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Help me find a shoe for climbing over boulders.

I have a hike coming up in July that will require me to do a lot of cross country. This will be a mix of hiking over boulders, some scree, 4 passes that are not on traIl, and possibly some Glissading.

I'm looking for a minimal shoe that I can wear, but I don't want to bruise the bottom of my feet while I'm climbing over boulders or dreddging through scree, this is only my second season wearing minimalist shoes, and probably only my 3rd hike using them, I do wear them all day at work, but I also do a lot of drving, but over all I think my feet are conditioned enough now for backpacking I just want to make sure I don't hurt anything on this trip.

As of now I own Merrell Bare Access, New Balance Minimus, Brockes Cascadia 7, New Balance M730, and a pair of Altra Lone Peak.

If one of these will work, great, but I don't mind buying another shoe to do what I need for this hike.

Thanks, Jack


Felmax boot fit


I'm new to the forum and I was wondering if someone could give me advice on the Felmax Kuuva2

I want to order a pair for a hike I have coming up in July, but I'm not sure of the fit and I don't want to order the wrong size.

Right now I wear a Merrell Bare Access in a size 13 us, this gives me plenty of wiggle room for thick socks, I can wear a size 12 us, but since I've switched over to minimalist shoes it seems like my feet have grown, or maybe I'm just like the extra space for my feet to do what they need to do.

I also wear a New Balance Minimus in a size 12 us, but not much wiggle room here, I don't wear thick socks with these. Felmax only offers the Kuuva2 in a size 46=12 us my question is will these be big enough for me?, does anyone own the same shoes I have plus some Kuuva2's to compare the fit against the Kuuva2

Thanks, Jack

My first real minimalist walk: is some degree of pain normal?

Hello everyone,

Though this isn't a question pertaining exclusively to footwear, I hope this forum is an appropriate enough place to put it.

For much of my life - as far back into my thirty or so years as I can remember, anyway - I've worn "normal" shoes and boots. My interest in minimalist footwear started some months ago after having bad luck with a number of pairs of work boots. Nothing about these was low quality (save, for the effects they had on my feet), and the price reflected that.

Yet, after bad foot and leg fatigue, toes that screamed to be let free and a weird-feeling gait (stomping down with my heels against my will and a twisted ankle), I discovered - maybe rediscovered - the idea that all these raised heels and cramped toe boxes and supports and all that are not such a good thing, after all. My experience seemed to validate this theory.

I recently purchased two pairs of footwear - Run Amoc Dash, which I have yet to test, and a pair of Arrow Moccasins - the "Lace Boot", seen here:

(No affiliation, by the way! - and there are better pictures found via an image search.)

I got the double-sole version (double leather soles). The guy behind the operation is pleasant to deal with and patient, even with a worrier like me, and the leather on this is amazing stuff - thick, strong and heady smelling. I'd check 'em out! Custom made to tracings of your feet and you're supporting an independent, traditional business.

ANYWAY - before it sounds like I'm lying about having no affiliation, ha ha - I wore these for a course of errand-running today; I figure I walked a good five or more kilometers in them.

Most of the walking was done on sidewalks and pavement, though I noticed a strong tendency to walk on the snow-covered grass and soil beside the sidewalk - the natural ground felt better underfoot.

Even though 2 leather pieces each up to 1/4" thick may comprise the double-sole, I could definitely feel changes in the terrain underfoot, and the thick leather was still more flexible, giving and less supporting than the rubber-soled footwear to which I've been accustomed.

I had to remind my body to not heel-strike hard, and it took a concious effort. I'm also not sure what to do with my gait, how much my knees should be bending, etc.

I'm certain I have some postural imbalances - a bit of swayback, some joint laxity, and probably tight hips and lower back stiffness...knee pain - haven't been able to run more than a very short distance with any confidence on account of it for years...yadda yadda ya...and I walk around the house barefoot frequently, as well as to step out and check the mail, etc. - but walking a longer distance on pavement, with a loaded backpack on is a different story.

