I wanted to wait until I’d become a bit more consistent with my exercise routine and could adequately feel how these shoes were on my feet day in and day out. I wore them most of the time when out and about, so it’s not like I bought them specifically for exercising. And I gotta say, my feet love me for buying these shoes.
I got my first pair in September and ended up buying a few more. Now I have more pairs of shoes than I’ve ever had in my life, but they’re all pretty good from the feel of things. No problems yet these past 6 months with wear and tear on the minimalist shoes, so that’s already a point in their favor.
Been wearing my yellows lately (pic of Joomra brand from the big A store, ya know)
Like any shoes you buy, there’s some “breaking in” aspect. But it didn’t take long for these at all. They actually felt just fine, and considering I tend to have wider feet than average, the wide toe space in the ones I selected was bloody fantastic. My feet don’t feel pinched and cramped anywhere. At times they feel a bit too loose (depends on the style and the socks I wear), but they’ve got adjusters on them so I can squeeze the shoe a little more so it fits better.
Now, I’ll admit there isn’t much traction on these shoes compared to typical cross trainers and the like (at least, not as deep of cuts and grooves, and you might slip on wet ground a bit easier. But if you’re doing indoor work or casual walking, these are great shoes. I love that I could get a bunch of different colors and patterns and they were all about $40 or less when I went on my impulse shoe spree (only time I EVER went on a shoe shopping spree in my life–guess I’m just “not that girly”).
Now, on jagged ground with loose rock, these might not be the best shoes. Of course, most athletic or walking shoes wouldn’t do so well in those conditions either, so it’s par for the course.
What impressed me most is that for most of the past 14 days, I’ve been working out day after day and wearing those shoes on the elliptical and up and down the road. I have a tendency toward shin splints that usually occurs in the 3rd or 4th day of a workout streak. Well, I haven’t even had a twinge of pain that would signal a shin splint in two weeks.
I’m also one of those people who tend to have their feet get that pins and needles feeling on ellipticals or treadmills. Maybe it’s the placement of the foot, or my terrible posture, I don’t really know (need to research again). Those instances have occurred a LOT less often now. In fact, the only time that feeling started to happen was when I was doing 2 iFit courses in a row (had a lot of energy to burn that morning), which totaled over an hour on the machine. Didn’t start getting that feeling in my feet til about the 50 minute mark, and even then it was a lot less than in previous years. I just shifted my feet around a bit more and lifted them in full movements and it started to go away.
I love these crazy shoes I have now. I couldn’t believe how over-engineered athletic shoes were becoming, and even basic cross trainers seemed to need me to have inserts put in to make my fallen arches feel better. The sides would pinch, and it was just unpleasant. I’ve got a rather snug pair of cross trainers that are black and I can wear about anywhere and sometimes use as basic walking shoes on slick ground for traction, I took the laces out of my shoes because they’re totally unnecessary–there’s THAT much padding. I still love my Vans and my Converse shoes and wear ’em once in a while. The athletic shoes, though, I can only wear with the thinnest ankle socks I have for short periods of time. Unless I put arch inserts in (and sometimes even when I do), my feet get those tingles. They’re useful shoes for getting through a rain-soaked yard, but otherwise, I’ll stick to the minimalist ones.
I’m surprised a lot of major shoe manufacturers haven’t jumped on this minimalist bandwagon. Maybe they think it’ll hurt their brand or offend their engineers (or advertising department who have to justify why you need to drop hundreds on a new pair of shoes).
Well, got plenty of pairs (for fun and being colorful) in the closet just in case brands or designs change and it takes me a while to find a decent equivalent (which is honestly the main reason I got so many–shopping the “big A” sucks sometimes with lesser-known brands in the catalog). I’m just glad I don’t have to use acupuncture mats all the time to take the edge off the pain anymore.
So, these shoes work well with basic workouts and walking. If I did jogging for a few miles out in the open on the side of the road, I still think they’d be fine (as long as it wasn’t too wet). Perhaps this time next year I’ll give that a shot and write about how it goes.
ADDENDUM: Found this vid about someone else who got into minimalist shoes and why just this morning (3/20) and felt you might like a guy perspective. Now I wanna find more vids and reviews: