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What minimalist footwear have you tried?
March 25, 2010
7:54 am
Steven
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Sam,

I bet that as you continue to run, it'll get even better!

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April 4, 2010
6:42 pm
seanq
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April 4, 2010
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about ready to run huarache style

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April 5, 2010
7:06 am
randal
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Howdy all. I'm new to the barefooten thing but so far, so good. I have a pair of VFF that I have worn a couple of times walking, after 45 minutes, blister on my foot. I'm now sticking to barefoot but also trying to make my own pair of huaraches. When I get back to the US, I'm going to get Steven to make me a custom pair. I have had numerous knee surgeries and since I have started going barefoot, the pain is almost gone. About the only time I have pain is when I wear safety boots (requirement at work). Glad to be on the forum.

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April 5, 2010
10:12 am
Steven
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Hey Seanq and Randal, welcome to the forum.

Not surprisingly, I'm totally sold on huaraches… and everyone I know who has tried them feels the same way. They're SO much more barefoot-ish than VFFs.

I've also had the great thrill of watching some running pains disappear since I took off my running shoes. going barefoot also improved my sprinting form (because it showed me the subtle way I was overstriding)

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April 20, 2010
4:29 am
hammerbeck
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April 20, 2010
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I received my huaraches in the mail yesterday and assembled them last night.  I felt like a mad scientist assembling something nefarious.  However, I felt like a very high-tech, modern mad scientist because I was using plastic, nylon, You Tube, and my iPod Touch rather than some dusty old tome to do my work.  Thank you Steven for your very clear written and video instructions.  I initially tried the traditional tying style, but I only had to walk as far as my kitchen to realize I didn't like that.  So I switched to the slip-on style and liked that better.

I actually had trouble sleeping last night because I was looking forward to trying the huaraches in the morning. 

So when my alarm went off, I had no trouble getting up and heading out for a five mile run, knowing that part of the way, I would be running in these bad boys.  I ran the first 2.5 mile loop in my usual shoe, a pair of Nike Free 5.0s.  [I've put over 500 miles on those shoes, and I've been very happy with them.]  Then, for the second loop, I put on the huaraches. 

In short, they were the best barefoot running experience apart from running on the beach.  I found the huaraches to be quite comfortable, though I will have to mess with the lacing to get it perfect, as Steven suggested in his videos.  Unlike flip flops, which I've tried, I didn't feel like the shoe was going to fly off.  Unlike swim shoes, which I've also ran in, my toes could do their thing unhindered.  I fell into a nice, crisp, comfortable stride.  Although my speed was a little slower than normal, I'm sure that will improve once I get used to the shoes.

In short, I am optimistic that these are the shoes for me from now on.  Thanks Steven!

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April 20, 2010
7:59 am
Steven
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My pleasure!

Have someone get a pic or video of you blazing around in your I-Shoes! :-)

-Steven

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April 24, 2010
10:56 pm
sronicker
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So yeah I'm deployed with the AF right now and even though it's probably technically out of regs to wear the huaraches I wear them every other run (I run every other morning).  But it's rough here; many of the roads aren't paved and they are covered with large gravel and it hurts to run on wearing either my huaraches or my vibrams.  It doesn't help that I have to run either early morning or late at night to avoid the heat.  Avoiding obstacles is very difficult in the darkness.  I have basically bruised the soles of my feet a couple times stepping on rocks.  I try to run light on my feet but it is tough.  Anyways I am tempted to just give up on my minimalist ways till I get back.  At the same time I wonder if I am just running with bad form or large sharp gravel just isn't well suited for minimalist running.

Anyway, wishing you all happing running wherever you are.

Sam

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April 25, 2010
10:27 pm
Steven
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Hi Sam,

If the rocks are big enough and/or sharp enough and/or immobile enough, it's tricky to go minimalist or barefoot. Especially if, as you described, you can't see where you're going.

You could have great form, but if you step on a broken beer bottle, your form won't keep you from getting hurt.

That said, you can get equally hurt by stepping on those things while wearing running shoes -- you can roll off the obstacle and fall or twist an ankle or break a foot, etc.

I wish I had a simple answer for you, but you're in some relatively uncharted territory.

-Steven

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May 31, 2010
8:09 am
larrymagee
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May 1, 2010
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Making shoes is so fun.  I never realized. 

 

I made a pair of flip flops out of thin, semi-stiff leather.   They are made all out of just one piece of leather like these —

http://www.logoflops.com/kona_…..op     The only difference is I used a cord for the toe string.  They're great for hiking.  I've never been able to find thin soled flip flops.  Now I'm all set.

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July 20, 2010
6:06 pm
koaloha05
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July 10, 2010
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Not sure if they are considered "minimalist", but back in the early '70's my footwear of choice were a royal blue pair of Onitsuka Tigers.   Last year picked up a pair of VFF KSO.   Spend +90% off-road on trails.  They have been nice.   "Gravel" fireroads have  been  good feedback  wearing these shoes.     Made a  prototype "knotless" Huarache from a remnant piece of ccf.  Waiting for some Vibram Cherry to show up to make a functional pair.  Search for some 8-9 oz and 13-16 oz leather. 

 

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October 4, 2011
6:21 pm
mitch
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October 4, 2011
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I ran for 1.5 years in VFFs and they were great.  I moved to San Francisco where I run hills and I noticed my knees started to hurt and I was getting sort of debilitating pressure between my third and fourth and fourth and fifth toes on both feet, and I noticed my stride was changing to compensate, which I believe was where the knee pain came from. 

