Sep 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm #1294362
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
This summer, I began the transition to more minimalist hiking shoes, and I could not be happier. My feet feel stronger and my balance is better.
That said, I started work back up a few weeks ago (I teach high school). Now that my feet are more accustomed to more minimalist shoes, I find that traditional dress shoes feel awkward and leave my feet oddly sore at the end of the day. I've found that the traditional heel really bothers me now. I already have a pair of nice, rather minimal casual shoes–the Asics Onitsuka Tigers with the insole ripped out–that are fantastic to wear, but I cannot wear them to work.
To help solve more problems than just mine, I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread where people can post about their experiences with non-technical minimalist or near minimalist shoes to keep their feet and legs in better shape between trips.
So—-to start off, I mentioned the Asics Onitsuka Tigers, which I had to remove the insole before they fit the bill. The insole is glued in, so it does take a bit of force to pull out. Now they have a nice roomy toe box and a midsole with very little cushion that lets me really feel where I am walking. There is a slight heel-toe drop, but nothing significant. These shoes have been worn nearly constantly for the past year, and they are still in excellent shape.
Now, what have the rest of you found?Sep 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm #1914830
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I have a pair of black leather vivobarefoot ra's. They fit in well enough for professional work environments. I wore them when working sales for Macy's.
Vivobarefoot also makes some street worthy shoes, check them out if you haven't already. It really depends what your definition of "minimalist" is though and how flexible you like. Are you talking about sneaker like flexibility or moccasin like flexibility?Sep 22, 2012 at 9:59 pm #1914831
Jason ElsworthBPL Member
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Converse high tops with the raised rear section of the insole ripped out aren't too bad, but my new pair seem narrower than my old pair. Just ordered some from http://www.lemingfootwear.com/. http://www.vivobarefoot.com do some traditional looking shoes. (beaten to the punch)
We starting spring here so I have my Teva Zilch sandals out again.Sep 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm #1914832
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
I'm not interested in anything technical. I just hope that this thread could be a resource for those like me who don't want to undo the gains of more minimal footwear when not out on the trail. I am intentionally trying to keep the definition vague so as to include a wider range of shoes on the minimalist end of the spectrum.
Also, glad to hear about the VB Ras. I've been thinking about those as a replacement for my current works shoes.Sep 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm #1914836
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
I have some tough gloves that are super comfortable and they don't look too shabby either. http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot-tough-glove-black
Merrell might also have some other nice casual models. They are completely flat with a wide toe box, and super flexible.
Lemings are nice too:
Even wider toe box, softer and more flexible. Feels like you are not wearing them.Sep 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm #1914842
Ken T.BPL Member
Sperry Topsiders.Sep 23, 2012 at 3:54 am #1914854
Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I wear trail gloves for running, hiking, and casual use. The tough gloves in brown leather have a similar fit, so they were a natural choice for when I need something dressier. I still own one pair of dress shoes for the rare formal occasion, but other than that, I've gone "full minimalist"Sep 23, 2012 at 8:07 am #1914888
David W.BPL Member
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
I enjoy wearing my Sanuks to work for casual Fridays or any other day I can get away with it.
The shoes Justin post above look great for everyday office use.Sep 23, 2012 at 8:51 am #1914901
Backpack JackBPL Member
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I've just started going minimal in shoe wear. I've always worn high top tennis shoes or boots with orthodics for as long as I can remember, bad feet, weak ankles, etc..
I bought the Brooks Cascadia 7 after reading some post on BPL that this shoe makes a good transition from a boot to a shoe, I think it was John Aleba who recommended them, I also got a lot of information from Damien Tougas (thanks guys) whats nice about my job is I can wear any type of shoe, i.e.. the boss doesn't really care as long as it's not flip flops. I am also going to try the Merrel Bare Access, the main reson for trying these shoes are because I need to try them on for fit, and no other minimal shoe companys have shoes in my town to try on, like Inov-8 or some of the other top names, Bakersfield hasn't really caught on to the minimalist shoe thing yet. Since changing to a minimal shoe, my feet tend to be a little tired and a little sore just from using different muscles, but they are adjusting, hopefuly I won't ever need to go back to orthodics, I'd much rather wear the minimal shoes, they just feel better. Now I have HAPPY FEET!!!
Brooks Cascadia 7
Merrell Bare Access
JackSep 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm #1914982
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
i sport golite (spring lite) for my walking regime.
the dropped heel is unique, and i've grown to dig it!
i alternate with ahnu's (no dropped heel).
i cycle in chaco's.
since a thru-hike a decade ago, i can't really tolerate anything thick or heavy on my feet. i practice yoga and walk 'round barefoot as much as possible.
like you, since trading less for more, i've found my balance and posture to have greatly improved (although this i could likely credit exclusively to yoga)?
the golite's i dig, except that i've found the minimalist inserts are TOO minimal. after a good 10-12 miles, my feet HURT. (i've yet to find a suitable replacement). for the record, i haven't much meat on my feet! cushion-wise, the minimalist approach doesn't cut it for me (ok for frontcountry use, but my next thru-hike likely wouldn't be in a minimalist), and while i don't wear minimalist regularly enough to comment on the inability to revert per se, i can confidently add that given the option, when at all possible, i prefer less on my feet. a friend recently gave me a pair of keen cycling kicks (size 8 new, anyone?) the weight alone drove me nuts! no less, i've been practicing yoga for 7 years, and paying significant attention to one's posture (shoes or no shoes) can, and will, govern your footwear needs. hope this helps.
ltSep 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm #1914989
I'm a big fan of the Vivobarefoot shoes… Aqua for everyday use, Ra for slightly nicer dress, and Neo Trails for wet weather / hiking.Sep 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm #1914995
I have a pair of vivo barefoot ra and a pair of vivobarefoot neos. The ras are great for work, the toe box does look pretty wide and not so stylish but they are comfortable. I've worn them with a suit, not sure they work that well with one but not that bad. I findthe ra soles are great for pavement. Oh your heels or achilles i should say might rub the first day or two but they soften quickly.
