Questions & Answers

Patagonia Loulu's

My feelings are mixed whether these are entirely minimal. The fore-sole is thin, but the heal is a bit raised. Overall they score points with me regarding toe-box... widest ever and the most appropriately shaped I have found so far. They score points for comfort with <almost> no support. The insole is a bit raised in the heal but is removable. At this point, if you are looking for a shoe to wear to work (guys only, sorry ladies) this is a viable option if you can't find the Terra Plana Dharma's (the apparent standard choice as a work shoe for barefooters)

You can find these at REI if you want to try them on. I couldn't bring myself to order the Dharmas without trying them on.

Full text first impression is here.



Answers and Replies


I accidentally stumbled across the Patagonia Pau, also at REI. I liked them...a LOT. But they are $130, so I held off for now.

The Olulu, Loulu and Pau all appear to share the same sole. I think they are also built on the same last, but this is based on viewing pictures of the Olulu and Loulu...I have only seen and tried on the Pau.

Forefoot - I need a very big toe box (feet not wide, but thick from barefooting, and very flat, so they actually angle out a little bit, honestly). The insole is pretty thick, but removable. With the insole removed, I found the Pau to be very roomy, pretty close to ideal.

Sole (without insole) - The sole is quite thin...maybe not super-minimal, but close. As deviantrunner stated there is a slight elevation in the heel. The sole is a relatively firm rubber. The sole has a honeycomb texture, not necessary, but not intrusive. My only real concern, there is a rectangular "shank" in the heel. Its a piece of some harder material, I assume to limit motion and create "support". Clearly I would prefer it not be there, but since the sole is so thin, the degree that it limits motions is inconsequential. However, I worry that this rectancular piece, which is on the surface of the footbed, will cause irritation.

Bottom Line: This is by FAR the best looking, dressier minimal shoe that I have come across. In my limited in-store walking it was very comfortable. If the rectangular heel-shank is not problematic, I think this shoe would be very comfortable to walk in (I don't run).

Not perfect but looks like the best dress shoe I have ever found in 23 years of looking. So happy the minimal shoe movement is gaining traction.


I also noticed the plastic "shank". There is one embedded in the sole and another one on the bottom of the insole. I figured I would leave them in for now and if they bothered me... I would pry them out.


I agree... it is the best thing I have found so far although they have flaws. They'll do for now.

I tried a pair of Loulu's on at REI today. Super comfortable, but I passed because many people report that the soles only last a few months. They are resolable, but factor in 1.5+ hours of labor and what you really have is an expensive disposable shoe.

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