8

votes

Shoes acceptable in a professional environment?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM

What kind of shoes that would be somewhat respectable in a professional environment still incorporate some of the principles of footwear which allow for a natural gait and posture?

What should I look for? Low heel? Are there soft or fairly thin souled black leather shoes?

361bc16cfdad25411a6f93e10c45aadc

on February 28, 2012
at 06:45 PM

Yeah I wear the Vivo Barefoot Ra. Great shoes! The sole is very thin (4mm) and they look great. I've received compliments on them from people who have not a clue about minimalism.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 24, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Do you still wear these? THe kalso reagan and carter look excellent.

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:19 AM

As for these shoes being only for men, again, it’s not my place to say who can and can’t wear them. Being the small guy that I am, and screw what my friends say, I pick up most of my skinny jeans from the women’s section, because they just fit better =P I appreciate your concern for the foot health & posture of my friend and wife, so I hope I’ve been able to bring clarity to everything. Please let me know if you have any further concerns."

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:19 AM

The 2 women in our video happen to be my friend who organizes a Paleo meetup group and my wife who has ran a 10K mud run in her bare feet. They know about the benefits of going barefoot or wearing flat shoes, but they still like to wear heels occasionally because, in their own words, heels are cute. I would rather see women in natural, comfortable footwear, but it’s not my place to tell them, or anyone for that matter, what to wear...

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:18 AM

I appreciate your concern for the foot health & posture of my friend and wife, so I hope I’ve been able to bring clarity to everything. Please let me know if you have any further concerns."

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:17 AM

The 2 women in our video happen to be my friend who organizes a Paleo meetup group and my wife who has ran a 10K mud run in her bare feet. They know about the benefits of going baAs for these shoes being only for men, again, it’s not my place to say who can and can’t wear them. Being the small guy that I am, and screw what my friends say, I pick up most of my skinny jeans from the women’s section, because they just fit better =P

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:17 AM

Hey jj! We had a similar concern in the comments section on Indiegogo...here's my response =) "In our video, every person that our main actor interacts with is wearing a traditional style shoe, whether its a man or woman. The purpose of our shoe is to allow a barefoot enthusiast to blend in with people who dont share the same mentality about footwear, and thats why we had the other actors wear the shoes that they did...

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:17 AM

I love how the "professional" option for ladies is still a 2" heel and crammed in toes. :-(

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on October 16, 2011
at 08:43 AM

Whoa Bryan! I really appreciate you taking the leap, and as it says, if you don't like it, there's a 105% money-back guarantee, but I'm pretty damn sure you'll love them =) We need all the help we can get to hit that $50K by Dec 11, so thanks so much for spreading it. Yes, let me get on my video director about giving me a cut with just the beginning trailer.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on October 15, 2011
at 07:38 AM

You should produce a video with just the trailer at the beginning too.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on October 15, 2011
at 07:36 AM

Great, spreading this everywhere. I love to try shoes on before I buy them, but I'll risk it with this one. Spreading this on bodybuilding.com and sites I frequent full of travel hippies who also wear these.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 02:27 AM

And to be clear... I can't wear flats or heel-down shoes - I end up with shooting pains through my arches. I don't think there is one kind of shoe that is right for everyone, and this is a reminder to me that while ideally, it might be good to emulate many of the ways Grok might have lived, I'm *not* Grok and am a result of a series of genetic mutations based on two Northern European populations of people who lived very differently than Grok may have. Thus, I need to adapt to what works, not necessarily what a book says I should wear.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on January 22, 2011
at 10:46 AM

Agreed on the toe room. But will check them out if they ever sell in the UK. It's US only right now.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on January 18, 2011
at 05:55 AM

I have that same lack-of-ground-feel problem with Vivo Barefoot Aquas.

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on January 18, 2011
at 12:50 AM

I have and like Danskos. However, if you're into feeling the ground- these probably aren't your shoes. The soles have no flex- at least the clogs don't. And you might want to get them in "wide" to let your toes be free. Great for an office environment, or anyplace where you're walking on boring, flat surfaces- like retail and whatnot.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on January 17, 2011
at 07:16 PM

Great question, Bryan! I've been thinking about this too, since I'll need to dress up more once I graduate.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:48 PM

LOL, Riveted. I was never sure exactly how they knew that! They are damn comfortable though, that's for sure!

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:36 PM

I wear my VFF in the snow in Klamath Falls, Or. Coldest I have worn them is 10 degrees with about 8 inches of snow...as soon as you get in a building for very long your feet dry out and warm up quicker than you would think!

