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Thread: What are you people looking for in 'barefoot' shoes? page

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    Reindeer's Avatar
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    What are you people looking for in 'barefoot' shoes?

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    When you walk into a shoe store looking to buy barefoot wear for casual or sport use, what exactly are you looking for in your dream shoes? Zero-drop, or heel support? Something with a spongy sole to absorb the impact of walking on asphalt all day? Does it matter to you at all if the shoes are super-ugly-colorful five fingers that stand out like a reflex, or is comfort the important factor? Do you want foot support or ass little shoe as possible to offer that unbeatable 'hey I'm almost barefoot!' feeling?

    I'm asking because there seem to have been a decline in super-minimalistic shoes in my local stores these days. There ARE shoes marketed as 'barefoot' shoes, but they look and feel very much more like normal sneakers these days... which puzzle me, because then you might as well buy a pair of normal running shoes, you know? I'm curious about what you guys use and, if you don't have your dream shoes, what your dream shoes would truly be like.

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    Jenry Hennings's Avatar
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    No support, zero drop, thin sole, slightly wider toe box to accommodate foot stretching. The idea is to allow your foot to move identically to your foot unshod. I've recommended vivobarefoot before, and I'll do it again.

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    I want to be able to spread and use my toes/forefoot (front needs to be wide, soles need to be flexible), and have no/very little heel-to-toe drop. Dorsiflexion is nice too, so the top should have some flexibility as well.
    The Champagne of Beards

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    Unless you're looking for vibram, I wouldn't even waste my time at the shoe store. Amazon is where it's at. And to echo what's already been said, vivobarefoot. I've two pairs and I absolutely love them.


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    xxlarge's Avatar
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    Zero drop, wide forefoot, and as minimalist as conditions allow. For work I need to be business casual and nobody does this better than Vivobarefoot. Nobody even comes close. For playing in the mountains I've just started wearing Altra Lone Peaks. Still zero drop with a wide toe box, but with just enough protection to qualify as "safe for rugged trail use under a load" in my book.

    Super ugly colorful VFFs would not fly. They kind of look the part but are inflexible (especially the sole) compared to Vivo Evo Lites and such. Inov8 comes close in this race, but the forefoot is a bit narrow in my experience. They do, however, offer a lot of options in terms of drop and protection and probably make good transition wear.

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    Steady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxlarge View Post
    Super ugly colorful VFFs would not fly. They kind of look the part but are inflexible (especially the sole) compared to Vivo Evo Lites and such. Inov8 comes close in this race, but the forefoot is a bit narrow in my experience. They do, however, offer a lot of options in terms of drop and protection and probably make good transition wear.
    I dunno. I don't own nor have I seen an Vivo products but I have VFF EL-X's and I can say they are pretty flexible as far as shoe goes. And I have some KSO EVOs which are also pretty flexible. I think I'll look into some Vivo's at some point.

    Regarding what I'm looking for in a "barefoot" shoe. The ability to stretch out my toes and curl them under my foot. Zero Drop yes, not fussed about heel support.

    As Jenry said: "The idea is to allow your foot to move identically to your foot unshod" I think that says it all.

    And regarding colours, I'm pretty ostentatious (in the nicest possible way) anyway so not fussed, but my TrekSports are all black (used for running), my KSO EVOs are black with blue detail (used for everyday), my EL-Xs are bright green (used to weight train) and my old Bikilas are black with a green/ yellow detail (used for a bit of everything).

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    I'm not informed on the various VFFs available, but the one time I tried them on it felt like I was wearing a traditional leather trekking boot. To be fair, I had been actually barefoot for some time. But, the sole was reminiscent of that on the Merrell Trail Gloves, which is to say, quite substantial. It definitely has a place. I love my old trail gloves, even more so now that the sole has been worn almost flat.

    The Vivo dharmas, ra, Gobi (I think), and probably others, have a 3mm super-pliable sole. Take out the insole and you're pretty much as close to barefoot as you can get. The uppers are perhaps a bit more stiff on these, but they're not for working out. The Evo line has a similar sole, but with 2-3mm lugs, I believe. The uppers are a bit more flexible and the soles are less substantial than the Trail Glove, but still pretty minimalist. In my opinion, none of them are particularly flattering. Vivos are just a step above.

    The one knock I have about Vivos is that they can be a little loose fitting, even in the heel and mid-foot. The Trail Gloves fit like a glove and I loved that. I imagine VFFs are also similarly snug.

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    “Barefoot shoes” is a contradiction in terms…
    Whoever fights trolls should see to it that in the process he does not become a troll - for when you gaze long enough into the computer screen, the computer screen will gaze back into you!
    - Gorbag Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbag View Post
    “Barefoot shoes” is a contradiction in terms…
    Well yes. Yes it is. "Minimalist shoes" is probably the more accurate term. Let's derail the thread further and talk about the difference between your/you're and there/their/they're. Or misuse of the word "literally."
    The Champagne of Beards

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMahogany View Post
    Well yes. Yes it is. "Minimalist shoes" is probably the more accurate term. Let's derail the thread further and talk about the difference between your/you're and there/their/they're. Or misuse of the word "literally."
    My sandals are pretty minimalistic – at least the sun can reach some of the parts of my feet! I do some barefoot running at the beach without shoes at all and I like to deadlift in my socks! But so called “barefoot shoes” I have not tried yet - maybe some day if I can get them here in size 14” which is a bit complicated where I live…

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