Minimalist / barefoot outdoor boots

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Sep 16, 2021
14
4
45
Dundee
I injured my foot a long time ago and seem to have development some issues with inflammation in one of the joints over the years. Up until recently it has not been a significant problem and I got away with wearing normal footwear. Typically I would just wear something like Lowa mountain boots or German army boots but now I'm having problems regardless of what I wear and find myself limping around in pain. I was thinking about trying a minimalist or barefoot style of boot to encourage more natural movement but it seems these boots all cost a fortune and wouldn't hold up very well in a rugged and wet environment. I saw one boot called the vivo barefoot tracker (I think) but this doesn't look like it would hold up. Does anyone else have similar problems with finding footwear and can anyone recommend a boot that would maybe work? Thanks.
 

CLEM

Full Member
Jul 10, 2004
2,375
387
Stourbridge
I injured my foot a long time ago and seem to have development some issues with inflammation in one of the joints over the years. Up until recently it has not been a significant problem and I got away with wearing normal footwear. Typically I would just wear something like Lowa mountain boots or German army boots but now I'm having problems regardless of what I wear and find myself limping around in pain. I was thinking about trying a minimalist or barefoot style of boot to encourage more natural movement but it seems these boots all cost a fortune and wouldn't hold up very well in a rugged and wet environment. I saw one boot called the vivo barefoot tracker (I think) but this doesn't look like it would hold up. Does anyone else have similar problems with finding footwear and can anyone recommend a boot that would maybe work? Thanks.
Have you seen a podiatrist? May be a good idea.
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,128
1,004
Vantaa, Finland
I have worn very thin soled Merrell shoes for the last three years when the weather is above +5C. I have some sports injuries that like the soft uppers very much. But no I would not use these for real outdoor walks, 4mm of admittedly very tough rubber just is not enough between me and the pine cones not to say anything about similar sized sharp stones. I have tried on more boot like thin soles but they did not really convince me. Certainly adequate on soft grounds and light loads but these old feet need something more substantial underneath when on rougher grounds and higher loads.
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
37,007
2,868
S. Lanarkshire
My feet are damaged with arthritis. They always hurt. It's just what it is.
Unless, I'm walking about barefooted. At home, in the house and in my garden, I'm barefoot....or sock footed in Winter :)

Hiking sandals are a nightmare, so are most boots, I have little feet, they don't look that damaged, but the joints ache as though they're sprained and it's becoming harder and harder to find small sized ladies boots....not children's boots, but ladies boots, that aren't a very narrow fitting.

I tried the barefoot shoe things, and they just don't do it for me. They don't fit well at all.

What does work, and works on anything but sodden wet and ice, are real moccasins or the Viking boot style shoes that re-enactors wear. Courrans are fine in Summer, but they're cold and let in the wet a bit much the rest of the year.

Decent moccasins with thick supple soles, quickly become as though you're not wearing shoes.

I prefer the small boot style, the stitching at the sides of the instep on ordinary ones chafes on me and any pressure and my skin raises in wheals.

Best thing is, once you have a pattern that actually fits you properly, you can make your own as required, and you never need to buy.

Buy decent supple leather, use beeswax to proof them and to give a bit of grip, line them (or just wear) thick wool inside.
Comfort, normal flexing of arches and toes, and you'll not notice most of the debris underfoot either.

TLM said thin soles not so good with heavy loads. I have to agree, but I just don't carry heavy loads anymore. Not any distance.
I do have good boots, and I do wear them, but for day to day just wandering, the moccasins win hands down.
 

MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,004
907
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I injured my foot a long time ago and seem to have development some issues with inflammation in one of the joints over the years. Up until recently it has not been a significant problem and I got away with wearing normal footwear. Typically I would just wear something like Lowa mountain boots or German army boots but now I'm having problems regardless of what I wear and find myself limping around in pain. I was thinking about trying a minimalist or barefoot style of boot to encourage more natural movement but it seems these boots all cost a fortune and wouldn't hold up very well in a rugged and wet environment. I saw one boot called the vivo barefoot tracker (I think) but this doesn't look like it would hold up. Does anyone else have similar problems with finding footwear and can anyone recommend a boot that would maybe work? Thanks.

yes i have awful problems as i have 2 surgically fused ankles (both feet) done over 10 years ago now - i have resigned myself to never being comfortable in footwear ever again and i now just destroy 2 to 3 pairs of 'outdoor' trainers a year.

