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What are your tips for barefooting?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

I am wanting to try barefooting. Certain facts: I am about 330 down from 386 in December. I also live in a part of Alaska that gets as cold as -55F.

Around my house and yard I am truly barefoot. Walking about my village is a bit harder. The road cover is crushed, jagged river rock and some sand.

I am wanting input on types of minimal footwear to aid my feet in toughening up for more actual barefooting. I am also hoping some of the PH crowd has experience with minimal footwear in extreme cold.

I live in the middle of nowhere and will have to order online without trying things on. Any footwear that needs a fitting would be hard but not impossible.

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on May 27, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I had a bit of a "bigger is better" complex about footwear until I visited Cambodia. Our guides wore flip flops (or no shoes at all) on 10k jungle treks, and I saw construction workers doing heavy road work in them. I eventually ditched my Keens most days for flip flops without a problem.

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5 Answers

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2
5447e1f37d3ffa1525dac55be36ee454

on May 26, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Vivo barefoot is a great brand. The soles are made of Kevlar, and they are only 3 millimeters thick. You can feel everything underneath you feet, but it is certainly dulled and won't be painful at all to walk on rocks. I also like them because my foot feels more free than in Vibram five-fingers. My toes feel constrained in those things. I have two pairs, one for working out and walking about, and one for more formal occasions. I hate wearing real shoes now.

As far as learning to run barefoot you should watch this video, and take things slowly. Can't stress that enough. Once you can walk around barefoot easily, then do the running in place drill in that video. Work up running in place a little a time, then add running in. Use small increments (1 minute), and rest a few days in between running days when learning. Use a lacrosse ball to massage the feet and calves, so that you work out tight spots or possible adhesions in your fascia.

Matthew Caton NSCA-CPT

2
Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on May 27, 2012
at 11:14 AM

Rubber flip flops are my go-to minimal footwear. Not high tech like some suggestions here, but millions of people in Asia, the Carribean and South America rely on flip-flops as their daily foodwear, walking miles, doing manual labor, etc. I like the Brazilian made Havianas brand for durability. They run about $18, but last for 2 years w heavy wear.

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on May 27, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I had a bit of a "bigger is better" complex about footwear until I visited Cambodia. Our guides wore flip flops (or no shoes at all) on 10k jungle treks, and I saw construction workers doing heavy road work in them. I eventually ditched my Keens most days for flip flops without a problem.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on May 26, 2012
at 09:06 PM

I love the Merrells minimal shoe series. I have one for summer which is super lightweight and meshy breathable, and another that's water resistant for winter (a must here in Oregon). If you're dealing with deep snow though, they won't be enough.

I would definitely not order Vibram Five Fingers online without trying them on somewhere first. I love mine, but can't wear them when a lot of downhill action is happening because I've lost a few toenails that way. But I love them otherwise. If I had a less trail-worthy pair, I would probably wear them casually around more often.

I know I've seen some threads on here about cold weather options. People seem to like Sorels, though they aren't minimal per se. Some other brands to consider are Minnetonka, Vivo Barefoot, Innov8, and Soft Star. In sandals, look for Xero Shoes and Luna.

You're not going to find one shoe for all seasons, but with some research, you can find a few that will help get you through whatever it is you need.

Good luck, happy shopping!

0
D5ca469ff78fdcc17607f9c16efb1b55

(240)

on May 27, 2012
at 08:16 AM

Check out Invisible Shoes http://www.invisibleshoe.com/. They can custom make them from an outline, lots of different options, and are incredibly comfortable. I have two pairs, and I wear them all summer and as long as the weather is not too cold. You can easily wash them, and they wear hard. The rain won't hurt them either!

In the winter I have VivoBarefoot boots, which are pretty good in UK snow, though I wouldn't care to speak for Alaska! I also have several pairs of FiveFingers, for working out and wearing when it's cold and dry. But I agree with other posters, don't buy them unless you can try them.

0
A9060c656599eafcebf4b6759b3959bb

on May 27, 2012
at 02:14 AM

I grew up in Fairbanks- I certainly understand winter footwear struggles! A lot of folks recommend moccasins as minimalist foot wear, and there are probably some fleece lined- ankle boots style. Another option would be Ugg-style boots. You lose the feel of the ground, but they do not offer any foot support, so your foot can move naturally in them. I have a pair I bought 10 years ago at Sams Club for about $12 that are still great snow boots.

Good luck!

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