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Winter crossover

I'm a NY trainer who's been barefoot or in my Altras for months and now looking for a winter trail shoe that can cross over as a city shoe in bad weather so I can travel light, dry and warm. Any updated ideas for winter 2014/2015?

Winter boots for canadian winter

Hi everyone, I started my "barefoot revolution" last spring and had the best summer I ever had in a long time! My back, my knees, my whole body thanked me for it. My feet even grew by half a size! I need to say that I'm a walker, not a runner. Then winter arrived (I'm up here in Ottawa) and I needed to get winter boots. I got something really warm, Keen boots, but ever since I started wearing them my lower back hurts like a $!% (I'll let you guess). I couldn't really find a casual winter solution for minimalist enthusiasts who needs to commute to go to work. I found the Scott Mens from Vivobarefoot but as all there footwear, they were sold out. Does anyone have any other suggestions or do I need to wait for them to become available?


Washable winter shoes

After years of foot pain and lower back pain, I evolved to wider shoes, untied, and now barefoot I have to wear shoes for managing my store, so I wear Lems in the store. As soon as I started barefooting I grew intolerant to socks - now my feet warm up so much that I want to crawl out of my skin if I dare wear socks. I wash my Lems every week, so they always smell fresh. Is there winter footwear that will be : Super wide Flat thin soled Washable

Minnesota winters are a bit brutal.


Easing into barefoot summers when climate requires shod winters..

I live in Michigan and can't handle the freezing temperatures during winter barefooted. Last summer, I went barefoot most of the time (carrying a pair of light shoes for situations where I was asked to don footwear), and I loved it, but my soles were a little raw at times. I naturally have very soft, sensitive skin, so I don't develop thick callouses on my feet (despite forever being a "barefoot in the house" kind of girl, and recently going barefoot much more often).

So I'm just looking for tips on easing into being barefoot more often as the weather starts to warm up a bit. Lately, I've been taking off my shoes as I walk to class, but my feet are starting to feel a little tender already..


Winter success with NEOS

Just wanted to let people know that I am very happy with my NEOS overshoes. For the first time in my life my toes are not cold!! The overshoes are very wide, with lots of space to fit whatever you like underneath.

I don't, in fact, wear them with shoes, but with my down-filled hut booties! Coupled with a liner sock and a Smartwool outer sock, I can wait for the bus at -20 with no problem.

I have also worn this combination for snowshoeing excursions, and it is true (as Damien has pointed out before) that they are not that breathable. The down booties were soaked with condensation by the end of my hike (but my feet were still warm). And since I then just hoppped into the car to go home, it didn't really matter. If I were going to be out all day, or for multiple days, with periods of lower activity when my feet would have a chance to cool off, this moisture would obviously be a major issue. If I ever reach that level of outdoor winter activity I think I would spring for some of the mukluks others have mentioned ( for example: )

However, for my purposes - day-to-day bus riding and city walking, playing in the snow with my daughter, and occasional active use - this combination has been highly satisfactory.

My only refinement next year will be to try some Yak Trax on really icy days. I have been wearing Stablicers this year. They do a great job on the ice, but are only hanging on to the boot by a thread - the boots are a little too wide (Stablicers are shaped like a traditional shoe - too narrow at the toe and barely stretch around the boots). The Yak Trax look more adjustable.



VFF's and Wet Winter Conditions

I’m an ultra-light backpacker, I’ve been wearing the NB MT10 since July 2011 as my everyday shoe. Now I’m beginning to wear a minimalist shoe on day hikes and want to start wearing them on longer backpacking trips. I tried the Merrell Trail Glove and Vibram FiveFingers KSO. The KSO feels better on my foot and trail and is the one I’m favoring for backpacking.

My question is if wearing the KSO’s how do I keep my feet warm and dry during the winter?

Keep in mind I’m not out for a run or day hike, I’m out for 2-3 days. Even on day hikes my feet are getting wet and cold to the point of hurting. Crossing creeks is another problem with cold and wet feet. I’m not concerned with summer and warmer temps.

When I wore trail runners I used plastic bags to keep my feet warm in wet conditions, some hikers use neoprene or Gore-Tex socks. But none of these options work with the VFF.

Do I have any options besides wearing a shoe with a toe box for winter backpacking?