The neos are for casual wear, the lugs aren't too agressive but you can feel them a bit on pavement. I have worn them for day hikes as well, but I would definitely stick with my inov8 x talon 190s for any mud. I took the insoles out of the neos because they moved around quite a bit. They are fine without insoles.Sep 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm #1915014
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Are often my everyday shoe when I am away from my home office, since I must wear a suit and tie.
The important thing for me is to walk, run, or hike everyday. When I travel for business I always bring a pair of XC flats for this purpose.
The important thing is to keep myself (and feet) in shape between trips by actually running, walking, or hiking. Just wearing minimalist shoes to work isn't going to do it.Sep 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm #1915052
Richard FischelBPL Member
Merrill trail gloves or sanuks. No foot fatigue issues in either.Sep 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm #1915076
@ojsgloveLocale: Highland Park
Arrow moccasins are really nice shoes. They have several styles and aren't too expensive. I think for $8 more they will custom make the shoe to fit your foot. I recommend the double sole which is entirely leather. They really are beautiful shoes that can last forever by being resoled. Their standard sizes are true to size and have quite a wide toe box. Just slightly narrower than Merrel trail gloves. Same ground feel and no heel slip. They are family run in Massachusetts and hand made. I highly recommend them.Sep 24, 2012 at 12:05 am #1915080
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
My minimalist shoes for everyday are the same that I wear on the trail: Inov-8 TrailRocs… I haven't found a compelling reason to use anything else. The only time I am not wearing the TrailRocs is when I have we wear a suit, in which case is a pair of vivobarefoot (don't recall model) which is a minimalist shoe that has acceptable looks.
–MarkSep 24, 2012 at 7:20 am #1915111
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
How long do all these things last?
I'm intrigued because I currently use some Ecco's (Sea walkers I think, they seem to come and go from their line) which have non trivial but also reasonably thin and flat PU based midsoles and an upper section, the front part of which will bend over double with just a little effort.
Thin enough that I can tell the difference cf what I'm walking on but also some protection vs debris and the like.
So not minimalist but not a million miles off. The thing is that they're entirely fine for smart things and last 1000 miles+ on tarmac before finally giving up due to the relentless abuse.
In principle I wouldn't mind trying something more minimal, but they'd have to last a vaguely similar amount to make sense.Sep 24, 2012 at 8:26 am #1915129
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I stopped wearing vivobarefoot everyday maybe 5 years ago. My memory is that I was getting are 1000-1500 miles on a pair before they were really dead. I can't tell you how long current models last because mine are only coming out with the suit… and given that's a few times a year the shoes only see a few miles a year :)
I am on my first pair of TrailRocs. I have been told to expect around 400 miles out of them which is what I would get out of my Flyrocs… but its going to be better than than. In the last month I have put 500 miles on them. At this point I wouldn't use them in the back country because I have worn the nobs in the forefoot area where my foot strikes completely down, but they are still fine for around town where I don't worry about maximum traction. Generally I always have two pairs… one pair which is fairly new with a good bit of sole which is used whenever I am concerned about performance, and the second pair which is toward the end of it's life which I use around town.
–MarkSep 24, 2012 at 9:13 am #1915140
Nico .BPL Member
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
I've been very happy with Patagonia's "dress" shoes. I wear them most days to work, I have both the slip-on loafers and the "desert boot" styles.
Zero rise, soft pliable sole, nice wide toe box.
I've been wearing them for about the last five years now and they are still by far the most comfortable "work" shoes I've worn.Sep 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm #1915177
I have the RX Primes which are light and airy, and I use them everyday. I am considering some Salomon S-winds as well. I do work in a kind of laid back office dress wise. But I have a nice pair of Salomon Spirit walking shoes that are a bit more dressy but very comfy and light if that is more what you are looking for.Sep 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm #1915188
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Salomon shoes are considered "minimalist" now? They make traditional 8-12mm drop shoes with tons of midsole cushion and stability devices. I would consider their new SLab Sense model to borderline a minimalist shoe, that's about it.
Goodness, may as well call Converse All Stars "minimalist", or Birkenstocks. The flat soled framing boots I wear occasionally for work have a minimal drop, does that count?Sep 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm #1915203
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Especially since if everyday use involves non trivial miles on tarmac then anything with EVA is plain horrible in terms of durability. If you want the midsole to last as long as the shoe then its either PU or nothing.
Anyone got any thoughts on how long the soles on things like the bareX 180/200 last? The ones with rubber soles too that is, rather than the EVA foam ones which I can't imagine lasting hugely long.
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