2

votes

Minimalist outdoor footwear

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

I am wondering if anyone has some suggestions for minimalist hiking boots or something of the sort. I have seen some things online, but my main concern is that I will be walking around a lot in an area filled with mesquite (I live in West Texas) for a class and have been told that wearing good boots is important because the mesquite thorns can pierce athletic shoes even. Are there any options to keep my feet safe and comfortable (I've grown somewhat accustomed to minimalist footwear).

So any ideas on minimizing the sole as much as possible while having good protection against super thorny mesquite trees, let me know, or if I'm just out of luck probably I guess that is ok too. There is also a lot of cactus growing around heavy mesquite areas so that will probably be part of the terrain as well. I am also allergic to mesquite so I don't really want to get stabbed by the trees.

Thanks you ya'lls help! :)

Medium avatar

(2923)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

The problem is the puncture resistance. Most shoes (aside from steel-toe boots and some hiking boots with a steel insert inside the footbed) are not ready for thorns of any time. Terra Plana makes a line of (expensive) barefoot shoes with 3mm Kevlar soles that will stop sharp edges but still won't protect from a thorn coming at you straight on ...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 22, 2013
at 01:11 PM

We did not evolve the feet required to live in West Texas.

103a639b040a17bb579084287f2a5307

(608)

on January 03, 2013
at 01:06 AM

Vivos also offer hiking shoes. I haven't tried them, but they are high on my list for when I replace my current shoes.

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on March 25, 2012
at 09:16 PM

I saw something about socks made from a kevlar blend once, maybe paired with my NB Minimuses...

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on March 25, 2012
at 09:15 PM

yes, I think puncture issues on the sides of the shoes will be an issue as well. I probably will get a pair of heavier hiking boots to wear and then maybe once I get a feel for what it is actually like out there I can try to pull back to something more minimal. and I'm sure callouses have something to do with tribespeople being able to go around barefoot in rough terrain, but alas I'm a modern girl (in a few ways) and want soft girly feet :)

2b3edde3c7b9393fe36a2dd9c8acf473

(284)

on March 22, 2012
at 05:24 AM

Bulletproof vests are not stabproof. That's why they make special stab inserts for people likely to face stabbing threats, like prison guards.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on March 21, 2012
at 05:06 AM

On the less practical side of things, Shaka trained his Zulu warriors to run barefoot over acacia thorns (acacia and mesquite belong to the same subfamily) until they built up proper callouses :p

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16 Answers

7
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Rather than risk being painfully stabbed I would just wear heavy leather hiking boots and watch where I stepped...simpler than dealing with healing a foot or walking on it while it is injured.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Forgive me, but I think people are missing something here. As a native New Mexican, I can attest that part of the problem are threats from above, not always below. Meaning, thorns can stab the tops and sides of the foot too. I once walked through a field of star thistle in regular running shoes and was stabbed multiple times.

I don't have any specific recommendations, but I would go for old school, sturdy leather boots with the thinnest sole I could find. I mean, how often will you need something like this? Is it worth the investment? If you'll need them frequently then I guess I would try to figure something more minimal out, but otherwise I would just suffer with a heavier, more structured shoe.

1
434ecc71bf9f0a716c625c1223f1dd1c

on June 02, 2013
at 03:06 PM

I have been working clearing mesquite and have a $200 pair of hiking boots with a vibram 3/4 inch sole at the ball of my foot. Yesterday a 2 and half inch mesquite thorn pierced my foot. Y'all have no idea what these thorns are capable of. I'm heading out to get a pair of steel bottomed boots today!

1
Medium avatar

on March 22, 2012
at 05:28 AM

Ive been a minimalist for years. Climb most of my mountains (4300meter in Colorado for example) in Vibram KSO Treks or Merrell Tough Gloves. Both are superb, and the trails are rough. If thorns are a real concern, Russell Moccasin makes trackers for the African bush specifically thorn proof, zero rise, and flexible.