Hi from Atlantic Canada

I've been lurking for a while, time to say hi. I split my time between Newfoundland and New Brunswick, thus the vague "Atlantic Canada" in the subject line.

I've always had wide feet. My mother once apologized for having let me run around barefoot so much as a child, making it hard to find shoes that fit. Strange she'd see it as having let me "ruin" my feet, rather than consider there was something wrong with shoes, but I guess that's the mindset we're all trying to change. As a kid, in summer the soles of my feet were an interesting leather-like texture; I have approached that in recent years by going barefoot around the yard, and a few places it feels safe to do so.

I don't run, but I hike quite a bit. Once in a while, on soft squishy forest soils in mild weather, I'll ditch my shoes, and enjoy the funny looks I get. I'm trying to find a minimalist solution to the Atlantic Canadian winter. Here in Corner Brook we just got about 40 cm of snow in 24 hours, luckily the light fluffy stuff, but of course there will be slush eventually. I'm missing my Merrels.

This place is a great resource, I've learned a lot about feet and footwear hanging around here!


Minimalist for snowshoeing?

I went "barefoot" this summer and now own two pairs of VFF shoes and Merrell cross trainers. I suffered terrible discomfort in my hiking boots for a few years, and switching to minimalist shoes have eliminated that. I have been fine for everything so far, but my dilemma is the winter. What can I wear with my snowshoes?


winter footwear solved

I was thinking Steger Mukluks but the price is high for me and they really don't want you wearing them in rain conditions. Finally I came across great reviews for Chota Quicklace Mukluks. I happened upon a pair in the size I needed on Ebay and with shipping came in at a hundred bucks. Absolutely flat sole very wide with nice give to them if 2 pairs of socks are worn. I stood in the lake today draining water out of our paddle boats and no leaks. The only question remaining is traction on packed snow. May require Yaktraxs or similar if they prove too slippery.


Winter footwear idea

I'm sure these have come up before, but has anyone used these in winter?

I have switched to minimal shoes, but I live in Chicago and I'm out walking the dog two hours every day, even in -20* weather and knee deep snow.

I was hoping these would work and I bought a pair to wear over my minimal shoes.. Figure I can wear the VFF and put a pair of huge wool socks on over if need be.

I was wearing Bogs, which are nice and wide if you take out the insole, but the bottom is stiff. The NEOS look like they have an uber-thin sole.

I'm very excited to be getting them in the mail, and I figure I can even put them on over flip flops, maybe... :0)



Winter Running

As the weather cools down I'm finding myself getting disappointed at the thought of winter. I'm new to running and wondered if anyone has advice on running in the winter time? We get quite a bit of snow here in Utah but there are almost always dry spells throughout the winter. The trails that I enjoy will be covered in snow all year.

We do have an indoor track but I don't think I can handle running inside like that! Any advice is appreciated!


minimalist shoes for kids --winter

I know it's May, but it's still snowy around here. Does anyone know of any great winter shoes for kids? Warm, but still barefoot-y? We need more than just runners with warm socks, we need something for deep snow....

I have this image in my head of a mukluk-type boot. Something soft and warm without a hard sole....and of course, not too pricey since my kids grow out of shoes in minutes.




I have been looking at Russian Valenki to wear in our cold winter months. I am curious to see if they are rated as minimalist footwear and if anyone has ever worn them before. Thanks, Charity


Home made Moc

I've begun making moccasins for our children. Several of them have Soft Star Roos and we like the style for the most part. I've made several pairs like these from polar fleece.

Our current goal is to find a zero-rise winter outdoor shoe from easily accessible materials for minimal money for growing children. That's not too much to ask, right?

Here's our first try. It's a three-piece moccasin made from a synthetic fabric I bought. It has a brushed surface on one side that gives it a look of suede. The other surface is a synthetic sheep-skin look/feel. I treated the outer surface of the completed moc with 2 coats of a silicone spray.

I made these for our 10 yo daughter, M. She has worn them for 2 different outdoor uses: Dog chores & general play.

For dog chores, she is only out for 15 min or so and is not running though loose snow. She wears the mocs either barefoot or with 1 pair of cotton crew socks. She says they keep her feet warm just fine in these conditions.

