Minimalist Shoes…Not Just For Working Out

Many of you have discovered the joy of setting you feet free by working out barefoot or in minimalist shoes such as five fingers, merrells and new balance. Are you only freeing your feet to work out? What about the rest of the day? Most of our time is not spent exercising, so spending an hour a day in minimalist shoes and the remainder in standard shoes makes little sense.

Sure I own and wear standard dress shoes, casual shoes as well as a pair of cowboy boots. there are times when they are the only thing appropriate and lets face it, they look good. When making a decision on what shoes to wear I try to be mindful of what I’ll be doing. Will I be walking a lot? Standing? Sitting? And of course appropriate dress for the occasion must come into play. When I wear a suit, I wear dress shoes just like everyone else. For business casual or casual there are some great options out there. Most are made with a rubber crepe sole. It’s very flexible and allows for proper movement of the foot. The downside is that it can’t be resoled at your neighborhood cobler.  You can have them replaced on the internet.  Here are a few of the options out there.  

Merrell Tough Glove

The Merrell Tough Glove brings the comfort of the Merrell barefoot shoes to a leather upper model that can be worn with jeans or khakis. A doctor friend of mine wears these to the office everyday and swears by them. Retail  – $120.00

J&M Runnell Lace Up

J&M Runnell Slip On

J&M Runnell Toe Moc

J&M Runnell Chukka Boot

Johnston and Murphy makes the Runnell models that offer great comfort and a variety of styles and colors. I personally own several pair. Retail  – $135.00

Oak from Vivo Barefoot is another great option. Retail – $150.00  Vivo Barefoot is part of the Terra Plana family. I have had two pair of thier rubber crepe shoes since before I was intentionally going minimalist. They make comfortable shoes that last. 

Ra by Vivo Barefoot - Retail $140.00

Ladies, I did not for get about you. Most of the women I know love their shoes and will pick style over comfort 9 times out of 10.  It appears that Vivo Barefoot has put some thought into this and come up with a few options. They may never replace your Manolo Blahnik’s but you may find room for them at the coffee shop, local cafe or football game. 

Brooklyn by Vivo Barefoot – Retail $195.00

Boxing Boot by Vivo Barefoot - Retail $175.00

Kali by Vivo Barefoot - Retail $110.00

When you have the option, set your feet free and let them perform the way that they were designed. You’ll strengthen muscles, help back problems and just plain feel better. Have a casual barefoot shoe that you like? I’d like to hear from you in comments. Please include picture and pricing info.




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  1. SANUKS! i love their sidewalk surfers. they have mens, womens and childrens sizes in all different colors and styles..even though they have no arch support they are still extremely comfortable and good for walking in for long periods of time…they range from $50-$65 depending on the style.

  2. Tweeted by melissa mcewen of

    “If you have $$$$$$, these look like great barefootish winter boots”

  3. Greg

     /  April 5, 2012

    I was looking around for shoes when I came across your blog! Question….What brand / style of shoe is second from the left in that last picture? (the pic with four pairs of shoes lined up on wood flooring – the one with the yellow laces)

    Thanks and keep posting!

    • Those are from Patagonia. They came with a cork style insole but I removed it. FYI. They offer 0 protection from rocks, etc with insoles removed but work great for urban dwelling.


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