6

votes

Cheap minimal footwear

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 16, 2011 at 1:43 AM

Right now my go-to shoes are starting to fall apart, and I'm starting to look for a good everyday shoe to replace them with.

What I'm looking for is:

  • under $80 ideally
  • wide toe box
  • looks like a casual shoe

I've been wearing New Balance in the past, and they are ok, but I'd still like something that has less of a sole, and that also has a wide toe box. Any suggestions?

Edit, 5/16 at 8:00am: I just bought a pair of the Black Feiyue shoes on Amazon. I'll report back once I get them and try them on. Thank you all for the suggestions.

EDIT 5/29: I got the Feiyues, and have been walking around in them for a day and a half.
PROS: Flexible sole. Nice and wide toe box. Comfortable shoe. Low price, good quality.
CONS: Feels as though there's a thick part of the sole that runs up and down the middle of it - gives the sensation of balancing your foot on a beam or sorts. Although I think this is getting better the more I wear them.
All in all, it's a good shoe that gets the job done.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on May 21, 2011
at 05:05 AM

want badly...*drool*

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Yeah, it took probably five to six months of regular running on asphalt for the soles to develop holes, but I still use them anyways. At this point, however, I could just buy two more pair, they would last me for over a year, and they'd still have paid for themselves.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:20 PM

women's converses are way too narrow for my feet. Maybe I should try men's sizes...

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I bought mine in January, and so far so good. They're my go-to "it's wet out but I don't feel like wearing boots" shoes. I keep expecting the upper to come apart from the sole, but they still look 100% solid. The (very odd-looking) treads are wearing down a bit, but to me they've already paid for themselves. :)

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on May 17, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I recently got a pair the Converse AC Coast. Like a normal Chuck but with a fabric matched toe, matching laces, and SUPER low profile. Feels like I'm just wearing socks! http://www.journeys.com/product.aspx?id=181953

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on May 16, 2011
at 12:12 PM

Well, I was trying to say cross country flats in general are a good option. As to this specific model... I have a normal width (size 12) but have never considered them anywhere near narrow. I would try to find online reviews from people with wide feet if you can't find somewhere to try on a pair.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:53 AM

Yes, I sometimes wear water shoes as minimals. Mostly I wear Chucks but they don't have a wide toe box. It helps to lace them loosely.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:49 AM

Tom's are getting a new sole that is pretty darn flexible and more 'resilient'. However, it's taking them a while to launch it. They have them in the kid's Toms and they're darn fabulous.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:07 AM

i just got a pair of these the other day and can vouch for the wide toe-box! i have a crazy high instep and super wide duck-like feet (not fat) and these fit terrific! the soles are not the thinnest/hardest ever (thinner than chucks, more resilient than toms).

9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Scratch that. This isn't an everyday shoe. :-P

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:00 AM

Is the toe box wide? I used to run track, and my sprinting spikes didn't really have the toe wide I'd like, although I'm not sure if XC flats and spikes are similar.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:41 AM

I like sambasa too but they are not near barefoot shoes. They have arch support. Also, the sole is pretty thick. I'll lift in them occasionally but in general, after you've worn barefoot shoes, sambas are nowhere near.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yea, just looked at the link, and definitely did a double take on the price. Are they pretty durable shoes for the price? Hearing about the wide toe-box is exciting.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:37 AM

I tried Sambas a year ago, and they're not wide enough for my feet. Thanks though.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:18 AM

P.S. My husband also has Sambas, he says they're a lot narrower across the toes.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:15 AM

I gotta second the Feiyues... my husband and I both have them, and we've used them for hiking, crossfitting, hanging out... :) The soles are a bit thick in my opinion, at least they're hard and flat. (Hubby doesn't find the soles overly thick, but then I'm used to the soles on vibrams and vivo barefoots.) I loooove how wide the toebox is, and they seem quite durable so far. And you can't beat the price!

