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Barefooters Shoe Review
One of the most over-looked things as runners, or for that matter athletes, is recovery. I was taught and teach that recovery is just as important as training, if not more important, and for that reason I’m always on the lookout for products that can help me with my recovery. I use products like Enduropacks‘ transdermal amino patch, or Rumble Rollers foam roller, but to use a sandal/shoe? No way???!!! That is until I found Barefooters!
Who is Barefooters?
From Barefooters’ website
Barefooters Corp is an emerging designer, marketer and distributor of footwear. Barefooters was incorporated in 2009 with the vision of creating a shoe that delivers a feel great walking experience. Research and development of the materials, manufacturing process and design have been supported by globally recognized industry partners in Canada, the United States, Italy, Portugal, and Germany. At this time Barefooters makes primarily two styles of shoes their “Barefooters Classic Slip-On Shoe” and their “Barefooters Women’s Kilkee Slip-On Shoe”
My first thought when I unboxed the Barefooters Classic Slip-On Shoe was WOW these things are nice! But heavy, real heavy. I was quite shocked on how heavy they were since they were marketed as a “Barefooter”. Having said that when I wore them they didn’t seem heavy to me, in-fact they feel like an extension of my foot. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have them on, but over time, I didn’t notice how heavy they are. The shoe weighs 19 ounces with the insole, the bulk of that weight comes from the insoles, the insoles weigh close to 6 ounces.And when run in minimalist shoes this is a lot of weight for one shoe.
The Look and Feel
The look of the shoe has a very “european” look to them and it should be since they are made in Italy. They have a interchangeable strap that you can switch out depending upon your color mood. Mine came with a light and dark brown strap. Not sure what kind of mood I was in but I mostly wore the light color brown.
The upper is is made up of a silicone rubber, the rubber has plenty of airflow due to the ventilation pathways (holes) all over the shoe. However, with the heat down here in Atlanta, USA my feet did get pretty sweaty while wearing them. I the heat my feet, like most people, swell. I found that the material the shoe are made up of allowed my to swell without becoming tight. I wish however that Barefooters would have placed more ventilation on the sides of the shoes thereby allowing airflow to hit the most hottest part of your foot the sides. I noticed that the rubber is a bit stiff, especially in the heel, where the heel cup is a bit high, and I would blister up when I was “breaking them in”. Overtime, however, I didn’t blister up as the rubber softened and my heel got use to wearing them. One thing I should mention is the shoe has a grip feel to it, the rubber would stick to my foot quite nicely, so I didn’t get and friction blisters, which made me really happy!
The insole (Heartbeat of the shoe)
The insoles are made of of what Barefooters call “CorksiLite – remarkable environmentally friendly material that combines the best physical properties of cork and silicone so that you can walk naturally”. This mixture of cork and silicone make the insoles very flexible, I found that the material was very absorbing when my feet would sweat the “CorksiLite” absorbed the moisture leaving my feet dry, and the best part is, they don’t stink! The insoles also have a reflexology to them Barefooters call “Oooaaahs” they have a raised footbed that placed at trigger points in the foot so that with every step you get a foot massage. When I first felt the “Oooaaahs” is was some what annoying, but over time felt good, The key from me was to allow my foot to get use to these trigger points by easing my body into the shoe, and over time with every step I felt as though I was getting a foot massage.
As I noted above the shoe takes some time to break in, and is heavy. But over time the shoe fits like a glove and it’s worth it because with every step you get a foot massage. I found that the the shoe helped me in my recovery after long runs, let be honest, I don’t know the science behind the reflexology, but I do know that they helped in my recovery – and swear by them!
The ride is exceptional as the shoe is very flexible and allows my foot to flow as though I was barefoot. Since I am a minimalist runner and run in shoes that weigh less than one of these Barefooters I prefer a lighter shoe. Having said that, the shoe does have a barefoot feel and my foot strike doesn’t hit the heel when walking. I found myself striking on my mid-foot as I would barefoot. And due to the glove like feeling the shoe over time feels like an extension of your foot.
- Company – Customer Service
- Obvious weight (Ok, this is enough)
- Breathability (bottom of the shoe)
- Color pathways (there are lots, just not to many I personally like)
If you are looking for a sandal/shoe that is stylish, helps with recovery, and gives you that barefoot feeling Barefooters are for you. For recovery they are my go to shoe to help me bounce back from those runs that just wipe me out!
What kind of non-traditional methods do you for recovery? Comment below
Checkout these other reviewers have to say.