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Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use
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Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/22/2012 22:40:09 MDT Print View

This summer, I began the transition to more minimalist hiking shoes, and I could not be happier. My feet feel stronger and my balance is better.

That said, I started work back up a few weeks ago (I teach high school). Now that my feet are more accustomed to more minimalist shoes, I find that traditional dress shoes feel awkward and leave my feet oddly sore at the end of the day. I've found that the traditional heel really bothers me now. I already have a pair of nice, rather minimal casual shoes--the Asics Onitsuka Tigers with the insole ripped out--that are fantastic to wear, but I cannot wear them to work.

To help solve more problems than just mine, I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread where people can post about their experiences with non-technical minimalist or near minimalist shoes to keep their feet and legs in better shape between trips.

So----to start off, I mentioned the Asics Onitsuka Tigers, which I had to remove the insole before they fit the bill. The insole is glued in, so it does take a bit of force to pull out. Now they have a nice roomy toe box and a midsole with very little cushion that lets me really feel where I am walking. There is a slight heel-toe drop, but nothing significant. These shoes have been worn nearly constantly for the past year, and they are still in excellent shape.

onitsuka tiger

Now, what have the rest of you found?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/22/2012 22:53:19 MDT Print View

I have a pair of black leather vivobarefoot ra's. They fit in well enough for professional work environments. I wore them when working sales for Macy's.a
Vivobarefoot also makes some street worthy shoes, check them out if you haven't already. It really depends what your definition of "minimalist" is though and how flexible you like. Are you talking about sneaker like flexibility or moccasin like flexibility?

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/22/2012 22:59:45 MDT Print View

Converse high tops with the raised rear section of the insole ripped out aren't too bad, but my new pair seem narrower than my old pair. Just ordered some from do some traditional looking shoes. (beaten to the punch)

We starting spring here so I have my Teva Zilch sandals out again.

Edited by jephoto on 09/22/2012 23:00:38 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/22/2012 23:00:23 MDT Print View

I'm not interested in anything technical. I just hope that this thread could be a resource for those like me who don't want to undo the gains of more minimal footwear when not out on the trail. I am intentionally trying to keep the definition vague so as to include a wider range of shoes on the minimalist end of the spectrum.

Also, glad to hear about the VB Ras. I've been thinking about those as a replacement for my current works shoes.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
merrell barefoot and leming on 09/22/2012 23:22:29 MDT Print View

I have some tough gloves that are super comfortable and they don't look too shabby either.
Merrell might also have some other nice casual models. They are completely flat with a wide toe box, and super flexible.

Lemings are nice too:

Even wider toe box, softer and more flexible. Feels like you are not wearing them.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/22/2012 23:44:14 MDT Print View

Sperry Topsiders.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: minimalist shoes for work on 09/23/2012 04:54:32 MDT Print View

I wear trail gloves for running, hiking, and casual use. The tough gloves in brown leather have a similar fit, so they were a natural choice for when I need something dressier. I still own one pair of dress shoes for the rare formal occasion, but other than that, I've gone "full minimalist"

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: minimalist shoes for work on 09/23/2012 09:07:08 MDT Print View

I enjoy wearing my Sanuks to work for casual Fridays or any other day I can get away with it.9

The shoes Justin post above look great for everyday office use.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
Re: minimalist shoes for work on 09/23/2012 09:51:36 MDT Print View

I've just started going minimal in shoe wear. I've always worn high top tennis shoes or boots with orthodics for as long as I can remember, bad feet, weak ankles, etc..
I bought the Brooks Cascadia 7 after reading some post on BPL that this shoe makes a good transition from a boot to a shoe, I think it was John Aleba who recommended them, I also got a lot of information from Damien Tougas (thanks guys) whats nice about my job is I can wear any type of shoe, i.e.. the boss doesn't really care as long as it's not flip flops. I am also going to try the Merrel Bare Access, the main reson for trying these shoes are because I need to try them on for fit, and no other minimal shoe companys have shoes in my town to try on, like Inov-8 or some of the other top names, Bakersfield hasn't really caught on to the minimalist shoe thing yet. Since changing to a minimal shoe, my feet tend to be a little tired and a little sore just from using different muscles, but they are adjusting, hopefuly I won't ever need to go back to orthodics, I'd much rather wear the minimal shoes, they just feel better. Now I have HAPPY FEET!!!

Brooks Cascadia 7


Merrell Bare Access



Edited by jumpbackjack on 09/23/2012 09:57:55 MDT.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
minimalist shoes for everyday use: less=more on 09/23/2012 18:15:00 MDT Print View

i sport golite (spring lite) for my walking regime.
the dropped heel is unique, and i've grown to dig it!
i alternate with ahnu's (no dropped heel).
i cycle in chaco's.
since a thru-hike a decade ago, i can't really tolerate anything thick or heavy on my feet. i practice yoga and walk 'round barefoot as much as possible.
like you, since trading less for more, i've found my balance and posture to have greatly improved (although this i could likely credit exclusively to yoga)?
the golite's i dig, except that i've found the minimalist inserts are TOO minimal. after a good 10-12 miles, my feet HURT. (i've yet to find a suitable replacement). for the record, i haven't much meat on my feet! cushion-wise, the minimalist approach doesn't cut it for me (ok for frontcountry use, but my next thru-hike likely wouldn't be in a minimalist), and while i don't wear minimalist regularly enough to comment on the inability to revert per se, i can confidently add that given the option, when at all possible, i prefer less on my feet. a friend recently gave me a pair of keen cycling kicks (size 8 new, anyone?) the weight alone drove me nuts! no less, i've been practicing yoga for 7 years, and paying significant attention to one's posture (shoes or no shoes) can, and will, govern your footwear needs. hope this helps.