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17 Answers

best answer

4
462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:08 AM

How about these? I've been using them mostly for running, but they're casual enough to be worn in an environment that is not strict about foot ware.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:18 AM

P.S. My husband also has Sambas, he says they're a lot narrower across the toes.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:49 AM

Tom's are getting a new sole that is pretty darn flexible and more 'resilient'. However, it's taking them a while to launch it. They have them in the kid's Toms and they're darn fabulous.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yea, just looked at the link, and definitely did a double take on the price. Are they pretty durable shoes for the price? Hearing about the wide toe-box is exciting.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:15 AM

I gotta second the Feiyues... my husband and I both have them, and we've used them for hiking, crossfitting, hanging out... :) The soles are a bit thick in my opinion, at least they're hard and flat. (Hubby doesn't find the soles overly thick, but then I'm used to the soles on vibrams and vivo barefoots.) I loooove how wide the toebox is, and they seem quite durable so far. And you can't beat the price!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:07 AM

i just got a pair of these the other day and can vouch for the wide toe-box! i have a crazy high instep and super wide duck-like feet (not fat) and these fit terrific! the soles are not the thinnest/hardest ever (thinner than chucks, more resilient than toms).

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I bought mine in January, and so far so good. They're my go-to "it's wet out but I don't feel like wearing boots" shoes. I keep expecting the upper to come apart from the sole, but they still look 100% solid. The (very odd-looking) treads are wearing down a bit, but to me they've already paid for themselves. :)

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Yeah, it took probably five to six months of regular running on asphalt for the soles to develop holes, but I still use them anyways. At this point, however, I could just buy two more pair, they would last me for over a year, and they'd still have paid for themselves.

2
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:12 PM

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Converse Chuck Taylors (low tops). They are very flat, and of course socially accepted. You can run and lift weights in them very comfortably. In fact, if you look you might find many powerlifters even wearing them during workouts.

Generally around $40 and come in every color under the sun.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on May 17, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I recently got a pair the Converse AC Coast. Like a normal Chuck but with a fabric matched toe, matching laces, and SUPER low profile. Feels like I'm just wearing socks! http://www.journeys.com/product.aspx?id=181953

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:20 PM

women's converses are way too narrow for my feet. Maybe I should try men's sizes...

2
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:40 AM

I have a pair of TOMS ($44 to $80 US) and a pair of Sanuks ($48 to $85 US). They're both comfortable and presentable.

1
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:30 AM

Dunlop Volley's.

I've not seen them outside of Australia, maybe they go by other names around the world?

They are a simple canvas upper shoe, flat sole, no arch support, no cushioning, no massive heal, etc. Not unlike Nike Free's but they've been around since the 1940's and don't have the marketing hype.

They became a wee bit cool on the fringe at some point and doubled in price, but they're still less than $50 AUD.

http://volley.com.au/

http://www.shoesexpress.com.au/dunlop-volley-shoes/

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 22, 2013
at 08:27 AM

0
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on May 17, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I know you already made a decision, but just throwing this out there for other reading up on this. If you are looking for something actually designed to be in the minimalist camp, the Merrell Tough Glove looks like a normal shoe, and has the same minimalist sole that the other shoes (Trail and True Gloves) use. While they are out of your budget at around $100, you can almost always find a 20% off and free shipping code for shoebuy which gets you a lot closer. http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot-tough-glove-black

0
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on May 17, 2011
at 02:55 AM

I wear driving (racing) shoes. The sole is thin so you can feel the pedals better. But for normal day to day wear they're awesome. I forget the model but they were only $60 from Puma.

0
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on May 17, 2011
at 01:55 AM

These answers are great! While looking for sanuks, I found very similar style from Sketchers, I think they call them "beach mocs" anyone had an experience with them? they are half the price of Sanuks...