Here's what I noticed:

-I can't seem to take strides that are as long as what I usually do

-I experienced a fair bit of pain - not really joint pain, but muscle or other soft tissue pain on the undersides of my feet, a bit in the arch and more on the bottom of the forefoot/ball of the foot areas.

-When I got home, my feet were kind of sore and uncomfortable.

-My calf muscles definitely felt worked out.

-At the same time, there was a distinct absence of pain in the top part of my leg - I guess, the bottom of my shin bone that joins to the top part of my foot where the foot can flex (above the ankle) - and that area usually gets quite sore and tired after just a block of walking in "normal" shoes.

Having said all that (sorry, this isn't a short first post!), is the pain I experienced a usual thing - ie, muscles that haven't been used this way over any considerable distance in quite a long time, if ever?

Any suggestions on loosening up my stride (or whatever "proper" barefoot/minimal walking technique is)?

I appreciate your input.


Canadian checking in

Hello, Toe Salad people.

Just wanted to drop in and say hi. I'm from Canada and have in recent months become enamoured of less=better footwear. The final straw was a pair of expensive, American-made work boots whose heels, narrow toe-box and curved shank changed my gait so much that I twisted my ankle walking on slightly uneven ground.

Even a costly resole job to a wedge sole made them only slightly more tolerable, and from then on began my little quest for healthier feet and footwear.

Nice to be here.


Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System completed

I have been using the last stage of the Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System for 2 weeks now. I am going to keep using them for a while because I don't feel done yet. The muscles haven't firmed up yet and I can tell if I quit now, it will all be for nothing.

The pain in my feet and knees is greatly reduced after 3 months. Because I have a structural problem, I might have to keep wearing these, but that would be no hardship. That would be the same pain that there was no quick and easy solution for as long as I was wearing moccs and sandals and Converse as my only shoes.(Imitation Converse and Scotchguard is my idea of keeping dry or being presentable. It seems a hunk of moose on each foot is not acceptable at times and I don't even have a job.) That would be the pain they wanted me to start wearing knee braces and prescription shoes for. Its about 95% gone. I'm not wearing those.

I got stuck at the 2nd stage for a month and the 4th stage also. When I couldn't take anymore I walked in a pair of moccs that would be impossible to wear orthotics or arch supports in. Nothing but glove leather and foam. There were plenty of days that I needed to not use them because MY FEET NEEDED TO REST. You work muscles long enough, you might want to take days off to not hurt and I did.

Did it make this longer? I don't know or care. It made this doable.

Other people have said they had muscle twinges all up and down their body while retraining their feet muscles. Me too. Some days I felt stiff and sore like I had a complete work out, instead of walking a very tiny dog slowly down the street and back. Listen to your body more than a time chart if you try this. If you aren't ready, don't progress. Pain means stop.

You can look at my old posts to see what all things I have going on with my feet and knees. Enough to say here its a little past what bad shoes and bad posture can do.

Its been fantastic. I really didn't expect quite this much improvement. I'm sure I'm going to have some interesting conversations with my medical team.


I have finally tried on Vivo FiveFingers

I had a podiatrist recommend them to me today. He said he hates to recommend them but since I have no pain barefoot and do have pain in 'shoes' he'd rather see me wear Vivos than moccs since its at least 'some kind of shoe.' I decided to pretend I'd never heard of them and made him explain. He was actually fair.

These moccs are a 2 layer of leather moose hide sole with some foam between. They are hightop Greier. I cut the fringe off because its silly. They have no 'nothing'. Just moose and foam. I feel justified wearing foam because loads of primitives stuff their moccs full of grass and have healthy, strong, perfect, attractive feet. My feet are greatly improved since I got them. I have other moccs too but they are best.

I went to a shoe store and tried on the classic and the driving glove leather moc one. I loved them, but they don't fit.

I wear size 36 shoe and size 38 toes? What's up with that? This is just wrong.

I wandered around the store in the 38 toes dragging loads of empty shoe behind me. Yes, my toes really are that thick. And I've got the baby toe that's folded under and turned sideways. I even got that in the 38 toes. But I still got 36 feet. I would have bought the 'driving moc' ones if they had fit. I could feel the floor in those. They only had 2 very thin bits of soling on the heel and ball, not the whole shoe. I thought the Classics had too much stuff between me and the ground, but I'm used to moccs and its a whole other thing.

