Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 May

Barefoot Alternatives

I got the following email from a reader:

Mark,

The Vibram 5 Fingers look great for exercise but not very practical for daily use and I’m wondering if there are any decent shoes available.

The Vivo shoes are the most interesting I’ve been able to spot so far (but haven’t tried them yet).

Many thanks,

Scott

Thanks, Scott. This is actually a pretty common question I get from readers, and it’s typical of the essential problem we Primal Blueprinters face almost every day: that constant battle between doing what is right for our bodies and what is deemed socially acceptable.

Do we politely decline the dessert plate?

How do we turn down the freshly baked, homemade bread without offending our host?

Do we tone down the grunts and heavy breathing during our intense deadlift/squat/weighted-pullup circuit at the gym so as not to frighten the guy on the thigh abductor?

The waiter brought us our steak with no silverware; do we chow down with our hands?

And, finally – must we submit our precious feet to the rigid tyranny of the modern shoe simply to avoid looking weird in our Vibrams or, worse, barefeet?

Absolutely not!

Even I’ll admit that wearing the Vibrams will get you some strange looks, especially if you’re at the grocery store or on a job interview (note: don’t wear them to a job interview, unless you’re interviewing at MDA or Vibram itself). They are essentially foot gloves, and their use can be explained away when you’re at the gym or running a trail, but they aren’t all that (aesthetically) practical in everyday life. Like it or not, we are members of society and, unfortunately, the vast majority of its other members cannot seem to handle the sight of bare feet (or the detailed contours of the foot and toes) in a non-sandy, non-athletic commercial setting. Unless you simply don’t care about social mores and norms (which, I’ll admit, I usually don’t), you’ll want to find a suitable shoe that won’t compromise the health of your feet (even if it compromises your personal ethics… kidding!).

So what are our choices?

Well, when I’m not barefoot or Vibrams-clad, I’m usually wearing a pair of TOD’s tan leather Moccasins. They’re extremely thin, flexible, and comfortable, and they’re about as close to barefoot as you’re going to get while still looking “normal.” TOD’s certainly aren’t as funky as Vibrams, and they’re no good for athletics, but they make a great compromise for the fashion-conscious Groks out there. The sole isn’t hard or rigid, and your feet feel unconstrained. But be warned. They are pricey. Other moccasins may do the job just as well.

Another option is simple sandals. Flip-flops, thongs, whatever you want to call them – as long as they’re thin and pliable, they’ll promote better foot health than the most expensive casual shoes. Rickshaw drivers around the world aren’t outfitted in the latest Nike trainers; they’re either barefoot or in cheap thin sandals. Their feet are their livelihood, so you think if they were causing some problems they’d wear “real” shoes. The other good thing about sandals is that they’re actually socially acceptable – little do they know that we’re secretly wearing them to emulate going barefoot!

According to a close friend of mine, Tom’s Shoes is another good option. I don’t have a pair myself, but he swears by them (he’s also a huge Vibram FiveFingers fan, if you were wondering, so he’s into the barefoot thing). He is quick to mention, however, that if you’re looking for a barefoot approximate you’ll want to get the soft suede versions. Most of the shoes have fairly stiff soles, but the suede ones are fairly pliable, especially once you’ve broken them in. He goes hiking a lot, and once he couldn’t find the Vibrams (which he usually uses), so he went in the Tom’s and was pretty happy with it. Again, these aren’t athletic shoes, but the soft suede shoes are decent replacements for going full on barefoot. Plus, for each pair of Tom’s someone buys, the owner will throw in an extra one to a shoe-less kid in a third-world country (although I’d suggest that maybe they’re doing okay already without shoes!).

Those Vivos you linked to look pretty good, although I’d have to try them on before taking the plunge.

To sum up – Barefoot or Vibrams FiveFingers (with a healthy dose of antipathy toward social protocol) are the best, but there are other options. Try Tod’s Moccasins, soft suede Tom’s, sandals, or Vivos, in no particular order.

Anyone else know some better casual barefoot shoe options that won’t get you thrown out of a 7-11?

M.V. Jantzen Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Toe Socks Met Combat Boots and Had a Baby

Why You Should Nix Shoes

Beach Sprints in FiveFingers

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. if you can find a pair, the Nike Air Rift (only available in womens sizes) have a split toe design and I (as a man) have been wearing them in public for quite some time, as well as for running.

    jdeuel wrote on May 7th, 2009
  2. That’s too bad about the Nike Free’s heel. I guess the few reviews I’ve read and heard were from people used to typical huge running shoes.

