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Best shoes to simulate barefoot running?

Answered on May 26, 2014
Created April 26, 2014 at 7:48 PM

In a pinch I've been running in my hiking boots and I know it's terrible. Rather than hop into the first running shoes that feel comfortable, I want to get as close as possible to running bare foot without stampeding across broken glass and countless contaminants in the city. In my youth I spent a lot of time outdoors without shoes, but that was in a rural area. For the past 20 years or so my feet have been babied and I'm not about to turn into Cody Lundin...

So anyone got some solid recommendations on a pair of shoes that will let me run like i'm free and naked?

Medium avatar

(624)

on April 29, 2014
at 02:36 PM

I got something to fit the bill for the time being but I definitely like the looks of those trecksports. Love tackling trails and might drop the $100 on a pair later on.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on April 29, 2014
at 04:44 AM

I've been looking at the vivobarefoots. Those might be my next pair! It looks like those soles are only 2.5mm.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on April 29, 2014
at 04:20 AM

The Merrell barefoot shoes are racing flats. They also work well outdoors (if you watch out for rocks):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkjO1WAraU

4oz a shoe and flexible enough to roll into a ball and stuff into a pocket is a useful feature. They use Vibram soles with only 3mm between your foot and the texture of the ground beneath you (5.5mm stack height.) Machine-washable with a see-through antimicrobial upper, also useful. Zero cushion / no arch support, and zero heel-to-toe drop. <$80 for a new pair, which is avg pricing, imo. (They run stupid large though.)

De7aafde172289ab942f17f0d271d8ff

on April 29, 2014
at 01:39 AM

Nope. You can wash them if they get icky. Mine have held up for a really long time. One thing, though -- with the thin-soled ones you can feel all the rocks, etc. under your feet. You wouldn't want to run on large gravel with these.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2014
at 12:34 AM

Oh, you wanted trendy overpriced shoes! Yeah, don't pay attention to me. :)

Medium avatar

(624)

on April 28, 2014
at 09:18 PM

Do you wear socks with these?

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7 Answers

0
Medium avatar

on May 26, 2014
at 02:01 AM

I did extensive research on this for the same goal. I ended up picking the Vibram KSO. http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/Five-Fingers-KSO-Mens.htm

A few reasons:

  • As close as possible to barefoot only comes with the foot glove style of Vibrams. After checking around, it was easy to decide Vibram is the right show. Now which model?
  • The KSO sole is not too thick (2mm) and rugged like some models such as the Spyridon. While styles like that are great for trail running where extra traction is needed, the simplicity and basic style of the KSO is what makes it very close to actual barefoot.
  • Likewise, most of the features of other models, while perhaps helpful, in some way provide their benefit to the detriment of barefoot. All the attributes such as thicker sole, extra shield area, insulated, and such add bulk, weight, or reduction in flexibility.

The only other one you may want to consider is the SeeYa. It's supposed to be super minimalist barefoot style, but for me it actually did not feel nearly as good and natural. It just didn't stick to the foot the same way as the KSO.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/Five-Fingers-Seeya-Mens.htm

Also, if you can, get some true barefoot action on some dirt trails. You will take damage at first, but your body gets strong with training. You're forced to be much more alert and have a extremely rapid response to what your foot comes in contact with. No minimalist shoe can give you the feel of hitting all the angles on bare skin, splashing through mud as it squeezes up between your toes, and all the changes in texture as you hit dirt, rocks, grass, sand, and everything else in nature.

0
Medium avatar

on April 29, 2014
at 02:47 PM

Thanks guys!

So for now I got a GREAT deal on a pair of merrel... forget the exact model but they're barefoot runners. Ordered my odd size from a local store called Off Broadway Shoes for LESS THAN HALF PRICE! Should come in the mail in a few days. Also got a pair of these for convenient daily use since they were in stock, felt good, and the merrel's are a crazy florescent green that doesn't sit well with me. I hate dealing with laces anyway. I love tackling trails so I may get a pair of Trecksports too. I'll have more shoes than I've ever owned in my life at that point.

My boot-hauling days may be at an end!

0
Medium avatar

on April 29, 2014
at 05:15 AM

I would suggest purchasing either a pair of Merrel Ascend Glove's or New Balance Minimus'. As paleot and lifelongrunner already mentioned, Vibram Five Fingers would be another excellent choice.

0
De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

on April 28, 2014
at 10:56 AM

I use vivobarefoot for pretty much all my shoes, the only issues i've had is eventually even the 'waterproof' ones let in water. The merrells I've owned were fine but the sole was too thick for true barefoot shoes, good transition shoes though. I do feel like i'm tip-toeing everywhere as you don't wanna heel strike, if the sole is thin enough you won't for long!

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on April 29, 2014
at 04:44 AM

I've been looking at the vivobarefoots. Those might be my next pair! It looks like those soles are only 2.5mm.

0
De7aafde172289ab942f17f0d271d8ff

on April 27, 2014
at 08:02 AM

Vibram five-fingers. Love, love, love them (but yes, your body will have to adjust to them). You will find that you begin to land on a different part of your foot --- more of a mid-foot strike rather than a heel-strike. I've also found that I need to shorten my stride in these.

Medium avatar

(624)

on April 28, 2014
at 09:18 PM

Do you wear socks with these?

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on April 26, 2014
at 09:55 PM

I usually run in merrell vapor gloves, but this is on paved surfaces / grass / treadmill. I have a pair of reebok crossfit shoes with a 3mm drop that aren't bad for day to day / gym use. I really like the VFF's, but you'll have some goofy looking footwear. Barefoot shoes are the shit. My suggestion for rocks and trails would be the Vibram treksports. (Side note, your legs / knees / feet will be surprisingly sore transitioning into zero drop shoes. Expect to build up some muscle and take it easy.)

Medium avatar

(624)

on April 29, 2014
at 02:36 PM

I got something to fit the bill for the time being but I definitely like the looks of those trecksports. Love tackling trails and might drop the $100 on a pair later on.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 26, 2014
at 09:17 PM

Cross country racing flats.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2014
at 12:34 AM

Oh, you wanted trendy overpriced shoes! Yeah, don't pay attention to me. :)

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