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Trail Shoes without elevated heels.
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Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Trail Shoes without elevated heels. on 03/31/2009 13:32:26 MDT Print View

In trying to develop a more natural walk and prevent my chronic shin splints, I'm considering whether my shoes are part of the problem. With the elevated heel of almost every shoe out there (from dress to trail runners), I find it difficult to make a neutral foot placement instead of landing hard on my heels.

I'm not ready to (ever) hike barefoot on rocky trails, as much as I enjoy reading all of Barefoot Ted's Adventures.

It seems that a good first step would be to find shoes that have even thickness soles from front to back. This would be for hiking on rocky trails and walking on concrete sidewalks.

Any suggestions? Have you gone down this path and found it to work or not?


Edited by jimqpublic on 03/31/2009 13:35:57 MDT.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
salomon tech amphib on 03/31/2009 13:56:35 MDT Print View

i've been wearing these for several years now - used to have chronic plantar fasciaitis

they have a lot less slope than other shoes - i don't think they are completely level, but closer to it

i wear them for everyday as well as hiking/backpacking

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
Have a look at These on 03/31/2009 14:05:10 MDT Print View

Hey Jim,

I have always had a problem with pronating, causing me to ware out shoes really quickly. I gave these shoes a shot and wile they are not totally "bare foot" they are as close as I would every try and I have not felt better in any other piece of foot ware in my life. You get all of the bare foot advantages with-out the worry of stepping on a thorn or some glass or what ever and cutting your feet to shreds. They take some major getting used to but I hiked 8 miles in them yesterday with a full pack -20lbs ish and I feel good considering I am still trying to break in my feet. So Here you go I got the KSO's and really like them.

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
Don't laugh on 03/31/2009 14:08:05 MDT Print View

They do look different but they are really comfy once you get used to them. And they really do strengthen up your foot and leg muscles so when you do ware regular shoes you don't have as many problems.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Trail Shoes without elevated heels on 03/31/2009 14:58:41 MDT Print View

Earth Shoes! Hey, I remember the 70's.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Earth Shoes... on 03/31/2009 15:42:22 MDT Print View

I was more of the 2nd grader Wallaby set, but I remember them too. The internet is a wonderful thing and on it you can find people building a whole lifestyle around their integration with nature through their bowel habits (humanure handbook); barefoot living; or even backpacking with minimal equipment.

I want trail shoes that protect my feet from hard pointy rocks and city shoes that protect my feet from human excrement on the sidewalk and the disapproval of my bosses.

Earth shoes have a heel below the toes. Normal shoes have the heel above the toes. The natural condition has them level.

I also wear orthotics to correct a forefoot varus and rearfoot valgus... basically without the orthotics I walk like a duck and get sore knees and hips.

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Inov8 Shoes on 03/31/2009 15:49:48 MDT Print View

These might fit the bill. Minimalist shoes that protect your feet while allowing you to feel the trail.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Trail Shoes without elevated heels on 03/31/2009 15:51:44 MDT Print View

So something like a Birkenstock.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Nike Free 3.0 on 03/31/2009 15:55:40 MDT Print View

I'm going to look for some of the Nike Free 3.0 at something less than retail price. Another possibility is cross-country racing flats. New Balance 790 came up in a search for "mid-foot strike" running shoes. Plus I'm trying to spend more time barefoot.

Edited by jimqpublic on 03/31/2009 16:00:58 MDT.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Trail Shoes without elevated heels on 03/31/2009 16:16:00 MDT Print View

I got a pair of New Balance 840s that have significantly lower heals than other trail runners. I've used and I like them a lot. Very comfortable and excellent traction. They run small so needed to size up a 1/2. The 790s don't come in widths so didn't work for me.

I previously tried RX505 cross country runners. Also comfortable and extremely light weight, but no traction on steeper slopes.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Tennis Shoes? on 03/31/2009 18:15:54 MDT Print View

Most running shoes are designed for runners who use their heals a lot. Thus they have a lot of cushion there, but not much in the front. They aren't trying to give you high heals, but that is the result of the added cushion. Shoes designed for tennis or basketball usually have the same amount of cushion all around. You might consider heading over to a Big-5 store (the land of cheap shoes) and checking out the various options. I know someone who used to hike wearing Air Jordans (basketball shoes). Those were high tops, but I imagine you can find low top equivalents (whether for basketball or tennis).

Robert Devereux
(robdev) - F

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Trail Shoes without elevated heels on 03/31/2009 18:21:13 MDT Print View

I went on a largely fruitless search for completely flat shoes last year. The best I was able to find were from Inov-8. They still elevate the heel a bit, but not as much as many other brands.

The Vibram FiveFingers are quite interesting, but I haven't really enjoyed them. There's no cushioning so they're not good for long walks in the city. I got blisters when using them on gravel. Completely off trail they seemed good.