I dabbled with “minimal” footwear about 3 years ago. The Vibram 5 fingers were all the rage-that may be a bit of an overstatement- and I really liked them. I enjoyed the feeling of being connected to the ground, and I did notice greater strength and flexibility in my feet. But, let’s be honest, you can’t just wear those things everywhere……well I couldn’t. After the first summer, they went on the shelf.
Fast forward to this last summer. I got a pair of Bedrock Cairn sandals, and wore them nearly every day. I rode my bike in them, I backpacked and hiked in them. I would be wearing them right now if the temps hadn’t dipped below my comfort zone.
As the weather got cooler I went back to some “normal” shoes. Not surprisingly, they didn’t feel right anymore. There was too much heel lift, and not enough room for my little piggies. So what’s a person to do?
Thankfully I’ve found two minimal shoes that I think will take me though the winter months.
First the Hana from Xero shoes. The Hana is a simple canvas shoe that uses a lacing/heel tightening system similar to a huarache sandal. The 5.5 mm sole provides enough protection and adequate grip. These shoes are super light (stated weight for a mens size 9 is 8oz.). You barely know you have them on. The more I wear these shoes, the more I like them.
The Hana will keep my feet covered, but wont do much for really cold weather. I started looking for a boot that would, hopefully, get me through some snowy conditions. I recently bought a pair of boots from Vivobarefoot.
The Gobi II Winterproof has a seam-sealed, insulated, water resistant canvas upper and thermal insole. I’ve been wearing these for about a week. They do seem warmer, and we’ll see how they fare as I wear them through the winter.
Have any of you experimented with minimal foot ware? Full time minimalist? Let me know if you have any favorites. I’m always on the lookout for new shoes!