minimalist shoes?

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minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 09, 2023 3:11 pm

are you using them? what makes/models do you like for what kinds of use cases?

i think most people here are kind of movement and anatomy nerds so probably don't need to explain what they are / the benefits / etc. but, there are weird hippie "I run google" ones like Vibram 5 fingers. and there are more normal looking ones. some people think they want to do "barefoot running". some people want to strengthen their feet, some just want to let their feet have room, to let their shoe be foot-shaped, not have their feet become shoe-shaped. a lot of the commonality is a wider toe box to let your toes go back to spreading out, not being crunched in, a thin sole with no arch support to not arbitrarily elevate your heel and help you form an arch so that your body has to do the work your foot was "designed" to do well.

wider toe box:
Image
Last edited by everything on Mon Jan 09, 2023 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jan 09, 2023 3:18 pm

What is the brand name
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 09, 2023 3:23 pm

for that pic, it's "Splay Shoes vs. Vans"

but there are a ton of them like Vibram, Feelgrounds, Vivobarefoot, and so on.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby origami_itto on Mon Jan 09, 2023 3:49 pm

everything wrote:are you using them? what makes/models do you like for what kinds of use cases?

i think most people here are kind of movement and anatomy nerds so probably don't need to explain what they are / the benefits / etc. but, there are weird hippie "I run google" ones like Vibram 5 fingers. and there are more normal looking ones. some people think they want to do "barefoot running". some people want to strengthen their feet, some just want to let their feet have room, to let their shoe be foot-shaped, not have their feet become shoe-shaped. a lot of the commonality is a wider toe box to let your toes go back to spreading out, not being crunched in, a thin sole with no arch support to not arbitrarily elevate your heel and help you form an arch so that your body has to do the work your foot was "designed" to do well.

wider toe box:
Image


I rock my birkenstocks for getting around and taking care of business, Merrell Trail Glove for training.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 09, 2023 4:48 pm

those sound good. I'm not a runner or a minimalist shoe convert. I like how they sound "semi-barefoot" rather than like a slightly more constructed "kung fu shoe". a bit overwhelmed by the giant # of choices in this niche market. high arch support is probably too much for my low arches. birkenstocks kind of push on my arches.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby origami_itto on Mon Jan 09, 2023 5:30 pm

everything wrote:those sound good. I'm not a runner or a minimalist shoe convert. I like how they sound "semi-barefoot" rather than like a slightly more constructed "kung fu shoe". a bit overwhelmed by the giant # of choices in this niche market. high arch support is probably too much for my low arches. birkenstocks kind of push on my arches.

The merrells are the best I've found for training outside. You get the thin barefoot feeling sole for great interface with the earth but protection from pebbles and acorns and whatnot, and you've got the wide toe box for healthy splay. I've always had problems with ingrown toenails till I started wearing these and sandals. Never noticed any problems with the arches on either of them but I have normal arches.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:22 pm

this seems like an ideal fit (no pun intended). I guess slightly less arch support with these benefits is what I'm gonna go for. probably gonna invest/waste a bit of funds to figure it out. :-/
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby Giles on Tue Jan 10, 2023 4:15 am

I guess you could call me a 'convert'. I gradually switched over to 'barefoot' shoes in in the last 5 or 6 years and have never regretted it. It's good for my whole body, for the chains of muscles, fascia and movement all the way up to my neck and crown. For me the three main (interlocking) benefits are:
- the feet and toes get much more room and can spread out naturally
- the soles are much thinner, so the muscles and fascia in my feet can respond at many different points to contact with the ground. This effect becomes much clearer as soon as the ground is uneven in any way
- the shoes are much lighter, which also optimizes movement in the feet, legs and hips. You're not lugging heavy weights around at the end of your legs all day.

My feet have definitely changed their shape over the last few years. About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with 'fallen arches' (= 'flat feet') and was starting to feel foot pain after walking longer distances. When I was younger my arches were very high. You can see the height of your arches from the wet footprints you leave on paving, for instance after coming out of a swimming pool. Back then, after this diagnosis I noticed that indeed my wet footprints were much broader in the middle section of the foot. Didn't feel so good. Nowadays my arches are much higher again, also reflected in my wet footprints, and the foot pain is completely gone.

In my city, the pavements/sidewalks usually have a strip of more or less level paving and a (narrower) parallel strip of small cobblestones. Nowadays when walking through the city I will always travel along the more uneven cobblestone strip, which is a constant - fun! - stimulus for the feet. In normal shoes I would hardly feel the difference; with barefoot shoes it's two different worlds. And of course once you move onto grass, into the woods or any other kind of natural surface, you feel a huge difference too.

The switch-over needs to be taken slowly: start an hour or two per day and build it up. People who are not used to these shoes, especially if they are not really 'movers' anyway, may experience knee pain or back pain if they take things too quickly.

Nowadays I hardly wear 'normal' shoes at all, just a few occasions where I need to put on more formal dress with the matching shoes, or my old Reebok Exofit-Hi's because they are good for heavy rain when cycling. And an old pair of Nike Free's when I'm jogging/running on an embankement path nearby that has lots of stones on it - some of the sharper ones can sometimes hurt through the barefoot soles when you're actually running, so I use a more 'padded' sole here.
Otherwise I have indoor training shoes, outdoor training shoes, normal-looking black leather shoes, soft leather winter boots and hiking boots, all in the barefoot format. Personally I usually buy Vivobarefoot but nowadays there are quite a few good brands out there. If buying a brand, check the internet reviews to make sure that the brand is well-made, meaning the shoes don't start to fall apart after 6 months of regular use.
I never got into these Vibram Finger Five shoes. Personally I think they look silly and I heard that in summer you get really sweaty, smelly feet from them. But whatever.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby Giles on Tue Jan 10, 2023 4:26 am

Lucky that these things are no longer in fashion. Or back in fashion. Archaeologists have even identified foot deformations in skeletons from the Middle Ages that clearly derive from wearing shoes like this.

Image


Image
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Tue Jan 10, 2023 7:12 am

lol, maybe that's where this toe-crunching, foot-deforming shape came from?

think I'll probably be a "convert" as well in the near future. I thought my feet were "just flat", but small arches have returned in the past few years, at first from better arch support (rather than flat shoes) as a temporary solution, then from a lot of stretching and some strengthening. now using toe separators, my L foot is a little more toward normal level of toe articulation/spread even w/o the separators, my R foot still prefers to keep its toes crammed together. i can feel how these separators help my foot muscles form this arch shape on their own. so cool: the foot was "designed" correctly!

I think a good next step for me is to wear mild toe separators in these minimalist shoes and keep building up foot/toe mobility. definitely the connection from the ground up feels a little better, too. the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby Dmitri on Tue Jan 10, 2023 11:07 am

Mine are Keen Clearwater CNX; I've been running barefoot in them for the past 10 years or so, averaging 3-4 miles per day, and also wearing them pretty much everywhere else. Having tried NB, Merrell, Xero and Lems, they are still the best and definitely the most "minimalist" of all (at least to me), probably because they're sandals.
(Found a deal on them a few weeks ago and bought 5 pairs :D Should last me a few years...)
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Re: minimalist shoes?

Postby everything on Wed Jan 11, 2023 7:09 am

lol I'm not ready for a shoe rack of only sandals just yet. going to get some pairs that reviewers say are good for transitioning, probably
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