    Lots of good suggestions in the comments though, so I’m sure I’ll find something!

    Levi wrote on May 8th, 2009
  3. I like these shoes. They specialize in children’s shoes,but have some fun adult shoes as well.

    http://www.softstarshoes.com

    Laura wrote on May 8th, 2009
  4. What a great post Mark!

    I have been wearing moccasins around the house since I was a kid (25 years or so). The First Nations people them traditionally around where I live, but they aren’t quite socially acceptable a lot of places, or for wearing to work – but when I saw the link to TOD’s, I wanted!

    Moccasins that LOOK like shoes – brilliant. That’s exactly what I have been looking for.

    Amy, you could try converse all-stars in a kids size. They might well be the contemporary shoe design that is closest to barefoot.

    Dwayne wrote on May 8th, 2009
  5. Move to a place where it’s normal to go barefoot. I just moved to Thailand, and it’s so liberating. The vegetables, fruits and nature is much better too :-)

    Jonas Cronfeld wrote on May 9th, 2009
  6. For practical day-to-day use I find the Wysong Ergonomic Insoles do an excellent job. You get the benefits of going barefoot all in the privacy of your regular shoes.

    Toban wrote on May 12th, 2009
  7. I love Vibrams, but have been considering Vivos since the Vibrams are a smidge more inconvenient to put on quickly. I find myself not wearing my Vibrams as much as I want.

    Grok wrote on May 13th, 2009
  8. Oh man. That picture brings back some bad memories. I was just starting to work up to barefoot running, gradually introducing it to give my body time to adapt. And one day I tried to do a mile on the university track barefoot. In a word? Ouch. Couldn’t walk for two days, because the bottoms of both feet were blistered solid.

    Glad to see the advice on how to be almost barefoot, but don’t think any of it is going to fly at work (the gym). I already drive my boss nuts by having my clients exercise barefoot.

    Jamie wrote on May 14th, 2009
  9. Jamie: That pic should be removed – it does not accurately portray a person that knows how to run barefoot. That simply does not happen to people who do it correctly. I suggest you avoid barefoot running on modern rubberized tracks because the surface is specifically designed to INCREASE FRICTION to a person wearing spikes or shoes can run faster. That design may lead to blisters for people who are not practiced at barefoot running technique ( which is the same as CORRECT running technique ). Look at the old photos of young Zola Budd – he taped her toes for track racing but not for XC racing – probably for that very reason. So if you have to run at the track, do it infield of lane 1, get on the grass, or just do it on the road. Mostly relax and have fun!

    thinnmann wrote on May 15th, 2009
  10. Amy–I was researching Sanuk’s tonight and they come in kid sizes.

    My fee are killing me…that is why I am here reading this post. :)

    I have high arches, when I do the foot print test on paper my foot print does not even connect together!

    I also have an ankle that I have sprained 3 times and I roll it often and it feels weak.

    My toes are really short so flip-flops are out since it hurts the space between my toe too much. Vibrams do not fit my toes well either. Do I sound like a whinny wuss or what? LOL :)

    Lately my feet have just been killing me all day…everyday! My arches ache, my heels ache, the ball of my feet ache!

    Walking barefoot is still painful at this point, my aches ache like hell when I do and my heel and ball of foot hurt too with every step. I have to admit that I am skeptical that I will ever feel good walking barefoot (unless I am in sand) or in thin flat shoes. My feet are so sore with shoes or without shoes at this point that I feel like I may never find a good solution! This post does give me some hope though.

    One thing no one brings up though is the fact that Grok did not have to walk on cemet sidewalks, tile floors, and flat streets etc. Doesn’t that make a difference? Maybe Mark has talked about this before and I am unware.

    I think at this point my most comfortable shoes I have are a pair of plastic slip on Jelly shoes I bought at the grocery store for $5 about 12 years ago. They have plastic spikes on the bottom that are well worn now and they are of course super flexible. I like to walk over rocks and massage my aching arches!

    Do not underestimate the power of the plastic jelly shoe! It work great for girls on a budget! :)

    I also own custom orthodic insoles for my high arches but these really only feel good when I wear them with a worn pair of airwalk flats from Payless. I am guessing that those reading this post would tell me this insoles are probably part of the problem.

