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Minimalist shoes talk - toe shoes vs closed toe.
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Minimalist shoes talk - toe shoes vs closed toe. on 07/18/2013 14:53:33 MDT Print View

I just picked up a pair of vibram 5 fingers on sale at REI for $30. They are leather, I'm not sure of the model. After using minimalist shoes for several years, I have finally tried out them out. I always thought they were gimmicky and I still do, but so far I have been enjoying these.

walking them seems a little more natural and barefoot like
lighter than other minimalist shoes (even the leather ones are 6 oz each)
the top seals off well, like a sock, and debris gets in much less

You can't stick a warm wool sock in them. This will seriously limit them in colder weather. You can get the toe socks, but that's not much insulation against cold rain and snow. This limits their usefulness around camp during cold evenings.

There is a greater chance of smashing your toe. Having a closed toe box, even with a very flexible shoe, gives you a surprising amount of protection. I wouldn't want to use these in a sharp boulder field.

They can be a pain to pull on and get each toe right.

Things can get jammed in between your toes.
I went on a hike near Cache Creek today and the grasslands are filled with these green weeds that have spiky balls on them. The stalk of the weed would get in between the toes and when I lifted my foot, the spiky ball would break off and get caught right in between them. The shoes, while being leather, have a thin nylon fabric in between the toes for greater flexibility. The spikes stabbed my toes and were very tedious to remove. I like leather shoes because they are puncture proof and I'm really wishing they were all leather in the toes.
Fortunately this is an issue only related to specific plants.

Overall I think that closed toe shoes are a better option, but I do like the 5 fingers. I will probably only use them for warmer weather trips and use my vivobarefoot neo trails for winter when I might need to put wool, neoprene, or waterproof socks in them.

For those of you who are 5 finger fans, what is your opinion on this?

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Minimalist shoes on 07/18/2013 16:23:50 MDT Print View

As long as you use wool toe socks and you are moving the feet stay warm. In camp I just use wool five fingers, they let my feet breathe and are warmer. And yes you do have to watch more where you go to prevent "toe salad" as well as bruising. But that's he whole point to minimalist shoes, being more aware.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

My Thoughts on 07/19/2013 08:50:00 MDT Print View

I like my five fingers, for what they are. My biggest problem is that my feet are two different sizes.

Because of this, I've picked up the EL-X Vibram five fingers, but I had to buy two pairs, so it cost me $150. Now, I still think it is worth it; my feet are different sizes because of a vein tumor in my right foot, and flexing/stretching my foot all the time is just brilliant for circulation.

I wore mine in the winter for short walks using wool toe socks. It was fine for less than an hour at a time. When it gets really cold and I'll be out for a while, I put on boots.

Edit: If anyone's a Size 11.5 right, 10 left, hit me up for shoe shopping!

Edited by mdilthey on 07/19/2013 08:50:36 MDT.

Zach Waller
Vibram el-x on 07/19/2013 09:57:56 MDT Print View

I've used vibram el-x (as minimal as they get i beleive) as soon as it was warm enough out, for the past year. Ive worn them backpacking, on the water, around town etc. I love them, but there are definitely some cons. So here are my thoughts.

To start off they are very comfortable, rugged, and dry very quickly.


If you get any type of sediment in them (i.e. sand, dirt, whatever) be sure to wash or shake them out. It will wear on your skin very quickly. As expected.

Also if they are wet be careful walking distances, i have had mine put horrible blisters on the bottom of my feet, right under my toes... an unusual spot.

They have no isulation, so unless your ok with cold feet. they are seaonable.

And lastly, be careful of what you step on. As i said earlier they are very rugged. And my pair is very minimal (so this is at my fault) but i was wearing them on a rafting trip on wednesday. And while trudging through the water i stepped on glass. It went right throught the sole of the shoe and into my foot. Had to pull it out before i could take the shoe off which was quite unpleasant and it took quite a few stitches to put me back together. So i am questioning ever wearing these as my watershoes again (plus i need a new pair now).

Despite the above, i've loved them and have put a ton of miles on them. I'll buy another pair for sure. You just have to know what your getting into and be sure to do plenty of testing before you take these out on a multi-day trip.

My thoughts,

Edited by Zach156 on 07/19/2013 09:58:39 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Vibram el-x on 07/19/2013 10:08:33 MDT Print View

I've been wearing a pair of KSO for a few years.

They get easy to put on over time.
Great for natural walking and running.
You will feel debris like rocks and stones under yor feet, but they protect well.
They stink up quickly.
They're hot.
They stink up quickly.
Strangers, especially nerdy ones, stop to talk to you -- happens a lot.
They stink up quickly.
Good looking women run away from you.
They stink up quickly.
Biggest problem is hitting your little toe on objects when hiking.
They stink up quickly.

There are lighter cross country racing flats that resolve the toe problem. Racing flats don't wear as long as the 5 Fingers.

Did I mention they stink up quickly? I have to wash them weekly if worn every day.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: My Thoughts on 07/19/2013 10:19:44 MDT Print View

"Edit: If anyone's a Size 11.5 right, 10 left, hit me up for shoe shopping!"

Have you tried to get rid of the extra shoes?

Also, Nordstrom used to have a policy that they'd sell an odd-sized pair of shoes for the cost of a regular pair if your feet were at least 1.5 size different. Not sure if they still do, but might be worth checking.

Zach Waller
Re: Re: Vibram el-x on 07/19/2013 10:59:17 MDT Print View

hahahahah!! so well put, my girlfriend hates these things and the oddest of people always stop me to ask about them lmao