Just as I’d bought my last pair of Dr Martens boots on clearance, a high top lace boot with brogue pattern, I came across the phenomenon “barefoot shoes” or “minimalist shoes”. Shoes with a wide toe box that let the foot breathe and move as nature intended, while also being flexible and easily roll-able for minimalist travel? Count me in!
Reading up on barefoot shoes, I quickly found that there’s a whole community out there promoting barefoot shoes and overall foot health. It was quite concerning to me that the shoes I’d been wearing all my life had been messing up my feet. Learning how a natural foot should act, and that there are shoes that promote natural foot movement was an eye-opener, to say the least.
I love my Dr Martens collection, no doubt about that. But, if I could start my shoe collection again, I would probably see to it that natural, minimalist foot wear had found it’s way into my wardrobe sooner. Being a tiny woman, only 5″2 with small feet to boot, I’d always been wondering why shoes, and boots especially, had to be so bulky? Couldn’t they just be made of the minimum of material needed for a shoe?
How much padding and bulky material do you really need in a shoe, anyway?
Turns out, not so much! As a minimalist, I find the fact that they store easily and take up minimal space when traveling a bonus. I said once that I’d no longer wear painful shoes, because they’re frankly not worth it. It’s quite ironic then, that I came to swear by Dr Martens, a brand that is famous for its shoes’ painful break-in periods. Having learned about minimalist shoes beforehand, I might have been avoiding a couple of painful break-ins…
Anyway, here’s a couple of minimalist barefoot shoes and brands that I’m eyeing right now:
The GROUNDIES’ Portobello is a minimalist stylish shoe that certainly fit the bill of the monochrome look I look out for in terms of wardrobe additions. While the black Portobello is a must-have as far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t mind having both a black and a white pair in my collection. Unfortunately, the Portobello doesn’t come in white, but the Kopenhagen in white could be a good addition.
Vivobarefoot‘s Kanna Hi
Trying to up my forest hiking both summer and winter, I’m dreaming of these insulated winter shoes from Vivobarefoot. One of my reasons for wanting to get back to the forest is so that I can be more grounded and connected to nature. A pair of barefoot hiking boots like these could be the perfect hiking companion to accomplish this. That they sport a kind of futuristic “Mirror’s Edge” look is an added bonus in my book.
The Leguano Classic is one of the original barefoot shoes. Looking more like a sock than a shoe, I find that they’d be perfect on the days when you don’t really want to wear shoes but barefoot is not an option. That they can be used for water sports as well as all on-land activities makes them very versatile.
The Drifter Leather‘s Chelsea Boot
Or any shoe from The Drifter Leather, to be honest. The Drifter Leather is a handcrafted shoe company, making minimalist shoes and boots to order. If that’s not awesome enough, they customize to personal measurements to ensure you the best fit possible! And in regard to the Chelsea boot, who doesn’t dream of a lightweight, non bulky pair that packs easily in your luggage? I know I do.
Wanting to take care of my health and my mobility into old age, I’m a little bummed that I did not find the barefoot shoe movement before I started building my minimalist footwear wardrobe. The transition from turning to barefoot wear after a lifetime of stuffing our feet into narrow and inflexible shoes is one that need to be taken slowly, after all. So let’s see if the next pair of shoes in my wardrobe is one of the above lovelies!
More barefoot reads: