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snowbot
06-06-2012, 04:52 PM
I'm curious what sort of shoes (and how many pairs) the female forum folk tend to take on vacation travel. There was some talk a while back about minimalist/barefoot shoes and I'd like to hear how different brands have worked for all-day walking.

My last multi-week trip to Australia I wore a pair of Keen low light hiking shoes and packed a pair of Dansko mary janes to give my feet a change and for dressing up. I'm planning another Australia trip and am trying to decide which shoes to bring. Over the past time I've been doing most of my distance walking in a pair of minimalist Merrell Pace Gloves. I'm currently planning on bringing a pair of minimalist shoes with me on the trip because they keep my feet stretched out and they take up almost no room and add very little to a bag. The mary jane's are no longer an option. I had to get some elastic replaced on them and afterward they felt too tight so I'm going to send them to a friend who has slightly smaller feet than I do.

Darcy
06-06-2012, 05:14 PM
Good question! I'm curious about that too. I have a terrible time choosing which shoes to bring on trips and it's not because I have a lot of them. Part of the problem might be that I want to bring these (http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/product_detail/footwear/women-s-footwear/rubber-boots/northerner-women-s-max-knee-boot?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping%252Bsearch&utm_campaign=google%252Bproduct%2520search) with me, at least on road trips.

nukediver
06-06-2012, 07:40 PM
Since almost all of my vacation travel takes me to tropical/hot/wet locations, I live in these shoes (http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/product/ss12/shoes/women/waterfront/newport%20h2/black). And if I feel the need to take a second pair, it's either these (http://www.crocs.com/crocs-classic/10001,default,pd.html?cid=511&cgid=women-footwear-clogs) or these (http://www.rei.com/product/707200/chaco-flips-flip-flops-womens).

dorayme
06-07-2012, 12:08 AM
Much curiosity here too. I usually wear my Danako clogs or boots since they are the bulkiest things I pack. But what I bring along varies greatly depending on where I am going and what I will be doing there. I have problems with taking along too many shoes. I like to switch so that I don't have back or lower extremity pain/fatigue.

Thanks to Jenne, my favorite spring and summer travel shoes are Mohops and now Sseko sandals because I can get many different looks from the one pair by bringing along a few sets of ties. They are remarkably comfortable.

Maria
06-07-2012, 01:13 PM
I only have a few pair of shoes. But am very picky as to which ones I like and bring for travel. I limit myself to three pairs, including what I am wearing:

- black leather ballet slippers to use indoors only. They take up almost no room, keep my feet warm, and nice to have something on your feet rather than just socks when visiting someone's home. (Normally I remove my shoes when entering a home - seems a Canadian thing.) Plus - they come in many sizes and widths. With leather soles too, so they last a while. (Well, much longer than when I used to dance that is.)

- slip on loafers for air travel, usually with a heel. (I had a pair of Clark's but they did not have a leather lining and my feet did not really like them, plus they barely lasted a year with walking every day so I will no longer buy them.)

- leather "ballet" flats for a change, pack light, plus I can wear them for dressier outfits and also for walking. Wear with jeans or a skirt, so they are a wardrobe staple that I think is a good investment. Many brands to choose from, and for those of us with wide feet it's nice to have a choice.

Note: I don't usually wear strappy sandals, as I walk to much to make them practical for me.

darbs
06-08-2012, 09:02 AM
I have these shoes (http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/22879W/0/Womens/Barefoot-Train-Pure-Glove?dimensions=0) that I practically live in. If you search for them on Amazon, you can get different colors and a great price. I wear them at the gym, walking around town, in the airport, etc. I have tried these (http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/26427W/0/Womens/Barefoot-Life-Wonder-Glove?dimensions=0) on in the store and they will be my next purchase. There is also a version without the strap across the top. I'm thinking I can make them a little dressier. I really want a pair of these (http://tieks.com/), but they are a little pricey for me considering that I can't seem to find them anywhere else on sale. What can I say, I like a bargain! LOL! And these are my go to flip-flops (http://shop.reef.com/sandy/d/1116_c_202). I have been wearing them for 13 years and can't live without them. I probably buy a new pair every 18 months. But I wear them a LOT since I live in Georgia and our "winter" is only about 3 weeks.

peregrina
06-08-2012, 03:40 PM
argh. Am I the only one who hits "cancel" instead of "post quick reply"? I wrote this long answer about shoes. Here's the shorter version. I just got back from 3 weeks in Europe and these are the shoes I took with me:

http://www.peregrinatrix.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/20120512-083701.jpg

Way too many, as you can see! They did all fit on the side pockets of the Aeronaut but I have to learn to limit myself to 2-3 pairs...

snowbot
06-09-2012, 07:56 AM
Peregrina, I see Mohops and Keens, and maybe Merrells. What is the second pair? (I saw the photo of your shoes in the Aeronaut side pockets which was linked from the Tom Bihn blog. It made me want an Aeronaut.)

moriond
06-09-2012, 08:25 PM
I only have a few pair of shoes. But am very picky as to which ones I like and bring for travel. I limit myself to three pairs, including what I am wearing:
<snip>

- slip on loafers for air travel, usually with a heel. (I had a pair of Clark's but they did not have a leather lining and my feet did not really like them, plus they barely lasted a year with walking every day so I will no longer buy them.)
<snip>
Note: I don't usually wear strappy sandals, as I walk to much to make them practical for me.