    After my extensive research tonight I think I will try the Sanuk’s. I read a post from someone who said that had arch problems and then tried Sanuks and they have a fabric upper and a half inch foam bottom that molds to your foot so after wearing them they no more arch problems. I am also happy that have many styles for under $50.

    No more arch problems? THAT WOULD BE FABULOUS!

    If anyone else reading this has high arches or other pathetic foot troubles lke me I would love to hear a success story.

    Anyone know how many days I will have to walk barefoot before my feet finally start to get stronger and not hurt so darn much?

    Ok I think that ends my foot rant for the evening! :)

    Jenn wrote on July 2nd, 2009
    • Jenn – you sound like you are having a difficult time. It will only take a few weeks of being barefoot as much as possible to get used to it. Right now your soles are hyper sensitive from all those years of wearing shoes. They have become that way because they need to feel the earth through all that protective cushioning you have put there. At this point you are probably still doing what all the support & cushioning has taught you to do: walk and run too hard to feel the ground. Try to walk and run more gently. Go barefoot as possible everywhere you can. Don’t give up.

      As far as the arch “support” problems – think through it: In archectecture, an arch is supported from the ends, not the middle. If you put support in the middle, it weakens the entire structure. That is what orthotics and other arch supporting devices have been doing to you for a looooooong time. They have weakened your arch. It will take some time to reverse that, but the end result will be increased strength, efficiency and injury resistance. Good luck!

      thinnmann wrote on July 3rd, 2009
      • It has been a little over 2 months since I first posted so I decided to report back.

        Since I posted I went barefoot at home and I have only been wearing my thin plastic 10 year+ old jelly slip on shoes when I have to go out. I have not used my custom arch supports since that day either.

        I did try Sanuks in that first week but they felt too flat to me then. I tried the Vibrams which did feel great but theya re pricey and so I have not taken the plunge yet.

        After two months of no more fancy shoes and supports though I tried the Sanuks again and they feel good now! My feet have definitely changed! I notice that when I do wear a pair of my old sandals or other old shoes for a day that my feet hurt A LOT the next day.

        Now that fall/winter is approaching and my plastic shoes are started to fall apart from all the use I decided I need find something new. I am not happy with how expensive all the options are though!

        Anyone have any cheaper ideas?

        Anyway, thanks for the encouragement thinnman! My feet still hurt but they are A LOT better now. I am not turning back!

        Jenn wrote on September 9th, 2009
  11. What about playing sports like basketball? Typically, I would wear basketball shoes, which are anything but minimalist, and even have an ankle brace on one of my ankles (due to repeated injury). How do you play basketball in… a pair of vibrams? It sounds dangerous. There’s nothing to support your ankle. You land on someone else’s foot and bam, you’re a goner.

    But then again, I don’t know anything, so perhaps I’m wrong :)

    Sepand wrote on August 21st, 2009
    • If you’re comfortable running and jumping barefoot, then you’d have no issues.

      My experience is with Vibrams. They do have a short learning curve. I wouldn’t just buy a pair and head to the court. Go out and mess around in them often for a few weeks. You’ll have to undo all the bad habits you’ve been getting away with all those years.

      You’d probably need to concern yourself more with the thought of someone landing on your foot ;) If you roll an ankle in Vibrams… well, you just flat out landed wrong!

      Grok wrote on August 22nd, 2009
      • Yeah well landing wrong in basketball in inevitable. You land on someone else’s foot ten times, and your ankle will twist either inwards or outwards inevitably at least once. The big basketball shoes and the ankle brace make sure your ankle doesn’t move too much, so the force is transferred somewhere else. With Vibrams, I don’t know what will happen even if you’ve been wearing them for years. I can only imagine it’ll be ugly.

        Sepand wrote on August 22nd, 2009
        • I’m no expert on basketball, I don’t even care for it. Just saying…

          What on earth did they do before the advent of the basketball shoe (and that whole $10 billion dollar a year industry) not so long ago?

          I wore Chuck Taylor’s exclusively for years in the 80s (the best selling shoe of all time) and I don’t remember them being particularly good for anything except a coolness factor.

          That said, I’ve never worn Vibrams with an ankle brace. I do have a old broken ankle injury that will probably go arthritic in a few decades. It pops about every step while running, and has for years. You run differently in Vibrams. There’s no heal impact.

