lots.  In true MMM style I just got a new pair of these for free from amazon(paid for with $60 credit for getting amazon CC).  I went with the Altra Escalante and so far I like them.

ixtap

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2018, 10:37:17 AM »
I love my Merrel Trail gloves!

However, I have to go to the mountains fro Christmas and all the boots I have tried on feel so heavy and clunky. I think what I really want is for trail gloves to come in high tops.

DS

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2018, 12:32:13 PM »
A long time ago I made the switch to "no heel" shoes, so it is pretty cool to see so many companies making shoes like this now :)

Xero has sale on now - I just got a pair of their could sandals for $20.

I also like Altra sneakers, which are zero drop but not minimalist.  I much prefer these if I know I am going to be on my feet lots.  In true MMM style I just got a new pair of these for free from amazon(paid for with $60 credit for getting amazon CC).  I went with the Altra Escalante and so far I like them.

I use Altra Instinct for city and Lone Peak for trail. Love the brand. Zero drop but still has the cushion which I find helpful for long distance.

PoutineLover

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2018, 02:10:26 PM »
I just got vivobarefoot boots this winter and so far they are incredible. Very warm, very light, and they seem like good quality that will last a long time. I also ordered some xero shoes and sandals in their latest sale. The vivos were a bit more expensive, but I wear my boots for years so if they last it'll be worth it.

gta

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2018, 02:16:03 PM »

I live in Minnesota and have worn barefoot shoes for a few years - some day I'll get custom Mukluks made from buffalo hide for winter, but until I do I'm wearing a lower-end model of Columbia winter boots that are wide enough for my forefoot, where the insoles are removable and the sole is completely flat and a tiny bit flexible. They aren't rated for as cold as it gets here, but a cheap wool liner and wool socks kept my feet warm last year even with very cold extremities usually (I wear gloves in my office in the winter).

I have never tried regular barefoot shoes but for winter our (also from MN) Steger Mukluks work really well, and you can see the same principles apply - there is relatively little support so your feet can move and adapt to the surface, and I think this movement is also what helps keep them warm. Only downside is that while they are fantastic for walking through snow, they can wear out relatively fast when used on paving.

ixtap

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2018, 03:50:50 PM »
I just got vivobarefoot boots this winter and so far they are incredible. Very warm, very light, and they seem like good quality that will last a long time. I also ordered some xero shoes and sandals in their latest sale. The vivos were a bit more expensive, but I wear my boots for years so if they last it'll be worth it.

I wear my boots for about a week out of the year and the last ones I donated to Goodwill after forgetting to pack them for the annual winter trip. I finally found some boots at Ross Dress for Less for $25. I walked a mile in them the day I got them with no issues, so they will do for my purposes. They were the lightest boots I tried on all week and they happen to be cute. It's a good thing too, because I spent the other half of the budget on sandals at DSW. They are the sketchers reggae that we can both wear the same size in (we are otherwise a whole size apart) and are the closest thing to a flip flop that I can wear at all.

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2018, 09:18:21 AM »

I have never tried regular barefoot shoes but for winter our (also from MN) Steger Mukluks work really well, and you can see the same principles apply - there is relatively little support so your feet can move and adapt to the surface, and I think this movement is also what helps keep them warm. Only downside is that while they are fantastic for walking through snow, they can wear out relatively fast when used on paving.

This is very helpful - Stegers are what I'm looking at buying! They'll do custom soles with foot tracings which would be even nicer than just a wider footbed. Thanks for sharing!

yyc-phil

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2018, 09:35:24 AM »

I live in Minnesota and have worn barefoot shoes for a few years - some day I'll get custom Mukluks made from buffalo hide for winter, but until I do I'm wearing a lower-end model of Columbia winter boots that are wide enough for my forefoot, where the insoles are removable and the sole is completely flat and a tiny bit flexible. They aren't rated for as cold as it gets here, but a cheap wool liner and wool socks kept my feet warm last year even with very cold extremities usually (I wear gloves in my office in the winter).

I have never tried regular barefoot shoes but for winter our (also from MN) Steger Mukluks work really well, and you can see the same principles apply - there is relatively little support so your feet can move and adapt to the surface, and I think this movement is also what helps keep them warm. Only downside is that while they are fantastic for walking through snow, they can wear out relatively fast when used on paving.