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:35 PM

my buddy said he talked to his boss ahead of time to make sure corporate was allright with it. After he explained the health benefits to his boss (since the new rage around corporate offices seems to be ergonomics, walking workstations, etc), he was told that he could wear them as long as there weren't too many complaints from co workers. A month later two other people in his building were wearing them also...might be worth a try for you!

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:33 PM

I have a pair of KSOs that I used to wear around the office. I got away with it because I work in a creative department, but the bottom line is you can't go to many place with VFFs, plus they're no good in the winter.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I've got a brown pair. They are KSO Trek's. I'm not sure I would personally wear them in too dressy of an outfit. You might be able to get away with it, but with my size 13's they look like gorilla feet. I've debated wearing them on casual day just to see how many stares I get. Hmmm, come to think of it that might be fun.

Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 17, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I'll have to try walking on kittens just to compare!

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on January 17, 2011
at 04:05 PM

My Dansko clogs are crazy comfortable, and great for standing for long periods. They're very popular with nurses for that reason.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:16 PM

im not sure I want to rock, or walk on kittens...all those little squeaks and meowls would get distracting.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:14 PM

i like the zero heel... i dislike smushed together toes.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I've had friends explain them as they are "like walking on kittens". :)

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16 Answers

3
209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 17, 2011
at 12:23 PM

I wear the Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot Dharma. I have pretty big feet so they look a little bit like slippers, but I wear them with slacks all the time with no problems. I have the black ones. I'd like brown, but they have a lighter sole and I'm not sure would look right. I've had mine for at least 6 mos now wearing them several times a week and they are going strong.

shoes-acceptable-in-a-professional-environment?

361bc16cfdad25411a6f93e10c45aadc

on February 28, 2012
at 06:45 PM

Yeah I wear the Vivo Barefoot Ra. Great shoes! The sole is very thin (4mm) and they look great. I've received compliments on them from people who have not a clue about minimalism.

3
8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on January 17, 2011
at 12:18 PM

I've been waiting for 6 months for these babies to be released: http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/22874M/50387/Mens/Mens-Barefoot-Tough-Glove

They'll have the Vibram sole.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:14 PM

i like the zero heel... i dislike smushed together toes.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on January 22, 2011
at 10:46 AM

Agreed on the toe room. But will check them out if they ever sell in the UK. It's US only right now.

2
F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on October 14, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Hi Bryan,

I hope these are the shoes you're been searching for. We set out to create a shoe that looks indistinguishable from the most conservative Oxford. A shoe you could wear through a job interview and into a black tie affair, without compromising barefoot comfort. And in that end, I believe we've succeeded =) I'd love to hear your thoughts.

shoes-acceptable-in-a-professional-environment?

You can learn about our story, product features, and more at thePrimalProfessional.com, and find us on facebook.com/thePrimalProfessional

If you help us spread the word to reach our $50,000 pre-order goal, they'll be ready for you early 2012 =)

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on October 15, 2011
at 07:38 AM

You should produce a video with just the trailer at the beginning too.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on October 15, 2011
at 07:36 AM

Great, spreading this everywhere. I love to try shoes on before I buy them, but I'll risk it with this one. Spreading this on bodybuilding.com and sites I frequent full of travel hippies who also wear these.

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on October 16, 2011
at 08:43 AM

Whoa Bryan! I really appreciate you taking the leap, and as it says, if you don't like it, there's a 105% money-back guarantee, but I'm pretty damn sure you'll love them =) We need all the help we can get to hit that $50K by Dec 11, so thanks so much for spreading it. Yes, let me get on my video director about giving me a cut with just the beginning trailer.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:17 AM

I love how the "professional" option for ladies is still a 2" heel and crammed in toes. :-(

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:17 AM

The 2 women in our video happen to be my friend who organizes a Paleo meetup group and my wife who has ran a 10K mud run in her bare feet. They know about the benefits of going baAs for these shoes being only for men, again, it’s not my place to say who can and can’t wear them. Being the small guy that I am, and screw what my friends say, I pick up most of my skinny jeans from the women’s section, because they just fit better =P

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:17 AM

Hey jj! We had a similar concern in the comments section on Indiegogo...here's my response =) "In our video, every person that our main actor interacts with is wearing a traditional style shoe, whether its a man or woman. The purpose of our shoe is to allow a barefoot enthusiast to blend in with people who dont share the same mentality about footwear, and thats why we had the other actors wear the shoes that they did...

