Barefoot shoes

conor78

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Has anyone any experience of using barefoot type shoes for training. I know there are some runners who use them and I can see how they might work with kettlebells. Barefoot is best option but in a cold garage I need another option. I normally use a flat shoe (Adidas samba)
 

silveraw

Level 6 Valued Member
I was full on five fingers for a couple years.

I still preferred just barefoot weight training. VFF's are closer to wearing chuck Taylors than being barefoot for me. I've talked to many other people that feel that VFFs are closer to barefoot than they are to chucks. So mileage may vary.
 

Eyetic

Level 5 Valued Member
I love barefoot and I run or walk barefoot as much as possible. Other than barefoot I use the Merrel's shoes of which I have two kind: Vapor Glove and Trail Glove, outsole on both are very thin being the only difference the profile on the bottom; the Trail one has more grip and the vapor is more for road and flat surfaces.

Vibram, Xeroshoes, Merrell, Inov and there are some other marks out there, the important is that they are completely flat (defined as zero drop) and the thickness which is around 4 to 7mm normally (sole and outsole). There are some pretty cheap and poor on amazon if you want to try them out WHITIN (my wife uses it at home and they are...fine once you take out the outsole)

At home for training I use the Vapor Glove if I feel my feet cold, otherwise completely unshod.
 

SamB

Level 2 Valued Member
I mostly wear minimalist (or no) shoes. My favourite shoes for training used to be the Merrell Trailgloves. That was a while ago and judging by the responses above the Vapor glove may be an improvement.

What I liked about them was they had a decent barefoot feel but still a decent grip on the floor. And while the toebox is wide enough for spreading, the midfoot hugs the actual foot enough that my feet felt secure inside the shoe.
 

jtsang

Level 5 Valued Member
I have a pair of Xero Prios I really enjoy for everything. I also have a pair of Skinners which is the closest thing to barefoot I have tried. It is more of a sock than a shoe, but does a great job.
 
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Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
Has anyone any experience of using barefoot type shoes for training. I know there are some runners who use them and I can see how they might work with kettlebells. Barefoot is best option but in a cold garage I need another option. I normally use a flat shoe (Adidas samba)
I love barefoot training. I run in sandals and I train barefoot or in a "barefoot" shoe or boot. What kind of input are you looking for? I haven't tried kettlebelling in sandals, but I have in shoes and boots - I actually prefer the boot because the sole is stiffer and the lugs give great traction in frosty grass. I've used a couple brands over the years but my favorite with what's out there now is Xero - Prior (shoe, worn daily), Excursion (boot), sandal (Z-trek).
 

Alan Mackey

Level 6 Valued Member
All the above plus Vans and New Balance Minimus.
Two things about the Minimus:

- They have a 4mm. drop, which makes them a wonderful transition shoe. It took me close to two years and several pairs of Minimus to become a minimalist runner.

- They tend to stink to high heaven. Seriously.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Ninety percent of my training is barefoot. I'll use chucks or vans for KB athletic drills occasionally. Running is with altra solstice or vanish xc. Clients I have that wear the minimus also wear socks. Haven't noticed any stench. The trail model has good grip in the dirt and grass. If I was training in a cold garage I would throw down a piece of carpet and go barefoot. Shoes if I needed them would be a 50 buck pair of chucks or vans.
 

John DeStefano

Level 5 Valued Member
I don't like Merrell. They fell apart pretty easily, both Vapor and Trail. Never owned the Minimus, but when I tried them on they pinched my pinky toe too much. The best minimalist shoes I've owned are Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot. They are both a bit bulkier and pricier than Merrell and Five Fingers, but hold up longer. Xero Shoes come with an insert for more comfort if needed and which are good for insulation in the cold. If you want true barefoot feel, you just gotta go barefoot.
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Xero Shoes have been my regular day to day and training shoes for last couple of years.

But I think of them as minimalist more than barefoot.

I wear shoes because I want some degree of cushioning and protection, even if it is minimal. I like the feel of zero drop shoes without a lot of cushioning, but don't chase the idea of approximating the feel of not wearing shoes at all. The expression "barefoot shoes" just strikes me as oxymoronic and silly.

For everyday wear, there are some drawbacks to minimalist shoes. The low stack height means that stepping in even the shallowest puddle is going to soak your feet, and your pant legs can't be too long or the cuffs will drag on the ground and catch under your heels.

Also, since I have very painful grade 4 arthritis in my ankles, Xero shoes are a little too minimal to be comfortable for long walks with my dog on paved streets and sidewalks. So I recently got some Altra Lone Peaks for that purpose. They are zero drop and have a wide toe box, although the midfoot/instep is very snug (bordering on too snug for comfort, for me). The Altras are more comfortable for long walks (although walking is painful regardless of what shoes I wear), but I'm glad to take them off as soon as I'm done.

I used Chucks and Vans for general wear and training for a long time, but got frustrated by the lack of toe room.
 

Benjamin Renaud

Level 7 Valued Member
I have VFF, a pair of XERO Prio and a pair of Lems Primal2. For training I find VFF closest to barefoot. XERO and Lems both work well too. If you plan on running with them I found my Lems less noisy than the XERO.
 

Nacho

Level 5 Valued Member
I train barefoot, but Im intersted in trying barefoot shoes for walking. Should I get ”running barefoot shoes” or ”training barefoot shoes”... ?
 

Eyetic

Level 5 Valued Member
I train barefoot, but Im intersted in trying barefoot shoes for walking. Should I get ”running barefoot shoes” or ”training barefoot shoes”... ?
Actually are the same, barefoot or as @Steve W. corretly pointed out "minimalist" differ on total thickness and grip, normally all of them are zero drop (completely flat) and wide front for your fingers to extend, I would say to try to find the one that suits you better on local stores if possible and then buy them online. I'm a big lover of Ebay and I search on it a lot for minimalist shoes, people tend to buy these as they get "trendy" during the year and then they realize that there's no magic about it (specially runners who keep smashing their heels running on these, big NONO), so you can easily buy a pair on Ebay for half their price and completely new. (got my last pair of Merrell trail gloves for under 50 USD for example and they were like new)
 

Benjamin Renaud

Level 7 Valued Member
@Nacho just make sure you try on a few different brands before buying one. I found that most commercial brands don't have a shape that fits my foot. Merrell, New Balance both don't fit me. Vivobarefoot, Xero and Lems all have a similar shape that lends itself very well to my feet. Either find a place with free returns or try them locally like Eyetic mentioned.
 

Michael Scott

Level 7 Valued Member
I have had Vibram Five Fingers for many years before working with kettlebells. I find them perfect to do swings and get ups. If I am not barefoot, I am wearing my VFFs.
 
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