          It’s not a whole lot different than the “healthy whole grain” industry. Oh dear! How could we possibly live without them and all the benefits of their bowl supporting & heart healthy “fiber”. LOL

          Industry spends billions on marketing to convince us these things are essential for living. You can’t blame them really, they’re just trying to make a buck. Doesn’t mean you have to bite.

          Sure some products offer that extra advantages, (electrolyte replacement drinks for marathoners comes to mind) but for the average Joe it often doesn’t make a hill of legumes. How did anyone ever manage a whole jog, treadmill workout, or even a whole day’s work before the advent of Gatorade?

          Something to chew on.

          Grok wrote on August 22nd, 2009
        • Sepand:
          You are looking at what one allegedly gains from wearing high tops and ankle braces: the added protection and stability. But the need for protection & stability has come about because of the design of the shoe itself which isolates you from feeling the ground, the impact, the landing and twisting and accelerating forces. So instead I suggest you look at what is lost by wearing all that stuff. You lose the sense of feedback you need to jump and land properly. Your body loses its ability to respond quickly and compensate to a landing that is interfered with by hitting another foot. Your body jumps and absorbs landings as a whole – it isn’t all just up to your ankle to make corrections. Additionally, without an elevated sole, it is virtually impossible to turn an ankle. Take your shoe off and try to turn it – you really can’t unless you muscle it. Turned ankles begin when you “fall off” the sole of a shoe, then gravity takes over to turn the ankle. If you eliminate the elevated sole, the twisting forces are not amplified by gravity.

          thinnmann wrote on August 22nd, 2009
        • Well, I will be purchasing the Vibrams soon (as soon as tomorrow’s hurricane passes :) ). I plan on walking in them at a fast pace for one week, starting with only 5 minutes and adding 5 minutes each day so that on the 7th day I’ll be walking 35 minutes. On the 8th day I’ll be jogging in them for 10 minutes, and with every next jog I’ll add a few minutes. After doing this for 4-6 months, I’ll *consider* playing basketball barefoot. But it honestly sounds scary. I’ve seen a lot of people walking barefoot/in vibrams, but never once have I met someone who plays bball barefoot. THere might be a good reason for that.

          Oh, and I have to admit, I’ll be walking and jogging with my vibrams at night. Sorry, but the first time I saw my friend wearing a vibram i made fun of him for 20 minutes.

          Sepand wrote on August 22nd, 2009
        • EXACTLY @thinnmann! I hadn’t gotten to that part of my book yet ;)

          Looking forward to reading over your website some. Funny, even though I know it’s Vee-brum, I say Vye-brum 50% of the time. Hard to break old habits sometimes. This one has been harder than grains.

          I was hoping to pre-order both new models today, but I don’t have the extra cast at the moment.

          Grok wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  12. Does anyone know of any primal boots, aside from moccasins? I go barefoot a lot during the summer (or else I wear a pair of old flip flops), but I don’t really have that option in the winter time. Between ice and road salt, I would undoubtedly kill my feet!

    AlainaOfArc wrote on August 26th, 2009
    • Try finding a pair of neoprene booties. They are designed for watersports, but many barefoot runners use them in winter. Performance has a pair designed for cycling, but if you don’t cut the cleat holes into the bottom, they are also nearly barefoot http://tinyurl.com/ljhk9l

      thinnmann wrote on August 26th, 2009
    • The new Vibram KSO Trek will be out soon, but may or may not work for your application. Who knows. You might be able to spray them with a water proofer to help keep out some moisture.

      Get some Injinji socks. They have a wool cold weather version. They’ll offer some bennies for your toes anyway.

      Grok wrote on August 26th, 2009
  13. We have alot of Amish around us (out in the country) and they all go barefoot all summer. Even mucking out the barn (ugh). I guess they have healthy feet…………….

    marilyn wrote on September 3rd, 2009
  14. Two years ago I purchased a pair of Fila low-profile shoes to work with my bicycle. I needed to find shoes that were smaller than normal running shoes so they would fit into the toe-clips on my pedals.

    The shoes that worked out really well were Fila Retro Spike Suede. The sole is very thin, and it is close to those “barefoot” running shoes.

