2

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Barefoot shoe people, should I wear them if I'm not a runner?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 07, 2012 at 11:31 PM

I'm not a runner, though I used to years and years ago. I have no interest in distance running, though I may add a sprint session once per week. I have zero exercise regimen except the home push-ups, squats, planks twice a week.

My daily routine would include mostly walking and a fair amount of standing in place. At home it would include lounging around the house but also gardening and yard work outside and walking around the neighborhood on sidewalks or asphalt trails.

So would barefoot shoes offer any benefits at all?

I hold out hope that a mild back ache might be helped further by these, my nutrition and diet changes have already made an immense improvement that it is only a mild ache anymore, I couldn't stand longer than 30 minutes before I needed to sit.

[Addition] If you can suggest any brand and type that would best work in a (retail) work environment and casual around-the-house work I'd be thankful!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I hate the trapped feeling of my toes in regular shoes, and the fact I cant feel the ground, nor do the heals feel natural. I am so glad I found shoes at last that feel almost like feet, rather than having my toes constricted and feel like I am walking on rubber planks. Dont diss barefoot shoes, its a way to keep being a "barefooter" when its less practical.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

^ Well I prefer to go actual barefoot myself. Trouble is, if its the middle of winter, or your walking in the middle of a city, at a indoor venue, on concrete, or a formal event, people give u some pretty strange looks and comment alot. Theres a social and practical function for barefoot shoes, even if you prefer actual barefeet (warmth, protection from sharp or hard things, and so you dont get shunned). Sounds like you might like some barefoot shoes yourself for your work!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

^ Well I prefer to go actual barefoot myself. Trouble is, if its the middle of winter, or your walking in the middle of a city, at a indoor venue, on concrete, or a formal event, people give u some pretty strange looks and comment alot. Theres a social and practical function for barefoot shoes, even if you prefer actual barefeet (warmth, protection from sharp or hard things, and so you dont get shunned). Sounds like you might like some barefoot shoes yourself for your work!I hate the trapped feeling of my toes in regular shoes, and the fact I cant feel the ground, nor do the heals feel nature.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:21 PM

^ I just got some vivobarefoot neos recently. Agree with everyone else here, they do feel great, and vivobarefoot has some that look great and can be used for formal or urban footware too. Still want to spring around in them they are so different. Only thing is, my socks feel uncomfortable now that the shoes provide so much toe wiggle room. Need bigger socks or toe socks.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 08, 2012
at 07:49 PM

I am soo not a runner, but I feel a lot better wearing minimalist shoes for everyday activities. I alternate between cheapo water shoes ($10 or under on sale) and skeletoes. Both make me want to leap like a gazelle when I have them on, and I have embarrassed my hubby at the store several times doing just that. The extra flexy sole on the water shoe makes it great for crouching down and pulling weeds in the garden, thick or hard-soled shoes give me foot cramps after 10-15 times of squatting down and standing back up for some reason.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 08, 2012
at 04:10 PM

fair enough. I know there are minimalist dress shoe options. Nevertheless, for a causal shoe outside of work, Vibrams are great. Good luck in your search.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Tough gloves. Smartest and most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. Enough said.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:19 PM

Me too. Running is boring & stressful. I'd rather walk or lift weights.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:13 AM

wow, cool Caleb. I don't think every work environment would like the Vibams though. Particularly in places where they're uptight. Like In Switzerland. I can count the number of times I've even seen vibrams in this country on the fingers of one and a half hands.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 08, 2012
at 12:22 AM

"I wear vibrams and I am most definitely not a runner, in fact I'm rather hostile to the concept." I resemble that comment.

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 08, 2012
at 12:16 AM

do you walk on your toes, melissa?

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14 Answers

10
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 08, 2012
at 01:07 AM

Abso-freaking-lutely. Vibrams, and good old-fashioned barefooting, were part of what got me out of a wheelchair. No amount of therapy was building up leg musculature right, but barefoot walking let nature do its thing. And I'll certainly never run. But I find they're still amazing. I hike. I row in them. I wear them to lift weights (which I can also do now). And the improved leg function eliminated a lot of pain.

No, barefooting isn't always a perfect solution for people. You need to be active to get the benefits. But you can be active without being a runner. As for something you can wear to work, look into Vibram KSO Treks or Trek LS. The leather looks very professional, and the toe-shoes also make a great conversation piece.

I've gone to events wearing a suit and my KSO Treks. The dark brown goes well with a grey suit, and were a much more comfortable option.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 08, 2012
at 04:10 PM

fair enough. I know there are minimalist dress shoe options. Nevertheless, for a causal shoe outside of work, Vibrams are great. Good luck in your search.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:13 AM

wow, cool Caleb. I don't think every work environment would like the Vibams though. Particularly in places where they're uptight. Like In Switzerland. I can count the number of times I've even seen vibrams in this country on the fingers of one and a half hands.

