I’m surprised that I don’t seem to have blogged about it here yet, but I’ve been curious about the barefoot running movement for a while. (Prompted by reading Born to Run, among other things.) My first experiment was with huaraches made by Invisible Shoes: once my feet got used to them (which took a couple of weeks), I really liked the thin soles.

What I didn’t like was having to fiddle with the laces all the time; and what I really didn’t like was having the laces break on me. (I’m just glad it didn’t happen while I was at a conference!) I could have repaired that, of course, but I figured I should try something else. So next in line was a pair of Nike Frees.

Which were, frankly, awful. They may have reasonably flexible soles, but the soles were thick and didn’t even begin to approach a barefoot street feel. And they were super skinny (even though I’d gone up a size), so my feet always felt slightly cramped, with my toes never having time to expand.

I stuck with those through the winter, but over the spring I decided to change; this time, I went with the RunAmoc Lite line from Soft Star Shoes. I got the model with the 2mm soles, and they’re really wonderful: a great feel, just enough protection from the ground, lots of room around the toes so your feet never feel constricted, but (unlike the Invisible Shoes huaraches) they stay on your feet without your having to think about them. They look a little odd, but not as odd as Vibram FiveFingers. (They use Vibram soles, incidentally; also, they’ve since added another line that looks a little less odd.)

The one down side is that I’m not sure how sturdy the soles are: after maybe two months, there was noticeable wear where my feet struck the ground, which is way too early. I’ve had them for four months now, though, and they’re still holding up, so I’m hoping they’ll last long enough? I’ll probably experiment with the 5mm sole next time, though — maybe that will be enough more durable while still maintaining a decent feel? Or maybe I’ll just break out the duct tape and try to nurse these ones along; I like them enough more than anything else I’ve worn to be willing to replace them a couple of times a year if that’s what I have to do.

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