    I just looked up “Fila Retro Spike” on the Internet and I came up with several shoes on those big online-mega-shoe-sites. Fila has apparently decided this is now a Women’s shoe and no longer a Unisex shoe. Well, whatever, these Fila shoes were only 25 dollars when I got them, and they are a nice alternative to the typical running shoe. They are almost form-fit around the foot, and have a thin sole on the ball of the foot, and about 1 cm of foam at the heel. It’s a very modest “running” shoe. Might be worth a try for folks who don’t want to spend 150 for special kevlar barefoot shoes.

    hitchhiker42 wrote on October 11th, 2009
  15. Ya I agree. I went with Sanuks.. got em at Sanuk.com

    Sweet!

    Bron wrote on October 12th, 2009
  16. I have extremely wide feet, and have such a hard time buying shoes that I would prefer to be bare foot. The trouble is, though, I have very high arches, and have lots of foot pain if not given enough support. The pain was bad enough I had to quit martial arts from my feet getting so torn up on the mats. Even conventional shoes (New Balance) with added arch support don’t quite do it. Is there any hope for me?

    I have found Teva flip flops to work well, though I only got away with wearing them to work or with slacks when I was pregnant…

    Sara wrote on October 14th, 2009
    • I also have wide feet and high arches. I find it painful to go barefoot on any hard surface. Beaches and backyards are fine, but not hardwood or tile floors. Teva flip flops are my summer shoes, Dansko clogs are my fall/winter/spring shoes, and my year round indoor shoes are Crocs. Stop your laughing right now! Since I began wearing these shoes that have arch support, I have noticed a significant decrease in foot, knee, hip, and low back pain. Anyone else have thoughts on Dansko clogs?

      Jill wrote on February 5th, 2013
  17. I worked at a camp for seven years, often playing bball barefoot on the asphalt. As you may guess, my feet are tough enough that I’ve stepped on tacks without noticing (aside from the clicking noise when I walked).

    I just bought my first pair of Vibrams, and I’m of a like mind with Thinnman. I’ve been searching for posts to confirm my suspicion that playing in my Vibrams will be safe, but this is the best I could get. I’ll probably hit the court a lot sooner than 6 months. I’ll try to let you know what happens.

    Raleigh wrote on October 18th, 2009
  18. Question. I’m just learning about this primal thing so maybe it’s already been answered and I just haven’t found that page yet, but aren’t athletic shoes better for the artificial surfaces than barefoot? I’ve been a barefoot fan since infancy, but I have trouble with foot and back pain when I walk for long on Cement or black top. not to mention I’m becoming more sensitive to gravel.

    I have to admit I spent about four years nearly immobile while I was ill with incipient diabetes and cancer so I’m guessing that has a lot to do with loss of callouses and sensitivity but I just don’t know if I’m up to forcing myself to walk on stuff that hurts just to build them up again. LOL So what do you do when you walk on artificial rock? LOL Kitty

    Kitty wrote on November 6th, 2009
  19. I wear Vibram Five Fingers everywhere. I’ve worn them on a job interview and got the job. They will get you noticed and talked about. But no shoes no service cannot have a complaint against them. I have not tried to go completely barefoot anywhere.

    Sean Carley wrote on November 16th, 2009
  20. Toms have kind of become a fashion trend at my school, which is great. The only problem is they will fall apart in six months if only worn on flat, “safe” surfaces like concrete and flooring. They will fall apart faster should you choose to be adventure. They are a little expensive for the lack of quality, although they are comfortable and good-looking shoes. Happy Grok-walking, everyone!

    LadyGrok wrote on January 9th, 2010
  21. I used to have flat feet from pre-teen to about 40. Then I dropped a brick on my foot and broke one of the bones. After the break had healed (about 6 weeks) the doc said that I could strengthen my feet by going barefoot. Since then I am barefoot about 95% of the time. The arches have returned and my little toe has straighened out.

    chris wrote on January 9th, 2010
  22. Check out the following http://www.russellmoccasin.com/boots_safari/thula_thula.html. This company makes all kinds of moccasin style boots. Both stylish, functional and still allow your feet to feel and move as they should.

    Ethan House wrote on January 26th, 2010
    • Damn I’d like to have a pair of those or the “Russell Tracker.”

      Perhaps I’ll put a pair in the budget for next hunting season. I hate boots and shoes anymore! I wore Vibrams for a good part of this year, but got lucky with dry conditions.

      Grok wrote on January 26th, 2010
  23. Wish I could come up with a fancier alternative for those special occasions.
    Perhaps I can just glue some rhinestones to the slippah :)
    Right now my most worn “shoe” is a purple pair of “Locals” slipphas 1.99 at Longs drugs. And even these get parked at the first sign of sand.

