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Minimalist Shoes http://www.minimalistshoes.org Minimalist Shoes | Barefoot Running & Foot Freedom Thu, 22 Nov 2012 07:00:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.12 Invisible Shoe Sale – 20% OFF! http://www.minimalistshoes.org/invisible-shoe-sale-20-off/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/invisible-shoe-sale-20-off/#comments Thu, 22 Nov 2012 07:00:41 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=488 Get in on the deal – 20% off invisible shoes!! Click below:

 

If that link is not working, please click here.

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20% off VIVOBAREFOOT Shoes http://www.minimalistshoes.org/vivobarefoot-coupon-code/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/vivobarefoot-coupon-code/#comments Mon, 15 Oct 2012 06:01:22 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=479 VIVOBAREFOOT Coupon Code

From October 15th to November 1st 2012

From October 15th to November 1st 2012 use the VIVOBAREFOOT Coupon Code: “MINIMALISTSHOES20” and get 20% off your order. Click to Buy Now!

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Introducing Invisible Shoes http://www.minimalistshoes.org/introducing-invisible-shoes/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/introducing-invisible-shoes/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2012 17:21:49 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=475 Today we’re excited to introduce one of our new partners, Invisible Shoes!

Working with former lead designers from Nike and Reebok, Invisible Shoes crafts light and simple running sandals known as Hauraches. Here’s the creator, Steven Sashan to tell you more:

Some of the cool perks associated with the sandals:

  • Contoured to fit your foot, without providing unnecessary support
  • “High-abrasion” material lasts a long time
  • Very flexible (great barefoot feel) while still providing strong protection
  • Holds it shape better
  • Slight “toe spring” keeps the sole closer to your foot
  • Sized for feet from 5? to 13? long — many people can use the outsole without trimming! (and there’s less waste if you do)
  • Elegant shape with subtle arch and heel cup
  • Easily customized with just a pair of kitchen scissors
  • Topsole pattern feels soft while providing traction
  • Reinforced, extended, and elevated ankle holes keep lace from wearing out
  • Dual-Chevron tread pattern provides traction under any condition
  • Material includes some recycled stock

Hauraches come in two main styles; 4mm or 6 mm. Each provides something very close to barefoot, if you’re new it’s advised to start with the 6mm, if you’re more experienced, the 4mm is your preferred choise

Since the shoes are basically corded sandals, many people have questions about the viability of actually running in the Invisible Shoes. Most runners report that they notice the string at first, but the sensation quickly vanishes as they get used to the shoes. The cord’s tightness can also be changes and altered to fit one’s preferences. Even the know at the bottom of the sandal is hardly noticeable as it’s not particularly thick. The Vibram sole material also tends to flex to the know as time gives the shoe a flatter shape.

Since the shoes look rather flimsy many people worry that they’re likely to wear out. Invisible Shoes actually provides a 5,000 mile warranty as a way to prove to customers that they believe in their shoes and they’ve yet to have a client wear out a sole yet. The sandals actually take a relatively long time to wear out and runners have been consistently pleased with the duration of their Hauraches. Many runners after switching find that they enjoy the shape of the sandals more as they aren’t stymied by enclosed toes (especially if your feet don’t conform to the typical Vibram Five Finger shape). Barefoot runners who are looking for a bit more freedom may find it here.

Hauraches

One question that’s on many people’s minds is how to actually run in sandals or Hauraches. The website provides videos detailing not only how to run in the shoes, but even how to make your own. The shoes are highly customized to each person. Their simplicity allows them to fit a wide variety of situations. They’re also much cheaper than traditional minimalist shoes or barefoot running shoes, running a price between $15 to $40 depending on sales and types. You’re not risking much by investing in a pair of Hauraches.

All in all it’s worth checking these shoes out. Their main website can be found here. Tell us what you think in the reviews or comments section!

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Barefoot Shoes Review http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-02/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-02/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2012 18:12:38 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=113 Vibram FiveFingers Review: TrekSport (M)

Vibram FiveFingers

After I realized I was getting back pain from standing in my running shoes for a long period of time I decided it was finally time to invest in a serious pair of shoes that would be good for my posture as well as my feet and would be durable enough to be used both on the trail and in the gym. After much research I settled on some of the original creators of barefoot shoes; Vibram Five Fingers.

Vibram Five Fingers

The model I chose was the TrekSport line. I prefer subtle despite the individual toes, so I chose black even though there were orange, silver and red available. The attendant at the store was very helpful pointing out that this particular model was meant for both indoors and outdoors. There were other models available, some obviously designed for outdoor running, some clearly meant for indoors.

