Shoes, if you Must Wear Them


There are a few charateristics to look for in a minimalist shoe.  For me, the most important thing is a wide toe box and forefoot area.  Your toesies need plenty of room to splay for natural movement of the foot during running and walking.

Secondly, “Zero Drop” it like it’s hot.  “Zero Drop” means that the height at the heel of the shoe is the same as the height at the forefoot and toe of the shoe.  Most traditional running shoes have at least a 12mm “drop” meaning that you are wearing high heeled shoes when you run, which creates the perfect opportunity for you to heel strike and overstride, which will likely lead to injury.

Third, get low, get low.  Choose a shoe with less material and more flexibility underneath your feet, so that you can get as close to the ground as you can.  This way, you can reap the benefits of being connected to the Earth and its energizing frequency.

Lastly, stay away from toe spring. Once you work your way into minimalist running or walking, you’ll realize that your feet and legs are like little springs, you really don’t need any help from the shape of the shoe.  All the toe spring will do for you is shorten your extensors on top of your feet and facilitate pushing off your toes, which may make you more prone to injury.  Specifically, top of the foot or Achilles pain,  common injuries for overly ambitious new barefoot and minimalist runners.

Luna Sandals: I love my Luna Sandals. I have a pair of the Venados for road running and a pair of Leadville Pacers for trail running.  I regularly alternate between my Vibram Spyridons and the Leadville Pacers on the trail.  There’s nothing like freeing your feet.

Merrell Trail Gloves:  I’ve been loving these for the trails, they’ve been great for a little longer distance as they have a little more underneath the foot than the VFFs, and for me they stay put a little better than my Luna Sandals in more technical terrain.  I’ve had great luck with these, although I honestly wish the tread was a little more hearty and maybe another millimeter or two of material between me and the ground would help with the longer races.

Vibram Five Fingers:  With a little pocket for each toe, this shoe really is my favorite “barefoot style” shoe.  I have tried nearly every style.  My current favorite is the See Ya, which I believe is their lightest shoe weighing in at a whopping 3.75 oz each.  I also just purchased their Spyridon, which I intend to use for winter trail running.  These shoes are light, flexible, and allows your toes to splay and form over rocks and roots, improving your balance and intrinsic strength.  Here’s a few pictures of my VFF’s: 

Please visit the VFF website for more information: Vibram Five Fingers

Altras: If I was going to wear an actual shoe to run in, it would probably be this one.  They also don’t have the toe spring, allowing for foot lift instead of pushing off the toes during running.   Here is a link to the Altra Website.

Sanuks:  These are my favorite casual wear shoes, with a nice wide toe box, thin, flexible sole and fun surfer vibe.  I don’t surf, but my husband does, so that makes it ok for me to wear them right?  I’ve had a pair for years now, and they truly are the next best thing to being barefoot on a day to day basis.  Here’s a link to the Sanuk Website.
Invisible Shoes/Xeros: These are my first pair of huaraches, or running sandals.  If you feel like pretending to be a caped member of the Tarahumara as in Born to Run, here’s your chance.  These shoes are wonderful and the least expensive out of this whole bunch.  You can buy your own kit for 29.95 or a custom pair for 39.95.  See my review of them here:

Look how cute my pendant is!

The above shoes are my favorites, but if you have a specific question about a particular shoe, I’d be happy to give my opinon as I’ve tried on just about every minimalist running shoe on the market.  Happy shopping!






12 Replies to “Shoes, if you Must Wear Them”

  1. Hey there! I’ve just been exploring the idea of barefoot running and found your website – it’s super useful, I’d love to be able to run barefoot eventually! I’m 19 and have done little running in the past but am starting now and am running a half marathon soon – I’ve never worn super duper support shoes or run in them because I hate the chunkiness! What kind of shoes do you think would be best to start in? The only shoes I’ve worn for the past 5 years have been flat with fairly thin soles so don’t want to back track to support trainers or anything! Thanks for your website, I’ll be here quite a lot I think!! Nina 🙂

    1. Hi Nina,
      Thanks for your question! And congratulations on beginning to run, considering barefoot running, and considering your first half marathon! That being said, it sounds like you already have too much too soon syndrome 🙂 I say this with love, I promise. If you’re interested in barefoot or minimalist running, it would be wise to first begin by setting a goal just to run barefoot for a few minutes at a time. I always suggest that if you want to be a minimalist runner, you need to be a barefoot runner first. This way, you can learn and appreciate the proper barefoot form. When you’re barefoot, the feedback from your feet help you to correct your form and iron out all the problems that may arise from poor technique. Additionally, the soles of your feet won’t allow you to go too far at first, so you’re not in danger of the “too much too soon” injuries that tend to haunt minimalist runners when they’re trying to train for a half marathon for the first time in minimalist shoes 🙂 So to answer your question, the shoes I would recommend would be NONE! Try that first, then we can talk about potential shoes and maybe even running a half marathon on down the road 🙂 I love your enthusiasm and hope you find the magic in barefoot running.

  2. Hello! I recently stumbled across your blog while researching EarthRunners and was so intrigued I did my first barefoot run this morning. I’m 21 years old and I’ve never been much of a runner. I’ve always seen it as a chore versus an opportunity. I try to do yoga daily as well as kickboxing and eat a primarily vegetarian diet so I keep my arches nice and strong. I’ve been living more holistically for probably 4 months now and have lost 25 pounds! I am a dōTERRA consultant and very much enjoy the life I have found. After reading your blog I ordered my first pair of VFFs (I have been wearing the Fila brand) and Sanuks (which I’ve had on my wish list for a while.) I also decided to order some of Catie’s Organic Greens. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of these things in the mail!

    I do have a question for you, though! I work as a nurse where I obviously have to have close toed shoes and not Vibrams. I was looking into ordering a pair of Altra Eves to keep up my asclosetobarefootaspossible lifestyle but can’t seem to find them in my size. What others do you recommend? Any input would be appreciated!

    Much love, gratitude, and well wishes!
    Shine bright,

    1. Hi Abby! First of all, thank you so much for all your love and support! Congratulations on living such a beautiful lifestyle. I LOVE my Catie’s Greens!! I can’t say enough about those, combination with EnergyBits for all my greens 🙂 Yes, I wear Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves all the time at work, and also Sanuks. The Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove is even more minimalist and I like that one too, just couldn’t justify getting another pair when my Pace Gloves work just fine. Good luck and keep me updated! If you think about barefoot running as playing/an opportunity versus a chore I promise you will never tire of it 🙂

      1. Also check out Lems ( I mow the lawn in the Altra Adams (the men’s version of the Eve — a bit wider), and I wanted a similar shoe that looked nicer for work. I absolutely LOVE my Lems Primal 2’s. They’re the right shape, zero drop, very flexible sole. And they come in a variety of colors.

  3. The Eves got disco’ed, and many of Altra’s new shoes have stack heights like Hokas. Check out Skora. They make some awesome minimal shoes. Nice big toe box, low stack height. Comfy fit. And they look good for the workplace too.

  4. Love your bit about minimalist shoes and great recommendations! I had a question – I just got my first job as a new grad rn and was wondering what you would recommend for a minimalist or barefoot shoe that would also be acceptable to wear on the floor as a nurse? I have worn the Merrill pace glove with the vibrant sole at my pharm tech job for years and I know I won’t be able to transition to non barefoot shoes for my new rn job. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Cathy!!
      I wear the Merrell pace gloves all the time as a PT in an inpatient facility 🙂 I love them!! If you like them I say go for it! I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be acceptable at the hospital 🙂

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