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:18 AM

I appreciate your concern for the foot health & posture of my friend and wife, so I hope I’ve been able to bring clarity to everything. Please let me know if you have any further concerns."

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:19 AM

The 2 women in our video happen to be my friend who organizes a Paleo meetup group and my wife who has ran a 10K mud run in her bare feet. They know about the benefits of going barefoot or wearing flat shoes, but they still like to wear heels occasionally because, in their own words, heels are cute. I would rather see women in natural, comfortable footwear, but it’s not my place to tell them, or anyone for that matter, what to wear...

F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on January 11, 2012
at 08:19 AM

As for these shoes being only for men, again, it’s not my place to say who can and can’t wear them. Being the small guy that I am, and screw what my friends say, I pick up most of my skinny jeans from the women’s section, because they just fit better =P I appreciate your concern for the foot health & posture of my friend and wife, so I hope I’ve been able to bring clarity to everything. Please let me know if you have any further concerns."

2
B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:18 PM

Terra Plana Vivo Barefoots for the win!

I have a pair of Aquas. Things I like:

  • 3mm sole. No raised heel. (I take the insole out to give more toe room and feel of the ground)
  • Larger toe box than most shoes
  • Extremely flexible
  • Very nice to run in (Not that I run much. Normally to the train.)
  • Pack very well for traveling

Things I don't like: expensive

There are many reviews from barefoot focused sites. Search around.

p.s. I'm bare foot or in flip-flops at work unless there is a special occasion or the weather dictates the need for shoes.

1
Medium avatar

on January 23, 2011
at 03:04 AM

Quoddy of Maine makes awesome minimalist shoes by hand. I love this style: shoes-acceptable-in-a-professional-environment?

But you could go for something more professional: shoes-acceptable-in-a-professional-environment?

1
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 23, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Danskos work for a lot of people, but for me, they don't fit well. I used to prefer shoes made by Born, which are often leather lined, so have nice wicking properties, until I discovered the brand Klogs. They're made for chefs, nurses, hair dressers, etc - anyone on their feet all day and apparently, they make men's styles (a quick Google revealed a loafer), too. Much squishier (yet still firm) soles than Dansko, leather outersoles and lining, and exceptional quality. I wear them almost constantly now, as they really help with some of the problems I have with my arches and legs and just feel great.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 02:27 AM

And to be clear... I can't wear flats or heel-down shoes - I end up with shooting pains through my arches. I don't think there is one kind of shoe that is right for everyone, and this is a reminder to me that while ideally, it might be good to emulate many of the ways Grok might have lived, I'm *not* Grok and am a result of a series of genetic mutations based on two Northern European populations of people who lived very differently than Grok may have. Thus, I need to adapt to what works, not necessarily what a book says I should wear.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 18, 2011
at 06:50 AM

Minnetonka moccasins have some shoes that look professional but have leather stitched on soles instead of rubber. Inside is a tad of padding but not so much as to lift the heal greatly. I have strolled around for many hours on hard floors with the women's version of these mocs and found them quite comfortable and light weight. On this link, I believe all of the top row have no soles but there are other styles available if you spend some time on google: http://www.moccasinsdirect.com/products/Minnetonka-moosehide-moccasins2.htm

1
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 05:53 AM

I wear Toms... very minimalist, yet have style. Once in a while, I sneak in wearing my vibrams..

1
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on January 18, 2011
at 05:47 AM

I've been wearing Body Glove Riptide shoes to work with no problems. I did use a black Sharpie to block out the bright yellow logo. They are amazingly flexible. The sole is very soft and may wear out relatively quickly but at $15 a pair (yes, $15) I think they're a pretty good deal.

The sole is pretty well insulated, too. I wore them for several days in the snow (between 20 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit). The flexible, grippy soles also did better on lumpy ice than my stiff, lug-soled shoes. (For comparison, the bottoms of my feet were too cold in VFF KSOs at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)

I also have Vivo Barefoot Aquas. They are fine for work but the sole is too hard which, combined with the tight cuff, messes with my proprioceptive sense of where my feet are. Hard to explain - it's weird. It feels like I'm wearing loose slippers even though they're not loose at all.

