Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jambu Birmingham Barefoot Boot Review

I recently reviewed a Jambu Bare Feet Design shoe for summer, the Barefoot Vegan, with very positive attributes. This season, Jambu has added to their Bare Feet Designs with some fall/winter options. The Birmingham Barefoot is their ankle-high, leather shoe version for colder temperatures in mind. Does it succeed as well as the first of their shoes we reviewed? Read on…

Comfort
These boots are, sadly, not comfortable in any way. Once you remove the non-minimalistically designed insole, the inside of the boot isn’t that rough but it’s the fit that seems to cause all the problems. Although I’m fairly certain I have the best size for length, the forefoot is too narrow, the toe box is too short, and the heel cup doesn’t cup my heel at all causing my foot to slide to the very top of the shoe with even the slightest of uneven terrain or descent in addition to moving up and down. My toes felt squished against the top edge of the shoe with almost every step. Although the genuine fur lining is soft against the skin, the shoe moves around so much at the ankle that it’s the hard zipper at the back of the heel, which opens the throat of the shoe to get it on quite easily, that I felt the most against the back of my leg.

I think the fit would be much improved if a) there was some kind of customizable attachment around the ankle so the foot stayed in place and b) the forefoot was much wider. My friend with a narrower foot than me tried on the Birmingham and her first observation was that her heel slipped up and down in the shoe. But she also found that the forefoot was not uncomfortably narrow for her. Therefore, I think most consumers will find that either the forefoot is too narrow or the heel cup is too big–or both for that matter. Some sort of strap or laces to lock your foot in place might help with the heel slipping issue.

Width
Although I found that the Jambu Barefoot Vegan was not uncomfortably narrow, mostly due to the stretchiness of the upper, the Birmingham is too narrow in the forefoot. The leather upper does not stretch and therefore does not allow the narrow outsole to widen. Conversely, the heel seat is plenty wide, which causes the heel to slip up and down within the shoe with every step.

Sole / Flex
The outsole is made of double rice rubber. It wraps around the toes and heel a bit to provide added protection from collisions. It is somewhat flexible under the toes and midfoot but not at all flexible under the heel. The sole pattern is the same as with the Barefoot Vegan, but because the upper doesn’t stretch in the Birmingham, it feels far less flexible. In addition, although I have no way of measuring it, it feels like there is a bit of a heel rise; I’d guess it’s between 1.5 to 3 mm, which is not enough to cause a problem for me but nevertheless, worth mentioning.

Weight
Each size women’s 8 shoe weighs 9 ½ ounces or 269 grams. This is one of the heavier minimalist shoes we’ve tested but it is a fall/winter boot. Most of the weight is in the outsole and I did find that I could feel the weight of the shoes while walking.

Support / Insole
The outsole doesn’t provide any support to the arch but does hug the arch, providing extra structure to the shoe.

The insole is thankfully removable as it is in no way a minimalist design. There is a big padded area in the heel area, which is extremely noticeable and raises the heel even further off the ground. It is attached to the footbed with Velcro, which attaches to an extra piece of fabric sewn into the footbed, and was easily discarded. The Birmingham Barefoot is far more suitable as a minimalist shoe without the insole and the footbed is comfortable enough to not need any additional material. As a test, I tried to add a thin insole to the shoe (scavenged from another pair of footwear) but there was not enough volume left in the shoe for my foot to be comfortable—not that it was overly comfortable to start with.

Barefoot Feel
The ground feel in the Birmingham is not great. The outsole material itself is flexible in the forefoot area but the design of the upper prevents a lot of flexibility while wearing the shoe. The heel area of the outsole is not flexible at all. Practically nothing, but the most obtrusive rocks, can be felt while walking outdoors.

Grip
The Jambu “All Terra Traction” pattern is a neat and feminine design feature and provides very good grip on man-made and natural surfaces without feeling noticeable underfoot. I find this is a fine line for shoes with grip and the Jambu succeeded well at this challenging aspect of minimalist footwear design. There is more than enough grip on snow- and ice-covered sidewalks and paths. 

Breathability
The upper is made of tumble leather and brushed suede, and is completely enclosed. This shoe does not breathe well. However, it is a fall/winter shoe designed for cooler temperatures so most people wouldn’t want warm air surrounding their feet to escape.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
This shoe is extremely well-made. There are no flaws in any of the stitching or glueing of this product. The materials appear to be of high quality, also with no defects. This shoe will probably be extremely durable.

