Dirty Feet: My Favourite Minimal Footwear
First and foremost, the introduction to this post could simply be the tip: Read this book.
No seriously. Whole Body Barefoot has every question and answer you could possibly need to guide you through the transition to minimal footwear. Because it is a transition. It's a segue that can and should take time. In my case, it took so long I can't quite remember how it began.
I could say it began three years ago when a loose bone fragment was found in my foot that prevented me from being about to wear shoes with an elevated heel.
Or, I perhaps it started four years ago, when a chiropractor told me I needed metatarsal pads in my shoes instead of suggesting I build up the strength in my foot.
How about ten years ago when I wore my first pair of high heels and started to get a bunion? "Wtf?", said I.
It could have even commenced in high school when I was fitted with expensive orthotics, another band-aid solution, in lieu of realigning my serpentine posture.
Maybe I can really push it and suggest it all began when I was a child, running around barefoot and fancy free every summer at the lake; moulding callouses that could handle any rocky beach or gravel road on my tiny path.
But really, this intro isn't even necessary. Just read --or listen to!-- Whole Body Barefoot and let my girl, Katy B. show you what's up.
My List of Barefoot Shoes
What I am currently wearing:
*Disclaimer: Some of the shoes mentioned in this post were purchased during my footwear transition. Which means they are not entirely 'barefoot'. That being said, some of them are still in excellent condition and I will continue to wear them interchangeably with my most minimal of shoes until the time is right to trade them in.
- Sandals: Now that I no longer live in a snowy region, I am aiming for a 'Sandal 365' year. Everyday my tootsies are free to breathe in sandals and can easily slip into barefoot time or for a wiggle in the sea. These ones from Earthrunners are my favourite. I have an older version of the Circadian that I put so may kilometres on that I tore the strap off. Don't worry, Earthrunners is awesome and will be fitting them with some shiny new straps soon enough. I also have the thicker soled version (Alpha, 11mm sole) and I don't love them. I initially got them for walking on concrete as I thought the thicker sole would be smoother for long city walks. But I find them just to clunky and stiff. But if you are looking to make the transition to minimal sandals or are still in the process, I recommend them. Bonus: use my mister's discount code 'stefano10' for 10% off your order at the checkout.
- Fitness: For running and working out in a gym setting where shoes are mandatory, I've been wearing these from Vivobarefoot. The super wide toe box is extremely comfortable and I barely notice I have shoes on. These shoes are the shit (that's a good thing)!
- Tall boots: I bought a version of these boots a couple of years ago from a consignment shop and love the look and feel. Though they are not completely zero-drop, the sole is very flexible and the toe-box has tons of wiggle room. Trippen is a stellar handmade brand from Germany and the quality is primo! I feel sexy in these boots and love wearing them with leggings, culottes and chunky sweaters.
- Hikers: I have had these from a few seasons now and I love how warm and waterproof they are. They have that Doc Marten feel that the nineties child in me vibes on. But unfortunately, they don't fit my foot particularly well. My toes got banged up in them on a long hike (8 hours) and I get a bit of heel slippage. But Stefano has a pair and loves them and I know others that do too!
- Comfy Everyday Kicks: I have these minimal and clean slip-ons from Camper and they feel so good it's like I'm only wearing socks. The sole is an even elevation throughout and the upper is so flippin' soft I can't believe it. This is also the pair of shoes I get the most compliments on --at least ones every time I wear them. In fact, these are my fancy shoes that I wear when I get dressed-up.
- Winter boots: I did a lot of winter hiking and snowshoeing this past winter in the freezing Canadian Rockies and needed a pair to keep me warm in -30C and knee-deep snow. I found a pair by Pajar Canada that were the closest to a zero-drop that I could find. The style I bought is no longer available, but these ones are similar.
What I am coveting:
- Hikers: To be frank, these boots by Vivobarefoot are the hikers that I wanted from the get-go. But the price converted into Canadian dollars didn't fit into my budget. So I got the Lems (which are a fraction of the cost) and will wear them until getting this pair is within reason. Since I already have a pair of the trainers, I know the Trackers will be a worthy investment.
- Five-fingers: Ugh. The Vibram five fingers have been a tough one for me. I know, I know, as Daniel Vitalis put it in the F*ck Shoes episode of his podcast (which for the dudes out there, I would recommend listening to for a great list of guy footwear) wearing shoes for the sake of fashion is one of the most fragilis things ever. BUT I JUST-- wait a second, these one's are actually super cute. I saw a friend wearing them a couple weeks ago with a dress and thought they looked fantastic. Definitely in black or red though, I'd get the beige dirty too quickly.
- Boots: All of the current boots by OTZ. The end.
- Moccasins: I love the look of the lowrider 'Lynx' or 'Lion' moccasins by Into the Wild. Hand-made and absolutely beautiful. I would pair them with dresses, rolled up pants, or sun-kissed bare legs.
- Ballet Flats: Soft Star is a brand of handcrafted shoes that have been on my radar for a few years now. I love the classic look of they're ballet flats and bonus, you can design a custom pair here. I would go with the vegetable- dyed 'chianti' and maybe a pop of colour on the heel in 'turquoise' or 'watermelon'. These flats would be the perfect 'office-friendly' shoe that I get asked about so often.