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Barefoot Runners NYC Message Board › Barefoot in Winter - Shoe Suggestions

Barefoot in Winter - Shoe Suggestions

New York, NY
Post #: 2
I started my transition to barefoot in July, so haven't had to worry about the weather yet. This past weekend's crazy storm had me stressing about what shoes I'd wear had Sunday's race not been cancelled. What does everyone else run in during the winter months? I have both the Trek and ESO VFF and socks for them, but I'm not convinced that will be enough for the snowy months. Thanks!
Chris W.
user 13179121
Kirkland, WA
Post #: 1
I usually run in sandals but picked up a pair of the Merrell Trail Glove shoes for this winter, they feel great and have a nice wide toe-box that should be able to accommodate thicker socks should you want.
user 10830324
New York, NY
Post #: 4
Hey, Bex: I have a pair of really old Merrill Sandals that have more coverage over the toes and I've used them in deeper snow. I've shortened my winter runs, but I have gone barefoot in light snow for short runs. But I have also gotten numb enough that I've torn some skin and not felt it. Dry and cold is easier to take, but cold and wet is more risky, particularly when there's more out on the roads than just a dusting. However, in Manhattan the plowing is pretty darn good. But after someone gave me a gift certificate, I got some Classic Vibrams this summer, and I'll be trying them out, along with some barefooting. Of course, I've found that getting into my Merrills with numb toes and feet can pose challenges, and I anticipate even more with the Vibrams! -Ira
Sunnyside, NY
Post #: 3
I tried a variety of options last winter but ultimately what worked best for me what the Evo, especially on snowy sub-freezing days when I was happy to be able to put a toe warmer in on top of my toes.

The Zems were also very warm but I found that after a month or two the bottom seams started to come apart. They seem to have a new model specifically for running though, so they're probably worth a try.
New York, NY
Post #: 3
My feet were numb in just 39 degrees on Wednesday (I usually have cold feet in general), so I'll have to see what works. I'm liking the sounds of the toe warmer! (not so much totally barefoot in snow...) smile

Thanks for all of the recommendations!
D D.
New York, NY
Post #: 3
I just started barefoot running around this time last year and the first thing i tried in the fall was a pair of $15 neoprene booties from paragon. These were excellent for warmth, and ground feel, but i couldn't stand how tight and narrow they were around the toes. Also, since they had no sole, they probably would have worn thru after a few months, but hey they were cheap.

Next tried the original Zem split-toe shoes and absolutely loved them. But they weren't made for running on concrete and such, so the soles definitely started to wear away quick, as did the portion of the upper fabric, which was folded in underneath the sole.

This september I started running in the Zem 360s (the running model) and here's what i can tell you about them:

• super comfy! nice ground feel. lots of toe room. Could really wear these all day when i can't be barefoot. Have been great for roads that are just too sketchy or uncomfortable to run / walk barefoot.
• way easier to get into/out of than the vibrams. Super light, compact and flexible so they're great backup to bring with you on a barefoot run.
• soles are much more durable than the non-running versions. Also the upper fabric no longer folds underneath the sole, so no worries about that wearing out.
• they seem pretty breathable, but i haven't used them for long runs. Only about 2-4 miles.
• they're on the lower cost end of the barefoot running gear spectrum, tho i was hoping they'd be priced similarly to the earlier models…

• haven't tested in the cold yet. They're made of a stretchy material that's not neoprene, so not sure how insulating it is when wet. Thinner than the $15 aqua socks. I have the split-toe version, but i'm guessing the closed-toe with some wool socks might work better when it's really cold. When i asked, they recommended sizing up if wearing with thick socks.
• not water resistant. they fit snug, but are very low (below ankle), so snow would probably get in.
• not sure how suitable they'd be for trail stuff. Don't think the soles are puncture resistant. Should be fine on some small gravel trails, but larger or sharp rocks and pointy roots might be unpleasant. And your feet definitely move around a bit more in them than in the vibrams, so they might not feel as secure when climbing /gripping stuff…

• the seem inside the zem is quite thick and it actually starts to irritate my spots under my the arch after a while. So they might not be suitable for long runs. I'm going slow, so my runs are only about 2-4 miles at present. I've had to throw a bandaid over a hotspot and that seemed to work fine. If you have pretty hardened feet already, this may not be an issue. Also maybe a pair of socks would help this, but i definitely think they got this part of a great solution wrong.
• they don't make a hi-top version of these like they did with the originals i had. So makes me less sure of how they'll be when it's really cold...

sorry this was long, but hopefully helpful...
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