I am a huge proponent of barefoot minimalist footwear. I wear my Vibram 5-Fingers shoes whether I am gardening, teach postural alignment classes, or work with my clients. “Do I have to wear those funny-looking toe shoes too?” I can easily hear a hidden horror in a question, especially from a well-dressed woman in a fancy footwear.
I personally own about 10 pairs of various models of Vibram 5-Fingers. I often wear them while traveling and I am proud to report that they inspired some cases of uncontrollable spontaneous laughter on the streets of various cities abroad. So, I totally understand that people may feel reserved about parading in these weird-looking shoes. Not to mention that they also cost a lot and require some initial training to put on your feet.
Where to Find Vibram 5-Fingers Alternatives
Are there any alternatives to Vibram 5-Fingers? Yes. Last fall, I was very happy to find on Amazon.com the minimalist footwear that falls into “barefoot, hiking, trail, water shoes” category. Unlike 5-Fingers though, these shoes look like normal sporty footwear and some are quite attractive. They meet all the desired characteristics of minimal shoes – wide toe-box, thin and extremely flexible sole, no arch support, and no heel. On a top of it, they cost from $20 to $40 – unheard of prices for minimal footwear! I bought one pair for myself first, loved it, and bought 3 more pairs this month – one for my mother and two for my husband. See the pictures below:
Please make sure when ordering that your model/ size combination allows free returns. That’s one of the major reasons I pay for Amazon Prime – it becomes pretty expensive to pay return shipping.
The only word of caution – these shoes are sold as water shoes and therefore, they have a row of small holes on the sole. When it’s dry outside, it’s impossible to feel but in rainy weather they allow water to get into a shoe. And so do the Vibram 5-Fingers. So, if you are adventurous enough and ready to try minimal footwear, this is very affordable alternative to funny toe-shoes.
If you never heard of minimal footwear and wondering what it’s all about, get Katy Bowman’s book Whole Body Barefoot – Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear.