PDA

View Full Version : Minimal Shoes and My Knee Pain


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Janet Rosen
09-15-2011, 11:56 PM
Ok...so longtime aikiwebfolks know of my knee travails starting 11 yrs ago when my ACL/medial meniscus blew out...lots of ups & downs, times off the mat....and the severe knee pain of osteoarthritis that has limited my training + other activities.

Since starting to work on internal stuff - which involves a fair amount of standing w/ weight shifts, which Really Bothers The Knee - I've also starting focusing more especially since the seminar in Seattle on what it means to really use natural movement, to have good structure, to relax, etc... and even with opening my hips more and letting them take over for my knees, my knee was Not Happy.

At the same time...over the years I've been less and less tolerant of shoes. A dozen years before starting aikido, I had a very bad case of plantar fasciitis, had both feet taped for weeks, was given custom rigid orthotics and exercises....and with time, it seemed the "better" the shoe was, the more rigid the orthotic was, the more my foot would fight it. I'd buy "good" shoes and give them away after two months. Ended up buying cheap shit and never wearing the same style more than two days in a row in an attempt to keep my feet happy.

As of two weeks ago I was down to three pairs of shoes I could wear, each with limited uses due to color or general condition. At home, going barefoot. So I decided to give the Vibram Five Fingers a try just to see if they would make my feet happy.

I bought them Monday, wore them in the office a few hours, very happy feet. I wore them Tuesday in the office six hours, very happy feet. Oh and by the way, my knee didn't hurt either day...
Wednesday I wore them all morning, then to my one hour QuiGong class (standing weight shifts on wood floor: ALWAYS hurts my knee), then drove my pickup an hour and walked down a dirt and rock slope to a patient's shack, visited, walked back up the slope and drove home. Did I mention my knee didn't hurt?

Today I wore them all day at work, seeing clients, walking around town...finally took them off to train at the dojo. During tonight's class, felt so good that for the first time in 11 years, I shikko'd - four steps - to demo proper body use to a newbie. My knee didn't hurt.

My structure and relaxation might not be great (yet) but hey, did I mention that my knee doesn't hurt? :)

Michael Hackett
09-16-2011, 12:11 AM
And the best part is you can run around Hoopa in 'em and increase tourism when the footprints are reported!

Michael Varin
09-16-2011, 03:50 AM
Well, imagine that!?! ;)

I'm a big believer in minimalist footwear.

I hope those Five Fingers keep working out for you.

I bought my wife a pair a couple of months ago, and she likes them a lot. . . She already already had very healthy feet and legs, though.

grondahl
09-16-2011, 04:01 AM
Terra Plana and Merrell also makes minimalist shoes for everyday use. Five Fingers just isnīt an option for everyday-use, to ugly.

Shadowfax
09-16-2011, 07:19 AM
Thank you for the review! I have been looking at those shoes for a while now and wondering if they would be worth the big price tag. I have had trouble finding shoes that kept my feet happy for years and my line of work requires me to be on my feet all day. I'm at the point I am replacing shoes every 3 months and having trouble finding shoes that are comfortable enough to stand in for 6-8 hours at a stretch. And I too go barefoot as much as possible.

I don't think they are ugly at all I think they just look different. But If it means my feet and knees will be happy I could care less what they look like.

I also by the way notice that the internal stuff is pretty hard on the knees. Mine are constantly destabilizing during the exercises.

Rabih Shanshiry
09-16-2011, 08:41 AM
Terra Plana was mentioned above. Their line of minimalist footwear is called Vivobarefoot.

If you are thinking of purchasing a Vivobarefoot shoe, do yourself a favor and order through a retailer such as zappos.

I made the mistake of ordering shoes directly from Vivobarefoot's online site. It was a nightmare!

The shoes arrived soiled, defective, and with two left foot inserts. The real fun began when I tried to exchange them.

After multiple contacts, someone finally responded to my return request. I had to take photos and then wait for someone to review them and approve the return. I then had to wait some more for shipping return instructions.

All told - it took one full month to get the return processed requiring multiple emails and phone calls.

Even worse - all I wanted was an exchange. Their ecommerce group said they didn't have any shoes left in that size/color. They suggested I take a 15% discount on the shoes rather than return them. Their retail storefront which operates in the same building said they had several of that specific shoe in stock. Even though I told their ecommerce group that, they refused to send me a replacement pair.

I finally got a full refund after considerable aggravation. I've never had such a miserable online experience.

Keith Larman
09-16-2011, 08:45 AM
Been wearing vibram five fingers since they came out. Totally sold. I hate shoes with a passion. I have some nike free for when I go on long walks and/or need to wear something more socially acceptable. But day in, day out, I'm either barefoot, wearing my five fingers (need a new pair), or grumpily tying on the Nike Free minimalist shoes.

phitruong
09-16-2011, 08:48 AM
As of two weeks ago I was down to three pairs of shoes I could wear, each with limited uses due to color or general condition.

a woman with only 3 pairs of shoes?!!! how do you live? what has this world coming to? first, the economy, now this! the world we know it is coming to an end!! :D

sorry, couldn't help myself. i will now perform yonkyo on meself to atone for such outburst. arrrggghhhhhh that's hurt!

holy mother of god, only 3 pairs of shoes??!!!!

*yonkyo again arrrrgghhhhh*

sorry, so sorry

Cliff Judge
09-16-2011, 09:04 AM
I had a pair of KSOs and liked them a lot, but they proved to be insufficiently puppy proof.

So then I got a pair of the KSO Treks - with the leather uppers. Insanely durable shoes. I've had them for over a year, put them through the wash regularly, hiked up Mitsumine san and Nantai san with them while in Japan last year, and I have done plenty of much more pedestrian hiking around Maryland, and the things just keep going. Normal shoes, I am lucky to get 6 months out of because I overpronate and that causes the soles to wear unevenly.

I care very little about whether or not people think they look weird. I've got no dress code at my job and I am not otherwise interested in passing as normal. But I have got to say one thing about minimalist footwear: it is shocking how assertively your feet smell when wearing them. Even when wearing those five-toed injinjin socks underneath the KSO Treks they are still quite piquant.

I tried out another brand recently - ZEMGear, they make tabi with thin but reasonably durable soles. Not as durable as Vibrams or other leading brands, but much lighter and cheaper - on the order of $40 a pair.

grondahl
09-16-2011, 09:19 AM
Some online resources for shoe-reviews etc:
http://birthdayshoes.com/ Reviews of all kind of "minimalist" shoes.
http://www.runblogger.com/ Reviews with focus on running.
http://www.runningandrambling.com/ Ditto, also reviews of childrens shoes.

Janet Rosen
09-16-2011, 01:26 PM
C'mere and grab my ankle.... :D

a woman with only 3 pairs of shoes?!!! how do you live? what has this world coming to? first, the economy, now this! the world we know it is coming to an end!! :D

sorry, couldn't help myself. i will now perform yonkyo on meself to atone for such outburst. arrrggghhhhhh that's hurt!

holy mother of god, only 3 pairs of shoes??!!!!

*yonkyo again arrrrgghhhhh*

sorry, so sorry

Janet Rosen
09-16-2011, 01:27 PM
I don't care if they are odd looking - I've been accused of much the same - BUT will not countenance wearing them in anything but basic black.
A social work intern at work is threatening to bring in little stick-on "gems" to decorate the toenail areas...

Michael Varin
09-17-2011, 04:02 AM
Normal shoes, I am lucky to get 6 months out of because I overpronate and that causes the soles to wear unevenly.

It is interesting that you just except this belief.

Don't you think you could change this with the proper attention?

You could probably teach yourself to have a mid-foot strike, which would make pronation a non-issue.

mathewjgano
09-17-2011, 03:29 PM
That's awesome, Janet!!! Having a hippie for a mom, I grew up running around barefoot a lot. I remember noticing that when I wore shoes more, and then would go barefoot again, I felt the impacts more and would get more sprains. Over time I forgot this (and was told by my sports medicine doctor to wear "good shoes") until I started reading Born to Run a year or two ago. Now I'm sold on the "natural" method and am trying to reclaim my foot strength/tone. Congrats again! I'd just begun to experience chronic knee pain in the last handful of years, so I can appreciate a little of how nice it must feel!

Janet Rosen
09-17-2011, 04:44 PM
Wow. Thanks to all for comments, suggestions, etc. A number of different folks mentioned the Trek version of what I have and think I'll have to get those. Means doing without a bunch of smaller expenditures for a while but this is just too important to, pardon the expression, walk away from :-)

Stephen Fasen
09-17-2011, 07:16 PM
I highly recommend Kigo Footwear. The shoes are functional, extremely comfortable, very light and durable, and they have a bit more curb appeal than the five fingers. For martial arts applications you will find they respond well to virtually any movement, work very well for sword work where tabi are not reasonable options, and they are great to run in. Did I mention you don't look like a counter culture exercise in toe isolation?

Rob Watson
09-18-2011, 02:27 PM
Everyone training is for the birds. It's the shoes. Bo knows. I wear Tiva with white socks ... what do I know.

matty_mojo911
09-18-2011, 03:20 PM
I see a big world wide movement towards less shoes, makes sense doesn't it. How many thousands of years did we develop with no shoes? Mind you they didn't have concrete then did they - I wouldn't fancy running barefoot on concrete too much.

Shadowfax
09-18-2011, 03:31 PM
I see a big world wide movement towards less shoes, makes sense doesn't it. How many thousands of years did we develop with no shoes? Mind you they didn't have concrete then did they - I wouldn't fancy running barefoot on concrete too much.

Horse people have been working towards this for years. :D
Interesting thing is we are finding out that horses don't need shoes even the ones who work on concrete and asphalt every day.

http://www.thehorseshoof.com/success_Houston1.html

So hey why not people too?

Cliff Judge
09-19-2011, 01:46 PM
It is interesting that you just except this belief.

Don't you think you could change this with the proper attention?

You could probably teach yourself to have a mid-foot strike, which would make pronation a non-issue.

Since you brought it up...

When I started practicing sword in early 2010 I would very consciously place my weight on the parts of the feet that my school uses. That pair of shoes actually did wear much more evenly than usual, but then I wound up with a bunch of new tightness in my hips which I had to address by relaxing there, and now my present pair of shoes seems to be back to wearing away rapidly on the inside of the sole.

lbb
09-19-2011, 04:52 PM
There are many more options for minimalist shoes now than there were a couple years ago. I suspect that some of them are probably seeking to cash in on a perceived trend rather than really knowledgeable and making a good product. I have a pair of "invisible shoe" huaraches that I wear in warm weather, although to be honest, I prefer my tevas which are somewhat less minimalist. I just bought a pair of Soft Star shoes for colder-weather wear, haven't done any walking in them yet, but (and this may sound weird) they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever driven in. My feet tend to sweat a lot which means they're either hot or cold, but these shoes have a lofted fleece insole that somehow magically keeps everything at the perfect temp. Many makers of athletic shoes have a minimalist shoe in their product line now -- again, hard to say which are good and which are simply cashing in.

Janet Rosen
09-19-2011, 08:01 PM
I tried Teva sandals about three yrs ago and fought them every moment they were on, found the straps/binding horribly restricting. Into the giveaway box they went....

lbb
09-20-2011, 08:33 AM
I tried Teva sandals about three yrs ago and fought them every moment they were on, found the straps/binding horribly restricting. Into the giveaway box they went....

Well, there's Tevas and then there's Tevas. I wear the Hurricane 3 which is one of their simplest designs. Many Tevas, and most other brands of sandals, have very elaborate and clunky strap arrangements, heel cups, etc., and I can't wear them because they chafe me to death.

Rabih Shanshiry
09-20-2011, 10:34 AM
Interesting thing is we are finding out that horses don't need shoes even the ones who work on concrete and asphalt every day.

http://www.thehorseshoof.com/success_Houston1.html

Thanks for sharing that. I found it very interesting!

Kevin Leavitt
09-20-2011, 04:09 PM
I love five fingers. army says we can't wear em for formal PT since they don't present a military appearance. I do wear them on my own time though and have had many of the same positive experiences you mention. Wore them alot in Afghanistan when i could.

Cady Goldfield
09-20-2011, 05:34 PM
Horse people have been working towards this for years. :D
Interesting thing is we are finding out that horses don't need shoes even the ones who work on concrete and asphalt every day.

http://www.thehorseshoof.com/success_Houston1.html

So hey why not people too?

I had my Morgan mare for 21 years (she was 8 when I got her, and had been greenbroke and unshod on pasture all her life till then), and the first couple years I had her, I kept her shod, used boriums and rubber in the winter, and the farrier trimmed and re-set every 8 weeks. She was strictly a trail horse, but had to travel on pavement to get to the trails and back. I always had to pay careful attention to her feet to make sure she wasn't getting any fungal infections or other nasties under those shoes -- especially the winter rubber pads -- and that she wasn't picking up pebbles between hoof and shoe. Then there was the danger of snagging a shoe on a root or rock and having the metal twisted -- which can lead to terrible injuries to the horse.

That last thing did eventually happen - she snagged a shoe when we were in the woods. It was so twisted she couldn't walk on it, so I had to pull the shoe and walk at her side 5 miles home. I was surprised to see that her unshod hoof was no worse for the wear after that, so instead of replacing the missing shoe I had the farrier pull the other 3. We never went back to shoes after that, even in winter - just had the farrier trim on schedule. She never had a problem all the rest of her life. No thrush, no splits, no leg problems.

As for humans' shoes, I do think that they typically do not conform to the foot or even the human body in a natural way; rather, they force the foot to fit the shoe, and they affect posture, stance and how weight and force are distributed.
So, the 5-toe minimalist shoes that are hitting the markets now might be a real departure from the way people have thought about footwear for centuries. I'll be interested to see whether this is a fad or an enduring trend. Janet is one of the "foot" soldiers who will advance the front line for the trend. :)

P.S. Phi, Janet didn't say she only had 3 pairs of shoes; she said she had only 3 pairs of shoes she could wear. :D

Janet Rosen
09-20-2011, 06:27 PM
P.S. Phi, Janet didn't say she only had 3 pairs of shoes; she said she had only 3 pairs of shoes she could wear. :D

LOL! OK I admit I have a couple of pair I don't wear but plan to give away and then there are the three pair of boots I can't bear to part with....:)

Shadowfax
09-20-2011, 10:10 PM
That last thing did eventually happen - she snagged a shoe when we were in the woods. It was so twisted she couldn't walk on it, so I had to pull the shoe and walk at her side 5 miles home. I was surprised to see that her unshod hoof was no worse for the wear after that, so instead of replacing the missing shoe I had the farrier pull the other 3. We never went back to shoes after that, even in winter - just had the farrier trim on schedule. She never had a problem all the rest of her life. No thrush, no splits, no leg problems.



A similar story is what led me to learning more about hoof health and barefoot only hoof care and eventually led me to becoming a professional barefoot trimmer. Weirdly enough that path eventually led me to aikido... ;)

So I mentioned these shoes to my chiropractor today who was very enthusiastically positive about them. He said they really are good for back problems. It seems that the tendons etc in our toes lead to our backs and that as our toes flex and bend on natural (not flat) surfaces those tendons etc inform our back muscles how to stabilize our bodies properly leading to less strain. So these shoes that allow our toes to flex and bend individually in a more natural way have a lot of benefit for our whole body health.

I think I'll be giving them a try in the near future. :)

lbb
09-21-2011, 09:31 AM
So I mentioned these shoes to my chiropractor today who was very enthusiastically positive about them. He said they really are good for back problems. It seems that the tendons etc in our toes lead to our backs and that as our toes flex and bend on natural (not flat) surfaces those tendons etc inform our back muscles how to stabilize our bodies properly leading to less strain. So these shoes that allow our toes to flex and bend individually in a more natural way have a lot of benefit for our whole body health.

