• This topic has 31 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by chaos.
Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Barefoot/zero drop/minimalist shoes for hiking
  • shermer75
    Free Member

    Does anyone use these? The large toe box makes sense to me, but I’m struggling to see how the ultra thin sole can be comfortable on a long hike! Especially over hard or rocky ground. Any converts out there that can tell me different? I’m curious to try it out

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Don’t buy them and then go on a long hike!

    I’d start with casual shoes and just wear them. Let your feet strengthen and get used to them.

    After a while anything else just feels weird, even on rough ground. In fact, I remember the last time I wore my walking boots for a hike it felt really unstable. I was used to having my foot be able to ‘grip’ the ground and the lost sensation made me feel unsettled.

    ernielynch
    Full Member

    My Xero shoes came with very thin removable insole which I took but only fitted in the shoes towards the end of my first few long hikes wearing them.

    I probably did about three 10-15 mile hikes before not bothering to take them with me anymore.

    I guess you could buy some comfy insoles to take with you just in case.

    rollindoughnut
    Free Member

    I use Altra lone peak boots. Wear waterproof socks inside them.
    Did three days hiking in the Cairngorms this winter with microspikes on them. On bare rock without spikes they felt great. So much more feel underfoot.
    Also walked 3 days of the SW coast path in February. 12hr days too.
    Absolutely love them.

    richmars
    Full Member

    I had to wear a pair of running shoes on a trekking holiday in the Himalayas, due to lost luggage on the flight. The only problem was when we got to snow, and my feet got very wet very quickly. The actual walking was fine.

    jake123
    Free Member

    I use Altras for running.
    Zero drop and wide toe box but they still have a proper supportive sole.

    Would recommend them

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    Disappointed by the quality of construction and materials on Altra shoes, mine got tatty very quickly

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Wear waterproof socks inside them.

    As an aside, any recommendations for waterproof socks?

    It’s something I’ve never considered but I saw something in the latest magazine where someone said they use waterproof socks all the time which got me thinking.

    Anything to be aware of with waterproof socks?

    Daffy
    Full Member

    I’ve happily walked the Fells in Vibram FiveFingers. Occasionally a very pointy rock can cause some discomfort, but nothing serious and nothing has ever penetrated the shoes.

    They’re utterly useless in long grass.

    zippykona
    Full Member

    If you just want wide ,light boots I can recommend Palladium.

    charlie.farley
    Full Member

    My favourite Waterproof Socks which feel like normal socks

    And I would echo others recommendation for Altra Lone Peak trail shoes the wide toe box is comfortable

    john_l
    Free Member

    Another recommendation for Altra shoes. Use Lone Peaks and Timp4s for running and walking.

    The Timps have more cushioning and are more of a hybrid tread than the LPs.

    Feels odd (and uncomfortable) going back to anything with a drop.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    How far do you plan on walking?

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    I did a 20 mile dark peak walk recently 8n a pair of Freet which are very flexible, more so than my Xero. As above, condition your feet first, I’ve been exclusively barefoot shoes for at least 3 years now if not longer. Also agree that stiff soled shoes and boots feel very unstable now and there’s some evidence to suggest they’re more likely to turn your ankle.

    sirromj
    Full Member

    The 25mm stack height of the lone peaks isn’t minimal enough I’d want them at least 10mm less then that to begin to consider them in this category. There’s not really much between. People either want them (minimal/zero drop) or very much don’t!

    bigsurfer
    Free Member

    I converted to wearing Vivobearfoot shoes to work about 2 years ago, As others have said I did have slightly tender feet after a lot of walking while getting used to thew lack of padding and flexibility of the sole. All this time I have continued to wear a standard very stiff 3/4 season leather walking boot. I have just bought a Vivobearfoot Tracket walking boot that is incredible. I have so war walked upto 15 miles in a day on very rocky trails and the soles of my feet were a little tender but the comfort and lightness are incredible. Will have to wait another 6 months or so to test how good they are on a cold wet boggy dartmoor or weather I need to revert back to the old stiff boots for winter when its very wet.

    BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    I’ve used Vibram 5-Fingers, Freet and some of Merrell’s minimalist shoes for hiking. I like the stability and feeling of connection, but on big days, minimalist cushioning on harder ground is an acquired taste, particularly at first. Also, quite a few minimalist shoes lack any sort of rock protection plate and standing hard on a really pointy rock can be exquisitely painful. Yes, focussing on the micro-details of every step can avoid this, but hey, I like to look at where I’m walking as well as, well, walking.