Its one of those shoe stores where they have 6 different kinds of carpet. I could not tell the difference between the carpets in the Classics. I expected to be able to do that becaue of all the talk. If you only use leather, you can. And if you don't drag your feet, leather lasts a long time, even in town.

They also had a pair of men's boots that were so professional you could wear them to nearly any job. I bet they sell a million of those.


Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System

My knees and feet are structurally unsound genetically. My ankle bones sag downwards on the inside about 10 or 12 degrees. I am extremely knock-kneed and have been aware of that since I was a teenager. I have a horrific Q angle. I wore orthotics for all of this plus plantar fascitis which I was told would never go away. It went away when I was on bed rest for something else and quit wearing the orthotics.

There's one therapist who refuses to speak to me because I said, "Explain why foot pain is more enjoyable than knee pain. I'm listening."

She's also infuriated because I wear moccs instead of "proper" shoes.

I'm getting near a point now. Damien told me to try Barefoot Science footbeds. You are supposed to wear each level for a week then go to the next.

I got stuck at the 2nd stage for a month. My feet were working out like mad, sometimes so much I could not stand it and had to quit for a day or 2 and go without them to rest from the exercise because I could not take it anymore.

Something big is going on here. I'm starting the 3rd step tomorrow. I decided I'm ready because my feet have not protested in a couple days.


Left shin issue

If I run in barefoot shoes (invisible shoes or bedrock sandals), it is very hard on my feet. By this I mean that my feet are sore and stiff for about 3 days after my run. I have to wait at least 3 days and sometimes up to 5 days before I can run again. I only run 3-6 miles each time. If I run in minimalist shoes, Altra instinct or Merrell road gloves, my left shin burns so bad that I usually stop by mile 2 to 3. I have tried every stretch and strengthing exercise I can think of for my shins and cannot seem to get past this. Compression sleeves do nothing for me. The type of terrain that I run on seems to have no barring either. I either want to run barefoot with no feet issues or with shoes without shins burning. Any suggestions would be great. If it helps, I am 6 foot and 230 pounds of mainly muscle. I body build but also like to run because I have become addicted to it. Thanks all.


On the hunt for a minimal business casual shoe

I wear Altra Intuitions for long distance road running. However, I have not found a pair of minimal shoes to wear for work that are business casual looking. I have tried a few like the Merrell Barefoot Glove but my toes are cramped even though the rest of the fit feels good. I find myself going back to my Birkenstock clogs or sandals most days. But I am just not sure if that is a good choice if I want to run in more minimal shoes. I would really appreciate any suggestions for minimal shoes that have a wide toe box and look like business casual.

Also, I live in Florida so cold weather is not an issue for me.


need a shoe that will take super wide super deep feet and tough enought for an orthotic

I went to PT today about my knees. My knees look like this. )( And I've been aware of it since I was a teenager so it didn't just happen.

Apparently, the fact that my feet are too rigid and that I am standing on them wrong doesn't help. I wore moccs. I always wear them except when it rains, then I wear $10 canvas tennis shoes.

They want me to wear a hard orthotic. It would bust through a cotton tenny in a day and a leather mocc in a week.

Since I had 3 foot operations, I went about 3 years in house slippers and then discovered shoes did not fit me anymore. My feet are very wide, very deep top to bottom and very, very sensitive to pressure. I told this to Ms High and Mighty and she was not impressed.

I'd rather keep wrapping a hunk of leather around each foot than suffer pain in my feet to make my knees better. And when I wore the orthotics, I can't say I was much better.

I'm sure I could go to the state capital and pay zillions to get ugly shoes custom made, but I'm not going to pay zillions or wear ugly shoes. I won't pay more than $100 for a pair of shoes. Ok, I might, but they better be awesome.

I wore combat boots for 20 years and I'm never wearing ugly or hard shoes again.