Like maria, I usually wear slip on loafers. Clark's used to make better quality shoes, but I haven't used them in several years. For the last several years I've been using SAS Walking shoes (http://www.sasshoes.com/main/about_our_history.php). I'll just get the model that fits most comfortably for my foot at any time, but generally among the women's styles (http://www.sasshoes.com/main/view_styles_catalog.php?catid=2) that might be like one of the styles in the second row, like Jewel, or occasionally the Classic. These are comfortable and work well as walking shoes (e.g., traveling around cities in Europe, North America, and Asia), but the soles aren't really designed for rough terrain. So in those situations I'll use these MBT's (http://www.thewalkingcompany.com/mbt-mahuta/m3270-0300s). Again, this is just the model that was most comfortable for my feet.

SAS doesn't sell on line, and asks their retailers not to (see the FAQ), although you can probably find a few on Amazon or eBay. They expect you to check the fit to your foot in a local store. I'm also not aware of their advertising. I think that a typical price for a pair, not on sale is about $85. I don't have a default brand for sandals or "slippahs", and I never take more than two pairs of shoes with me when I travel. (But then, my trips usually aren't longer than a week or two).

moriond

Lani
06-10-2012, 03:08 AM
Wow, I'd never seen Mohop shoes before. They're adorable and versatile! I wonder if they're comfortable for MY feet? Hmm

peregrina
06-11-2012, 05:24 AM
The second pair from the top is also a Merrell, I've had it for about 6 years and it is perhaps the most comfortable pair of shoes I have...



Peregrina, I see Mohops and Keens, and maybe Merrells. What is the second pair? (I saw the photo of your shoes in the Aeronaut side pockets which was linked from the Tom Bihn blog. It made me want an Aeronaut.)

peregrina
06-11-2012, 05:27 AM
Wow, I'd never seen Mohop shoes before. They're adorable and versatile! I wonder if they're comfortable for MY feet? Hmm

If you find a store that carries them, it's worth trying them on. I was surprised at how comfortable they actually are! I also found that the mid height one was more comfortable than the flats... Love my mohops!

darbs
06-11-2012, 07:36 AM
After stalking out the Mohops on the web, I now totally want a pair. LOL! Thanks ladies, now this site not only feeds my bag addiction, but my shoe one as well. :)

dorayme
06-11-2012, 07:36 AM
I don't have any ownership experiences with the RTW collection of Mohops sold now in stores. Mine are Annie made from her studio in Chicago. With the RTW ones she first tried a factory in China and had some issues with quality and now has moved to a factory in Europe. She and her "staff" of one or two does the finishing in the Chicago studio still. The ones she personally made and sold on Etsy were made with reclaimed domestic wood and the color of the shoes was from the actual wood. The RTW collection are stained Para wood. My MIL bought a pair of the RTW Cherry midsole peep toe wedges after she saw mine at Christmas. I got to see them a month ago. We wear virtually the same size so I tried them on. They were comfortable for the few minutes I wore them, but they felt nothing like the Mohops I own.

I haven't seen very many of the Annie made on Etsy after she started her RTW collection. I know the prices went WAY up on the hand made ones, the RTW prices are a little below what her original prices were. I'm glad I was able to get some of her hand made shoes, they are a treasure.

snowbot
06-11-2012, 10:45 AM
I bought a pair of the RTW low "walnut" slides (http://www.mohop.com/low_walnut_slide.html) about a year ago. I wish I had been able to afford a pair of her handmade ones back in the day, but I was on a grad student stipend at the time. I consider them to be my warm weather dress shoes, so I don't wear them a lot. For dress shoes, I find them to be comfortable. But it's hard for me to get them to feel as secure as I like "all day" shoes to feel. Also, they are a little loud <clop clop clop> and I guess I prefer ninja shoes at work.

And speaking of expensive product habits other than Tom Bihn, I'm a big fan of Fluevog's. These (http://www.fluevog.com/code/?w%5B0%5D=gender%3Awomen&w%5B1%5D=attribute%3AShoe&pp=1&view=detail&p=14&colourID=3298) were my most recent splurge.

snowbot
06-11-2012, 10:51 AM
darbs, I just packed up a pair of the Merrell Barefoot Life Wonder Glove to send back to Zappo's. I wear a size 8 in the Pace Glove so I ordered an 8 in the Wonder Glove. Either it was half size too large, or the shoes just fit differently, but I could tell they weren't going to work for me. I wandered around town yesterday to see if I could find a pair of the Pure Gloves to try on, but I didn't have any luck. In the end, I ordered a pair of the Keen Sienna Mary Jane's (http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/product/ss12/shoes/women/blvd/sienna%20mj%20canvas/black) in Khaki. They are fairly lightweight and look like they would go well with my mostly brown pants/skirts travel wardrobe. I'll post a review after I get a chance to try them out.

darbs
06-11-2012, 03:03 PM
snowbot, I normally wear a 11 in my regular (non-barefoot) Merrells, but my Pure gloves are a size 10. Luckily there is 1 store here that carried them so I was able to try them on before ordering. I've tried on the Wonder Gloves too and am a 10 in those. I am NOT a 10 in the Pace Gloves though! They are tight across the top of my foot (a problem I run into with slip-on boots) so I'm thinking I'll need the wide in those. I want to check out New Balance's new line of barefoot runners first though just because their normal sneakers fit me really well.
Those Keen's look nice. Let me know how you like them! :)