 

So about a month and a half ago I switched to huaraches.  I am still trying to figure out how to tie them, and my feet are still healing from the runs where I blistered because I didn't have the sandals tied down to my feet and I ran with my feet pounding over the edges.  So I still run pretty slowly in the sandals because I am still trying to figure out how to get them to stay on my feet without tying so tightly I cut off the circulation at the ankles or get more blisters between my first and second toe. 

 

But I will say that I think the huaraches are really improving my stride.  I find that I make all my motion forward as opposed to superfluous up and down motion that causes great impact and does not move me any faster which I do in regular shoes and VFFs.  If I try to run the old inefficient way my sandals fly around on my feet, so I naturally run with my mechanics propelling me straight forward instead of up and down, and that is great.  Anyway I have probably only run about 2 or 3 hundred miles in the sandals so far but they keep getting better so I am looking forward to getting more experience.  The huaraches feel really nice, much nicer than VFFs, and I really liked VFFs in comparison to normal shoes.  I thought that I wanted to BF, but I am giving it up, I think huaraches are the way forward for me.

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October 5, 2011
10:02 am
sbhikes
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September 27, 2011
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For running I tried Feelmax Osmas. My feet are a little too wide for them. My outer toes would hit the edges. I also have an old Morton's neroma and I could feel the nerve bundle hitting the ground with every step. So they didn't quite work for me for running. I wear them sometimes casually.

After that, I tried huaraches. I like the freedom for my toes. I've made all my own huaraches, many pairs. Invisible Shoes are the only manufactured ones I've bought. I usually run in them most days but since I can really feel all the rocks under them, I sometimes choose my thicker ones just so I can run without thinking. I have been considering gluing a layer of suede to my Invisible Shoes because as my feet sweat from running and dirt gets in there because I run on dusty dirt trails, it forms a sticky layer of mud that feels kind of uncomfortable. Suede absorbs my foot sweat and feels nicer. I haven't tried to glue it on yet.

Other than that, I've tried lots of options for hiking with various success, from New Balance MT100s (not exactly minimalist), to Chacos (sandals less constraining than shoes, but still not exactly minimalist) to huaraches (very free but a huge callous has formed between my toes and they are really slippery in creeks) to homemade shoes with military-grade boot treads (works pretty well.)

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November 3, 2011
5:34 pm
Stateless
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November 3, 2011
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I've tried the VFF's as well as the Merrell Tough Gloves. I like to go completely barefoot unless I have a reason to want to look more presentable. I haven't been using the VFF's much since I don't see much point when I can just go barefoot. The Merrell's on the other hand look great. I wear them around town all the time when I don't want to get funny looks.

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February 23, 2012
12:21 pm
dodypena
Wellington, New Zealand
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February 23, 2012
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I've been running barefoot style for 2 years now and really loving it.  For 2 years, I've been injury free and I feel all my muscles and joints working in harmony.  I normally use my VFF KSO's and ZEM gear 360.  I just got my Ishoes and ran my first 3k with it and WOW, my feet never felt more free.  A little adjustment with the landing and I was running quietly as if I'm really BF.  I think the 4mm Feeltrue soles with slip-on style is perfect.  Winter is coming here in NZ and hopefully I can still run with my Ishoes.  Thanks Steven!

 

By the way, my girlfriend ran with her Ishoes with the Phoenix flower style and the flower flaps.  No big deal but she wants to get another pair just for running with minimalist slip-on style.  Smile

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February 23, 2012
9:47 pm
Steven
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One way to get the Phoenix Flower to not "flap" is to make one of the loops go around the toe strap as well (or do the "Cute Style")

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February 24, 2012
4:20 pm
mspenz
North Scotland
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February 24, 2012
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First post and hello from North Scotland.

Our crazy climate dictates what we do at any given time of year, seasons are random and nothing is guaranteed ! What is the employement situation in CA or Vancouver at the moment :-)

I have been using Feelmax Niesas for 2 seasons but tend to barefoot more when temperature gets above 12 degrees C ( rare ! ). The Niesa's are excellent but do not buy a snug fit as you will just blister, I have a size above recommended and never use socks ( keep the Velcro strap slack ) and have had no problems. Apart from the usual calf issues thanks to old muscles and ligaments.

I walk around and drive barefoot as often as conditions allow ( dog walking for half mile every night on rough tarmac roads ) to help condition my feet but I do happen to live in a damp/cold environment.

I have just ordered a Huaraches kit from this site and am in a state of anticipation, basic Teva's are my usual Spring/Summer/Autmn attire but it's time for a change.

 

Love, Mike.

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March 11, 2012
9:47 pm
dodypena
Wellington, New Zealand
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Problem--I can't wear shoes anymore!

Steven, are you open to swapping? I'll swap my VFF and ZEM 360 for Ishoes. hehehe

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March 12, 2012
11:04 am
Steven
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About a year ago (after wearing Invisible Shoes for 18 months or so), I sold almost all of my shoes on eBay! Laugh

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April 20, 2012
6:02 pm
Eli
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April 20, 2012
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I have been running in VFF's for a while, because that was easily the most publicized minimal footwear when I started. Now I wear a pair of Unshoes sandals when on really rough trails, but usually I run barefoot. I am waiting to get some money to get a pair of I-Shoes within the next month!

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August 2, 2012
11:28 pm
milina788
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July 27, 2012
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 I have tried so many shoes as five fingered and huaraches but the level of comfort I have found in Clarks shoes is awesome and to have and wear those shoes is also a nice experience for me and I can say that you can wear them for 24 hours continuously and still you can feel the comfort of those shoes because they are highly comfortable and affordable too. Your five fingered shoes are also good and they have great hold for running.  

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