1
Bdac420645091098a0b3b5b47436969c

(273)

on March 22, 2012
at 03:29 AM

How about these:cwww.softstarshoes.com? I just ordered a pair of the RunAmocs with the trail sole. They are smooth leather. I live in an area where there's a lot of sharp lava rocks on the trails. I looked around for a while and decided to try these.

1
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:29 AM

Mesquite thorns are serious. You'd have to make your own sandals out of like... a bullet-proof vest. I've worn Vibrams in mesquite fields before - but knew that I had to be careful and the shoes would not stop a thorn if I stepped right on one.

2b3edde3c7b9393fe36a2dd9c8acf473

(284)

on March 22, 2012
at 05:24 AM

Bulletproof vests are not stabproof. That's why they make special stab inserts for people likely to face stabbing threats, like prison guards.

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on March 25, 2012
at 09:16 PM

I saw something about socks made from a kevlar blend once, maybe paired with my NB Minimuses...

0
B77077b10dae8aacdd01ac61cb5bcfc3

(55)

on June 03, 2013
at 06:17 AM

Belleville makes a minimalist training combat style boot. People seem excited by them. I ordered a pair and only kept them for a day because I take my shoes off when I go in and out of the house and they took too long to slip in and out of and lace up. I ended up getting some Vivobarefoot boxing boots. The Bellevilles seemed like they'd offer a lot of protection though.

http://www.bellevilleboot.com/shop/index.php?c=37&l=product_list&sortby=&size=&width=&color=2&climate=3&gender=4&features=37

0
3938246093988e1e16841fa0c62983fd

on January 02, 2013
at 11:15 PM

The Vivo shoes are marketed as having puncture-resistant soles; you might try contacting Vivo and asking them about mesquite thorns. [And also ask them if any of their shoes would have uppers that would provide protection, following the advice of Karen P.] Unfortunately, I've note seen any independent tests evaluating the puncture-resistance of various minimalist shoes.

103a639b040a17bb579084287f2a5307

(608)

on January 03, 2013
at 01:06 AM

Vivos also offer hiking shoes. I haven't tried them, but they are high on my list for when I replace my current shoes.

0
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:18 PM

Inov8 roclites are a serious offroad minimalist shoe line. They offer good grip and rock protection even when trail running through rock gardens. They have everything from ultralight racing to over-the-ankle waterproof style.

0
Medium avatar

(2338)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:41 PM

i really enjoy the new balance minimus shoes... they look pretty cool compared to other barefoot shoes and are just a great shoe you can wear all around.

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on March 21, 2012
at 03:11 PM

http://shop.oetzi3300.com/

The troops shoes look pricy but fit the bill.

0
2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

on March 21, 2012
at 01:46 PM

I'm not familiar with mesquite thorns. You might try a minimalist trail runner with a rock plate, not sure if that would offer enough protection.

0
27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on March 21, 2012
at 08:53 AM

This person had the sole thinned - http://birthdayshoes.com/forum/feet-and-fivefingers-accessories-and-alternatives/my-red-wing-boot-conversion/

You could buy a pair of boots from a thrift shop (if you don't have any currently) and have them customized similarly - that is, if you'll hike enough in that type of terrain to make the expense worthwhile.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 21, 2012
at 05:48 AM

I live around mesquite and have never worried about their thorns as they are in the trees, on the branches. If the limbs have fallen, they are just under the tree. Not a good place to be b/c of snakes. What is the task that you have to do that would take you under the trees into their drop area?
I have similar issues with cactus spines and it's hard to find footwear to fend them off. But the biggest problem is tiny ants.

0
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on March 21, 2012
at 04:00 AM

Vibram makes a hiking shoe called the KSO Trek. The sole is a bit thicker. It may not stop a mesquite thorn directly - you sadly may not have minimalist options for that - but they have stood by me for rough and rocky terrain all over the US and the British Isles.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 22, 2013
at 08:31 AM

Minimalist outdoor footwear is at http://www.upere.com/upere-wedge-sneakers-c-1.html.

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