M Minimalist Footwear for Summer Backpacking

by Damien and Renee Tougas

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Article Summary:

Barefoot/minimalist shoes are shoes designed to allow the foot to function as naturally (and as close to barefoot) as possible, while still offering some level of protection from the environment. The following are considered to be the basic characteristics of a minimalist shoe:

Since the above selection criteria could easily apply to a wide range of footwear not appropriate for backpacking, a few more were added to ensure that what we test would be more "in the ballpark" of what we are looking for to account for the unique needs of backpackers/hikers: The shoes should be designed for the purpose of athletic/active use. The uppers should absorb little water, be breathable, and dry quickly. The soles should be substantial and grippy enough to handle a variety of rugged terrain, both wet and dry.

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