The packaging is advertised as being 100% recycled. The shoes are wrapped inside the box in biodegradable corn bags, which can apparently be compostable in addition to be reused for other purposes.

Sizing
The Jambu shoes fit true to size in length. They should fit only the narrowest of feet well in the forefoot but may be too snug on average to wide feet in the midfoot area. The heel seat is made large so unless you have a narrow forefoot and a wide/large heel, this shoe will be difficult to fit properly.

Price
Online pricing for the Jambu Birmingham Barefoot is around $130 USD. This is comparable in price to many fall/winter boot options but due to the lack of comfort and problematic fit issues, I would not buy this product unless you knew it was going to fit your feet well. Therefore, online purchasing may be a risky venture.

Style
Despite the fit and lack of comfort issues, I do like the style of the Birmingham. I find it unique and full of detailed extras to improve their stylishness, including contrast stitching in the upper and its unique and feminine outsole pattern.

Break-in Period
I don’t think any amount of wear will make these fit comfortably. The leather is not likely to stretch much in the forefoot area to accommodate a wider foot.

Shoe care
As this is a leather and suede product, before heading out into snow and wet weather, a good leather protecting product application should be in order.

Uses
If you find these fit you comfortably, they would make a great-looking fall/winter boot with almost any pair of casual pants.

Summary
Jambu is one of those shoe companies with great ideas, and even the occasional great execution, but the Birmingham Barefoot is not one of them. This shoe is not comfortable, not wide enough in the forefoot and too wide in the heel seat to accommodate most feet, doesn’t hold your foot in place, doesn’t have good ground feel, and has a slight heel rise in the outsole. They look great but, sadly, don’t feel as great as one would hope compared to their looks. I would recommend trying them on in a store before buying them and determining if the fit is one that you can live with. Jambu has several types of shoes in the Bare Feet Designs line, and although I liked the Barefoot Vegan, I do not like the Birmingham Barefoot. I still think that if you’re interested in Jambu products, they’re worth trying on and seeing if they work for you.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

 

Vibram FiveFingers Jaya Review

Vibram FiveFingers’ Foray into Fashion?
There used to be only four FiveFingers designs, but with their increasing popularity, with every new season, the company is introducing new and ever diverse models. They recently launched the Jaya, a women’s specific fitness design with a stretch synthetic upper and mostly EVA sole with TC1 rubber pads, presumably to fill a minimalist niche for indoor and outdoor fitness activities. But one could argue, looking at the style of the Jaya, maybe FiveFingers is looking at improving their unique esthetics and delving into the fashion arena. If so, the Jaya is definitely a step in the right direction.

Comfort
Like all FiveFingers products, I find the five-toed design extremely comfortable. The nylon upper of the Jaya is very stretchy and hugs my foot comfortably. The padded heel cup is soft and a great feature of the shoe, distributing pressure around my heel and Achilles and making them feel like they are cushioned by a pillow in that spot. Although there are seams in the upper wherever opposing materials meet, I can’t feel them with or without socks. Although there is no customizable fit adjustment, the stretchy material holds the shoe to my foot very well and doesn’t bind anywhere.

Weight
Each size W 39 Jaya weighs 3 1/8 ounces or 89 grams according to my scale. Even for a minimalist shoe, this is incredibly light.

Flex / Sole
The Jaya features a new 5.5 mm EVA sole with strategically placed TC1 rubber pads under the toes, forefoot, and heel for added traction and durability. Compared to the original 3.5 mm TC1 sole, in the Classic or KSO models, the 5.5 mm EVA feels considerably thicker and less flexible. The TC1 rubber pads are particularly inflexible. My toes cannot bend upward as far in the Jaya as they can in the KSO. While walking, I can feel the difference in density under my feet between the sole with just EVA and the parts with the rubber pads. I must admit, it’s a little distracting. In addition, there is a ridge design in the EVA right under the lateral edge of my arch that I can also feel while walking. If the EVA under the arch were flat there, this would probably not be a problem but I suspect the ridge is there for a reason, probably to evenly distribute weight along the lateral edge of the foot, but it too, is distracting.

Support / Insole
Like all other VFF models, the Jaya has no arch support designed into its last. There is no removable insole included and the footbed is made of antimicrobial microfiber.