    I don’t like full-on traditional walking boots, which feel clumsy and heavy, but something like inov-8’s running / hiking range is a good sort of middle point for me at least. Just enough cushioning to take the edge off, but still flexible and connected with good ground feel. I’ve done a lot of miles in a pair of the older Roclite mids – higher ankle cuff=less grit in shoe ime – and really like them. Also used the posh more boot-like boot, which is a bit more supportive etc, but very high volume.

    Anyway, it’s very personal, I’d maybe start with something in the middle and if you like it, go more minimalist. It’s also a little dependent on conditions, Lakes/Peak rocky stuff is harder on your feet than rolling grassy trails.

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    I’ve weak arches and prone to plantar.

    After about 6 months of wearing Merrell zero drops for casual I stopped getting issues.

    Still wear hoka one one and insoles for most of my running although <5k gets the Vivo 5 fingers.

    Your feet toughen up to the rough stuff. Much like when I went native in NZ and didn’t wear shoes for 6 months . Feet were hard as nails when I got back but years of shoes made em soft.

    nickc
    Full Member

    there’s some evidence to suggest they’re more likely to turn your ankle.

    I read an article waaay back that seemed to suggest some connection but as there’s very limited research I think shied away from making those sorts of definitive claims. Having said that, I’m all for 1. wearing boots that are as light as possible, as weight on your foot has been studied by the military I think, and their conclusions are that lighter boots are ‘better’ and 2. strengthening your ankle rather than relying on support from your shoe. Having said that, as someone with a ligament injury, high topped boots offer me better comfort over distances of more than 10 miles compared to lower shoes without ankle support, in my entirely scientifically rigorous studies of me and my left ankle.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    I have been wearing barefoot shoes and sandals for years.
    Just got some tracker esc from vivobarefoot which are great. Only issue with fivefingers is if you get bits of gravel or twigs caught between your toes

    shermer75
    Free Member

    They’re utterly useless in long grass.

    Why? The wetness?

    The-Beard
    Full Member

    I also have a pair of the Vivo Tracker Esc boots (thanks Sportpursuit!) and I really like them, I do prefer zero drop shoes and I feel more stable with my ankle closer to the ground.  They don’t have a toe bumper or much other protection so not so good on what I’d call really difficult terrain.

    specialisthoprocker
    Free Member

    Just come back from walking across Knoydart with full overnight packs in VB Tracker boots. No problem.

    jamiemcf
    Full Member

    I have some Vivo primus and rate them. No issues walking in the pentlands. Really comfy despite their thin sole. I’d buy another pair in an instant

    jamiemcf
    Full Member

    I also like my altra Lone peaks.

    If it’s wet I tend to wear my Keens

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    Slight hijack, do any barefoot boot users have tips on getting them resoled? Bugs me that they’re typically moulded on and you end up throwing out a perfectly good upper because there’s no tread left.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    Vivobarefoot have a repair and resole service for most of their shoes. I checked before I bought mine

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    I think I knew that in the back of my mind. However, I have up with Vivo after 3 pair of Trackers on the bounce all leaked. Have they got better at “waterproof”?

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    No idea I’m afraid, i haven’t had mine that long

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Also, quite a few minimalist shoes lack any sort of rock protection plate and standing hard on a really pointy rock can be exquisitely painful.

    ballsofcottonwool
    Free Member

    The Tracker has a stitched on sole, whatever factory waterproofing they use isn’t enough to seal these holes. I regularly treat mine with Nikwax waterproofing wax for leather, paying special attention to working it into the stitching with a brush, they are 100% waterproof when properly proofed.

    chaos
    Full Member

    If you can find them the Altra removable stone guard can be a useful insert for soft soled shoes on stony ground.

    My Altra Superiors came with a pair included and they can be handy if it’s particularly flinty. Very thin as well but obviously a little more volume taken up in the shoe so that might stop you wearing your thickest socks with them.

    like these:

    Altra Stone Guard

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195783940688?hash=item2d95a1da50:g:5~AAAOSwQDZkbnSg&amdata=enc%3AAQAIAAAAwOEH29dT5cR4XZNlayQhLYecEhe0pXuJ6xb3QUNHpjtyx0BzOTGgaiJumf3VBA0LWGYs2%2Fj%2BnRBWfFuA5MpuTAgsIk2mifAmDj%2FdzOBn6WTXpWUX0KrqI7srD2BlHQJUjbvuw%2Bb9pFIY4WsT5JUwRmPDx2O5YAOqBHNo5iFnLRfHhd51KcxI0PQ%2FTfzZqRkl4gFQ%2BRvGDl6%2F0nfY3GUsXzX5gHY%2Fap8Kc9W82N59QEEOPds49k%2BCinTipt99DI1u5A%3D%3D%7Ctkp%3ABk9SR6TK8vOKYg

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.