4

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How can I reconcile my love of cowboy boots with my love of barefoot running and natural foot health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 29, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Is it incredibly detrimental to my foot health, and overall health (i.e. posture, joint function, longevity) that I only wear cowboy boots?

I love running in minimal footwear. I've been running in these: Teva Sling Kings

I would wear minimal footwear on a day to day basis, but I'm a bartender, I love cowboy boots, I love the way they look, I love snakeskin boots, yadda yadda yadda. Should I reconsider this line of thought?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on August 02, 2011
at 06:18 PM

I went hiking in my SLing Kings yesterday out by the Delaware Water Gap, and my calves are just a bit sore. It was a very strenuous hike!

03281912f1cb9e4e771a8a83af302e3a

(1204)

on July 30, 2011
at 12:14 AM

If you kill and tan the reptile's hide yourself, I think a short roper heel could be an acceptable compromise as long as you get them custom fitted to your feet with more room in the toe box.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 29, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Nah, I've been using VFFs for awhile now, just not on strenuous hikes. I've gone on several shorter hikes with them without incident, but 10 miles was too much, I guess.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 29, 2011
at 05:05 PM

I've been clomping around behind a bar and otherwise in all manner of impractical boots and heels forever. I do switch it up tho, and I'm barefoot at home. Howevs, I have a slight (painless) bunion.. but that might be genetic. (?)

Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 29, 2011
at 03:13 PM

I gotta say that there is nothing wrong with the swagger that you get from putting on a pair of cowboy boots - I just got my first pait this year while visiting family in Nashville and I am hooked now - so in my opinion keep on wearing them - they are HOT!

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:41 PM

I had the calf soreness when starting out in the VFFs. You may have fallen to the dreaded TMTS - too much too soon.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:21 PM

Funny that you mention Shenandoah - I just did a 10-mile loop there myself wearing my leather Fivefingers Treks, and my calves were sore for about a week.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:18 PM

I train horses for a living and have to wear them. I got the best, most well made beautiful custom fitted boots I could get. Two reasons: if I'm going to trash my feet, at least the boots are pretty. And custom fitted boots don't trash my feet nearly as much as off the shelf boots. I don't know if that helps, but it works OKish for me.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:08 PM

I'm the same way with 5" platforms! :)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on July 29, 2011
at 11:21 AM

My ass is being creamated in my frye boots. My grandpa was a homesteader and cowboy in ft. collins colorado and never wore anything else. I think a nice, worn in pair of boots, and the swagger they give you, are about one of the sexiest things around.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 08:32 AM

I feel your pain. My closet is full of water shoes, minimal sandals, and cowboy boots. I like the way the boots make me feel for special nights out, but I don't wear 'em everyday, so I hope I'm not doing any harm wearing them 2-3 times/month. I worked alongside a barista who wore cowboy boots for every shift and was impressed he could pull it off without foot pain. It always seemed to give him a bit of extra swagger (which was good for our tips), so if you can pull it off, I say go for it.

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8 Answers

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4
27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 29, 2011
at 08:43 AM

You can have both! If you find the boots start to irritate any body part in any way, wear the minimalist shoes and show off your boots another way: http://www.displays4sale.com/StoreModules/ProductDetails.aspx?p=Large-Designer-Metal-Shadowbox-Swingframes-6-Deep

Seriously, I went to see Dr. Irene Davis, a doctor who conducts running clinics and is really getting bigger on that scene - http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dr-irene-davis-the-barefoot-running-professor-joins-the-spaulding-rehabilitation-network-and-harvard-medical-school-118086289.html She told me she always runs barefoot or in Vibram FiveFingers. The rest of the time, she's in high heels. She loves wearing them and isn't affected by wearing them. Her calves must be elastic to allow her to wear all types of heel heights and sole stiffnesses. If you're generally flexible and injury-free, you'll be fine.

My thought is that you'll be better off wearing the boots more often than 2-3x a month, though. Two days ago, I wore lightweight hiking boots on a 10-mile loop in the Shenandoah after eight solid weeks of wearing nothing except FiveFingers when I wasn't barefoot. My shins are still aching from the novelty of wearing "real" shoes. The more you move among different shoes, the better your feet/leg muscles will adapt to all of them.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:41 PM

I had the calf soreness when starting out in the VFFs. You may have fallen to the dreaded TMTS - too much too soon.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:21 PM

Funny that you mention Shenandoah - I just did a 10-mile loop there myself wearing my leather Fivefingers Treks, and my calves were sore for about a week.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 29, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Nah, I've been using VFFs for awhile now, just not on strenuous hikes. I've gone on several shorter hikes with them without incident, but 10 miles was too much, I guess.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on August 02, 2011
at 06:18 PM

I went hiking in my SLing Kings yesterday out by the Delaware Water Gap, and my calves are just a bit sore. It was a very strenuous hike!

12
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on July 29, 2011
at 09:11 AM

You know, in my opinion, if you love something, go for it - you only live once!

There could be countless articles disparaging cowboy-boot-wearers and raving about barefooting, but when it comes down to it, if wearing cowboy boots makes you happy, I think that is what is most important.* I'm sure there are plenty of people that lived long lives and wore such footwear without ill effects.

My answer: No, I don't think you should reconsider that line of thought. Wear the boots. Enjoy them. Enjoy what makes you happy.

*my apologies for the run-on, couldn't articulate it any differently, not caffeinated enough yet

2
B0454de6d4f4cdd9ca2e59021dc105bf

on July 29, 2011
at 01:31 PM

If this question isn't tongue-in-cheek, just wear your boots to the disco and go barefoot the rest of the time.

2
D54290f91bd8c2ff9fdf2f519933bf3e

(1231)

on July 29, 2011
at 11:12 AM

don't exercise in the boots, but otherwise wear them if you like.

i bet you will make more in tips in cowboy boots than vibrams if that's any incentive. ;)

1
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:32 PM

I'm planning to eventually replace my motorcycle riding boots with a nice pair of cowboy boots. After some research, I learned that several cowboy boot companies will customize their boots by adding a rubber sole to the bottom, as many customers want to wear their boots in situations where a slick leather bottom would be dangerous.

After digging some more, I learned about "Mexican cowboy boots", which used to be made without a heel. So, it seems that if you go the custom route, you can have a cowboy boot made without the heel and still be authentic (the heel was added, from a practical perspective, because of stirrups when riding a horse). A non-heeled boot doesn't fully address the issue of an inflexible sole, but still helps with issues related to walking around all the time with a raised heel. Obviously, the boot's aesthetics will change some, but IMO, the heel isn't a major component of a cowboy boot aesthetics anyway.

If you already have a lot of cowboy boots, you can get them re-soled, and even have the heel removed, if you want to go that route.

0
01e78da75aa7f0189d6a3a47264c935d

on April 17, 2013
at 12:42 AM

Well I have a pair of Stetson Eagle Overlay pointy toe cowboy boots and I actually raised the original 1 1/2 inch heels to five, then six inches, which made them much easier to walk in! I learned to walk (strut) very easily in them in short-stepped swagger that my wife loves. I even go hiking in these boots. I love to wear them with no socks. They really are the most comfortable "shoes" you can wear once they're broken in.

0
577c04c17103d715f3d87b03c9a2acd4

on February 18, 2013
at 02:57 AM

Ok, I have had a pair of Justin black lizard skin boots for.over 28 years. I love them. I love how they look on me too. However, the heel makes me feel tall and more confident. Not to mentioned my wife like how my ass looks. So why leave the heel off? I am.looking to.buy a new pair of brown tone boots next. I want to wearer them for the summer. I say go.for it. Have fun with life.

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