Summer is a golden time for us minimalist shoe types. Just yesterday our son was hiking barefoot. If barefoot isn't an option there are many other choices - flip flops, water shoes, sandals, five fingers, and so much other warm weather foot protection to choose from.
But what about winter? I know what you're thinking, "summer just arrived, why go back there?"
Well, the shoes I'm reviewing today have potential for both summer and winter, with a catch. The catch is you have to wear them as indoor winter shoes.
This past winter I wore shoes indoors, something I don't normally do as I think barefoot is best. Why wear shoes indoors then? I had one important reason - to preserve my wool socks.
Winter is cold where we live. And snowy. Perfect for skiing. But this means you have to wear more clothes, both outdoors and indoors. Wool socks are my constant companion in the winter, October till April, truth be told.
But what we've found is that wearing wool socks, or any socks for that matter, on bare wood floors wears them out faster than if they are in a slipper or shoe. We've got ten feet in our family to keep warm in winter and we don't like replacing socks more than necessary so we made a rule this past winter.
No bare socks in the house.
Kids could wear socks and slippers or bare feet (they seem to manage chillier temps better than I can) but not just socks on the wood floor.
Rules for one is rules for all in our house so I had to figure out what to wear over my wool socks. I have beautiful (and very warm) sheep skin slippers but wool socks plus the slippers was a bit too much.
OTZShoes to the rescue.
After wearing a pair of OTZ 300GMS for most of the winter I have a few experiences to share.
I had the privilege of meeting Ludo, the founder of OTZShoes (formerly OeTZI3300 - good call on the name change, that's a real mouthful) at Outdoor Retailer last summer. And honestly, after hearing his story I wanted to try his shoes. Stories have a way of doing that. I was hooked by the beach-bumming, surfing California attitude and wanted a little bit of that groove in my own life.
In case you're wondering what's up with the weird name (I know, I was mystified) the company is named after an mummified iceman dating back to 3,300 BC. The iceman was nicknamed Oetzi for the mountain range he was found in. The shoes on the mummy's feet inspired the Oetzi design. Or so the story goes.
After meeting Ludo last summer we were offered some shoes for review and I gladly choose the viola linen and black leather models. Two new pairs of shoes! I don't usually get "the goods", since most of the shoes that come in the door are for Damien.
I wore the black leather shoes throughout the fall, paired with clothing combinations like this. But once the snow was on the ground I had to set those lovelies aside for more practical winter shoes.
This is around the time I started wearing my OTZ-300GMS Viola linen shoes indoors.
I love the color of these shoes. Really, a nice purple shoe on a wintery day does wonders for my spirit. When we instituted the no bare socks rule I wore these shoes almost every day with socks.
From a minimalist perspective I wouldn't call these "barefoot" shoes. There is a fairly significant cork footbed which can be removed though for more "on the ground" feel, if desired. I choose to leave it in.
I agree with Robin, the heel piece collapses easily under the foot. Interestingly, I find that more prevalent in my black leather model than the viola linen ones. I'm wondering if my thick wool socks helped to hold up the back better?
I wore these shoes nearly every day for four months. I experienced a few days of sore feet (literally days, not weeks) during that time. I don't know that this can be attributed to the shoes, but is worth mentioning.
Having worn minimalist shoes for a few years now I'm not used to a cork footbed and I'm not necessarily sold on the idea either. But, I have to say the footbed is light and molded nicely to my feet. See this page at Oetzi's website for more explanation.
Now that it's summer I'm barefoot again as much as possible, especially indoors. I think that having worn the Viola linen model as a slipper with socks all winter will probably make them less fitted for summer use.
Damien gets most of the shoe inquiries in our house, he's the minimalist shoe guy after all. But everyone once in awhile a friend will e-mail me a "what kind of shoe would you recommend?"
I would recommend this shoe as a summer slip on for someone transitioning to minimalist footwear. I personally prefer an even lower profile for a summer shoe. If you live in a warm climate you could wear this outdoors all year round.
I really liked the classy look of the black leather model for cooler months or for summer "dress-up" occasions. I nice black shoe is a wardrobe must-have in my opinion.
I wore these as a winter indoor slipper and really liked them for this purpose. I love the slip on aspect and paired with socks I didn't have the heal bending issue as I discussed above.
The OTZ1-3000GMS is a nice shoe. A lot of shoes come through our door but these ones have found their place on my feet and in my wardrobe.
I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about my experience with the shoes. I don't do technical stuff, like heal rise and weight but Damien might be able to comment if questions veer that direction. When it comes to shoes I'm all about "the look and feel".