Vibram FiveFingers ToesI tried on a variety of pairs, even some of the women’s ones (as it’s hard to tell which are womens and mens) but settled on the TrekSport. The shoe felt comfortable, like it was wrapped around my foot. I promptly bought it, took it home and went for a run right away.

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport

This was definitely a change. My stride felt weird and I hit the ground and felt almost everything. My foot landing was actually entirely different and I didn’t get into the normal rhythm that I usually do. That being said I thoroughly enjoyed running in a different manner. I felt more alive and in touch with nature. I opted to run off the path at points to test the shoes out on hard ground and grassland where they held up remarkably well.

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport

The next day I entered the gym and the shoes of course drew some stares but nothing out of the usual. I went about my workout and the shoes held up just fine, there were some adjustments, ie. Trying to ride the bike you need to tighten the foot straps much more, also the shoes gave me more sensation when pushing off any surface.

Vibram Five Fingers Strap

I’ve owned the Vibrams for a while now and I’ve got to say they’re better than my old running shoes. They give me more feeling, feel better on my legs and and more comfortable. There was a switching over phase however. In the beginning I was getting some hot spot on the midsole of my right foot. Another oddity was that the vibram pinky toe slips didn’t fit my pinky toes at all. They were much too large. This wasn’t a problem as the pinky toe is negligible, but I feel it might be a problem for other people who have too small or a large a big toe.

Vibram Five Fingers Side Blister

The part of the shoe that originally caused the hot spot when I first started using minimalist running shoes

Vibram Five Fingers Toes Pinky

This was much more space than I needed in the Vibram pinky toe area

The shoes are a 4/5. I think they could go up in the future if the shoes become more customized to the foot. I also think the switching over phase is definitely a hassle if you’re a serious runner. I’m absolutely glad I decided to go for minimalist running shoes, but it took some time to make the transfer over. If you’re looking for a good pair of mimimalist shoes, I’d definitely check out the Five Finger series.

Oh and one of the best features – you can just stick them in the washing machine when they’re dirty to clean them! So easy and so simple.

 

If you have a minimalist shoe review of your own that you would like to be posted, please send it along with any pictures necessary to: minimalistshoes@minimalistshoes.org

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Are Minimalist Shoes just a Fad? http://www.minimalistshoes.org/are-minimalist-shoes-just-a-fad/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/are-minimalist-shoes-just-a-fad/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2012 13:17:38 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=146 The Minimalist Shoes Trend

Whenever we see something new and a little outrageous we immediately being to question the actual value of the invention. It’s natural, many things come and go, there was the Acai berry craze, children’s obsession with Pokemon, there were even pet rocks back in the day that sold for many, many times their worth (I mean come on… they’re rocks).

What’s interesting to note is that there are trends that start big then fade and fizzle, and then there are trends that start, stay strong and eventually becoming integrated into society. Some of the most common examples include items in the technology world. The Internet took some time to catch on. Smartphones started off as nifty toys but eventually became integral to most businesses. So knowing that, what’s the difference between a rock and a smartphone? Why did one trend dissipate and the other explode?

Barefoot Trend Comparison

The answer is utility. Minimalist shoes provide a useful and valuable function that adds to someone’s personal success, happiness or enjoyment of life. Pet rocks were a fad, they had no real applicable value, smartphones did. This is why minimalist running shoes are here to stay, they offer an improvement over traditional running shoes in the same way smartphones offer more than traditional cellphones.

We already know why minimal shoes are better, but the fact is that mainstream minimalist shoes are a relatively recent invention and a growing technology that people need to get used to. However it’s interesting to note that coupled with the current trend toward healthier living, more and more people are choosing minimalist running shoes or minimalist shoe for work recognizing the postural and health benefits.

It can take people a long time to see the negative consequences of poor lifestyle choices. The worst part of it is, many side effects of traditional runners don’t show up for many years. It’s because we’ve seen the effects now that we’re learning to return to our barefoot roots.

The market for minimalist shoes is hot and growing right now, but it will eventually settle down and the companies that make the best minimalist shoes will continue on. Often the manufacturers who continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve are the ones that continue to survive. In five or ten years minimalist footwear will likely be in an entirely new place as barefoot technology improves to work naturally with our bodies.

The key takeaway here is that fads and trends only fade when the product or service doesn’t provide any true value. Minimalist shoes help us to start forefoot running and run the way we were meant to. Minimalist footwear brings us closer to walking and running completely barefoot. Humans have been moving barefoot for thousands of years… it’s definitely not a fad.

