Impatience has been a lifelong struggle for me. When I decide to do something, I want to do it rightthisverysecond, a charming trait that has made my husband make a blanket rule that I’m not allowed to talk about anything of import after 10 p.m. lest he end up helping me repaint the living room at 2 a.m. (In my defense I made the horrible choice of painting it canary yellow when all the accent colors are dark red. I couldn’t go to sleep in the Ronald McDonald house!! It ended up going back to white two hours later. And then “Almond Toast” the next day. Then “Antique” a few months later. I’m now petitioning him to let me paint it apple green. With faux wainscoting. Surprisingly he is unenthused.) BUT. We are not talking today about my epic lack of decorating skills. We are talking about my lack of common sense skills. (Yes, again. Hush.)

Adidas recently sent me a pair of their new Adipure Barefoot shoes to try out and rather than work up to exercising in them as is recommended, I brought them to the gym and decided to run my scheduled Tabatas in them. (See? I do live what I preach! Sometimes!) I was not deterred when the man next to me harrumphed loudly. I was also not deterred when Gym Buddy Allison said about 10 times, “Are you sure this is a good idea? Didn’t those things come with instructions??” I was only slightly deterred when I tried to put them on and discovered that my pinkie toe wants to permanently spoon with my 4th toe. I might as well have webbed toes you guys. They do not like being separated.

It took me a solid 5 minutes to put them on the first time. Getting each toe in its own little sleeping bag was the gym equivalent of watching someone park their RV at Wal-Mart. In a compact spot. With a cart left in it. But at last all was good and I was set to run my heart out. “Those are some shoes!” the gentleman next to me exclaimed. “Don’t trip.”

I did it! And it felt weird! Wearing not-quite-barefoot shoes really made me change my gait. You learn very quickly that heel-striking, as most people do in regular running shoes, hurts like a beast without cushioning. So I focused on hitting midfoot and not bouncing as much. This is one of the big selling points of these types of shoes: specifically that they allow your foot to move as nature intended and so you strengthen your feet and lessen your risk of injury. I suppose it works. I’ve seen people run whole marathons in them. I was surprised at how good it felt wearing them and even more surprised that nothing hurt the next day (given that I went from no practice to all-out sprinting in them I figured I’d at least have some wicked shin splints but no!).

Unfortunately they are not as flattering as they are comfortable. The term “monkey” came up more than once. Zoo noises were invoked. But in the end all the Gym Buddies wanted to try a few laps around the track in my fancy new shoes. Even though I wear an 8.5, Megan wears an 8, Krista wears a 9.5 and Allison a 10, like magic slippers they fit all of us! But here’s where I confess: I haven’t been wearing them much because, well, they’re just not cute. I’m sorry! I’m shallow. They have a permanent place in my gym bag (it helps that they fold up so easily!) and I think they do have some great benefits – squatting in “bare” feet is a whole new challenge! The function is definitely there, I just wish there was more fashion. Maybe some glitter? Manga cartoon faces on each toe? Neon?? I mean, if you’re going to wear weird monkey shoes might as well really make a statement, right?

Do any of you wear “toe” shoes? (Holla, Naomi!) When it comes down to fashion vs. function anyone else have kind of a hard time choosing the latter??

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  1. I bought a pair of toe shoes about a year ago. I have Vibram five-fingers because they were so highly recommended by people that are long-distance runners, sprinters, joggers and walkers. The first couple of times I wore them I just walked around the city trying to get used to them. Actually, it took no time at all. After getting them on (which does get easier) I pretty much forgot that I was wearing the. Although, I always prefer wearing regular closed-toe, sneakers/casual shoes when walking just to protect my feet from curbs, potholes, other people’s negligence.

    So when I finally decided to take them for a run I thought I was well acclimated. The first outdoor run I jogged on a running path and I honestly felt like I could have run a couple of miles longer than I initially planned. They felt GREAT!!!! Better than great. I felt light and I felt quick and I seemed to have a little more stamina. I tried them in the gym on the treadmill and they were still wonderful. They even transition to a cross-trainer when I’m ready to go from running to weight-lifting. Although, I do go back and forth between these and Nike’s “Free” series, I am a huge fan of these.

    I’ve been told that I look like a Ninja Turtle in mine. My shoes are light blue with yellow and purple, so I’m a huge fan of the colors and they also work great as boat shoes. I wore them sailing and they were a big hit!

  2. I damn near broke me ankle in shoes similar to these after I was convinced this is the best way to go about running by a TED presenter. They are good for retraining someone how to run properly, but I would limit cross-training or weight training in these shoes

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE MINE!!! Though honestly, NOT the health nut that you all aree!!! My ankle was crushed in a car accident some years ago, and I had to have it permanently fused, so walking causes a fair amount of back pain at long distances for me. These allow me to “grip” the ground easier, in true monkey paw fashion…taking some of the strain off of my new UNnatural gait. I will say however, that since my riight ankle is fused, I don’t have as much flexibility in my foot overall, and after four hours, these shoes do cause a bit of strain on the in frequently used tendons in my feet and toes…

    • @sam: Good review. It seems it could hurt to walk barefoot for long periods since our heels are pounding the surface. I’m on the fence. I start my training for the Miami marathon in a few weeks. I’m shopping for shoes now. I’ll try these on.

  4. OH THE HORROR!!! PLEASE FORGIVE MY TYPOS!!!!!! that is all….

  5. I have some by Fila. There’s only 4 toes, and the last 2 little toes fit in the same pocket. They’re ok. I jog in them (and also wear them to work at my side hustle). I won’t be buying more, though, because they aren’t that comfortable.

  6. I tried to buy some…but after about 5 minutes of trying to put my feet in, thought I would go for something more familiar. Near bare feet and I love them! New Balance!

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