I so totally want a pair of Soft Star shoes after reading these threads. Do they work well for various climates/terrains?
I so totally want a pair of Soft Star shoes after reading these threads. Do they work well for various climates/terrains?
I have worn my Merry Janes throughout the Humid and Hot NC summer. This is my first winter, and winters aren't usually super cold here. I think I'm going to order a pair of the fleece innersoles. Handknit socks help with warmth most days though. If you are concerned about very cold climate, you could spring for the Phoenix boots. If I didn't already have a pair of similar EMU Australia boots I would.
As for different terrains, I haven't had any issues with mine. I haven't been mountain climbing, but I have worn the MJ's to hike/scout out many properties on our house hunt this past year. I wore my Ballerine flats on a tour of a summer camp facility and the terrain varies significantly from gravel, to root filled paths. I had no problems, other than irritating leaf bits in my shoes.
If I were trying to do anything with speed, I would probably want the run-a-mocs or at minimum the Ramblers to ensure the shoe would stay with my foot. The MJ's and BF's are very secure for walking though.
Thanks dorayme!!! I think I am going to pick up some Merry Janes for winter -- they're adorable!
Trying to revive this thread: but I am interested in Soft star shoes.
I have plantar fasciitis, pretty bad in my right foot. Bad enough that at the moment I can only wear Dansko clogs (the closed back ones, they have the best support) and Birkenstock sandals. I also have a small bunion on said foot. I went to a podiatrist and before even really telling me what he was doing I got a cortisone shot in my foot. It sucked. But he has done little else to help me, saying the cortisone would take care of things. Anyway I have read a bit on minimalist footwear and I see that it can help plantar fasciitis in some cases by strengthening the foot, but other publications say that it can aggravate it. Best info I have found said for people to transition slowly, by retraining the gait. Anyway I am thinking of buying a pair of softstar shoes and giving it a go. Does anyone have advice as to how to transition from regular to minimalist shoes? I don't run anymore, so I wouldn't be working out, just walking around.
@atarango1: sucks about the PF. And worse: who gives a shot without warning? Jeez.
As for retraining, what I would suggest is to start indoors with your new minimalist shoes. Put them on at work (assuming you're inside and sitting for at least some part of the day) and go barefoot or in socks at home. If you get SoftStars, you will definitely feel the floor, and it is possible that you may begin forefoot-stepping naturally. If you don't, you may have to consciously tell yourself to step toes-first rather than heel first. I'd suggest doing this for a week and seeing how your feet feel. Then, if the weather allows, take some walks in your shoes. It may be best to start out on grass, since it's a much more forgiving surface than pavement. I think even 10-15 minutes of walking a day can be helpful. You will gradually build muscle in your calves and feet, and your toes will begin to splay more naturally to get a grip on the ground. As your feet get stronger, you can wear your new shoes longer, and gradually move away from the others.
NB: you may need to exercise a lot of patience during this process. Danskos/Birks have a ton of support and really immobilize the foot, so it could take some time before you feel like your feet have adjusted and your gait recalibrates. However, once this process happens, I think you could switch to normal shoes for a period of time and then back to minimalist footwear without much of a readjustment process. After a long midwestern winter, it only takes my feet a few days to feel normal again in fivefingers or zero-drop zori/flipflops. Hope this helps, and that relief is forthcoming!
I limit myself to 2 prs. Of shoes. I always wear my Vasco trail shoes on the plane and take leather Teva sandals (OK for long walks, a dressier look, and submersible) as we predominantly travel to hot humid places. To the occasional trips to cooler climes, it's the trail shoes again but with Naot cross straps (just fine for dressier look and long walks, with or without socks).
Thanks for all the advice Badger.
I bought a pair of soft star shoes, the Merry Janes in silver and at first I was like, hmm. But it feels kind of neat to be able to feel the ground.
Unfortunately because of my car accident I have been on crutches for two weeks and now a cane and I can't walk right, so now is not the time to begin retraining my feet to the new shoes, but I hope once my knee is healed (bone bruises, a torn ligament,nothing serious. Just bothersome and slightly painful) that I can work on the barefoot shoes. The best thing about the soft stars is that they are so light, it's like wearing nothing!
I just found this thread and have enjoyed reading everyone's shoe recommendations for travel, and wanted to tell you about my favorite minimalist travel shoes for those of you looking for another option.
(Background: I love minimalist running and have been doing it for 4 years with no injuries. It took about 6 months to slowly transition, but my legs, feet, and knees feel so much better than they used to in thick-soled running shoes. I got a knee injury which is what made me switch to minimalist shoes in the first place. The biggest downside to wearing minimalist shoes all the time is that your feet get spoiled by the freedom and comfort, and start screaming if you try to cram them into heels or tight toe boxes. I find raised heels of any height virtually intolerable now. They make my whole body ache.)
I recently took a 2-week trip to France and my indispensable travel shoes were the Vivo Barefoot Evo IIs. They're my go-to shoes for any trip that requires closed-toed shoes. They are "hydrophobic" (water resistant, clean off easily), have a reasonable tread on the bottom which made them good for street running or offroad hiking, they are dark blue so they blend in with my jeans when sight-seeing or going to a restaurant (they don't look as obviously American or sneaker-like). Plus, they're small and form-fitting to your foot, they pack down to nothing, and they are blissfully comfortable like slippers, and they make your foot look smaller than traditional shoes. They have an inner lining which made them warm enough to wear in cold climates, but I've even worn them running in Dallas in the summer, and found them no hotter than any other shoes.