I have an other appointment to see her again on Oct 31. If I order invisible shoes tonight, will I have them by the 31 to annoy her? I will wear them if it snows that day.



cleaning minimalist shoes

is there a certain technique in cleaning the barefoot/minimalist shoes? I have a merrell style and it now smells terrible. I have but them in the deep freezer, but that didnt seem to work to well. does just simply washing it work? or can I soak it in soap water for a few hours?

I guess ill start to wear liners haha.



Very stupid question

This is bound to stir up trouble for me, but I don't honestly know the answer and I really want to know.

During the period of time that I was recovering from my 3 foot operations, I had loads of swelling and could not get a normal shoe on. The post surgery shoe the hospital gave me had no tread on it and was going to get me killed if the sidewalks or parking lots were wet. Give a cripple a shoe that makes them slip and slide. That's way funny.

So I went to WalMart and got loads of imitation Converse shoes in various sizes for various amounts of swelling and hacked them up with a razor, a knife, scissors and a seam ripper.

This is the period of time when I gave up on orthotics. Orthotics cut through $5-10 cotton shoes like crazy so I could not wear them.

Imitation Converse are zero drop. They have next to no padding. They are flexible and light. The ones I get don't even have the rubber toe cap. I don't like the rubber toe cap feeling.

While you are complaining about the cost of this shoe and that shoe, why don't you just buy Chuck Taylor's Converse? Not even the real Converse with extra bling costs as much as some of the shoes you guys are wailing over the cost of. How about the plain ones we grew up with? What's wrong with them? What am I missing?

I wear moccasins all the time and imitation Converse when it rains to get a rubber sole. To make me run, you'd have to set my house on fire, so I'm sure I'm missing something here, and I really want to know what it is.

But I really want to know why you are paying more and more for less and less shoe and trying to reinvent the wheel(to me), when plain Converse are cheap and imitation ones are so much cheaper and have always been there?


Some shoe patterns I want to review

The above link is for a couple shoe patterns used several hundred years ago in Europe that I am fiddling around with right now. They are from Margrethe Hald's book, Primitive Shoes. They are very easy, very nice. You can make these with a knife as your only tool, altho a hole punch is nice.

And this webpage sells a pattern that makes a shoe that is a great deal like the Soft Star Shoe, from infant to size US Women's 15. Just ignore the bright colors and decorations on the top of them and really look at the shoe. They've reverse engineered the Soft Star Shoe.

For even more variation, make it so the heel section is on the outside and use a shoestring in the casing instead of elastic and it looks vaguely like a loafer. At least that's what I tell myself.

I have made myself this shoe with the thinnest leather I've ever seen from a shirt and the thinnest Vibram sole available so it would work on a common sewing machine. I had to go down 2 sizes and its still loose because they expect you to use padding and so I'm positive a Man's size 15 could wear them without the sole padding, sheepskin lining, etc. Another pattern book I have says to enlarge 3% per shoe size on a copier machine and that may work if you only go up 1 or 2 sizes. Don't be discouraged by lack of men's sizes.

The pattern allows for wide feet. In fact, they tell you if your feet aren't wide, how to make the shoe less wide. I have wide feet and high arches and high insteps and they fit me fine.

I hope reviewing patterns is allowed. I don't own this webpage or know these people. I absolutely love this pattern and I think you will too.



Hello from California

I'm Nicole, lover of the outdoors and feeling the ground all around! :)

I'm married to the best man ever, and we have 2 great kids (5 and 9) who we drag backpacking and whitewater rafting.


Revisiting Minimalist Footwear Standards

As the market for minimalist footwear continues to grow (and boy, it just keeps growing!), I am starting to think about revisiting the standards we set on this site for the footwear we review and list in the directory.

In the past, when there was less selection, I was willing to make some compromises. The first one I would like to tackle - and sticks out in my mind the most right now - is heel rise (or "drop", depending on your perspective). Up until this point, I have made some allowance for a little heel rise provided it was only a few mm (the upper end being 5 or 6mm). I am wondering if it is time to get a little more purist about this and say that we will only list and review zero-drop shoes?