Badger
06-11-2012, 04:25 PM
@darbs, when you try the NB Minimus, watch out in case there's a sort of "band" that wraps around the forefoot--which was the case when I bought my first pair back in early 2011. I'm not sure if the Minimus are still made this way, but if you've spent any time in barefoot shoes, it's likely that your forefoot will be too wide (and your toe splay too pronounced) to find them comfortable. At first when I was wearing Minimus, they were OK, but now after 1.5 years of wearing FiveFingers, the anatomy of my feet has changed enough that I find them pretty restrictive.

darbs
06-12-2012, 12:51 PM
Badger, that is why I LOVE barefoot shoes! I have always had a wider toe box, but regular width heel so wide shoes tend to flop around in the back. I also have worn flip flops for so long that my toe splay is probably even more so than normal folks. Most barefoot shoes fit me really well since they are designed for the wider toe-box area and fit snug on the heel. I liked the FiveFingers, but my pinkie toes are fat and stubby and don't fit in them really well, hence the Merrells. I'll have to check out the Minimus. Thanks for the advice!

peregrina
06-12-2012, 08:57 PM
And speaking of expensive product habits other than Tom Bihn, I'm a big fan of Fluevog's. These (http://www.fluevog.com/code/?w%5B0%5D=gender%3Awomen&w%5B1%5D=attribute%3AShoe&pp=1&view=detail&p=14&colourID=3298) were my most recent splurge.

Oooo, fluevogs! I LOVE them! My recent splurge were these (http://www.fluevog.com/code/?w=family%3AOperettas&pp=1&view=detail&p=8&colourID=2370)

Badger
06-12-2012, 10:07 PM
Badger, that is why I LOVE barefoot shoes! I have always had a wider toe box, but regular width heel so wide shoes tend to flop around in the back. I also have worn flip flops for so long that my toe splay is probably even more so than normal folks. Most barefoot shoes fit me really well since they are designed for the wider toe-box area and fit snug on the heel. I liked the FiveFingers, but my pinkie toes are fat and stubby and don't fit in them really well, hence the Merrells. I'll have to check out the Minimus. Thanks for the advice!

Just FYI, Vivobarefoots have honkin' huge toe boxes. I think they're fairly nice looking, but they're rather expensive and I'm not sure how long they'll hold up compared to a pair of Merrells.

In my experience, with VFF it really depends on the model you get. Frankly, the Classics work best for me because I have a very "tall" foot (read: obnoxiously high arches and raised dorsal). With the velcro models, I can't really close them that well, although I have a pair of Sprints that I like. The most expensive pair I own (the TrekSports) give me the pinky-toe slippage you mentioned. I have high hopes for the stupidly-named SeeYa, but I may just end up sticking with Classics.

For normal shoes, I really like Camper. I generally take a pair with me every time I go to Europe because they are great for walking long distances over cobbled streets and the like. When I fly, I try never to take more than two pairs of shoes, and prefer to get away with just one pair if I can. If I'm driving, I'll take every pair of shoes I own, and maybe buy some more en route just in case . . .

snowbot
06-14-2012, 03:08 PM
Badger, have you any specific Camper shoe recommendations? I checked out their website and it made me happy.

I prefer to travel with a back-up pair of shoes. I have bad memories of a two-day work trip during which a strap on my one pair of shoes nearly broke. Because it was work, I didn't have time to try to find a replacement pair of shoes.

snowbot
06-14-2012, 03:12 PM
Oooo, fluevogs! I LOVE them! My recent splurge were these (http://www.fluevog.com/code/?w=family%3AOperettas&pp=1&view=detail&p=8&colourID=2370)
i love the Operettas! I don't have any yet because I don't live near a Fluevog store and haven't tried the style on, nor has my Fluevog pal. One of my friends is even more of a Fluevog Freak than me and her feet are just a little bit smaller than mine. In fact, I've scored two pairs of 'Vogs because she decided she'd bought them a half size too big.

Badger
06-15-2012, 07:33 AM
@snowbot,

I have a pair of Pelotas (http://www.camper.com/en/eshop/producto.xhtml?option=16002-026), the 1912 (which is like an oxford), and I'm planning on a pair of Peu (http://www.camper.com/en/eshop/producto.xhtml?option=17665-014) for this fall. I've had other pairs in the past, too, but I can't remember their names. Most models come in unisex or M/W versions.

I totally understand the need for backup shoes. It's just my fantasy to not need to pack lots of them. I generally do pack an extra pair of shoes when I go to conferences, since The Shoes in Which I Present Papers tend not to be that comfortable.

lonestar6
06-22-2012, 01:07 PM
For vacation travel I take a pair of 'dress up' shoes (Black) a pair of walking shoes and then some sort of shower/lounging shoe. The last depends on space: it can be flip-flops if there is not much space, crocs if there is plenty of space or something in between. A small black hand bag and black belt finish it out. I have been looking at the small packing cube bag and sidekick with much interest. Anyone have an opinion on these?

dorayme
06-22-2012, 01:40 PM
The side effect is an excellent minimal purse. It also works great within other bags. I haven't tried it for formal settings though.

backpack
06-22-2012, 06:52 PM
For vacation travel I take a pair of 'dress up' shoes (Black) a pair of walking shoes and then some sort of shower/lounging shoe. The last depends on space: it can be flip-flops if there is not much space, crocs if there is plenty of space or something in between. A small black hand bag and black belt finish it out. I have been looking at the small packing cube bag and sidekick with much interest. Anyone have an opinion on these?