+1 for Stegers. I spent most of my life in the Arctic (still work there from May to October), and aside from the hand-made Dene mukluks made of moose hide and Inuit sealskin kamiik which are the best for cold and snow but not ideal for walking on paved surfaces, Stegers are simply the best.

TheShinyHorse

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 08:25:54 AM »
Would love to switch. But I have a leg discrepancy of 1 cm. I let the shoemaker put an extra sole of 1 cm underneath most of my left shoes.
Would defeat the purpose then of these barefoot shoes I imagine...

Adge

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2019, 10:54:29 AM »
Does anyone have any suggestions for winter? My feet were super happy in my xero sandals all summer, but the lems primal sneakers I have arenít cutting it for winter. I have Reynauds syndrome, so I need something really warm to keep my feet from freezing. Iím having trouble finding anything minimal thatís warm enough and less than like $200.

Also, a recommendation for correct toes. I got a pair because my bunions were getting progressively worse and worse, to the point that I couldnít even face a couple miles of walking, and Iíve always loved walking. With the correct toes the pain is virtually gone, something I never thought possible. And my feet are definitely getting stronger! Theyíve been really great.

My rubber soled (cheap?) slippers are so comfy that I wear them out of the house in winter (eg. to choir practice or to a friends' house).   They have a memory foam inner, but otherwise are just a wide, flat surface on the inside, with warm upper and insulation (memory form) between my foot and the flat rubber sole.

Great minds think alike, I actually just bought a pair of cheap slipper boots with that idea in mind. I have workable snow boots from my pre minimalist days that I can wear outside on the handful of snow days we get here. Bought a size larger than I need, they accommodate correct toes and wool socks, so I have high hopes!

Update- the slippers were a horrible idea. I returned them and ended up spending the money for a pair of Lems Boulder Boots. They fit, theyíre comfortable, and theyíre surprisingly warm (I got the all canvas vegan version, and was afraid they wouldnít be very warm but theyíve been great!).

letsdoit

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2019, 11:04:56 AM »
the wool xeros casual.  not warm enough for real winter,  but work for an hour at a time

mustardstew

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2019, 05:01:36 AM »
Was gonna suggest the Boulder Boot myself...

I wear Primal 2s and Boulder Boot to work, depending on weather...

And yes to the Trail Glove for most anything outside!  I don't like the 4s though - they get too hot.  The Trail Glove 3s are about perfect.

hoosierEE

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2019, 01:02:08 PM »
Hey all, I am interested in the minimal shoe thing since I got a pair of cheap shoes from Target that just happen to be really soft and flexible.  However they also seem to be not very durable; insoles have holes in the heel and ball areas and the outsole lost its tread where my feet make contact.

But I also sometimes bike to work (about 6km each way) and go for 10-20k rides on weekends.  Would these kind of shoes work for my short commute and/or the weekend longer rides?  Or do people use something else when biking?

Thanks!

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2019, 02:11:04 PM »
For me personally I still prefer minimal soles while biking. I like to be able to stretch and feel my toes just like when I'm walking, so I wear them even for long distance rides but I don't think that's the norm. For your distances your minimal shoes should be fine once your feet are used to it -- I can feel the spindle of my pedal, for example.

Some people prefer a stiffer sole for biking for longer distances so you're not putting pressure on just one part of your foot. I've done 250km on a flexible 1mm sole and it was dandy but I've been wearing these for several years year-round now and naturally like to move my feet around a lot even when I've used stiff shoes; I'm guessing most feet would appreciate a stiffer, more cushiony sole. I do notice a difference when I've worn my Chaco sandals for bike camping trips.


I think I'm about to bite the bullet on purchasing Lems Boulder boots. I have no shoulder season footwear and my winter boots are not even remotely waterproof I've discovered this week. Forecast seems to indicate this level of rain instead of snow will be the new norm for spring and fall. Plus I feel a little silly wearing winter boots when it's 60 degrees outside but I can mostly ignore that voice in my head ;)

dandypandys

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2019, 05:45:04 AM »
I just got Lems Primal 2s :) I like them. It took a while to get my right size- even after emailing the company, measuring foot etc. I am usually a 41, but in these, I am a 43! I bought some nearly new Boulder Boots to try off ebay too. Unfortunately, they were very strange and leaned in on the left at an angle- even without a foot in them. They had a white pen marked cross on the sole. Wondering if they were known to be a factory dud.
They did look pretty neat though- except I'm not sure about the stitching, seems like that might fail. It's so crazy to me that the company only has 8 people running it- they're just a baby.
I was led to them via Correct Toes- which I just received yesterday. These are great! Wish I hadn't bought all those cheaper crap ones beforehand.. these are the real deal. Except again, I think I got the wrong size, they are kinda wrinkling up on me and falling off unless I wear shoes and toesocks.