Barefoot Feel
The new sole materials definitely sacrifice some barefoot feel compared to the original models. If you have tender feet or are just starting out in minimalist shoes, this may be a good thing. If you’re used to the exceptional barefoot feel you get in the original VFF models, you might be disappointed in the reduction in ground feel in the Jaya.

Grip
The grip of the Jaya is provided by the TC1 rubber pads. The holey design of the rubber is great for traction. On dry man-made and natural surfaces, there is more than enough grip. In addition, there is significantly more traction than in the sole of the original models, like the KSO. 

Breathability
The stretch nylon polyamide upper is incredibly breathable. Air easily passes through the thin material despite their not being any holes for ventilation.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
Like all FiveFingers products I’ve tested, the quality of materials and manufacturing are impeccable. There are no defects in this pair.

Water Resistance
The Jayas are not water resistant. However, the nylon material of the upper is treated with some kind of hydrophobic compound such that water beads off it. Unless you are standing in water, your feet will likely not get very wet at all.

Sizing
The Jayas fit the same as the original Classic or KSO. I fit a regular US size 8 and the W 39 fits me perfectly.

Price
The Jaya is priced on the Vibram website at $85 USD. They are comparably priced to many of the minimalist shoes on the market. With Vibram quality and durability, this is an excellent price and a good value.

Style
The style of the Jaya is its redeeming and most noticeable quality. If you like the five-toed design but haven’t liked the esthetics of the other VFF offerings, the Jayas are beautiful by comparison. They are designed with many small details that add to their esthetics including accenting colours in their materials and dots painted on the toes and along the sides as well as the shiny material accentuating the heel (although its purpose is probably also structural). Vibram has tried hard to make this model esthetically pleasing and I find that I do like it quite a bit.

They are currently available in an extensive array of colours including grey/green, red/white/blue, white/grey/purple, black/grey, and yellow/white.

Break-in Period
As with all the VFF products, there is no break-in period for the Jaya. If they don’t fit well when they are brand new, they likely will not fit well in the future.

Shoe care
These shoes can be machine washed and air dried; which is an excellent feature for shoes that are so comfortable and, probably designed to be, worn without socks.

Warmth
The Jaya upper is a thin nylon material and doesn’t provide a lot of warmth or insulation. These are great indoor shoes or can be worn outdoors in warmer temperatures. Toe socks are easily accommodated, though, if you need a little extra insulation.

Uses
This shoe is designed for indoor and outdoor fitness activities and performs beautifully for this. They are a great all-purpose, casual shoe on man-made surfaces and have fantastic grip. They also stay put on the foot well with their stretchy upper. They have less barefoot feel than other VFF models but what you sacrifice in ground feel, you gain in esthetics as they are one of the most attractive of the FiveFingers models, at least in my opinion.

Summary
The Jaya is another excellent product by Vibram FiveFingers. Although this particular model doesn’t have the outstanding ground feel of some of the original VFF models, they are considerably more stylish than some with well-thought out details in colours and accents. They are incredibly lightweight and comfortable against the skin. They have some distracting qualities in the design of the sole, which are probably sacrificed due to increased durability and grip with the use of the TC1 rubber pads. If you like the toe pocket design of VFFs, you’ll probably like the improved esthetics and casual look of the Jaya.

To purchase these shoes, visit the Vibram FiveFingers website for a list of retailers in your area or to buy online.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

Merrell Lithe Glove Review

Uncomfortably Narrow with Poor Ground Feel
Merrell launched their barefoot line of shoes this past summer, and we reviewed the women’s Pace Glove at that time. They asked us to review one of their fall products and we agreed to see if they improved on any of the issues we wrote about in the Pace Glove review. Sadly, the Lithe Glove appears to be made from the same narrow last with the same outsole so none of the problems in the Pace Glove were resolved in this fall product. For those reasons, this review will be similar to the Lithe Glove review with changes appropriate for the different upper material used for the Lithe Glove.

Comfort
The feel of the inside of the shoe against the skin is quite comfortable but that’s where the comfort ends. The upper inside edge of the heel is woefully uncomfortable and digs painfully into my Achilles. The material used for the heel seat edge is stiff and even thicker than the rest of the material used in the quarter. I got a blister from a mere 20 minutes of walking and I had socks on.

In addition, functionally the shoe is not comfortable due specifically to the width and sole pattern of the shoe. Each of these issues I will explain in greater detail below.