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Minimalist Shoes vs Actual Bare Feet http://www.minimalistshoes.org/minimalist-shoes-vs-actual-bare-feet/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/minimalist-shoes-vs-actual-bare-feet/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2012 09:51:21 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=134 Are Barefoot Shoes actually Barefoot?

Bare Feet ShoesAhh minimalist shoes… the comfort, the protection, that feeling of running barefoot. Don’t you just love the freedom that you gain? That same feeling your ancestors had when running barefoot across the African Savannah. What’s wrong with running shoes you might ask, well a lot, but that’s a different discussion. Today we’re here to discuss the different between barefoot running shoes and actually running barefoot.

 

It’s become quite popular these days to talk about barefoot freedom or running barefoot all while still wearing shoes. The term “barefoot running” has started to become hazy as minimalist running shoes have entered the pictures with various levels of quality and reliability. If that’s the case, we need to distinguish the differences between using minimalist shoes for running and actually running without shoes on.

We often mention the benefits of minimalist shoes being greater tactile sensation and more balance. Your stride tends to get better and you stop heel striking and begin landing on the forefoot, eliminating some of the excessive strain on your legs. We don’t usually mention that minimalist shoes are still shielding your feet from many of their natural capabilities, even if you’re not using traditional running shoes.

An example we like to use is wearing gloves while typing. If you’re trying to type wearing a pair of gloves the job becomes exponentially harder the thicker and less flexible the gloves become. There is of course a spectrum, a pair of conventional running shoes might be equivalent to a pair of Arctic grade mittens where a pair of good minimalist shoes could be the same as a pair of doctor’s latex gloves. The footwear (or handwear?) is different but in both cases you’re losing something.

Barefoot Shoe Comparison

The key ingredient that’s missing here is tactile sensation. The feeling of mud squirting between your toes, of sand giving way beneath your feet, of your toes gripping something to push off of is muffled by wearing shoes whether they’re minimalist or not. Those who are experienced barefoot shoe users will likely find that the experience of truly running barefoot is still quite different from minimalist footwear.

This however is not the be all and end all. By accepting this point we can recognize both the advantages of going barefoot and using barefoot shoes. Going 100% barefoot might be appropriate on the beach, in your backyard and in a few select locations, for everything else a good set of minimalist running shoes can serve you well.

While it can be easy to nitpick about how much barefoot shoes actually mimic the barefoot feeling they are undoubtedly better than traditional shoes. Foot technology has drastically advanced in recent decades. If you’re aiming to find a pair of shoes that gets the closest possible to truly barefoot, learning about what factors make the best minimalist shoe is important. Offset and sole width are two of the most important.

It’s important to remember that the word “barefoot” when it comes to minimalist shoes is an advertising word or a brand name, you’re only barefoot if you have no shoes on. That being said, innovation in foot technology is bringing us closer to that true barefoot feeling. While we might not be at the point of 100% foot freedom, minimalist footwear is heading in the right direction.

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Forefoot Running with Minimalist Shoes http://www.minimalistshoes.org/forefoot-running-with-minimalist-shoes/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/forefoot-running-with-minimalist-shoes/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 12:07:47 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=141 Forefoot Running

ForefootSo you’ve made the switch to barefoot. You’ve got a nice new pair of minimalist running shoes, the sun is shining, you’ve got a couple hours to kill and you’re feeling like a run might be the perfect activity. Besides you’ve missed your last scheduled run and you’ve got extra energy, you’re really ready to go!

But wait, there’s something you need to learn, something small and quick before you go that will help you understand barefoot running and make the transfer so much easier… forefoot running.

What is forefoot running? Forefoot running is the style of running that is associated with barefoot and minimalist shoes. The overarching goal is to use the balls of the feet as the area to propel oneself forward rather than the heels or the toes. Landing on the forefoot on each stride allows us to absorb shock much more efficiently than we would with conventional running shoes.

Long time runners who don’t use minimalist shoes often get caught in the heel striking trap where each of their strides directs their bodyweight on top of the heel. Instead what we should be doing using the propulsive and breaking muscle to absorb impact and redirect energy into the ground.

Landing on the heel provides no cushion and sends the shock up your legs into into the base of your spine. Old shoes were produced with a heavy cushioned portion in the heel to help remove any force felt by the heel from running in this manner, unfortunately the negative side effects weren’t eliminated, they were merely hidden in the short term. The best minimalist running shoes allow one to run in a comfortable and balanced manner.