I'm eyeing up Drifter Leather at the moment. I also got some good recs from a blog I found: https://anyasreviews.com/shoe-lists/


Scommm

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2019, 11:58:53 PM »
Dr. Ray and his site / videos are an incredible resource for this movement.

https://www.nwfootankle.com/

jeninco

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2019, 08:59:39 AM »
Aargh -- my Merrill TrailGlove 4 are wearing out (in the uppers) and they're no longer available. They're basically a sole, with enough upper to hold it on my feet. (In fact, because the uppers are so light, they tend to get scraped up.)

Any suggestions for running shoe replacements? I really prefer the least amount of shoe possible.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2019, 03:26:53 AM »
For those with foot problems or need orthopedic type shoes which are very expensive as a person that does a lot of walking I found I comfort which you can get through Amazon for 50-75$ cheaper that come with 3 different soles to install. I am on my second pair and there very comfortable and save on the wallet.

HipGnosis

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2019, 07:46:37 AM »
For those with foot problems or need orthopedic type shoes which are very expensive as a person that does a lot of walking I found I comfort which you can get through Amazon for 50-75$ cheaper that come with 3 different soles to install. I am on my second pair and there very comfortable and save on the wallet.
Name of the shoes?  Or a link?

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2019, 07:35:55 AM »
Aargh -- my Merrill TrailGlove 4 are wearing out (in the uppers) and they're no longer available. They're basically a sole, with enough upper to hold it on my feet. (In fact, because the uppers are so light, they tend to get scraped up.)

Any suggestions for running shoe replacements? I really prefer the least amount of shoe possible.

Have you tried the 5? Forefoot is a little wider for better toe spread so the sales rep said most people looking for the same fit as the 4 have been happy with sizing down 1/2 size to what they wore in the 4. Merrell has always been great wrt returns for me, so maybe worth trying out even if you don't have a physical store nearby?

jeninco

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2019, 11:52:39 AM »
Aargh -- my Merrill TrailGlove 4 are wearing out (in the uppers) and they're no longer available. They're basically a sole, with enough upper to hold it on my feet. (In fact, because the uppers are so light, they tend to get scraped up.)

Any suggestions for running shoe replacements? I really prefer the least amount of shoe possible.

Have you tried the 5? Forefoot is a little wider for better toe spread so the sales rep said most people looking for the same fit as the 4 have been happy with sizing down 1/2 size to what they wore in the 4. Merrell has always been great wrt returns for me, so maybe worth trying out even if you don't have a physical store nearby?

Looks like it has more sole then I want, and the description includes "hyper lock heel counter for security." Which is exactly what I do not want in "minimalist" footwear.

I should go try, but I'm not optimistic.

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2019, 11:57:13 AM »
Oh wow, they changed a lot more than I would've thought! I wear vapor gloves and really the only thing they've changed year to year is the color. That's lame they don't have your shoe :(

Mrs Brightside

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2019, 03:57:44 PM »
Aargh -- my Merrill TrailGlove 4 are wearing out (in the uppers) and they're no longer available. They're basically a sole, with enough upper to hold it on my feet. (In fact, because the uppers are so light, they tend to get scraped up.)

Any suggestions for running shoe replacements? I really prefer the least amount of shoe possible.

Seems like they can still be bought? I got some recently.

know10

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2019, 02:37:14 PM »
My spouse has martial arts shoes he bought on Amazon for $25. They have held up well! He wears them cycling, walking and every day use. They are minimalist and cheap! I'm considering buying a pair too. Has anyone else done this? I'm curious if any of the expensive minimalist shoes are any better than some low cost martial arts shoes!

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2019, 01:26:28 PM »
I loved Feiyues! So comfortable. They held up equal to more expensive shoes I've had, for sure.

bmjohnson35

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2019, 04:03:04 PM »

I've had good luck with my Croc sandals.  They cost around $30.  love them so much, that my spouse bought a spare pair around 2 years ago. They are wearing so well, that it will be years before I use my spare set.  I love being able to wash them easily.  When we go camping, I don't need shower shoes, I simply wear my Crocs in the shower. 

BJ