Width
Although there is plenty of room in the toe box for my toes themselves to wiggle and splay, the width of the shoe at the metatarsals and at the arch is quite restrictive. While walking, I can feel quite a bit of pressure on either side of my foot at the arch. With every step, I can feel the middle of my foot being constricted. While running, the area of the shoe where my metatarsals join my toe joints is so constrictive that my feet experienced a lot of cramping. When I run, my metatarsals spread out with a forefoot landing, because there is not enough room in the Lithe Glove for my bones to do this properly, it caused quite a bit of pain while running. No amount of lace loosening alleviated this constriction.

If the last were built wider at the arch and where the metatarsals lead to the toe box, I think this would not be a problem. Considering the current design, the Lithe Gloves are too narrow for me to either comfortably walk or run. I consider my feet to be average width, if you have narrow feet, the constrictive width of the Lithe Glove might not be an issue for you.

Sole
The sole of the Lithe Glove is a Vibram Trail Glove sole made of rubber compound TC-1. Although it is probably a durable material and will last a long time, the pattern of the sole is not comfortable to either walk or run on. The Trail Glove sole is not designed with a uniform grip depth across its length or width. This makes walking on it feel rather bumpy. Despite the zero drop differential between the heel and the forefoot, it feels like I’m landing on a small hard plate on the heel and a small hard plate at the forefoot. While continuing my stride, because there is a shallow grip depth between the forefoot and the toes, it feels like there’s a rocker as part of the shoe. In addition, because the sole of the heel is cupped, there is very little stability on the edges of the heel. This is also the case with the forefoot area.

If the sole pattern and grip depth were uniform across the bottom of the entire sole, with no cupping at the edges, this would greatly improve the functional comfort of walking in this shoe.

Flex
There is very little flexibility in the outsole of the Lithe Glove. I don’t know whether it’s the change in the upper or something else but the Lithe Glove is far less flexible than the Pace Glove.  It takes considerable effort to even make it fold in half let alone anywhere else along the length of the shoe. 

Weight
Each size 8 Lithe Glove weighs 6 ¼ ounces or 177 grams. Although a whole ounce heavier than the Pace Glove, it doesn’t feel heavy on the foot.

Support / Insole
There is no arch support designed into the shoe, however, there is an upward angled sole area directly under the arch to protect the arch from stone bruising. I don’t feel like this area of the sole support my arch at all but I do have high arches after so many years of going barefoot and wearing minimalist footwear. If you have flatter arches, this sole area may feel somewhat supportive, although it probably is not the intent of this sole feature.

There is no insole included in the shoe. There is 4 mm of compression molded EVA in the midsole for cushioning.

Barefoot Feel
Due to the uneven sole pattern and grip depth, and the inflexibility of the sole, there is very little ground feel in the Lithe Gloves. In addition, because the edges of the sole are cupped upwards, they do not feel nearly as stable on landing as bare feet do.

Grip
The Lithe Gloves have great grip. The TC-1 rubber is sticky enough for both natural and man-made surfaces. The toe grips provide added traction at the end of a walking or running stride. 

Breathability
The fabric upper of the Lithe Glove is far less breathable than the mesh upper of the Pace Glove. This adds considerable warmth to the shoe, however. And considering it is a fall product, not unwarranted nor unwelcome as the temperatures descend.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
Merrell is known for their high performance footwear. The quality of materials and manufacturing of the Lithe Gloves is impeccable. I have no doubt that these shoes will last a long time.

Water Resistance
The upper appears to be made of a hydrophobic fabric. Water easily rolls off the bright blue material and should keep your feet dry in mild to moderately wet conditions.

Sizing
The Lithe Gloves fit true to size—at least in length. I generally fit a U.S. size 8 and that is the size that fit the best for this shoe. The Lithe Gloves are currently available in full and half sizes from 5 to 11.

Price
The Lithe Gloves are listed on the Merrell website at $125 USD. Considering the quality of the materials and manufacturing, and their predicted durability, this is a reasonable price for the product. If you’re expecting ground feel out of a shoe marketed as ‘barefoot’, you might want to consider a more flexible—not to mention wider and more comfortable—product.

Style
I think the Lithe Glove is both flashy and sporty in design. Most of the new Lithe Glove colourways are pretty loud so if you like brightly coloured shoes, you might like this model. They are currently available in blue/green, purple, pink, and grey/green on the Merrell website.