I find if i have 2 stiff a boot it locks my foot (which i rely on for walking mvoement) and i fall over a lot and fatigue a lot, and softer trainers i can walk better but i get more pain.

bloody annoying i tell you.
 
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MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,004
907
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I wear minimalist shoes every day. Boots are a challenge but every work day I wear freet muddees. I’m on my second pair. In between this pair and the previous I tried lems boulder boots. All are fine for outdoor trekking.
what do you think those would be like for someone with only about 5 to 10 degrees of ankle movement, but almost normal forefoot movement?
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,855
868
Canada
You might look at zero-drop trail runners. They sorted out my achilles and resulting lower back aches a few years a go and I stuck with them.

Altra Superiors have a thin sole, Altra Lone Peaks slightly more cushioned. They are great - I walk 10+ miles a day. A lot of those long distance section-hikers recommend them too.
 
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kard133

Full Member
Mar 20, 2010
674
55
Bristol
I am currently wearing Lems Boulder Boots, a zero fall minimalist boot which allows my toes to spread out. They feel like wearing moccasins to me, the soles do not have the best grip, but they suffice. There is a waterproof model but I prefer the non waterproof ones and just wear wool socks. So far they are the only boots that don't cause me pain and irritation in my toes. I got them from Bushgear.
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,813
735
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
no worries, i might drp them an email and see what they think.

my other alternatives are to wear some 'NHS made orthopaedic shoes' :/
They might let you try them out?

I know vivobarefoot have a long returns policy but I've struggled to find a pair available fr the boots (without being a truly obscene price!)
 
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Sep 16, 2021
14
4
45
Dundee
yes i have awful problems as i have 2 surgically fused ankles (both feet) done over 10 years ago now - i have resigned myself to never being comfortable in footwear ever again and i now just destroy 2 to 3 pairs of 'outdoor' trainers a year.

I find if i have 2 stiff a boot it locks my foot (which i rely on for walking mvoement) and i fall over a lot and fatigue a lot, and softer trainers i can walk better but i get more pain.

bloody annoying i tell you.
How do you cope with wet feet? Do you just take dry footwear to change into at camp?
 
Sep 16, 2021
14
4
45
Dundee
yes I take spares :) Wool socks as well then atleast I don’t get so cold.
That might be an option at least for now. I'd love to try some moccasins but right now I don't have the tools and materials here to make them or a workspace as I'm staying with relatives just now. Buying them looks eye wateringly expensive. They look comfortable as hell though.
 
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SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
886
585
Ceredigion
Have you tried Skinners barefoot socks? They have a protective coating on the bottom of the foot and around the sides, but are in essence socks and therefore gives your feet as much freedom as ordinary socks would.

I haven’t used mine enough to say anything about their longevity, but otherwise they seem good.

They do remind me of those antislip socks we had in kindergarden/primary school, but they’re thankfully not pink with little stars on! :D
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,813
735
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
Have you tried Skinners barefoot socks? They have a protective coating on the bottom of the foot and around the sides, but are in essence socks and therefore gives your feet as much freedom as ordinary socks would.

I haven’t used mine enough to say anything about their longevity, but otherwise they seem good.

They do remind me of those antislip socks we had in kindergarden/primary school, but they’re thankfully not pink with little stars on! :D
I see very mixed views on skinners. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with them.
 

nigelp

Full Member
I have some Aliexpress copies of the skinners. They have thicker sole and some rubber extra bits on the sole. I use them for ‘padding’ about the woods silently when trailing wildlife. They are not really suitable for anything too serious.
I also bought some of theses to try: https://www.amazon.co.uk/WHITIN-Uni...foot/dp/B07KN57G3Y?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1&psc=1

They are more of a trainer than boot but are better on urban surfaces and still quite quiet in the woods.
 

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