7
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 07, 2012
at 11:44 PM

I'm not a runner and in fact I really really really hate running, but I like that they have given me stronger arches, which means I hopefully can avoid some of the foot problems that plague older people. Stronger feet also means greater adaptability in case you want to pick up a sport/type of exercise sometime.

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 08, 2012
at 12:16 AM

do you walk on your toes, melissa?

3
43ccf3d4ba07a60b8fd9e8e9d012fb8a

on February 08, 2012
at 03:57 AM

I also must chime and say "yes! yes! yes!"

I also am not a runner and still love wearing them. In fact, I think they are nothing short of awesome! :)

I wear them to workout (twice a week) and out and about when it's not too cold up here in New England. They are great though and frankly, I don't know of anyone who has tried them and not fallen in love. So whether it's gardening, hiking, or just walking around town I think vibrams do wonders for the way you walk.

Definitely worth the money.

cheers!

3
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:49 AM

I love my Vibram Five Fingers for walking and just hanging out. I don't really run (except when I sprint to catch the bus). The thing I love about them the most is that they've undone the damage to my feet that normal shoes caused. My toes were squished in from wearing shoes all of my life, but the VFFs have spread my toes back out. So yeah, I wear mine all the time, when it's warm and dry enough.

3
C835934198ffe146cb90eebc22c6b8d8

on February 08, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Yes! The benefit is many fold! Its better for your foot in general, helps build your own natural muscles in your feet/legs. Less foot and knee, shin problems in the long run as well. You definitely don't need to be a runner to enjoy the benefits to barefoot shoes! I have to ditto the Merrell barefoot shoes. I tried the Vibram vff's and my husband swears by them, but the ones that work for me are the Merrell pace gloves. I think they look better too hehe.

3
22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 08, 2012
at 12:17 AM

If you can score some "dress" style shoes with and even toe to heel ratio that will help. Think about it this way. Hopefully you wash your feet a few times a week at least, but how often do people wash shoes? I'd say when you are home is when you should forget shoes exist at let them feet get some open air. You don't have to run, in fact I think people should start by just walking bare foot before they start running so they can get the feeling back in their feet. It's different when you feel the earth under you instead of just knowing it's there.

2
E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:26 AM

I rarely do any running but have been barefoot-shoes-only for years. Before that I would occasionally find that, after walking for around an hour, I would sometimes experience a debilitating pain in one foot. After switching to barefoot I've never experienced any such problem.

I recommend http://www.vivobarefoot.com - they have lots of formal, casual and street styles. They're also a generally nice, environmentally-conscious type of a company.

Just to warn you: for maybe the first few months of walking in barefoot shoes I was extremely conscious of the surface I was walking on. Pavements felt hard and uncomfortable and carpets were a relief. Now it's never uncomfortable and walking in normal shoes feels strange.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:21 PM

^ I just got some vivobarefoot neos recently. Agree with everyone else here, they do feel great, and vivobarefoot has some that look great and can be used for formal or urban footware too. Still want to spring around in them they are so different. Only thing is, my socks feel uncomfortable now that the shoes provide so much toe wiggle room. Need bigger socks or toe socks.

2
E57d8e182251b61ccc6ada197c359d7e

on February 08, 2012
at 01:28 AM

Oh yeah! I wear my Merrill tough gloves to work with socks and i love them. At home I mostly wear my vibrams even when i am not running.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Tough gloves. Smartest and most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. Enough said.

2
5c46aa85871c36b5e263456aaf4053f8

(193)

on February 08, 2012
at 12:19 AM

What about the new Merrel Slant Glove?

I've been wearing a Merrel Trail Glove for the better part of a year now and love it! Very comfortable and still a mostly normal looking shoe. Personally I like them better than the Vibrams I had before which just never seemed to fit me well.

The slant glove looks to be a similar barefoot type shoe and might be somewhat more formal than the trail glove (haven't seen them in person - just online).

I do run in my trail gloves, but also love them for just day to day use. One thing I've noticed is that I'm wearing them evenly as opposed to a "normal" shoe where I wear the inside edge heavily due to over-pronation. I have no idea if this is working to fix my gait or if it's just better in these types of shoes. I do know that in a barefoot shoe I tend to heel strike a lot less when walking (and, of course, running).

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 07, 2012
at 11:46 PM

Absolutely NOT!

Ok, just kidding.