Break-in Period
There is no break-in period required for the Lithe Glove. The only foreseeable change to these shoes with wear is that the 4 mm EVA midsole with compress over time, which will make them feel less cushiony on hard surfaces.

Shoe care
The Merrell website doesn’t have cleaning instructions for the Lithe Glove (as it does for the Pace Glove) so I suspect they are not recommended for machine washing. A wet cloth or hand wash in the sink followed by air drying should clean most debris.

Warmth
The Lithe Glove upper holds in a lot of warmth so are best suited for colder temperatures. If you like the Pace Glove for summer, you will probably also like the Lithe Glove for fall and even mild winter temperatures.

Uses
If you find the Lithe Gloves are comfortable for you, they could be an excellent all-purpose casual, walking, running, or hiking shoe. If you’re looking for a minimalist shoe with good ground feel, this is probably not the shoe for you.

Summary
Merrell’s Pace Glove shortcomings were not improved in the release of the Lithe Glove. As a minimalist shoe, the Lithe Gloves are too narrow to allow the foot to function naturally and the sole has a myriad of issues that make them uncomfortable to walk or run in. The upper isn’t even comfortable as the heel seat digs painfully in the back of my heel. The only things going for this shoe are its added warmth for cooler temperatures and excellent grip.

To purchase these shoes, visit the Barefoot section of the Merrell website to purchase the Lithe Gloves online or find your nearest Merrell retailer and inquire whether they sell the Barefoot line.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

STEM Women’s Survival Origins Review

I had the opportunity of getting a sneak peek at Stem footwear during their pre-production development. Now that their development is complete and the first pairs of production shoes are rolling out, I’ve been given the opportunity to review the first line-up of Stem footwear’s Women’s Primal Origins shoes. These are shoes that were worth the wait! They are an incredibly comfortable, casual lace-up shoe with great ground feel.

Comfort
Stem footwear is amazingly comfortable. All the materials on the inside of the shoe are incredibly soft. The inside seams are flat and unobtrusive. The biggest seam attaches the tongue to the inside of the upper but it is placed in a position where you can hardly feel it against your feet because it’s in the crease created when you move your toes upward. They can easily and comfortably be worn with or without socks.

Width
These shoes are wonderfully wide. They have plenty of wiggle room in the toe box for toes to move and lots of room for the natural movement of your metatarsal bones to splay. They are a bit narrower in the midfoot but it keeps the shoe in place. The laces allow for a custom fit for narrow, average, to wide feet.

Sole/Flex
The sole is a 7.5 mm air-injected rubber that is phenomenally flexible. Although thicker than some minimalist shoe outsoles, the material used and the design in the rubber easily allows it to contour around even small rocks. I can feel that the stack height on these is somewhat higher than I’m used to, but only for the first 5 minutes or so of wear. They feel a little unstable for the first few minutes but I do get used to it shortly. 

Weight
Each women’s size 9 shoe weighs 6 ¼ ounces or 177 grams. These aren’t the lightest minimalist footwear we’ve tested but are well within the range of acceptable for lightweight. Even though most of the weight is in the outsole, I don’t feel the weight of them while walking because of the extended length design of the laces.

Support/Insole
There is no support included in Stem footwear. This company understands foot shape and foot movement. There is no insole included in Stem footwear either, so there is no added height in the shoe from the inside.

Barefoot Feel
The barefoot feel of these is awesome. Despite the thickness of the outsole, I can still feel even small rocks. Ground contours are easily transmitted through the material of the outsole.

Grip
For casual and urban use, there is more than enough grip. Even for dry light trails, these would provide adequate traction.

Breathability
Much of the upper of Stem footwear is made of an air-mesh that is incredibly breathable. Where there is suede material covering the upper, air does not pass through, but along the sides and the top of the upper where the air-mesh is, plenty of air passes through, including light breezes.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The quality of the micro-suede, air-mesh, and air-injected rubber outsole appears to be of high quality. There was a problem with one of my review shoes with regards to manufacturing such that the piece of material that makes a loop for the laces to attach to the tongue came off the first time I put the shoes on. The stitches just gave way. The company has told me that this has occurred in very few pairs and they are working to resolve the issue for future production. The rest of the stitching appears flawless.

Water Resistance
You can either have breathability or water resistance in shoes and in these, there is plenty of breathability. Water easily passes through the air-mesh upper so expect wet feet if you’re caught out in the rain.