Matthew Naylor

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
vote for vivo on 09/23/2012 18:55:33 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of the Vivobarefoot shoes... Aqua for everyday use, Ra for slightly nicer dress, and Neo Trails for wet weather / hiking.

Patrick O'Neil
(human) - F
Re: vote for vivo on 09/23/2012 19:24:02 MDT Print View

I have a pair of vivo barefoot ra and a pair of vivobarefoot neos. The ras are great for work, the toe box does look pretty wide and not so stylish but they are comfortable. I've worn them with a suit, not sure they work that well with one but not that bad. I findthe ra soles are great for pavement. Oh your heels or achilles i should say might rub the first day or two but they soften quickly.

The neos are for casual wear, the lugs aren't too agressive but you can feel them a bit on pavement. I have worn them for day hikes as well, but I would definitely stick with my inov8 x talon 190s for any mud. I took the insoles out of the neos because they moved around quite a bit. They are fine without insoles.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Old school leather wingtips... on 09/23/2012 19:59:37 MDT Print View

Are often my everyday shoe when I am away from my home office, since I must wear a suit and tie.

The important thing for me is to walk, run, or hike everyday. When I travel for business I always bring a pair of XC flats for this purpose.

The important thing is to keep myself (and feet) in shape between trips by actually running, walking, or hiking. Just wearing minimalist shoes to work isn't going to do it.

Richard Fischel
if i'm no wearing shoes at work, barfoot i'm typically in on 09/23/2012 21:46:11 MDT Print View

Merrill trail gloves or sanuks. No foot fatigue issues in either.

Nick Brown

Locale: Highland Park
Arrow on 09/23/2012 23:27:31 MDT Print View

Arrow moccasins are really nice shoes. They have several styles and aren't too expensive. I think for $8 more they will custom make the shoe to fit your foot. I recommend the double sole which is entirely leather. They really are beautiful shoes that can last forever by being resoled. Their standard sizes are true to size and have quite a wide toe box. Just slightly narrower than Merrel trail gloves. Same ground feel and no heel slip. They are family run in Massachusetts and hand made. I highly recommend them.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/24/2012 01:05:02 MDT Print View

My minimalist shoes for everyday are the same that I wear on the trail: Inov-8 TrailRocs... I haven't found a compelling reason to use anything else. The only time I am not wearing the TrailRocs is when I have we wear a suit, in which case is a pair of vivobarefoot (don't recall model) which is a minimalist shoe that has acceptable looks.


Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Durability on 09/24/2012 08:20:01 MDT Print View

How long do all these things last?

I'm intrigued because I currently use some Ecco's (Sea walkers I think, they seem to come and go from their line) which have non trivial but also reasonably thin and flat PU based midsoles and an upper section, the front part of which will bend over double with just a little effort.

Thin enough that I can tell the difference cf what I'm walking on but also some protection vs debris and the like.

So not minimalist but not a million miles off. The thing is that they're entirely fine for smart things and last 1000 miles+ on tarmac before finally giving up due to the relentless abuse.

In principle I wouldn't mind trying something more minimal, but they'd have to last a vaguely similar amount to make sense.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Durability on 09/24/2012 09:26:43 MDT Print View

I stopped wearing vivobarefoot everyday maybe 5 years ago. My memory is that I was getting are 1000-1500 miles on a pair before they were really dead. I can't tell you how long current models last because mine are only coming out with the suit... and given that's a few times a year the shoes only see a few miles a year :)

I am on my first pair of TrailRocs. I have been told to expect around 400 miles out of them which is what I would get out of my Flyrocs... but its going to be better than than. In the last month I have put 500 miles on them. At this point I wouldn't use them in the back country because I have worn the nobs in the forefoot area where my foot strikes completely down, but they are still fine for around town where I don't worry about maximum traction. Generally I always have two pairs... one pair which is fairly new with a good bit of sole which is used whenever I am concerned about performance, and the second pair which is toward the end of it's life which I use around town.


Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Minimalist Shoes for Everyday Use on 09/24/2012 10:13:31 MDT Print View

I've been very happy with Patagonia's "dress" shoes. I wear them most days to work, I have both the slip-on loafers and the "desert boot" styles.

Zero rise, soft pliable sole, nice wide toe box.

I've been wearing them for about the last five years now and they are still by far the most comfortable "work" shoes I've worn.

Patagonia Loafers

J Chandler
(sccrman13) - F

Locale: VA
Salomon gets by $$$/vote on 09/24/2012 13:21:50 MDT Print View

I have the RX Primes which are light and airy, and I use them everyday. I am considering some Salomon S-winds as well. I do work in a kind of laid back office dress wise. But I have a nice pair of Salomon Spirit walking shoes that are a bit more dressy but very comfy and light if that is more what you are looking for.