That is very interesting. It sounds sort of like the reasoning behind injury prevention and rehabilitation regimens like "The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution", which in simple terms is that the key to musculoskeletal health is getting and keeping the small muscles engaged, and not letting a few big muscles do all the work all the time. The small muscles of the rotator cuff are essential to stabilizing the shoulder and preventing injury, but they become both weaker and slower if they're not engaged on a regular basis -- which leads to vulnerability in the shoulder joint. It sounds like this principle also applies to other areas of the body, and that minimalist shoes could be a big help.

kewms
09-21-2011, 11:27 AM
That is very interesting. It sounds sort of like the reasoning behind injury prevention and rehabilitation regimens like "The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution", which in simple terms is that the key to musculoskeletal health is getting and keeping the small muscles engaged, and not letting a few big muscles do all the work all the time. The small muscles of the rotator cuff are essential to stabilizing the shoulder and preventing injury, but they become both weaker and slower if they're not engaged on a regular basis -- which leads to vulnerability in the shoulder joint.

Slightly off-topic, but this is also the argument for the use of free weights, rather than weight machines, in strength training. While the "prime movers" do most of the work, free weights engage the smaller muscles in the equally important job of balancing and stabilizing the load.

Katherine

Michael Varin
09-22-2011, 12:28 AM
Slightly off-topic, but this is also the argument for the use of free weights, rather than weight machines, in strength training. While the "prime movers" do most of the work, free weights engage the smaller muscles in the equally important job of balancing and stabilizing the load.

And coming back slightly on topic, it is also an argument for proper posture and alignment, which are both crucial in ensuring that the small muscles stabilize properly and maintain a true balance.

I feel that Five Fingers help your body do this naturally from the feet up.

lbb
09-22-2011, 01:20 PM
I got inspired by this discussion and started looking around for minimalist shoes for winter, and I found the following very interesting review (http://birthdayshoes.com/tuck-s-shoes) of a pair of minimalist custom mocs. There's a discussion of something called the Munson last that may be of interest here.

So I went to the Russell website (http://www.russellmoccasin.com/new_products/minimalist_footwear.html, and it turns out they went into production with this idea. So, now there are three models. Maaan, would I love a pair of the Thula Thulas.

Another one I have my eye on for cold weather: the Soft Star Phoenix boot (http://www.runningandrambling.com/2010/11/soft-star-phoenix-boot-review.html).

Janet Rosen
09-22-2011, 03:08 PM
Thanks for links, Mary!

phitruong
09-22-2011, 03:56 PM
So, now there are three models. Maaan, would I love a pair of the Thula Thulas.



wow! that's a lot of money for a pair shoes! minimalist at that. i think i'll rather go with the old tire approach.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1624711/how_to_make_sandals_out_of_an_old_tire/
http://www.grannysstore.com/Holistic_Living/Tire_Sandals.htm

i got a couple of old car tires around here somewhere. for cold weather, i'll just put on some wool socks.

lbb
09-22-2011, 05:09 PM
i got a couple of old car tires around here somewhere. for cold weather, i'll just put on some wool socks.

With respect, Phi, you don't know what cold weather is. :D

phitruong
09-23-2011, 08:19 AM
With respect, Phi, you don't know what cold weather is. :D

but i do. i mentioned i was a farm boy before. i lived in northern Minnesota for a number of years. even spent a year in Fargo, ND which also known as the gateway to North Pole. :)

Shadowfax
09-23-2011, 10:02 AM
lol yes with winter coming on and the fact that I work around horses I was kinda wondering what options there might be in minimal shoes for winter. Then I came across these. :)
Probably not what I will buy for my first pair as they are a bit pricey but I'm glad the option is out there.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411W%2Btojx4L._SX395_.jpg

Cady Goldfield
09-23-2011, 03:16 PM
lol yes with winter coming on and the fact that I work around horses I was kinda wondering what options there might be in minimal shoes for winter. Then I came across these. :)
Probably not what I will buy for my first pair as they are a bit pricey but I'm glad the option is out there.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411W%2Btojx4L._SX395_.jpg

Cherie, if you get a pair of those, I predict that reports of "Sasquatch" sightings will go up in the Greater Pittsburgh area. :D

They do look solid and comfy, but I wonder whether there might be a disadvantage to having the toes separated like that. One of the benefits to wearing proper-fitting, conventional, insulated snow boots, is that the toes collectively keep each other warm within a cocoon of warm air. Separated toes... even though they have an insulated shell around them, they are relying on their individual heat to maintain warmth -- a challenge, especially for the smaller toes with lesser mass and circulation. I kinda like wearing thick, loose, moisture-wicking socks in a pair of pak boots with wiggle room in the toe area.

And, don't forget the benefit of force distribution that "un-toed" boots have when you're working around horses. ;)

Cady Goldfield
09-23-2011, 03:54 PM
By the way. I meant "Sasquatch" TRACK sightings! But you probably knew that. :)

Shadowfax
09-23-2011, 09:49 PM
LOL yeah I was picturing the look on peoples faces when they come in my yard and see those tracks on the ground.

Anyway I ordered a pair of the KSOs today and can't wait to try them out. My boss is cool with me wearing them to work which is primarily what I will be doing. No I don't think I want to wear them out in the snow and winter if I'm out there for long although some runners have done so. Ill be sticking to my insulated waterproof boots and wool socks for outdoors stuff. But if they make being on my feet at work for hours at a time easier on my joints then they are worth it.