Sizing
I found that Stem footwear ran short for me. I usually fit a women’s size 8 but fit a size 9 in the Stems. The size 8 did not have enough length for me (although plenty of width). You might want to order a size up from your regular size.

A note from Stem about sizing, “Andrew Rademacher from Stem Footwear recommends that you go by their US size, not the EU size, because they are sized with US increments.  Women’s sizes run different than Men’s.  Women will need to go up 1/2 to a FULL size.  Men will need to either not go up or go up 1/2 size.  After you get your shoes you will see that they are designed for your toes to fit close to the end of the shoe (less than a thumbs width).  If you are buying on the Stem Footwear Company website and can’t decide between two sizes, they recommend you buy both and return the one that doesn’t fit.  You do have to pay for the return shipping, but you will be refunded fairly quickly and Allie and Andrew handle all the customer service so they are happy to help however they can.”

Price
At $89.99 USD on the Stem footwear website, these shoes are comparably priced to many casual minimalist shoes currently on the market. For a durable, high-quality material shoe, this is a good value.

Style
If you like natural colours, you’ll probably like the style of the Stems. There is great attention to detail in the production of these casual shoes and the rooty design on the outside of the upper is a beautiful example of that. For women, they currently come in all brown or a grey/pink upper with a brown outsole colourway.

Break-in Period
There is no break-in period required for these shoes. I don’t suspect the upper is going to stretch so be sure they are a comfortable size as soon as you put them on.

Shoe care
Stems are machine washable on a gentle cycle and easily air dried. This is fantastic for a shoe that is so comfortable to wear without socks.

Warmth
These shoes are easily worn with or without socks. On cooler days, I would recommend socks as air easily passes through the air-mesh upper.

Uses
These are excellent casual shoes for any urban or light trail adventure. They go well with pants or shorts in any natural shade.

Summary
I’ve been anxiously anticipating these shoes for some time now and they did not disappoint. They are incredibly comfortable with great ground feel. It’s exciting to me when the first offering of a new minimalist shoe company get all the important points right and Stem Footwear certainly did. If you’ve been waiting for a comfortable, wide, zero drop, flexible, casual lace-up shoe to hit the market for under $100, Stem footwear definitely fulfill those requirements. For more information, take a look at the Stem Footwear website.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

Road Tripping

My spouse and I just returned from an 8-day road trip to the U.S. and back. We drove south through Alberta, crossed the border into Montana, drove through Idaho, Nevada, and reached California. We stayed in Auberry, CA for three nights where we learned how to ride dirt bikes through Rich Oliver’s Mystery School (if you’ve ever wanted to try dirt biking, I would highly recommend going to Mystery School, Rich and his wife, Karin are wonderful hosts and teachers). We drove back up through California, along the coastal highway in Oregon, across Washington, a little ways through Idaho again, across the border into British Columbia, and then back home to Alberta.

It was a trip of three seasons: we drove through snowstorms on the way down as well as beautiful fall colours and experienced summer again in California. On the way back, it was the reverse until we reached winter again in northern Washington.

Why would I write about my road trip on a blog about being barefoot (or it’s alternative of minimalist footwear)? Because sometimes it’s hard to pick the best shoes for travelling. I often find it a dilemma picking which shoes to pack before going on a trip; I’m often limited in space. This trip I brought my Soft Star Moc3s, the VIVOBAREFOOT Evo, and the VIVOBAREFOOT Boxing Boot (they just arrived to review).

So what did I wear? Mostly the Moc3s. I find they are really very comfortable for road tripping. They feel like slippers and have plenty of room to wiggle my toes wide. On the occasions where we got out of the car to see up close what we usually drove by at 70 m/hr, I enjoy the extremely minimal sole and their amazing ground feel. I loved being able to feel the squishy ground at the Redwood National Forest in Oregon and the beach beneath my feet at the ocean. They were even fine in the snow as long as I didn’t need too much traction. :)

And here are some pics of our trip:

Yes, I’m actually barefoot! The ocean is a little cold this time of year but I did manage to run along the beach and into the cold water. This picture was taken after the dip.

A little further along the coast from the dip. The Soft Star Moc3s are perfect travelling shoes.
You can’t tell, because I’m so small in the picture compared to the enormous redwood tree, but I’m wearing the Moc3s. The ground covered in redwood needles was wonderful to feel through the minimalist soles.