1
9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on January 17, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Have you looked into the Kangaroo Leather Fivefingers from Vibram? They may take some time to order if a local store doesn't have them, but fivefingers are worth every penny spent and every day waited. I have a pair of KSO's, but my work environment right now is not really professional (graduate teaching assistant at university while pursuing master's degree), but I have a buddy that wears the black leather ones with his shirts, ties and slacks at his office with no problems. Something to look into...depending on how dressy we are talking

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I've got a brown pair. They are KSO Trek's. I'm not sure I would personally wear them in too dressy of an outfit. You might be able to get away with it, but with my size 13's they look like gorilla feet. I've debated wearing them on casual day just to see how many stares I get. Hmmm, come to think of it that might be fun.

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:36 PM

I wear my VFF in the snow in Klamath Falls, Or. Coldest I have worn them is 10 degrees with about 8 inches of snow...as soon as you get in a building for very long your feet dry out and warm up quicker than you would think!

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:33 PM

I have a pair of KSOs that I used to wear around the office. I got away with it because I work in a creative department, but the bottom line is you can't go to many place with VFFs, plus they're no good in the winter.

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:35 PM

my buddy said he talked to his boss ahead of time to make sure corporate was allright with it. After he explained the health benefits to his boss (since the new rage around corporate offices seems to be ergonomics, walking workstations, etc), he was told that he could wear them as long as there weren't too many complaints from co workers. A month later two other people in his building were wearing them also...might be worth a try for you!

1
Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 17, 2011
at 01:38 PM

These may not be paleo in the "negative heel, barefoot" sense, but they're amazingly ergonomic. I can't go barefoot because of some arthritis-related issues, and these things rock (literally...they rock as you stand and walk). Extra bonus is that they are considered "orthopedic" and covered by our medical insurance.

http://www.dansko.ca/

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:16 PM

im not sure I want to rock, or walk on kittens...all those little squeaks and meowls would get distracting.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on January 18, 2011
at 05:55 AM

I have that same lack-of-ground-feel problem with Vivo Barefoot Aquas.

Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 17, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I'll have to try walking on kittens just to compare!

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on January 18, 2011
at 12:50 AM

I have and like Danskos. However, if you're into feeling the ground- these probably aren't your shoes. The soles have no flex- at least the clogs don't. And you might want to get them in "wide" to let your toes be free. Great for an office environment, or anyplace where you're walking on boring, flat surfaces- like retail and whatnot.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on January 17, 2011
at 04:05 PM

My Dansko clogs are crazy comfortable, and great for standing for long periods. They're very popular with nurses for that reason.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I've had friends explain them as they are "like walking on kittens". :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:48 PM

LOL, Riveted. I was never sure exactly how they knew that! They are damn comfortable though, that's for sure!

1
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on January 17, 2011
at 12:07 PM

Earth Brand Negative Heel Shoes have that large flex and lots of toe space, much like the Nike Free, with no tall heel.

I like the Vanish, but they have other options and colors. http://www.earthfootwear.com/ourfootwear/tabid/222/language/en-us/c-12-casuals.aspx

Heres a picture I took of the Flex/Underside

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 24, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Do you still wear these? THe kalso reagan and carter look excellent.

0
7550959f8a4a685094702d7951433a17

on March 06, 2013
at 12:37 PM

there are plenty of options in shoes for a professional environment. And they all are more or less the same in wearing. although there are a few thoughts you might consider before buying shoes.

  • do not buy shoes that support the curve of your foot. As your foot cannot stretch in that case.

  • low heels are good and relatively comfortable to wear for a long time than high heeled shoes.

  • leather shoes are stiff at first but later get adjusted to your walking style.

0
D990f7c439b1b9570ecb216f9189050d

on March 06, 2013
at 03:01 AM

The vivo ras and other vivo shoes don't have a vibram sole and I really, really, don't like how they feel. I agree with comment about the Merrels, I love the vibram soles, I don't like my toes squished togther. On the website the run amoks don't look great, and I don't think they have a black shoe, but I love they have vibram soles. Someone has to make a minimalist vibram sole business casual simple black shoe. Or we all need to collectively agree to wear our VFF on the same day and put an end to heels and shoes that are bad for your feet.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 18, 2013
at 08:44 AM

Do you like wedge sneakers like these http://www.upere.com/upere-wedge-sneakers-c-1.html, maybe you can have a try.

0
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on January 17, 2011
at 12:55 PM

I wear these Acorn slippers in the office:

http://www.acorn.com/products/new-tech-travel-moc-black-for-men

You can't tell they're slippers without looking real close, plus they're only 35 bucks.

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