Michael Varin
09-24-2011, 05:22 AM
I think a certain amount of reason must be exercised in the wearing of minimalist footwear.

Unless you have specifically conditioned yourself, Five Fingers probably shouldn't be worn in frigid weather or around one thousand plus pound creatures.

Shadowfax
09-24-2011, 07:28 AM
I think a certain amount of reason must be exercised in the wearing of minimalist footwear.

Unless you have specifically conditioned yourself, Five Fingers probably shouldn't be worn in frigid weather or around one thousand plus pound creatures.

gee ya think?

Not planning to wear them to the barns. But I do happen to have an indoor job as well that requires me to be on my feet for 5-6 hours at a stretch sometimes for up to 10 hours on a given day. No worries I do have a measure of common sense. ;)

Shadowfax
09-30-2011, 02:48 PM
So I got the new Vibram KSOs yesterday and had them on and off a bunch of times and went walking around the grocery store. These are gonna take some getting used to. I love how I feel moving in them. But my pinky toes are not so sure about this being separated from their friends bit. Thinking maybe if I order them in the future I'll go a size bigger even though my measurement fell just inside the upper limit of this size's range. What can I say... I have fat toes.

Janet Rosen
09-30-2011, 03:23 PM
So I got the new Vibram KSOs yesterday and had them on and off a bunch of times and went walking around the grocery store. These are gonna take some getting used to. I love how I feel moving in them. But my pinky toes are not so sure about this being separated from their friends bit. Thinking maybe if I order them in the future I'll go a size bigger even though my measurement fell just inside the upper limit of this size's range. What can I say... I have fat toes.

Congrats! That's the model I' ve got.
On one foot my big toe is just a tad cramped, not enough for me to have switched up a size, just a bit more compression than ideal.
I'm driving through a town w/ an REI tomorrow so plan to stop in and see if they have the KSO trek and/or the new boots and will ask to try them one size up just to see...esp as I will likely want a layer of toed socks w/ winter coming.

cguzik
09-30-2011, 04:06 PM
I highly recommend this book to anyone with foot trouble, knee trouble, hip trouble, or back trouble -- not just women.

http://www.amazon.com/Every-Womans-Guide-Foot-Relief/dp/1936661071/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317416622&sr=8-1

Katy Bowman is a bio-mechanical scientist who focuses on proper alignment and relaxation as a means to restoring proper function in the body. Her blog is also very good at www.alignedandwell.com.

Janet Rosen
09-30-2011, 05:52 PM
I've been using "The New Rules of Posture" a inside to outside approach by a Rolfer since Kaizen Taki the Systema instructor recommended it.

Shadowfax
09-30-2011, 10:21 PM
Congrats! That's the model I' ve got.
On one foot my big toe is just a tad cramped, not enough for me to have switched up a size, just a bit more compression than ideal.
I'm driving through a town w/ an REI tomorrow so plan to stop in and see if they have the KSO trek and/or the new boots and will ask to try them one size up just to see...esp as I will likely want a layer of toed socks w/ winter coming.

Yeah now way would I get socks on in this pair. But I plan to use them just for indoors anyway so it's not an issue at the moment.

Wore them to work tonight. 4 hours on my feet working in a kitchen. Best traction on that floor of anything I have ever worn to work. My knees and ankles didn't get sore (I'm usually limping within 2-3 hours of starting work) and the minor discomfort from the newness of the shoes totally disappeared when I had work to distract me.

I turned a couple of the tightest toe pockets inside out right before work and found there was a lot of excess materiel where the seams were so I trimmed them back and that helped a lot.

My feet did start to complain after about the 4 hours but it felt rather like just muscles that were not used to working so much. I noticed a huge difference in how I stand and move and all to the good.

So far I really like these. :)

Janet Rosen
09-30-2011, 11:34 PM
YAY!

Pauliina Lievonen
10-01-2011, 04:43 AM
Recognize that tired feet muscles feeling!

I've found that nowadays that my feet are much stronger than before that even wearing normal shoes my feet get less tired. I think of the inside of the shoe as the "ground" that I stand on...

kvaak
Pauliina

Janet Rosen
10-02-2011, 09:59 PM
Anybody have any experience with Merrell's Barefoot Power Glove?
I need something for cold rainy weather and the Vibram 5Finger boots are $160, more than I can afford....

lbb
10-04-2011, 09:25 AM
Anybody have any experience with Merrell's Barefoot Power Glove?
I need something for cold rainy weather and the Vibram 5Finger boots are $160, more than I can afford....

No personal experience, but they look interesting -- it sounds like there's a little extra stuff in the sole. I found a couple reviews:

http://www.myfivefingers.com/review-merrell-trail-glove-shoes/

http://birthdayshoes.com/merrell:

kewms
10-04-2011, 10:36 AM
Anybody have any experience with Merrell's Barefoot Power Glove?
I need something for cold rainy weather and the Vibram 5Finger boots are $160, more than I can afford....

I've got a pair of the Merrell True Gloves -- the slipper-like version -- that I'm very happy with. Haven't worn the Power Glove but would have no concerns about buying them for myself.

Katherine

grondahl
10-04-2011, 11:01 AM
My girlfriend is extremly happy with her Pace Gloves.

lbb
10-04-2011, 11:41 AM
My girlfriend is extremly happy with her Pace Gloves.