What do you think? Is a 5mm shoe still minimalist enough for you? Or should we be setting the bar higher and go with only zero?


how I got here

I spend years working on cement and asphalt. I jogged in mid-range price shoes because I was in the USAF and was not allowed to be fairly chunky, which seems to run in the family.

I've had orthotics, been put in casts just to hold my foot still and keep me from using it for plantar fascitis. I've had those steroid shots in the sole of the foot. I've also called one doctor who gave me that fabulous shot such vile things that he bragged to another doctor about it, who came in and asked me about it very delicately because I was the 1st woman to ever use those exact words in their office and I don't normally act that way. On another occasion, I did manage to hold my breath until I passed out and the third time I made such a horrific keening noise that medics came to the door to check and I did not even realize I was the one making that noise until they were nearly finished with me.

I just had bone spurs removed and had both my big toes fused to the metatarsals because the bones on each end had resembld a road map for years and the cracking crumbling mess was causing me great pain. At the same time, I had not worn a high heel shoe in 15 years and had not worked standing on cement in 10.

I started wearing moccs after the operations because regular shoes did not fit anymore. My feet were high and wide before, now they are much, much more so, possibly because I only wore scuff style house slippers, moccs and sandals for 3 years during the operations and recovery.

I came to realize my knee problems were much less and began to throw out shoes that were not helping. I'd like to live entirely in zero drop shoes with flexible soles because they are helping me with my foot and knee health.

I've also just started making my own shoes with a sewing machine. I want to talk to people that make their shoes and people that think their health has been improved.

Doctors wanted me in more and more complicated orthotic devices forever. I just got tired of the pain and walked away from it all and decided to get better on my own because they weren't really helping. I still have problems with my feet and knees, but I'm much better.


heel removal Drew Shoe Women's Jada Mary

I have this shoe. After 2-3 months of only wearing a flat sole, they actually feel funny to me. I mostly wear moccs, imatation Converse without the giant rubber toe cap or sandals.

There are times when I need an actual dress shoe. I kinda doubt I will find one with a completely flat sole and lots of toe room anytime soon. These are stretchy.

Will the heel be hollow? Should I fill it with some kind of shoe goo? What would be best?

Thanks for everything.



Barefoot hiking hazards

I was recently reminded why I usually hike wearing Merrel Pace Gloves. I hiked Lark Harbour Head, in Blow-me-Down Provincial Park, in the Outer Bay of Islands near Corner Brook, Newfoundland. It's a fairly easy 3 km hike (one way) beginning on boardwalk, but mostly on dirt and bedrock. I hiked out barefoot.

It's a beautiful area, if you're ever in Western Newfoundland I recommend checking out the Bay of Islands as well as the more famous Gros Morne National Park, a bit further north.

The sturdy boardwalk turns into rotting boardwalk, which in turn gives way to a sort of corduroy road in the wet spots: forearm-thick tree trunks laid parallel to the trail, with cross-pieces nailed on to hold them in place. This would be fine, only the cross-pieces have mostly rotted away, leaving the nails behind. Someone has pounded those flat... well, most of them. I found one they'd missed, catching it right between my little toe and the next toe on my right foot.

No serious damage done - skin peeled off at the base of each toe, and a bruise between them. I stopped and washed it off, dumped some alcohol on it (yup, I always have my first aid kit!), and continued my hike. I put VFFs on for the return hike because my feet aren't toughened up, not because of the injury.

This also pointed out something I've noticed - the greatest hazards to bare feet are usually human-made. I also caught a branch between my toes on this hike (it's a talent...) which hurt, but did no damage. The branch could "give", though. The spike could not. Unyielding human artefacts are usually pretty rough on feet, shod or unshod.

I'll go back to my usual habits, wearing minimal shoes unless I'm really sure of what's underfoot. I love gardening barefoot, because I know what's around the yard, but heading onto the trails I'll be keeping my shoes on... mostly. Cool, muddy trails on a hot day are too much temptation!

Happy trails, with or without shoes.


PS: I guess you have to click on the thumbnails to see the images at full size.