    Gina wrote on January 26th, 2010
  24. These mainstream (and inexpensive) Minnetonka Mocs
    http://tinyurl.com/ycm658j are very unstructured. I live on the beach in North Carolina and can get by for most of the year barefoot (even at work and in most stores–I carry a pair of flip-flops just in case). For the wet winter I found a pair of Teva Proton 4 water shoes (which I think have been discontinued):
    http://www.trailspace.com/gear/teva/proton-4/

    They’re also good for footbiking, my favorite sport and transportation.

    In general I like moccasins, which can look almost like dress shoes for those occasions they’re needed–but soft-soled, of course.

    Pete wrote on February 3rd, 2010
    • Thanks Pete. I wore a pair of mocs for about a year a while back and have looked for them in these posts, but this is the first one I found. I hope these wear as well as my first pair. I wore them to work everyday and didn’t have problems. They covered my feet in a respectable way and gave me all the freedom of movement of being barefoot. I decided that if I’m wearing a shoe and I have trouble curling my toes under and flexing my muscles, the shoes are too tight. These mocs look like a match to the ones I had years ago. Thanks.

      Von Allen wrote on February 8th, 2011
  25. Whenever im not sporting my five fingers, I have a couple of Sanuk sandals that I wear. Its a shoe-like top with a flexible sandal bottom. I even wear them to ride my bike. I also wear them to work because my hr department told me to cool it with the five fingers. They say their shoes have bere foot un-technology. they were my favorites for over a year before I found VFF’s

    Andrew wrote on February 3rd, 2010
  26. I’ve been wearing my VFF’s everyday since I bought them last week. I alternate the KSO with the KSO Trek so they don’t need to be washed as often. I tried wearing my Converse the other day and it was unbearable as they squashed my toes. I’ve noticed my feet are so much wider since converting to VFFs. Hooray primal!

    Ken wrote on February 17th, 2010
  27. FWIW, I live in VivoBarefoot shoes. I have 5 pairs now (2 leather for work, 2 casual for play, and a pair of the new EVO running shoe). All but the EVO are cut pretty wide. They’re super comfy, and have a very durable sole.

    They run a bit expensive, but they’re having a 50% off sale right now, with discount code ENDOFSEASON if you’re interested in trying them out.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever wear another shoe again, though I may give a pair of FiveFingers a try, since the EVO is cut too thin to be comfortable.

    TK wrote on March 16th, 2010
  28. Minnetonka makes some relatively inexpensive (~$50-$60) moccasins. The moosehide softsole mocs, especially, are perfectly good and very soft right off the bat.

    My personal choice, albeit a little pricier, is Arrow Moccasin company. They hand-sew their mocs from very durable leather in their little company in Massachusetts, and they make all sorts of styles from the traditional canoe moc to full-blown sport mukluks. Great for kicking around or hunting. Plus, they have an adorable 90’s-era website: http://www.arrowmoc.com

    The leather takes a bit of time to break in, but it’s definitely worth it.

    Cullen D. wrote on March 17th, 2010
  29. What about the moccasins with the little nubs on the bottom?

    LK wrote on March 22nd, 2010
  30. I have worn my vibrams for about three months now. When I’m not at work, that’s ALL I wear. If I’m going somewhere where it’s ok to where jeans or shorts, my Five Fingers are on my feet. I work in a hospital where for some reason it’s ok to wear those goofy worthless rubber “Crocs” that are meant for gardening, but I tried wearing my Vibrams for a week, and with no support from H.R., I was told they weren’t allowed in the policy. So, I wear them EVERYWHERE else, and welcome the many questions I get about them. The more I talk about them, the more popular they will become, and eventually the nurses will start wearing them to work. When the nurses approve them, they’ll be ok for everyone else! It took a little while to adjust my feet to the toes…my right foot was pretty messed up from years of even very low heal dress shoes. But now I can put them on with hardly not help from my hands, and they are SO comfortable. They’ve done what $400 orthotics could not do. FYI…since tennis shoes ARE ok for work, I wear them now, even with dresses, since I can’t wear my beloved Five Fingers.

    April wrote on April 7th, 2010
    • Hey April;

      Genuine authentic question, I get where HR might take issue with the VFFs, but prohibited by policy? Did they give you chapter and verse, was it actually true? Or just their judgment? Crocs aren’t particularly good footware, and worn out ones can be downright scary on a hospital tile floor if there is any moisture.
      I’m kinda surprised they had a policy preventing VFFs.