For play she would outside for an hour or so. She was hiking though loose snow, sledding and other typical Minnesota child games. The mocs were worn with 3 pairs of cotton socks. Her feet were cold with 2 pairs so she came in for a 3rd pair and was just fine that way. The snow came in where the front piece overlaps the back/side piece and it melted in her shoe making her feet wet. This and snow pack from the top of the moc was the source of wet - not through the fabric itself.

My first adaptation to these will be to make them taller like a hiking boot. After that (or maybe at the same time) I hope to come up with a sole insulation. My current ideas are either a rubber/vibram sole similar to the huaraches from Barefoot Ted OR an interior insulation made from a flexible foam like yoga mats.

Sarah K


Soft Star Phoenix Boots

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to comment on my experience with Phoenix Boots, but they haven't been added as a model in the Directory yet, so I can't post a formal review.

I purchased these boots hoping that they would be my everyday winter boots - suitable for waiting for the bus, walking around town, playing in the backyard, etc.

When they arrived I almost sent them back for a bigger size because they felt quite tight. But I had heard that the sheepskin really compacts a lot, so I decided to keep them and give it a try. I'm glad I didn't go bigger, because the sheepskin compacted so much that now they are too big unless I am wearing very thick socks!

I have had problems with the insoles from day one - they tend to slide backwards, bunching up at the heel and leaving a one-inch gap at the toe. I suppose I could glue them in, but I still wanted to be able to take them out to air dry. I have also not emailed Soft Star to ask if they have any other suggestions for solving this. I have actually taken to wearing my Vivo Barefoot insoles on top of the sheepskin ones so that I don't have to wear such thick socks all the time, and to provide a bit more coverage!

Also, the sheepskin just doesn't seem as thick around the edges of the insole and there are significant wear patches on the heel, even though I have only been wearing them a couple of months. The heel area of the upper doesn't seem very well lined either - I can feel the seams more in that area and it just doesn't seem as "plush".

I have also had problems with the boots getting damp. I treated them with Soft Star's recommended product, but they just can't handle the wet snow that we get here. They quickly get saturated and take a couple of days to fully dry out. And with the removeable insoles, the dampness really seeps in around the edges inside the boot. Furthermore, cleaning off the salt stains has been a constant chore. I don't know how it is in other snowy places, but here in Ontario they really pour on the salt all winter, and it gets everywhere.

Finally, I find that they don't have enough traction for the winters here. If the sidewalks are at all icy, I do slip the odd time.

To say something positive, I do like the shape of the boot (nice roomy toe and adequate height around the instep) and do appreciate what Soft Star is trying to do. Other people have written glowing reviews, but they just aren't working for me!

I have had similar experiences with the child version of the boot, although the insole is not removeable so that solves the sliding insole problem. I bought a pair for my daughter (age 2) and was surprised at how quickly the sheepskin on the insole wore down - there are actual bare patches. We have not had this problem with her Soft Star shoes, so I'm not sure what's going on with the boots. Also, the lack of traction was a problem for her as well.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Hope this is useful for people.




Hello from Dallas also

Don't know how you crazy barefooting fellas and ladies up north do it! My toes are still thawing out from a run in VFF sprints a few hours ago.


Snowfooting for the first time.

Thanks to a cold wintery blast of air, we got a nice heavy snowfall here in the Ouachita mountain region of SW Arkansas, which gave me the opportunity to try out my newly found love of barefooting in the snow....I've been living a barefoot lifestyle since June, and this was the first time in my life I went walking in the snow in bare feet. All I can say is "I loved it".....the snow was far softer and more cushy then I ever expected, and not near as cold as I thought it was gonna be. I even found that I had a flat tire on my truck this morning and went outside and changed my tire in 24 degree temps and 4" of snow....Took me about 30 minutes I suppose, not counting the time I was visiting with my neighbor about the fact I was barefoot on such a frozen day, but I was feet were fine, and I loved the feeling. I wear shoes when I must, but barefoot is the best way to go.


Minimalist snow boots?

I normally were VFF's but it's a little difficult in the cold and snow. Does anybody have any good boots that would qualify as minimalist? They need to be waterproof to handle some snow, but I'd prefer no heel and some room to move around the toe box. Thoughts?