Forefoot Running

It’s natural while walking to allow the heel to strike first in the same way it’s natural while sprinting to use the toes to push oneself forward while sprinting. The key is that during jogging, middle distance and endurance running one lands on the balls of the feet. This not only eliminates strain on the legs but also conserves energy enabling you to run farther and tire less rapidly.

Forefoot running can take some getting used to. If you’ve just transferred to minimalist shoes it can take some time to reestablish your stride and running rhythm. Forefoot running generally requires that you take smaller strides and lift your knees more. The action is more of a pump and push off the ground rather than simply stepping forward in a “running walk”. Your cadence may need to increase but likely you’ll find that you naturally get accustomed to minimalist shoes the more you wear them.

Minimal shoes and forefoot running can appear intimidating, sometimes more to the experienced runner rather than the novice. Learning an entirely new style of movement might seem like a big task but in reality it’s much easier than you think. Simple practise and awareness of your own body’s movement will help you to adjust and to run even better than before.

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Barefoot Shoes Review http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-0/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-0/#comments Sat, 16 Jun 2012 18:56:16 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=422 VIVOBAREFOOT Review: Ra (M)

This is a review that’s coming in after 10 months of using the VIVOBAREFOOT Ra, a minimalist shoe for work. As someone who is walking around constantly in a professional environment I really needed barefoot shoes for work. When I saw these online I knew they were by far the best option for a health conscious individual.

VIVO Ra Review

The shoes themselves follow the same basic premise as many of the casual barefoot shoes or barefoot running shoes that I’ve reviewed on here before. You can check out some of the other barefoot shoe reviews as well. The issue that I found with these shoes however is that they had more flaws than many of the others I’ve reviewed in the past.

Barefoot Dress Shoe

The first concern is a small one. The laces always break and I mean ALWAYS. Every pair of VIVO shoes I have ever owned has had the laces break at some point. I recognize that this is a minor issue, but annoying nonetheless, this doesn’t occur with other shoe brands I follow. VIVOBAREFOOT has addressed some of these issues in shoes like the Ultra where there’s no cotton laces but instead a pull strap.

Another issue I found was that the rim of the shoe was quite harsh on my food, especially the area underneath the ankle knuckle bulge. It scraped the skin on a regular basis despite wearing socks. Walking around in barefoot shoes has appeal until your ankle starts to chafe. This issue didn’t go away in time either, it persisted and still persists today. I had to loosen the shoes quite a bit to avoid this which allows my foot to slide around more than I’d like.

Minimalist Work Shoe

In a related note, the back of the shoe began to grow some wear and tear as constantly putting on and removing the shoe bent the back quite a bit. While unattractive it was also challenging to put on without bending the back.

Barefoot Work Shoe

Lastly the inner sole of the shoe continued to ride up the back of the heel. I don’t know if this was accidental poor design or if other VIVOBAREFOOT Ra wearers experienced the same thing. The right sole would always ride up my heel which left a gap in the front of the shoe. Eventually the same thing happened in the left shoe and I remove the soles entirely to avoid the annoying habit of putting the sole back in place.

Barefoot Sole

Despite these malfunctions I still prefer the Ra to other dress shoes which cramp your feet and hurt your lower back with any sort of rise. I do look forward to a barefoot dress shoe that VIVO can produce that eliminate some of these issues. But for the time being I’ll continue to use the Ra. It looks normal (relatively at least) and provides barefoot movement throughout the day. However if VIVOBAREFOOT or any other minimalist shoe producers come out with a new dress shoe I’d likely opt for that model to avoid some of the current issues I’m facing with the Ra.

Overall I’d rate the shoes at a 3/5 stars. They serve their purpose but also have some nagging problems that don’t improve over time.

If you have a minimalist shoe review of your own that you would like to be posted, please send it along with any pictures necessary to: minimalistshoes@minimalistshoes.org (edit)

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Barefoot Shoes Review http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-06/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/barefoot-shoes-review-06/#comments Mon, 21 May 2012 16:47:43 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=379 VIVOBAREFOOT Review: Ultra (M)

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra 2

As far as a shoe conquering multiple types of environments, the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra is the way to go. I’ve sampled this shoe in multiple environments and the shoe provides a new level of proprioception for the wearer. I’ve got to admit, the shoe took a little getting used to, especially on the putting on and off part but it was comfortable to move and run in and especially effective at conforming to one’s foot size.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