      Hillwalker wrote on November 2nd, 2010
      • April, I’m in the same situation – I was so excited about getting a pair of VFFs, but was told firmly by my Supervisor (and shown the documentation) that wouldn’t allow me to wear them. I even disputed it with HR, and they supported the existing documentation. But, I will still get my VFFs and wear them every other instant, including on my lunch break at work, which they cannot enforce since I’m not on the clock. Neener neener, HR! :)

        Tiffany wrote on February 9th, 2011
  31. Just bought a pair of FiveFingers and they are great. I wouldnt have the confidence or tolerance for pain to run barefoot without some protection.

    Paul D wrote on May 5th, 2010
  32. I just got a pair of vivo barefoot oaks. They are now my go-to normal wear shoes for everyday life. I got too fed up with the grocery store looks.

    I do own a pair of vff kso and a pair of bikilas on the way, but I’ll certainly be buying more vivo barefoot in the future. Big thumbs up.

    Noah fleming wrote on May 9th, 2010
  33. Sockwa’s are a somewhat cheaper alternative. The new Amphibian is being released this month.
    http://www.sockwa.com.p2.hostingprod.com/amphibian
    I will probably be getting a pair of these in black to use as “dress” shoes.

    Kirk A wrote on May 10th, 2010
  34. I have three VIVO Barefoots and my wife has Tom’s. We love them and they don’t look too weird either.

    Nice for all occassions.

    Mike Cheliak wrote on May 10th, 2010
  35. Look into the Oetzi brand of sneakers. Their design is modeled after the leather deer-skin moccasins found on the Oetzi Man (aka the Ice Man, dug out of a glacier in northern Europe sometime last decade.) I got a pair last month and absolutely love them.

    Steve wrote on May 10th, 2010
  36. As a baby dancer, they started me in ballet flats. I got into pointe shoes at 7 (way too young!) When I first started Modern Dance at age 10–it was a revelation to dance barefoot! Been a barefoot gal ever since–though I do love all my shoes–I take ‘em off whenever I can, walk barefoot at home where I work, and got the very FIRST Vibrams when they came out for hiking/racewalking rough terrain! Right on Mark for recommending this! SHOES definately create problems–doesn’t matter if they’re the “expensive” kind! Since this blog is about Primal Health and that covers a LOT–for those who want to continue a discussion with other BAREFOOT RUNNERS there’s a blog just for THAT: http://budurl.com/Blog4BarefootRunners

    ZwhocanSEE wrote on May 10th, 2010
  37. michaelchasetx wrote on May 14th, 2010
    • those look really cool. how could i resist? XD

      (i also got a pair of Vibram.)

      cheers,

      PHK wrote on November 12th, 2010
  38. I’m looking forward to getting Feelmax Osma’s, personally. Looks like a tennis shoe, feels like being barefoot!

    http://www.amazon.com/Feelmax-Osma-46-Blue-White/dp/B0030ICUY8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=shoes&qid=1276354855&sr=8-1

    Sara wrote on June 12th, 2010
  39. What about my worn in Birkenstocks? They have formed to my feet. I have a high arch, so I’ve always been told to go for arch support, and shoes without it do tend to hurt my back somehow (maybe from training my body this way?) Does anyone else wear Birks? Are they considered “flip flops”?

    Heather wrote on June 16th, 2010
    • I used to wear Birkenstocks – have about a dozen pairs, accumulated over the years. Howeer, since switching to Vibrams and generally working hard on walking barefooted more, my Birkenstocks now hurt my feet – so I am actually getting rid of them (and I cam from not being able to walk more than 5-10 minutes without their support!).

      Hope that helps…I have definitely been working hard on finding shoes that are comfortable and (in the snowy winter) will keep my feet warm when I walk the dog in the snow and mud…Vibrams let me have cold toes once it got below 45°.

      Kerstin wrote on February 1st, 2011
      • For cold weather, you could take a look at the Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot line. They have some new shoes this season that are insulated and water proof. Women have a few more choices for cold weather than men, but frankly, I’ve just been wearing my regular Vivo Barefoot Aqua’s this winter with no problems, although if it’s snowy I will wear socks.

        tim wrote on February 1st, 2011
  40. Cool, have to take care of your feet!

    Michael wrote on June 29th, 2010

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