Are they suitable for seriously cold and snowy weather?

Walter Martindale
10-04-2011, 03:08 PM
but i do. i mentioned i was a farm boy before. i lived in northern Minnesota for a number of years. even spent a year in Fargo, ND which also known as the gateway to North Pole. :)

Try Edmonton, Alberta... With the climate change it's not like that there for the length of time, but... I've been there when the temperature - the daytime high temperature that is - stayed below -30C for ALL of January. Same in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan...

Janet Rosen
10-04-2011, 03:12 PM
Are they suitable for seriously cold and snowy weather?

I'm sure they aren't...was on phone a long time w/ Merrell's customer service and best they can suggest on any of the barefoot shoes is to apply waterproofing spray to the leather/fake leather - but many models have a large fabric areas and there are none from goretex...there is a Merrell's store in SF and I hope to get there later this week en route to picking up my mom at airport because none of the other retailers even REI are carrying the bootie types.

Basia Halliop
10-05-2011, 08:53 AM
It's insulation that would concern me the most... How warm can you make them and still have them be form-fitting and still have individual toes?

I know for my hands I've never found any gloves to be worth the cold they cause in winter...

When they try to make gloves really warm it seems to end up with massive clumsy fingers and still not that warm (because of all the increased surface area).

lbb
10-05-2011, 09:44 AM
Basia, in my limited experience, a minimalist shoe doesn't have to be form-fitting or have individual toes to do what it's supposed to do, i.e., give you a close-to-barefoot experience. I like my Soft Stars just fine. But they won't do for winter either. I am looking at the Soft Star Phoenix boot for winter (see http://www.runningandrambling.com/2010/11/soft-star-phoenix-boot-review.html for a review). Unfortunately I haven't found a minimalist boot for a real winter that's under $200.

Walter Martindale
10-05-2011, 10:10 AM
Basia, in my limited experience, a minimalist shoe doesn't have to be form-fitting or have individual toes to do what it's supposed to do, i.e., give you a close-to-barefoot experience. I like my Soft Stars just fine. But they won't do for winter either. I am looking at the Soft Star Phoenix boot for winter (see http://www.runningandrambling.com/2010/11/soft-star-phoenix-boot-review.html for a review). Unfortunately I haven't found a minimalist boot for a real winter that's under $200.

We used to use laced up moccasins when we were kids - they were leather, had a thick felt insole, no treads, 2-3 pairs of wool socks. You got to learn balance really well because they were just smooth "hair side" leather in contact with the snow and ice... You could almost grip the snow with your toes while pulling the toboggan up hills.. and that was when our parents wouldn't let us go tobogganing until it warmed up to -30 F....
:eek:
W

lbb
10-05-2011, 10:37 AM
We used to use laced up moccasins when we were kids - they were leather, had a thick felt insole, no treads, 2-3 pairs of wool socks. You got to learn balance really well because they were just smooth "hair side" leather in contact with the snow and ice... You could almost grip the snow with your toes while pulling the toboggan up hills.. and that was when our parents wouldn't let us go tobogganing until it warmed up to -30 F....
:eek:
W

Yeah, a lot of people want their winter shoes or boots to grip on ice, but no shoe will do that. Knobby soles will grip on snow, but they can't grip on ice, so you might as well get Vibram soles and add Yaktrax when needed, I guess.

kane hollins
10-05-2011, 09:44 PM
I have been out for knee pain but now my doctor says everything looks good and to return to the dojo. Now I'm generally out of shape and want to return slowly until I tone my body. How do I indicate to previous partners that I'm not as spry as I used to be. Not that I was all that good before but I want to provide good uke to the others. Return with some trepidation.

Janet Rosen
10-06-2011, 12:06 AM
I have been out for knee pain but now my doctor says everything looks good and to return to the dojo. Now I'm generally out of shape and want to return slowly until I tone my body. How do I indicate to previous partners that I'm not as spry as I used to be. Not that I was all that good before but I want to provide good uke to the others. Return with some trepidation.

Kane, I am going to take the liberty of moving this to its own thread.... It's worth talking about but it needs its own thread. Thanks!

Janet Rosen
10-07-2011, 01:50 AM
Update on Merrell's Barefoot Power Glove: I went to the Merrell Store in SF today. I didn't buy them. A couple of issues, one specific to that model and one specific to me/the Merrell Barefoot last.
1. The ankle length boot is really nice to look at. I tried it on in the only color they had, ivory, with the strapping in purple - would only ever have considered the black on black, but ok - I am normally a size 8.5, they only had 8, and it was actually a tad too big. So apparently these run big. HOWEVER. The closure just plain sucks, they really fell down on that. It is a single ribbon that zigzags across the foot and up the ankle and then semi-closes with narrow velcro then finally closes at the top with one of those press-together releases like on knapsacks and such. Very awkward to loosen for getting your foot in and in fact what could have been a single ribbon is actually two incredibly narrow ribbons (apparently an esthetic decision) that just get tangled up in each other as they pass through the halfassed velcro section....what were they THINKING???