I also like that they're made of vegan and recycled materials. The honeycomb top is made of recycled water bottles. The sole is only 4mm thick.
Here's the style/color I have:
Vivo Barefoot Women's Evo II Shoe - at Moosejaw.com
All that said, if you're not already accustomed to minimalist shoes, you may not find them as comfortable as cushioned shoes. If you have some sort of foot condition (bunions, overlapping toes, plantar fasciitis), you may not even have the option to go minimalist. But my husband, daughter, son-in-law and I all wore different versions of Vivo shoes while we were there, walking many miles a day, hiking, etc. It's a great brand, and they all rave about them. My husband owns only 2 pairs of shoes now, both from Vivo.
But I don't use them in really hot climates. I'm going to Phoenix soon for a shorter trip, and will bring only my Xero huaraches for running/walking, and black leather flip-flops to wear as my "nice shoes."
Another shoe recommendation, a favorite of my daughter-in-laws, are the Merrell Vapor Gloves. They have thin, porous uppers, and feel very close to socks. I don't wear them in the rain or mud since they feel more fragile, so I tend to use them indoors as house shoes, at the gym, or for occasional dry-condition road runs. They feel like you have nothing at all on your feet. I got mine in black so they're not as conspicuous (I wear then to work a lot.) These crush down even smaller than the Vivo's, and I can fit my size 10s in the bottom pocket of my Synapse 19 along with running skirt and shirt, with no problem. They take up less room than most flip-flops and are more flexible.
Here are the ones I have: Women's MERRELL Vapor Glove Running Shoe Black Shoes.com
I love Vivo Barefoots! I have a pair of Lucy Lites (more like normal sneakers than high-performance running shoes) that I wear regularly in spring/summer when it's a bit too rainy for sandals, and a pair of black Mary Janes that are perfect for travel, as they fasten with velcro and can be slipped off in a trice. I might have to get their Gobi ladies' desert boot for winter - I have a pair of Doc Martens faux motorcycle boots, but they rub on my calves unless I wear long socks with them.
My favourite non-minimalist (and totally non-sport!) brand is Josef Siebel, as they make lots of near-flat designs that are pretty without being OTT "girly" - my all-time favourites are a pair of dark blue leather slip-ons with a punched-out daisy-pattern all over the upper, which makes them nice and cool for summer wear. They're a good alternative to the MJs for that reason, but are starting to wear out :(
It's fun to see this thread resurrected. I love shoes and that's usually the thing I have the hardest time limiting myself on. I want comfort and style.
I saw earlier in the thread that some people have mentioned loving their Keen Newport H2s. I had these for many years but fairly recently "upgraded" to the KEEN Whispers. They are much lighter weight and a little less bulky. They smoosh pretty flat for a pack and work for a lot of warmer (and wet) terrain. I also like that there is neoprene around the ankle, so instant wearability and nor rubbing for blisters. They were perfect for a ton of different outdoor activities in Costa Rica this year.
When I travel for business or don't mind a little bulk in my bag for heels, the Fluevog Hopeful Luxon is hands down the most comfortable pair of heels I own. I can walk all day in these even with problem, arthritic feet. Plus they have fun colors and styling. They are expensive but have been worth every penny (especially when you can find them on sale).
For flip-flops, another shoe that's worth the slightly higher price is the Teva Mush. They are so comfortable and durable.
And when I need a shoe that's cute enough for dinner but also one I can do a lot of walking and standing in, I usually wear (and wear on the plane because they're a little bulky) the Dansko Sam.
For trainers, I like lightweight, but my feet need more than what a lot of the barefoot styles offer. I generally take a (now discontinued) pair of Nike Free 5.0s or Brooks Pure Connect. Both are very lightweight, give me the support I need, dry out quickly when they get wet, provide a lot of breathability, and are quite squishable to fit in a bag easily.
Generally I take my flip-flops and then 1-2 other pairs. For business travel, I may sneak in a 3rd pair since I don't need as many clothes and have room and weight-space.
I ordered a pair of Luna Mono sandals today after realizing that, although I love them, the SoftStar Ballerines are not really the best choice for chasing kids around a park with fountains, LOL. But, they are way more comfortabl than the one pair of flip flops I have, so, didn't have much of a choice. I'm also looking forward to trying them out on some hikes this summer.
I just saw Xero has a new shoe, the Amuri Cloud. I am curious to try a pair of these in the future, but I'm not loving any of the color choices (too bad they don't have a Black/Purple offering). I wish I could combine the style and fun of Sskeo Designs with a minimalist sole. That would be my dream summer shoe. I thought about just punching more holes in a pair of Xero DIY, but I would only be able to use the cords, not ribbons or ties. . .
@Dorayme I will have to check out the Xeros. Hopefully I'll get the lunas in a week and a half or so, and can start testing them out.
@NWhikergal cool! Did you get the MGT footbed or the leather? I decided to go with the MGT but I'm slightly concerned about some of the reviews that say that material has causes hot spots/blisters. I'm hoping it won't be the case for me.
Good luck! I will be curious to hear your impressions.