Looking for minimal shoes that are actually minimal...

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by Danjo, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Danjo

    Danjo
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    1. New Mexico

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    Hello all,
    I am looking for some shoe recommendations if anyone has them. Way back in 2011 I bought some of the original ZEM 360 Ninja's and I loved them, even if they looked goofy. They're basically a thin sock with like 2mm of foam and 4mm of rubber on the bottom, and flexible enough that if I lift my toes the sole lifts up with them. To this day they're the only shoes I've ever run in that actually felt like I was running barefoot. Unfortunately the thin soles meant they had holes worn through them after one cross country season (worth it though), and it seems they're now either discontinued or changed to be an entirely different shoe.

    I tried a couple other shoes that I didn't really like many years ago, and I've mostly been just not running or running barefoot since then. But I'm trying to get back into it and wondering if any shoe like the original ZEM 360's is still being made. I have recently tried the Xero Prio, I found it to be too stiff and clunky even just to walk in. I then tried the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite, which was a little better, but still not great. Both shoes are at least twice as thick as I need them to be. I'm not completely sold on the stiff rubber they use either, although I suppose it would probably soften up with use. I'm considering trying a half size down of the Primus lite as they ran a little large (so did the Prio's, I'm not sure why companies think I want a whole inch of toe room in a shoe that is supposed to move perfectly in sync with my foot rather than flopping around).

    Does anyone know of any minimal shoes currently being made that is significantly more minimal than either the Prio or the Primus Lite? Also I have large narrow feet so I prefer to not have the ultra-wide toe boxes that seem to be the industry standard now because my feet don't need the room and it just makes the shoes unnecessarily giant and floppy. I'm basically just looking for something to barely seperate my feet from the ground because it's cold out and I don't want my feet going numb and a bit stiff if I'm trying to run barefoot.

    Alternatively, would it be possible to repair my ZEMs? The holes are rather large, but I'm thinking maybe with some kind of mesh and a rubber compound I could patch them up.
     
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  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
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    Wow, Danjo! How have you been? It's been a long time. I'm so glad to hear from you. It's good to know you're still around. :barefoot:

    How do you feel about huaraches? The Xero Shoes are very minimal, and since they are not enclosed, they allow your toes to breathe.
     
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  3. paulbeales

    paulbeales
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    1. United Kingdom

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    Hi Danjo,

    Maybe try Sockwa X8?

    Not a lot of grip for wet or trail running though

    Cheers,

    Paul
     
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  4. Danjo

    Danjo
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    1. New Mexico

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    Hey TJ. Yeah, I haven't really been running consistently for several years, but I still get out every once in a while. My first pair of minimal shoes was actually the "do it yourself" huaraches kit from Xero shoes, not sure if I just didn't make them very well or if its the size of my foot, but I found them to be horrendously floppy. Also the spot where the knot goes up front is exactly where my highest wear spot is, so that wasn't a good design for me either. (Three guesses where the holes in my ZEMs are...)

    The Sockwa X8 looks much more my speed, thanks Paul! Just planning on road running for now so I'm not too worried about grip, just trying to find something I can actually run in without changing my form. Those actually look pretty similar to the original ZEMs, which I suppose makes sense since they both started as water shoes.
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

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    Xero Shoes has a lot of new varieties of huaraches now, and they have some sandals that cross over the top of your foot, so you don't have to worry about them rubbing between the toes. They also have some closed-toed models. You might want to check out their website. www.XeroShoes.com

    Glad to have you back.
     
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  6. Random

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    1. Utah
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    I have just barely begun running, and I run in my Sockwas. I like them and have ordered more. Normally they fit close to the ends of the toes like socks do. Personally, I do not like them that small because I don't like material, socks or otherwise, touching the ends of my toes, so I get a size larger than I'm supposed to.

    Edit: I ran on wet sidewalks and had no problem at all. (In case that's useful info for you.)
     
    #6 Random, Jan 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
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  7. Random

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    1. Utah
    2. Arizona -...

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    I also got those a couple of years ago and had the same experience with them being too floppy.
     

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