The shoes actually come apart into two separate parts, a removable sock layer and a caged outer liner. This system allows for the wearer to avoid actual socks and not have to deal with slipping inside the shoe, a small issue with some of the last VIVOBAREFOOT shoes I’ve sampled. The shoes can be split apart fairly easily and come with a plug-in, antibacterial, stretch mesh tongue for comfort.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

An elastic cord has replaced the laces which makes the shoe nicely adjustable and easy to get on and off. Simply sliding the locking mechanism allows one to firmly lock the shoes and sock around one’s foot which in turn eliminates any slipping or sliding within the shoe, almost giving one the feeling that shoes were custom made.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

Actually running in the barefoot shoe was a step above the majority of the shoes VIVOBAREFOOT has produced in the past. Although one has issued changing direction rapidly as the shoe provide minimal ankle support and a ton of flexion, the actual running experience feels light and airy. The shoes bend and conform to one’s movement and running becomes more more organic and natural. The thin sole accompanied by the sock protects your foot but also allows for a strong sensory feedback.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

I did have some issues taking the shoes on and off, but nothing that one couldn’t get used to. These aren’t shoes that you’re just going to slip on and go. The elimination of laces saves some times, but slipping into a sock and then tightening the shoe ensures that your foot is entirely prepped to go. The on and off process reminded me somewhat of putting on snowboard boots in the sense that you’re really readying your feet to engage in activity.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

Overall I’d rate the shoes at a 4.5/5 stars. They’re comfortable, unique looking and can cover all sorts of terrain. What stops them from getting a prefect rating is that for quick turns or movement, the foot in the sock tends to slip a bit. Intense sports player who needs to turn on a dime may have a slight issue adjusting to the shoes. However it’s this flexibility that allows the Ultras to really give the wearer an even deeper barefoot feel. If you’re planning on going trail running this season or are looking for an excellent road running shoes, the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra is highly recommended!

If you have a minimalist shoe review of your own that you would like to be posted, please send it along with any pictures necessary to: minimalistshoes@minimalistshoes.org

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Minimalist Shoes: What’s Wrong with Traditional Runners http://www.minimalistshoes.org/minimalist-shoes-whats-wrong-with-traditional-runners/ http://www.minimalistshoes.org/minimalist-shoes-whats-wrong-with-traditional-runners/#comments Tue, 08 May 2012 12:31:53 +0000 http://www.minimalistshoes.org/?p=155 How Bad are Running Shoes?

No Traditional Running ShoeRunning is one of the most ancient human motions. As homosapiens learned to walk upright, we eventually learned to run as well. Tracking down food and evading predators or dangerous situations were some of the reasons we relied on our feet and legs to survive. Our species has changed significantly since our start on the African Savannah but evolution is slow; although our technology grows at a rapid pace, our core body structure has remained remarkably similar to our that of our ancestors.

When the ancient man (or woman) began to run he or she relied on a specific style of movement to carry weight evenly across the body and minimize impact on the feet and legs. This style of forefoot running allowed for swift and light movement. When you run barefoot, you rely on the foot’s tactile sensation to feel the ground and your lower leg muscles to absorb the shock as well as to propel you forward with the same energy. Barefoot running is all about making proper use of your foot and body alignment to maximize energy and prevent injury.

Unfortunately these days not everyone makes use of minimalist shoes and we find that the everyday type of shoe that most people use hasn’t changed much in the last century. Running shoes have seen some growth, but for the most part the focus has been on covering up the foot’s natural abilities, rather than unleashing them.

Your foot has 33 joints, 26 bones, and 20 muscles along with many, many sensory receptors. Non-minimalist shoes shield your foot through thick layers of padding and plastic. The result is that we lose tactile sensation in the foot which leads to increased strain with each step. We are unable to properly use the leg and foot muscles to absorb the landing impact and as a consequence send stress into our legs and spine. We begin to heel strike and lost the natural sway of our hips.

Minimalist running shoes solve these problems by offering ultra-thin, puncture resistant soles with zero offset and a host of other benefits that allow one’s feet to move naturally and comfortably. Barefoot running with minimalist shoes is not the same as running completely barefoot but it’s infinitely closer than what most people are doing now. The best minimalist running shoes are actually getting very close to barefoot by employing as little material as possible to make the shoe lightweight and thin to maximize sensory perception in the foot-sole.

Choosing a pair of minimalist shoes can be challenging. We recommend browsing our minimalist shoe reviews to choose a pair of the best minimalist running shoes if your a regular exerciser. Taking action to prevent the pain and potential injuries caused by normal running shoes will make running a pleasant experience for a greater portion of your life. The longer you wait to change, the harder it will be.

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