Two accessories that have worked for me:

The Kit (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0960)

The Kit is a hand-held piece of portable architecture. It is a perfect evening and event bag as well as a minimalist everyday cluch.
I used it at a semi formal wedding and a conference dinner.


Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0921)

I used my Steel Packing Cube Shoulder Bag as an everyday inner pocket inside of my Swift, as a Packing Cube, as a casual and also semi formal Shoulder Bag at an evening dinner, it was dark, it worked.
I had forgotten my Kit.

snowbot
06-29-2012, 08:53 PM
I said that I would provide an update on the shoe quest. The Keen Sienna was cuter on the screen than in person and the back of the heel didn't feel right on my foot. The smaller size in the Merrell Wonder Glove seemed too small. I guess I'm a 7.75 in that style. The one Camper Peu I could find was sort of a flat Mary Jane and while I liked the sole and style, it didn't look right with socks and I'm a big fan of socks.

*sigh*

backpack
06-30-2012, 01:27 AM
I said that I would provide an update on the shoe quest. The Keen Sienna was cuter on the screen than in person and the back of the heel didn't feel right on my foot. The smaller size in the Merrell Wonder Glove seemed too small. I guess I'm a 7.75 in that style. The one Camper Peu I could find was sort of a flat Mary Jane and while I liked the sole and style, it didn't look right with socks and I'm a big fan of socks.

*sigh*

Maybe you should take a look at Home Page | Soft Star Shoes (http://www.softstarshoes.com/) . They are made in Corvalis, OR and sold via the web site or the workshop/showroom only,

They allow try out of their shoes on clear surfaces, not outdoor. Hmmm remind me of another company, which one could that be? :)

Badger
06-30-2012, 06:38 AM
I said that I would provide an update on the shoe quest. The Keen Sienna was cuter on the screen than in person and the back of the heel didn't feel right on my foot. The smaller size in the Merrell Wonder Glove seemed too small. I guess I'm a 7.75 in that style. The one Camper Peu I could find was sort of a flat Mary Jane and while I liked the sole and style, it didn't look right with socks and I'm a big fan of socks.

*sigh*

The Peu comes in a unisex style that is more like a lace-up. Since they are sold by European size rather than M/W size, you can get a fairly precise fit (for example, I am always a size 40 in Camper). You can buy them on Zappo's; for the unisex style, you may need to look on the men's Camper page.

Badger
06-30-2012, 06:41 AM
Maybe you should take a look at Home Page | Soft Star Shoes (http://www.softstarshoes.com/) . They are made in Corvalis, OR and sold via the web site or the workshop/showroom only,

They allow try out of their shoes on clear surfaces, not outdoor. Hmmm remind me of another company, which one could that be? :)

I'm from Corvallis! The awesome thing about Soft Star is that you can customize your shoes or slippers so they have the color, fabric, and sole that you want. They use Vibram rubber and suede for the soles.

Corvy is a nice little town—and so much more than "a slightly cooler Ames [IA]," as my mover put it to me. Um, thanks dude. "A slightly cooler Ames." Gah.

backpack
07-02-2012, 11:13 PM
I'm from Corvallis! The awesome thing about Soft Star is that you can customize your shoes or slippers so they have the color, fabric, and sole that you want. They use Vibram rubber and suede for the soles.

Corvy is a nice little town—and so much more than "a slightly cooler Ames [IA]," as my mover put it to me. Um, thanks dude. "A slightly cooler Ames." Gah.

Oh really! You need to tell us everything about Corvalis!


I know about the possibility of customizing the Soft Star Shoes, I already have the models and color setups in mind, (color coordinated with my Tom Bihn Bags of course)

Right now, I am just happy to fit in my Plum canvas shoes, which is a miracle in itself.

Badger
07-03-2012, 09:43 AM
Oh really! You need to tell us everything about Corvalis!

Corvallis. Two Ls. The name is derived from Latin (by which I mean someone made it up), and means heart of the valley. It's smack-dab in the middle of the Willamette Valley, and is a nice enough place. (And way better than Ames. Way better.) It's about 1.5 hours from Portland, another 1.5 hours from the coast, about 2 hours or so from Sisters. There are wineries nearby, lots of good running and cycling, good coffee and beer, and everything is organic. They just got a Trader Joe's a couple of years ago. Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University, a land-grant institution with a large college of agriculture. My parents live near-ish the OSU dairy, which, during the summer, is just as unpleasant as you might suspect.

We visited last summer with Titus in tow. He rather liked Corvallis, I think.

thisisme
07-03-2012, 11:34 AM
What is a "minimalist shoe"?

I would say my clothing style is a slightly dressier version of the typical 'hiker/granola/traveler' clothing style.
For longer trips (2 - 3 weeks) I take three pairs of shoes (pack 2):

1. Comfortable 2 - 3" heels that I can wear with dresses and look fairly dressed up. Also works as walking shoe.
2. Pleather flip flops that work at the beach, yet are still dressy enough to wear around town.
3. Fluvog ankle boots OR my running shoes. I wear the ankle boots on the motorcycle, in the rain (not ideal, but better than open-toed shoes), and when it's colder. I can also hike in these, although they won't tolerate anything too backwoods.
I bring the runners instead if I'm not on the motorcycle. Again, I can hike in them (but I don't look as cool as the Keen-wearing folks.)