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:27 PM

Go with these deadlifting slippers. Can't beat the $8.00

0
37dcc6814c487be3dda1377c680809c2

on May 16, 2011
at 12:46 PM

Try Sanuk's. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, are casual and cute. They come in many styles to chose from. www.sanuk.com My whole family wears them :)

0
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on May 16, 2011
at 11:48 AM

Squash shoes would be good or scuba diving shoes (might look silly though).

I wear ($50) Nike Free as a general all purpose shoe (not for running), I saw a tutorial on youtube for making the sole thinner too, if you dare.

Lots of footwear here: http://www.barefootmotion.com/minimalist-footwear.html

0
2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on May 16, 2011
at 07:20 AM

Check out feelmax. I've only found them in the states through a website called extremeoutfitters.com. They feel like wearing socks only. I have the pankas and I wear them to work quite often and virtually no one even notices them.

0
9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:31 AM

A new Vivobarefoot running sandal is coming soon: Achilles, $60. Looks interesting. Vivos have thin Vibram soles (very flexible with good road-feel) and generally wide toe boxes.

9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Scratch that. This isn't an everyday shoe. :-P

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on May 21, 2011
at 05:05 AM

want badly...*drool*

0
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Cross country racing flats.

For example, my Saucony Shay XCs have lasted over a year. I expect to get a few more months out of them before they seperate (wear them everywhere including running and the gym) I wear them without socks. They feel like slippers. Are lighter than sandals and look like normal shoes for the most part. Tie them loose and you never know they are there. They are so light they will never slip off. Paid 50 for this particular model at the time.

Oh yeah. The sole is about a 1/2 inch in the rear and tapers to 3/8s at the front. Sole is pliable enough to roll up the shoe and lift up your toes and feel pebbles under-foot and so on. The upper material is very breathable. Lastly, looks like they have a new version now, hopefully it's just as great as the original.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 03:00 AM

Is the toe box wide? I used to run track, and my sprinting spikes didn't really have the toe wide I'd like, although I'm not sure if XC flats and spikes are similar.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on May 16, 2011
at 12:12 PM

Well, I was trying to say cross country flats in general are a good option. As to this specific model... I have a normal width (size 12) but have never considered them anywhere near narrow. I would try to find online reviews from people with wide feet if you can't find somewhere to try on a pair.

0
A7ac68389a10bc99f33885e7ed0dbfe0

on May 16, 2011
at 02:22 AM

I love my huaraches that I got from InvisibleShoe.com... only $15 (you put them together yourself, really easy). I've been running in them for several months... and out and about sometimes to tan my feet (though I get a lot of goofy stares and comments.

I've been holding out for a pair of Altra Adams (suppose to be available by the end of the month $99 online/ $89 in a store if near you). They have a super wide toe box, but are suppose to fit like a champ... heard nothing but positive reviews about them from reputable sources. Also has several different insole choices (that come with it), or just remove them both. http://altrarunning.com/

0
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on May 16, 2011
at 01:58 AM

I can't remember where I read this, but when I was reading about minimalist footwear someone suggested water shoes as an alternative. They can be crazy cheap and some of them look like regular shoes (there are quite a few pairs out there for less than $20). Plus, the sole is pretty thin.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:53 AM

Yes, I sometimes wear water shoes as minimals. Mostly I wear Chucks but they don't have a wide toe box. It helps to lace them loosely.

0
6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on May 16, 2011
at 01:50 AM

What about a pair of Sambas? They're like $55 (plus shipping if you order them online) and they're just classic flat-soled shoes. Of course Vibrams would be best, but if they need to look like normal shoes and be under $80, Sambas, being flat-soled and simple, will mitigate most of the damage associated with wearing running shoes or something.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:41 AM

I like sambasa too but they are not near barefoot shoes. They have arch support. Also, the sole is pretty thick. I'll lift in them occasionally but in general, after you've worn barefoot shoes, sambas are nowhere near.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:37 AM

I tried Sambas a year ago, and they're not wide enough for my feet. Thanks though.

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