Minimalist Footwear that’s more ART than Footwear
The first time I tried on a pair of Paperfeet, I decided not to review them on the grounds that my safety was more important than a properly wear-tested review; they were so slippery on every surface I tried them on, I was fearful of falling. Thankfully, Al reviewed a pair of the original Paperfeet (found here), and my somewhat guilty conscious was assuaged because I felt that Living Barefoot readers deserved a review of the product. Paperfeet has since come out with a ‘Grippy’ version with recycled rubber on the wear points for added grip. I now feel like they are safe enough for me to wear. But do I want to? Read on…
These ‘shoes’ are not comfortable. Although the recycled billboard vinyl is not rough, the edges are sharp against the skin. Every time they flex, I can feel the edges dig into my feet. Although they are quite minimal for footwear, they are not ‘shoes’ so much as art for your feet, and function about as well.
Paperfeet are as wide as you want to make them. They have Velcro strips along the top, ankle, and heel tabs for easy adjusting.
In addition to the billboard material, there are sole pods made of recycled rubber for added grip. These pods add much needed traction to the vinyl. They are close to 1 mm in thickness.
This footwear is as flexible as any durable vinyl. They are, of course, extremely portable. They can be folded up and put in a pocket. The soling rubber pods aren’t as flexible as the vinyl but do flex considerably, providing great ground feel.
Paperfeet are incredibly light weighing in at 1 ¼ ounces or just over 34 grams. Their weight is practically imperceptible on the feet—if only the edges were as well.
Support / Insole
There is no support or insole included with your one-of-kind Paperfeet.
If you’re looking for phenomenal ground feel, Paperfeet will undoubtedly deliver. The vinyl and rubber soling pods are incredibly thin and flexible allowing your feet to feel everything you step on, without the worry of cutting yourself on anything sharp.
This is where Grippy Paperfeet surpass the Original Paperfeet in function: the grip on these is more than adequate for man-made or natural surfaces. I wouldn’t want to run downhill in them, but walking on flat ground has more than enough traction.
Although the vinyl obviously doesn’t breathe, there is plenty of air access through the sandal design. Your feet will not be wanting for breathability in these art pieces.
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The soling rubber pieces add durability to the vinyl at the heel and forefoot. The vinyl is previously used billboard material so is recycling a material that has fulfilled its primary function. As to quality of the materials, I’m sure they’re both good. As to qualifying as footwear material, that’s up to how much art you like in your footwear. The construction is of the hand-made variety and the unfinished look reflects this.
The billboard material is waterproof. If you need a pair of footwear for unexpected downpours while barefooting and then want to put them back in a pocket, they just need a little shake and all the water will roll right off.
There is sizing information on the Paperfeet website to help you with ordering the correct size. The footwear is somewhat adjustable with the Velcro straps so the website suggests finding “your closest fit” which is as easy as measuring the length of your feet and picking the appropriate size.
I could not find a price for the Grippy Paperfeet on the company’s website so I don’t know how much they cost. But I can say that it wouldn’t matter what they cost, I wouldn’t buy them. There are plenty of comfortable, minimal, stylish, portable options for minimalist footwear on the market now and I would sooner buy a pair of functional footwear than artistic footwear that hurt my feet.
Despite every pair of Paperfeet being one-of-a-kind, these are art for your feet and not functional footwear, and I don’t like the style. I do not find them attractive in any way and it wouldn’t matter what colours the billboard material came in.
If they got dirty, Paperfeet can be easily wiped with a wet cloth for cleaning.
Like any open-air sandal, this footwear is not warm. The temperature of the ground is also easily transmitted through the material. These are for warm temperatures only.
I can’t think of an activity that I would want to do in these sandals. If you are usually barefoot and need a footwear option for sanitary or social reasons that was easily portable, waterproof, and still gave good ground feel, you might want a pair of Paperfeet. If you wanted comfort out of said pair of shoes, you might want to try another minimalist option.
Grippy Paperfeet are one of those footwear inventions that are more art than shoes. They are not comfortable and definitely not attractive (to me, at least). However, they are waterproof, easily packable, grippy, and one-of-a-kind. Personally, I prefer comfort and function over fashion and individuality in my footwear. For more information, take a look at the Paperfeet website.
Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info