Badger
07-03-2012, 12:36 PM
What is a "minimalist shoe"?

Check out birthdayshoes.com for a good primer on minimalist footwear.

dorayme
10-31-2013, 08:22 PM
I am revitalizing this thread with a PSA. I was considering ordering another pair of Merry Janes from SoftStar Shoes yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see they are now offering a LE Ballet Flat (http://www.softstarshoes.com/adult-shoes/adult-ballet-flat-black.html). I couldn't resist because I've been looking for a pair of Ballet Flats for a long time. I didn't know if there were any other SSS fans out there or not.

Canonsue
11-01-2013, 05:46 AM
Love, love, love Soft Star shoes! I keep thinking I need to purchase more in case they stop making shoes. I can see myself wearing only Soft Star for the rest of my life.

Sue

dorayme
11-01-2013, 06:54 AM
Love, love, love Soft Star shoes! I keep thinking I need to purchase more in case they stop making shoes. I can see myself wearing only Soft Star for the rest of my life.

I think I'm headed in that direction. More and more my feet like it better when they are in contact with the ground and more or less in a flattish position.

giantsteve
11-01-2013, 10:00 AM
Just a caution that relying too much on lightweight form fitting footwear can increase the risk for developing plantar fasciitis, a painful condition of the foot. I know two women who after many years of thin shoe wearing have developed this condition... it's painful and can limit mobility.

From the Mayo Clinic website (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-fasciitis/DS00508) they list the risk factors which include improper footwear:

- Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Sex. Women are more likely than are men to develop plantar fasciitis.
- Certain types of exercise such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and dance aerobics can contribute to an earlier onset.
- Faulty foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking.
- Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
- Occupations that keep you on your feet walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.
- Improper shoes. Avoid loose, thin-soled shoes, as well as shoes without enough arch support or flexible padding to absorb shock. If you regularly wear high heels, your Achilles tendon — which is attached to your heel — can contract and shorten, causing strain on the tissue around your heel.

Badger
11-01-2013, 10:13 AM
Note that heel-striking (that is, walking or running in such a way that your heel makes contact with the ground first) is a significant contributor to plantar fasciitis. Heel-striking is an easy pattern to adopt, and our well-cushioned shoes minimize the sensation, but not always the damage, of repeated stressful contact with hard surfaces. Wearers of minimalist footwear (should, at least) undergo a period in which they re-learn the gait we have been evolved to use, striking with the ball of the foot, which can absorb shock much more effectively than the heel. For me, I walk forefoot-first, even in "normal" shoes. Since dorayme and Sue are long-time minimalist footwear users, I'm sure they have retrained their gaits as well.

Canonsue
11-01-2013, 11:23 AM
Badger, you are correct about me. I used to have plantar fasciitis when I was running in regular running shoes. But I have no more problems in minimalist shoes. Soft Star Runamocs are the only shoes I wear daily and have been for several years. I exercise and use them for business casual. Great travel shoes as I only need one pair for everything. That is the reason I can go a week away with only using my Synapse 19.

Sue

dorayme
11-03-2013, 08:00 PM
As you mention, I have regaited Badger, and walk forefoot first vs. heel strike first.
giantsteve, thank you for your PSA however, I'm sure somebody will benefit from the information.
I suffered from plantar fascitis in high school as well as a slew of other chronic and semi chronic issues in my lower extremities and back since then. I became very concerned with how my feet, legs and back felt after that point. Even though I'm not yet 40, I haven't worn heels of greater than 1.5" in close to 15 years. I actually can't without being debilitated the following day(s). Most of my shoes that seem like heels are actually platform shoes that have the front elevated as well as the back and give me height without forcing my foot into the typical shape a heel would. I mentioned moving towards mostly minimalist shoes because recently I have noticed that those shoes cause me discomfort.

On another note, I wore the Ballerine flats all day today! I went to church, then a meeting, and toured a camp facility. I walked over asphalt, concrete, hardwood floors, gravel, grass, wood steps, carpet, and probably about 3 other surfaces that I don't remember today and my feet really were happy the entire time!
Go SSS!

Rocks
11-04-2013, 12:09 AM
In my Italy thread I mentioned debating bringing my Chaco sandals even though they're not the prettiest. I wound up packing them and I'm glad I did! So my advice: bring your most comfortable shoes and don't care what they look like. If you're comfortable you'll be so much happier.

monkeylady
11-04-2013, 11:26 AM
Are you back? How was your trip? Pix?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Rocks
11-10-2013, 09:37 AM
Are you back? How was your trip? Pix?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Yes I'm back! Here's shoe pics. I bought the plastic booties (Stivali) in Venice and donated them to my hotel when I left. They cost 10 euro and you can buy them everywhere. My Merrells wound up being great. Those plus Chacos meant I could walk all day. Add Smartwool socks and your trip will be blister free.