I wear vibrams and I am most definitely not a runner, in fact I'm rather hostile to the concept. I do jog and sprint occasionally but walking is what I probably do much more than any of the above.

As far as an office shoe, that's thus far the "holy grail" that many are looking for. Some have gotten away with the minimalist "sneaker" type shoes, but that depends on your work and how stringent they are...

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 08, 2012
at 12:22 AM

"I wear vibrams and I am most definitely not a runner, in fact I'm rather hostile to the concept." I resemble that comment.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:19 PM

Me too. Running is boring & stressful. I'd rather walk or lift weights.

1
E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on February 08, 2012
at 07:28 PM

The more time you can get out of your shoes, the more I think it will be helpful for your back issues. Currently, I'm a 90% barefooter - started because I wanted to help the arthritis in my knees (which it has - enormously) - but I need to wear SOMETHING at work when I step away from my desk and also I am taking a trip to Michigan the end of the month. Since I am a Floridian, I'm not exactly adjusted to winter temps and conditions so I just ordered myself a pair of these:

http://www.wassookeagmoccasins.com/moccasins-for-women/

(Sorry, can't do the image thing - I'm at work.)

They seem to be really nice people (talked to him on the phone about sizing questions), they are fast, everything is handmade in Maine, all leather so all natural materials, they have great reviews, and it is a minimalist-type of footwear that has an acceptable "look" for a less casual environment.

As a side note - I know "barefoot shoes" is becoming somewhat common terminology, but it is an oxymoron and grates on those of us who really are barefooters. Just me being picky here ... (grin)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I hate the trapped feeling of my toes in regular shoes, and the fact I cant feel the ground, nor do the heals feel natural. I am so glad I found shoes at last that feel almost like feet, rather than having my toes constricted and feel like I am walking on rubber planks. Dont diss barefoot shoes, its a way to keep being a "barefooter" when its less practical.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

^ Well I prefer to go actual barefoot myself. Trouble is, if its the middle of winter, or your walking in the middle of a city, at a indoor venue, on concrete, or a formal event, people give u some pretty strange looks and comment alot. Theres a social and practical function for barefoot shoes, even if you prefer actual barefeet (warmth, protection from sharp or hard things, and so you dont get shunned). Sounds like you might like some barefoot shoes yourself for your work!I hate the trapped feeling of my toes in regular shoes, and the fact I cant feel the ground, nor do the heals feel nature.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

^ Well I prefer to go actual barefoot myself. Trouble is, if its the middle of winter, or your walking in the middle of a city, at a indoor venue, on concrete, or a formal event, people give u some pretty strange looks and comment alot. Theres a social and practical function for barefoot shoes, even if you prefer actual barefeet (warmth, protection from sharp or hard things, and so you dont get shunned). Sounds like you might like some barefoot shoes yourself for your work!

1
0745889b041c0408c2ba85aaa8365016

on February 08, 2012
at 01:59 PM

I wear my Vibrams when I have to go places where shoes are required. I don't run either, though I have run in them before, and I feel like they protect my lower body structures from impact related injury. I will say that I am going to be working toward not wearing any shoes at all this spring and summer so that when I am doing things around my yard or exercising outside I won't have to have my feet totally covered. I am not sure if the whole "earthing" thing is pseudoscience or holds some ground (no pun intended), but I feel like any connection with the earth that I can provide my body with is usually a good thing.

As for work/business shoes, I have some really stringent rules to follow for footwear at my workplace but I have found that SoftStar makes some great options (though pricey). link text

1
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:11 AM

yes yes yes yes yes!

You feel so much more connected to the ground, your foot moves more freely. I walk in my New Balance Minimus trail all the time. They're black with blue trim so don't scream for attention, I think they'd blend in fine in a work environment. Merrell also makes a line that are fairly low-key looking, although they didn't fit my foot as well as the NB.

I can hardly walk in regular shoes any more. In my minimalist shoes, I feel like a panther, ready to spring. If you already have stalking tendencies, be careful...

1
C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 08, 2012
at 12:31 AM

I think you can wear them for whatever you feel like. They are great shoes in general.

I personally love the toe shoes for hiking the woods, swimming, walking the neighborhood or gardening. I've recently upped my profile a bit to the Minimus by New Balance cuz my calves just weren't doing well with the super low profile of the toe shoes. I was doing sets of sprints twice a week and then switched over to a boot camp class twice a week that included sprints. The super low profile was causing me serious pain in my left calf even though I'd been 'breaking in my feet and calves' for about 10 months.

So I personally don't recommend them for running. I've done minimalist and barefoot and for sprints I've been converted and I'm a huge supporter of the minimalist (higher profile). I still love my barefoot shoes though and look forward to using them for day trips and camping and such.

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