minimalist shoes

{I don't always do reviews, but when I do them, I do them about things I have actually bought. I do not and will not do paid reviews. I'm also probably not going to bother reviewing crappy things, because what's the point? You can read those reviews somewhere else. Occasionally, I share my thoughts about things I actually like and use. Today's one of those days. Minimalist footwear, let's go!}

I've been wanting to try toed shoes ever since I got my first pair of yoga toe socks. I have bunions and having my toes spread apart seems to help a lot. But when Vibrams first hit the market, they were expensive. I have paid over $100 for snow boots, but I am not going to pay that much money for a pair of shoes that only have a lifespan of about a year or less. (Some reviews say 3-6 months, but I won't be running in these shoes, just walking. We'll see.)

Lucky me, REI has a pretty damn kickass end of the summer sale, which allowed me to buy two pairs for well under $100 to try out. I bought the Classic Fresca Vibrams and then a few weeks later, I bought the Ninja Toe ZEMgears.  (These are not affiliate links. Also, the Frescas aren't available on REI anymore, so I linked to their online store, which is much more than I paid for them. Snooze and loose, peeps. Wait for the next sale or buy a different style, is my advice. I personally wouldn't pay full price for these. Too pricey.)

The classic fresca's were really tight at first. The first day I wore them (when we went into Brooklyn with my inlaws last month), my right big toe became numb after about fifteen minutes wearing them. Luckily, I had brought other shoes.

After three short wearings, the thumb pocket stretched and then they were really comfortable. The rest of my toes are extremely short (apparently) and don't go to the end of their pockets. That does look a little strange, possibly, but I don't really notice it when I'm walking.

And here's the thing: walking in them. Is amazing. They are really light and comfortable now that I have worn them in. I kind of feel like leaping in them, because they just make my feet feel free.

They really do work different muscles than wearing regular shoes (I was surprised that I still got sore the first few times, because I walk around the house barefoot all the time). Having my toes spread and having the minimalist sole both feel great to me. I love being barefoot, but I also like not stepping on sharp twigs!

So, the bottom line is that I love the Frescas!! They are great warm weather shoes.

However, they are not gonna stretch enough to allow me to wear socks with them, which is why I bought the Ninja Toes.

The Ninja Toes were immediately comfortable to my toes (roomy! w00t!). This style does have a strange inner ridge along the bottom of the sole, which was slightly uncomfortable the first few times I wore them, but with socks on, I don't notice it at all. (Reviews on the ZEMgear toe shoes say the soles don't have the same ridge. I might buy a pair of those when the frescas go kaput.)

The Frescas are starting to get a bit grungy looking. They're white. It happens. Eventually, I'll throw them in the washing machine. I love the turquoise/ white combination and I don't think having slightly grungy toes is a bad thing.

The Ninja Toes look just like hooves to me, which I think is cute.

I don't think they'd work for very hot summer days (they just cover too much of my feet), but for fall and maybe even part of winter, they are perfect. (I don't think they're waterproof, so I don't think I can wear them in the snow/ cold rain, but I have boots I can wear my toed socks with, so that's OK.)

As an aside, kids think these are the weirdest/ coolest shoes. I haven't had a single adult ask about them, but a few kids have expressed amazement at whichever pair I was wearing at the time.

I'm really digging them. I haven't really worn my other shoes much at all, since I got these pairs!