4977
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Ms. Ferret
12-01-2013, 05:06 PM
I so totally want a pair of Soft Star shoes after reading these threads. Do they work well for various climates/terrains?

dorayme
12-01-2013, 06:02 PM
I have worn my Merry Janes throughout the Humid and Hot NC summer. This is my first winter, and winters aren't usually super cold here. I think I'm going to order a pair of the fleece innersoles. Handknit socks help with warmth most days though. If you are concerned about very cold climate, you could spring for the Phoenix boots. If I didn't already have a pair of similar EMU Australia boots I would.
As for different terrains, I haven't had any issues with mine. I haven't been mountain climbing, but I have worn the MJ's to hike/scout out many properties on our house hunt this past year. I wore my Ballerine flats on a tour of a summer camp facility and the terrain varies significantly from gravel, to root filled paths. I had no problems, other than irritating leaf bits in my shoes.
If I were trying to do anything with speed, I would probably want the run-a-mocs or at minimum the Ramblers to ensure the shoe would stay with my foot. The MJ's and BF's are very secure for walking though.

Ms. Ferret
12-01-2013, 06:29 PM
Thanks dorayme!!! I think I am going to pick up some Merry Janes for winter -- they're adorable!

atarango1
01-28-2014, 02:30 PM
Trying to revive this thread: but I am interested in Soft star shoes.
I have plantar fasciitis, pretty bad in my right foot. Bad enough that at the moment I can only wear Dansko clogs (the closed back ones, they have the best support) and Birkenstock sandals. I also have a small bunion on said foot. I went to a podiatrist and before even really telling me what he was doing I got a cortisone shot in my foot. It sucked. But he has done little else to help me, saying the cortisone would take care of things. Anyway I have read a bit on minimalist footwear and I see that it can help plantar fasciitis in some cases by strengthening the foot, but other publications say that it can aggravate it. Best info I have found said for people to transition slowly, by retraining the gait. Anyway I am thinking of buying a pair of softstar shoes and giving it a go. Does anyone have advice as to how to transition from regular to minimalist shoes? I don't run anymore, so I wouldn't be working out, just walking around.

Badger
01-28-2014, 03:09 PM
@atarango1: sucks about the PF. And worse: who gives a shot without warning? Jeez.

As for retraining, what I would suggest is to start indoors with your new minimalist shoes. Put them on at work (assuming you're inside and sitting for at least some part of the day) and go barefoot or in socks at home. If you get SoftStars, you will definitely feel the floor, and it is possible that you may begin forefoot-stepping naturally. If you don't, you may have to consciously tell yourself to step toes-first rather than heel first. I'd suggest doing this for a week and seeing how your feet feel. Then, if the weather allows, take some walks in your shoes. It may be best to start out on grass, since it's a much more forgiving surface than pavement. I think even 10-15 minutes of walking a day can be helpful. You will gradually build muscle in your calves and feet, and your toes will begin to splay more naturally to get a grip on the ground. As your feet get stronger, you can wear your new shoes longer, and gradually move away from the others.

NB: you may need to exercise a lot of patience during this process. Danskos/Birks have a ton of support and really immobilize the foot, so it could take some time before you feel like your feet have adjusted and your gait recalibrates. However, once this process happens, I think you could switch to normal shoes for a period of time and then back to minimalist footwear without much of a readjustment process. After a long midwestern winter, it only takes my feet a few days to feel normal again in fivefingers or zero-drop zori/flipflops. Hope this helps, and that relief is forthcoming!

monkeylady
01-28-2014, 03:50 PM
I limit myself to 2 prs. Of shoes. I always wear my Vasco trail shoes on the plane and take leather Teva sandals (OK for long walks, a dressier look, and submersible) as we predominantly travel to hot humid places. To the occasional trips to cooler climes, it's the trail shoes again but with Naot cross straps (just fine for dressier look and long walks, with or without socks).

atarango1
03-19-2014, 09:04 PM
Thanks for all the advice Badger.
I bought a pair of soft star shoes, the Merry Janes in silver and at first I was like, hmm. But it feels kind of neat to be able to feel the ground.
Unfortunately because of my car accident I have been on crutches for two weeks and now a cane and I can't walk right, so now is not the time to begin retraining my feet to the new shoes, but I hope once my knee is healed (bone bruises, a torn ligament,nothing serious. Just bothersome and slightly painful) that I can work on the barefoot shoes. The best thing about the soft stars is that they are so light, it's like wearing nothing!

Amy
06-06-2014, 05:03 PM
I just found this thread and have enjoyed reading everyone's shoe recommendations for travel, and wanted to tell you about my favorite minimalist travel shoes for those of you looking for another option.

(Background: I love minimalist running and have been doing it for 4 years with no injuries. It took about 6 months to slowly transition, but my legs, feet, and knees feel so much better than they used to in thick-soled running shoes. I got a knee injury which is what made me switch to minimalist shoes in the first place. The biggest downside to wearing minimalist shoes all the time is that your feet get spoiled by the freedom and comfort, and start screaming if you try to cram them into heels or tight toe boxes. I find raised heels of any height virtually intolerable now. They make my whole body ache.)