2. I had tried on their mary jane style womans shoe locally last week and noted a problem but before commenting on it I wanted to see if it is across the board an issue...clearly many people are very happy with these Merrell Barefoot Gloves. If you are used to "regular shoes", don't have a lot of issues per se with your feet, and want to try a barefoot type of shoe, you will probably like the Merrels.
But for me, I'm a person whose feet fight molded arches, orthotics, and "proper supportive shoes." AND I had to stop wearing clogs yrs ago because the little pitching forward thing a clog does caused a lot of knee pain on my bad knee.
Well, the Merrell shoes are minimal in the sense that there is no elevated heel and there is a good wide front...but they have this thingie, a shock absorption plate, in the middle of the foot that to me is very obvious: as I take a step, my foot meets it, pauses a millisecond, then rolls over it just as if it were a small version of a clog. My foot also wants to fight with it.
To me this is a far cry from a minimal shoe, or at least what I expected from one after wearing the Vibram 5 Finger. All the Merrell people can do is stare at me and say, but there's no ball to heel drop.
(sigh) back to square one for winter footwear.

lbb
10-07-2011, 07:12 AM
That's unfortunate, but I have to say, not unexpected. I saw the description of the midsole plate and thought, "Uh-oh." And, to be honest, there are an awful lot of mainstream footwear manufacturers who seem to be jumping on the minimalist bandwagon, and I am skeptical as to whether any of them will really create a truly minimalist shoe. I get the feeling that what we'll see out of the mainstream manufacturers, at least for the foreseeable future, are compromise shoes, less built up than their conventional shoes, but still falling short of where you need a minimalist shoe to be.

Shadowfax
10-12-2011, 02:23 PM
Ok so I just had to report in...

Ive been wearing the vibrams to work every shift now for jsut about two weeks. They did take some getting used to and in the future I think I will go up a size but now they are breaking in nicely and I am more comfortable in them than in my tennis shoes.

What's freaking awesome is I have had virtually zero knee or lower back pain in the past two weeks other than one really sore day that resulted form a day of equine mud wrestling in the rain wearing my work boots....

I saw my chiropractor and massage therapist yesterday and both were impressed with the condition I am in physically. Usually I'm pretty out of whack when I go in and full of trigger points in my legs. Things were much improved.

I also notice big time that I move differently in them. More like I do when in the dojo barefoot on the mats. More balanced and centered.

Thank you so much for posting this thread because that is what got me to finally be wiling to give them a shot and I'm so thrilled that I did. :)

Cliff Judge
10-12-2011, 02:30 PM
I also have to something to report -

The KSO Treks hang together much better than the regular KSOs when you come home later than expected and your Kishu Inu decides that they smell pretty strongly of you, so you must be in there somewhere.

Janet Rosen
10-12-2011, 04:10 PM
Ok so I just had to report in...(snip)...Thank you so much for posting this thread because that is what got me to finally be wiling to give them a shot and I'm so thrilled that I did. :)

YAY!!!!!

Janet Rosen
10-12-2011, 04:12 PM
I also have to something to report -

The KSO Treks hang together much better than the regular KSOs when you come home later than expected and your Kishu Inu decides that they smell pretty strongly of you, so you must be in there somewhere.

ROTFLMAO!!!! So sorry you didn't get video, Cliff!

Janet Rosen
10-12-2011, 04:15 PM
I'm still searching.
I really like my Keen pool shoes (nifty red and gray!) so I tried on a pair of Keen shoes, not minimal but my feet didn't fight them in the store. Bought them, walked around my carpeted work office less than an hour, L index toe jamming underneath, R index ball of foot pain. (sigh). Returned them. I am waiting for them to get ... I don't remember the brand now. Friggin' EXPENSIVE is what they are. Not minimal but not a super strong arch, nice wide box, very slight heel raise, fairly flexible sole. Report to follow. Keep your fingers crossed.

lbb
10-13-2011, 07:46 AM
I've been pleased with my Soft Star Ramblers. They're minimalist moccasins. They're a pull-on shoe with an elastic that holds them closed, which sounds flimsy and not very secure, but they stay on and stay in place. They look a little like old-man slippers, although that may be because I ordered mine in plain black -- the two tone versions look like,well...I dunno, elf boots or something? Anyway, the old-man-slippers effect is minimized if you're wearing long pants (and, to be honest, if you'd wear a black shoe with shorts, you're probably immune to concerns about dorktastic looks anyway). They'll do okay in a business-casual environment.

But enough about looks -- how do they feel? Excellent, that's how. They feel like a slipper with none of the sloppiness -- or sometimes, not even like a slipper. It really is like being barefoot in terms of the foot movement -- there is no sensation of binding, tugging, lifting, pushing, poking, or even presence, really. At the same time, there's this unobtrusive protection, so you can walk with confidence. They have a fleece insole which is not removable. When I first saw that, I thought, "Uh-oh," because my feet tend to sweat and overheat. As it turns out -- I don't know if it's the shoe or the fleece -- these seem to keep my feet at just about a perfect temperature.

I'm pretty sold on these, and considering their boots, but I saw one review that said they didn't hold up in real winter weather. Still searching...

Janet Rosen
10-13-2011, 11:42 AM
I've been pleased with my Soft Star Ramblers. They're minimalist moccasins.....But enough about looks -- how do they feel? Excellent, that's how.....
I'm pretty sold on these, and considering their boots, but I saw one review that said they didn't hold up in real winter weather. Still searching...

I was looking at their website and filled in a customer service inquiry about a week ago and haven't heard back - not a good sign.

lbb
10-13-2011, 02:19 PM
I was looking at their website and filled in a customer service inquiry about a week ago and haven't heard back - not a good sign.

