Author Topic: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits  (Read 1972 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.

Goldielocks

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2018, 12:17:53 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.

katscratch

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #5 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 #6 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 #7 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 #8 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.

Still Being

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Re: Minimalist Shoes - Amazing Benefits
« Reply #9 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 #10 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 #11 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 #12 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 #13 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 #14 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.