I recently took a 2-week trip to France and my indispensable travel shoes were the Vivo Barefoot Evo IIs. They're my go-to shoes for any trip that requires closed-toed shoes. They are "hydrophobic" (water resistant, clean off easily), have a reasonable tread on the bottom which made them good for street running or offroad hiking, they are dark blue so they blend in with my jeans when sight-seeing or going to a restaurant (they don't look as obviously American or sneaker-like). Plus, they're small and form-fitting to your foot, they pack down to nothing, and they are blissfully comfortable like slippers, and they make your foot look smaller than traditional shoes. They have an inner lining which made them warm enough to wear in cold climates, but I've even worn them running in Dallas in the summer, and found them no hotter than any other shoes.

I also like that they're made of vegan and recycled materials. The honeycomb top is made of recycled water bottles. The sole is only 4mm thick.

Here's the style/color I have:
Vivo Barefoot Women's Evo II Shoe - at Moosejaw.com (http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/product_Vivo-Barefoot-Women-s-Evo-II-Shoe_10170878_10208_10000001_-1_)

All that said, if you're not already accustomed to minimalist shoes, you may not find them as comfortable as cushioned shoes. If you have some sort of foot condition (bunions, overlapping toes, plantar fasciitis), you may not even have the option to go minimalist. But my husband, daughter, son-in-law and I all wore different versions of Vivo shoes while we were there, walking many miles a day, hiking, etc. It's a great brand, and they all rave about them. My husband owns only 2 pairs of shoes now, both from Vivo.

But I don't use them in really hot climates. I'm going to Phoenix soon for a shorter trip, and will bring only my Xero huaraches for running/walking, and black leather flip-flops to wear as my "nice shoes."

Another shoe recommendation, a favorite of my daughter-in-laws, are the Merrell Vapor Gloves. They have thin, porous uppers, and feel very close to socks. I don't wear them in the rain or mud since they feel more fragile, so I tend to use them indoors as house shoes, at the gym, or for occasional dry-condition road runs. They feel like you have nothing at all on your feet. I got mine in black so they're not as conspicuous (I wear then to work a lot.) These crush down even smaller than the Vivo's, and I can fit my size 10s in the bottom pocket of my Synapse 19 along with running skirt and shirt, with no problem. They take up less room than most flip-flops and are more flexible.

Here are the ones I have: Women's MERRELL Vapor Glove Running Shoe Black Shoes.com (http://www.shoes.com/en-US/Product/5197174/MERRELL/_/Womens+Vapor+Glove+Running+Shoe.aspx)

scribe
06-07-2014, 12:31 AM
I love Vivo Barefoots! I have a pair of Lucy Lites (more like normal sneakers than high-performance running shoes) that I wear regularly in spring/summer when it's a bit too rainy for sandals, and a pair of black Mary Janes that are perfect for travel, as they fasten with velcro and can be slipped off in a trice. I might have to get their Gobi ladies' desert boot for winter - I have a pair of Doc Martens faux motorcycle boots, but they rub on my calves unless I wear long socks with them.

My favourite non-minimalist (and totally non-sport!) brand is Josef Siebel, as they make lots of near-flat designs that are pretty without being OTT "girly" - my all-time favourites are a pair of dark blue leather slip-ons with a punched-out daisy-pattern all over the upper, which makes them nice and cool for summer wear. They're a good alternative to the MJs for that reason, but are starting to wear out :(

sheeshoo
06-07-2014, 10:54 AM
It's fun to see this thread resurrected. I love shoes and that's usually the thing I have the hardest time limiting myself on. I want comfort and style.

I saw earlier in the thread that some people have mentioned loving their Keen Newport H2s. I had these for many years but fairly recently "upgraded" to the KEEN Whispers (http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/product/shoes/women/waterfront/whisper). They are much lighter weight and a little less bulky. They smoosh pretty flat for a pack and work for a lot of warmer (and wet) terrain. I also like that there is neoprene around the ankle, so instant wearability and nor rubbing for blisters. They were perfect for a ton of different outdoor activities in Costa Rica this year.

When I travel for business or don't mind a little bulk in my bag for heels, the Fluevog Hopeful Luxon (http://www.fluevog.com/code/?item=Luxon) is hands down the most comfortable pair of heels I own. I can walk all day in these even with problem, arthritic feet. Plus they have fun colors and styling. They are expensive but have been worth every penny (especially when you can find them on sale).

For flip-flops, another shoe that's worth the slightly higher price is the Teva Mush (http://www.teva.com/women-flip-flops/original-mush/1001825.html). They are so comfortable and durable.

And when I need a shoe that's cute enough for dinner but also one I can do a lot of walking and standing in, I usually wear (and wear on the plane because they're a little bulky) the Dansko Sam (http://www.dansko.com/Womens/Footwear/Collections/Sausalito/Sam/Black%20Soft%20Full%20Grain/).

For trainers, I like lightweight, but my feet need more than what a lot of the barefoot styles offer. I generally take a (now discontinued) pair of Nike Free 5.0s or Brooks Pure Connect (http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/brooks-pureconnect-3-womens-running-shoes/1201561B524.050.html#start=5). Both are very lightweight, give me the support I need, dry out quickly when they get wet, provide a lot of breathability, and are quite squishable to fit in a bag easily.