That's weird. I had some questions about fit and got a pretty prompt response (1-2 business days).

Janet Rosen
10-13-2011, 10:06 PM
That's weird. I had some questions about fit and got a pretty prompt response (1-2 business days).

Double checked the site: they had email issues for a week and ask folks to resend so I have. I like the black ramblers and they are $40 less than the not minimalist shoes I'm testing at home this weekend (Taos - nice looking, well made, too expensive and not minimal...)

sashen
10-14-2011, 02:31 PM
I got rid of all my various knee, leg, calf, shin, ankle pains when I went minimalist (took about 4 weeks until years of pain was gone, never to return).

The VFFs never fit me, and the new rash of "minimalist" shoes are mostly far from it.

I've spent the last 2 years in nothing but bare feet, sprinting spikes or my Invisible Shoes. In fact, last month, I made a few hundred bucks when I sold all my other shoes (including some "minimalist" ones that aren't) on eBay ;)

Krystal Locke
10-14-2011, 02:58 PM
I'm really digging skateboard shoes for a huge decrease in knee and back pain. Airwalk brand, Flip model. Padded nicely, but flat inside. Cheap as shoes can be. And all the 20 something year old guys I work with think the 45 year old fat girl is totally cool. Win.

Janet Rosen
10-14-2011, 05:57 PM
I got rid of all my various knee, leg, calf, shin, ankle pains when I went minimalist (took about 4 weeks until years of pain was gone, never to return).

The VFFs never fit me, and the new rash of "minimalist" shoes are mostly far from it.

I've spent the last 2 years in nothing but bare feet, sprinting spikes or my Invisible Shoes. In fact, last month, I made a few hundred bucks when I sold all my other shoes (including some "minimalist" ones that aren't) on eBay ;)

Cool! I have the kit to make Invisible Shoes but haven't had time. Generally not fond of the feel of things tied on and around foot and ankle. Question: how do you cope with frosty weather and rain?

Janet Rosen
10-14-2011, 06:09 PM
I'm really digging skateboard shoes for a huge decrease in knee and back pain. Airwalk brand, Flip model. Padded nicely, but flat inside. Cheap as shoes can be. And all the 20 something year old guys I work with think the 45 year old fat girl is totally cool. Win.

I've had airwalk step in loafer type shoes, nice and cheap, fit me ok if I drop in a dr scholl insert but can't wear them long or day after day - and it looks like the board shoes are laced. Yes I'm very picky! The Taos way too expensive, not any more comfortable than the aforementioned airwalk so they have been returned and I'm taking with the Soft Star folks about sizing.

Janet Rosen
10-17-2011, 06:39 PM
Ordered my Soft Star ramblers. Fortunately we are having a bout of amazing Indian Summer w/ daytime highs in the 80s so my 5 fingers are in daily service.

lbb
10-19-2011, 10:08 AM
The Ramblers really are great. The trend of major manufacturers to make something that they call minimalist shoes, not so great. Although I don't speak from personal experience, I can't see this resulting in anything other than compromise, non-minimalist designs and shoddy quality.

Still looking for winter boots...

Shadowfax
10-19-2011, 02:45 PM
Week three. Still only wearing them at the restaurant to work. Obviously can't wear Vibrams to the barns. I can't believe how much better I feel physically. I don't remember the last time I felt this good. And for the second week in a row the chiro didn't really have anything significant to do and neither did the massage therapist. I might actually be able to reduce the number of visits I need at last. Someone at work asked me why I was in such a good mood today and I told them it's the magic shoes. Even having to wear regular shoes most of the rest of the time at least I can be in these when I need to be on my feet the most. It has made a big difference.

lbb
11-28-2011, 11:42 AM
Update on the minimalist shoes: as much as I love my Soft Stars, they're not the shoe for winter in New England. They are comfortable in a surprising range of temperatures (probably due to the fleece insole), but I doubt that range goes down to 10F, a pretty frequent temperature around her in winter. More importantly, they have NO traction on slippery surfaces. Step on ice or snow and you might as well be wearing greased ball bearings on your shoes.

The solution, for now: an old pair of whitewater booties that I haven't worn in probably 10 years. These are designed to be fairly warm (if you're wearing booties, it's because it's COLD out), have good traction on slippery surfaces, and be very very flexible -- you can't stuff 'em in a whitewater boat otherwise. I haven't had the chance to wear them in real cold weather or in snow yet, but II wore them while doing yard chores yesterday, and they definitely pass the "yes, it's a minimalist shoe" test. And cheap, wow. Have a look at the NRS webpage (http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1169) to see the different styles available.

Janet Rosen
11-28-2011, 01:21 PM
Thanks for the update.
I've been wearing Softstar Ramblers since it got too cold for me to be happy in my Vibram Five Fingers.
The Softstars are ok for our weather (overnight lows, between 4 and 6 a.m., can hit mid 20s to low 30s but I'm never out at that hour - it would be rare for me to be outside in weather under 35; rain is more the issue). HOWEVER....
Softstars are minimal shoes in the sense that comfie slippers are. They do not affect my posture in a positive way or reduce my knee pain the way the Vibrams do.
I would say in terms of feel that, if Vibram Five Fingers are like wearing the best possible isotoner glove on your feet, the Softstar is like donning a chenille mitten.