Generally I take my flip-flops and then 1-2 other pairs. For business travel, I may sneak in a 3rd pair since I don't need as many clothes and have room and weight-space.

flaneuse
06-07-2014, 12:02 PM
I ordered a pair of Luna Mono sandals today after realizing that, although I love them, the SoftStar Ballerines are not really the best choice for chasing kids around a park with fountains, LOL. But, they are way more comfortabl than the one pair of flip flops I have, so, didn't have much of a choice. I'm also looking forward to trying them out on some hikes this summer.

dorayme
06-07-2014, 01:12 PM
I ordered a pair of Luna Mono sandals today after realizing that, although I love them, the SoftStar Ballerines are not really the best choice for chasing kids around a park with fountains, LOL. But, they are way more comfortabl than the one pair of flip flops I have, so, didn't have much of a choice. I'm also looking forward to trying them out on some hikes this summer.

I'm curious to know what you think on these too. I use Xero Sensory Multi shoes or Soft Star Ramblers sans sheepskin innersoles for summer recreating. And my Sseko Sandals, Ballerines, Soltice Sandals and Merry Janes for times when I want to be dressier.

I just saw Xero has a new shoe, the Amuri Cloud. I am curious to try a pair of these in the future, but I'm not loving any of the color choices (too bad they don't have a Black/Purple offering). I wish I could combine the style and fun of Sskeo Designs with a minimalist sole. That would be my dream summer shoe. I thought about just punching more holes in a pair of Xero DIY, but I would only be able to use the cords, not ribbons or ties. . .

NWhikergal
06-07-2014, 08:49 PM
I ordered a pair of Luna Mono sandals today after realizing that, although I love them, the SoftStar Ballerines are not really the best choice for chasing kids around a park with fountains, LOL. But, they are way more comfortabl than the one pair of flip flops I have, so, didn't have much of a choice. I'm also looking forward to trying them out on some hikes this summer.

I just got some Luna Mono sandals at their Seattle factory a week ago, and they are amazingly comfortable so far. I have not used minimalist footwear extensively, so I am easing into using them, but I wore them for several miles of walking and my feet felt great. I am looking forward to using them as general purpose sandals, plus they may be one of my luxury items as lightweight camp shoes/water crossing shoes for long backpacking trips.

flaneuse
06-08-2014, 12:07 AM
@Dorayme I will have to check out the Xeros. Hopefully I'll get the lunas in a week and a half or so, and can start testing them out.

@NWhikergal cool! Did you get the MGT footbed or the leather? I decided to go with the MGT but I'm slightly concerned about some of the reviews that say that material has causes hot spots/blisters. I'm hoping it won't be the case for me.

NWhikergal
06-08-2014, 07:48 AM
@Dorayme I will have to check out the Xeros. Hopefully I'll get the lunas in a week and a half or so, and can start testing them out.

@NWhikergal cool! Did you get the MGT footbed or the leather? I decided to go with the MGT but I'm slightly concerned about some of the reviews that say that material has causes hot spots/blisters. I'm hoping it won't be the case for me.

I did get the MGT footbed, and I have not found it irritating at all so far, though it has only been highs of around 75 here in Seattle rather than extreme heat (if that makes a difference?). I also got the tech strap for a bit of extra security, and I am glad I did. I was a little concerned about a review I read mentioning possible blisters with that footbed, but since I was really interested in using them with water potentially, I figured I would give it a try anyway. So far I have probably only walked 10 miles or so in the sandals, so not far, but I have not had any discomfort. The only thing that took a few minutes was figuring out my preferred strap adjustment.

Good luck! I will be curious to hear your impressions.

flaneuse
06-08-2014, 09:03 AM
Thanks NWhikergal! Those are pretty much the same reasons I picked the MGT footbed too--I envision using them for wading after the kids in water parks/fountains/streams/lakes and during the summer it tends to have sudden downpours here. I am reassured to hear that they are not causing any irritation for you and I can't wait to get mine in! I ordered the tech strap too :)

TILLY
07-12-2014, 12:27 AM
Whenever you are travelling abroad keep two pair of shoes along with you, one should be trendy and other for hiking and check the size thoroughly before keeping shoes with you either they are fit with socks so that you may not get fatigue during traveling. Black road boots are best for travelling purpose they are made of leather and help a lot if you are intended to do hiking.

Hanaper
07-16-2014, 04:49 AM
In my experience, with VFF it really depends on the model you get. Frankly, the Classics work best for me because I have a very "tall" foot (read: obnoxiously high arches and raised dorsal). With the velcro models, I can't really close them that well, although I have a pair of Sprints that I like. The most expensive pair I own (the TrekSports) give me the pinky-toe slippage you mentioned. I have high hopes for the stupidly-named SeeYa, but I may just end up sticking with Classics.


Replying to a comment from two years ago to say "Yes, that", and "There's now a choice of lace-up VFFs which I can get to behave nicely over my high arch and vamp".

Ca1i
07-26-2014, 12:29 PM
For a casual minimalist shoe that emphasizes natural foot shape I can recommend the Lems Primal 2. They really do allow your toes to move around while avoiding the paddle shape shoe that soft star has. They also have a *slightly* more padded footbed. (I SO wanted to love soft star. I really like all the colors and customizations, not to mention the ethos, but on my feet they looked pretty homely.) I've also tried the Lems Mariner, but didn't care for it.

I sometimes take the new Kigo Leon shoes which are also slightly paddle shaped and have a very thin footbed. (I have their drive shoes too but they aren't foot shaped.) They are OK, but I still think the Lems Primal 2 were a better purchase. Just wish they had more everyday styles that don't look like sneakers for women. I don't wear the MaryJane style shoes, so I can't comment on those.