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Author Topic: Your definition of a minalist shoe.  (Read 1464 times)
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BearFooted
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« on: April 13, 2012, 03:07:53 AM »

First things first.  Don't read any other persons response till you have posted your own. 

I have been thinking about what qualities and characteristics make a shoe be qualified as minimalist.  I feel like if you ask 10 people you will get 10 different answers.

So here is my questions for you:

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?

Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)

Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?

Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?

Remember try not to read anyone's response till you post yours.  I don't want to have anyone else answers affect what you might write.  Thanks for taking the time to answer.  Once you anwser feel free to read everyone's response.  You can compare yours to others and see how similar or different your answers are.
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« on: April 13, 2012, 03:07:53 AM »

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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 04:36:29 AM »

I know I'm not too active on this forum and I only own one pair but perhaps that'll make some interesting opinions lol.

1. A minimalist shoe is a shoe with a flat sole (or sometimes with an almost flat sole) that allows adequate toe splay and movement (no cramped toes) and is hopefully lightweight, in an effort to allow proper posture, running technique etc.

2.Characteristics: (sorta redundant)
  • Flat sole (or near-flat)
  • Allows full toe splay (or at least adequate)
  • Lightweight

3. Definition wise I put them in order of importance. Personal comfort wise, I value toe comfort over whether or not it has a totally flat sole.

4. Because I only listed 3 attributes, it pretty much has to fit all three. Perhaps maybe not so much the weight though. And of course if it's a closed toe shoe with a slight drop, it's still minimalist, just not as minimalist as say a Classic. Minimalism is a very gray area...
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 07:52:10 AM »

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?

-Any shoe which allows the full movement and toe splay of the human foot as nature intended, as well as a high amount of ground feel through flexibility and thinness of the sole.

Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)

- Zero drop - no raise of the heel whatsoever, zip, zilch, nada.
- Zero arch support; shoes that come close to the arch are okay, but the material shouldn't be holding it up in any way.
- A maximum of 6mm sole + insole total thickness.
- Flexible sole material that allows shoe to be folded in half or rolled up with little effort.
- Room for enough toe splay that no toe has to press against its neighbour (unless it wants to...two years of wearing minimal shoes and my littlest toes still love to huddle next to their siblings - oh well!)

Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?

Toe splay and sole thinness and flexibility are very important. Regular shoes I wore in the past were often very narrow (typical women's trainers/sport shoes) and caused discomfort and blistering between toes. The stiffness of the soles also caused frequent cramps in my midfoot and I couldn't walk more than a mile or two without problems with my toes actually curling over and digging into the ones next to them...  Cry (Incidentally, one thing that bothers me about VFF's is that they somewhat restrict my toes and forefoot in a different way - they prevent them from bending and curling down as much as I'd like - they are still a barefoot shoe of course, but this is my one area of concern.)

Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?

Yes, I think a minimalist shoe must have all the characteristics I listed for it to qualify as such a shoe - if your foot can't move as it should and you can't feel much of the ground you're standing on it's not a minimal shoe.

There are some New Balance Minimus Zeros that are pretty minimal, but there's still quite a bit of sponge on the sole which just can't help reminding me of the old Reebok Classics... They're much, much better than Reebok Classics, obviously, but still there's a ghost of those shoes there.... Wink
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 07:55:23 AM by Sablewings » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 09:11:59 AM »

First things first.  Don't read any other persons response till you have posted your own.  

I have been thinking about what qualities and characteristics make a shoe be qualified as minimalist.  I feel like if you ask 10 people you will get 10 different answers.

So here is my questions for you:

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?

A shoe with a wide toe box, NO heel-toe drop (OR an INCREDIBLY slight drop may be acceptable), and moderate-maximum ground feel.  A minimalist shoe should allow you to feel as if you are barefoot with some protection against nasty/sharp things.
Quote
Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)

Wide toe box the enables the toes to spread FULLY, no heel-toe drop, and a thin, flexible sole to provide ground feel.  The shoe should also be as lightweight as possible. & preferably have toes, but we all know toe shoes don't always fly Wink

Quote
Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?
Every characteristic I named is essential for me

Quote
Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?
I would not consider a shoe that does not have the characteristics I named minimalist.  I.e. my Nike Frees are DEFINITELY not minimalist, and I don't consider a shoe like Hoka One minimalist either, even though there is  no drop.

Quote
Remember try not to read anyone's response till you post yours.  I don't want to have anyone else answers affect what you might write.  Thanks for taking the time to answer.  Once you anwser feel free to read everyone's response.  You can compare yours to others and see how similar or different your answers are.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 09:14:15 AM by Stefanie » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 09:11:59 AM »

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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 07:26:10 PM »

1. A minimalist shoe for me is a device that protects my feet from dirt and cuts while interfering as little as possible with their biomechanics.
2. - zero drop
    - max 8mm between me and the ground
    - very supple sole
    - no arch support
    - natural toe splay
3. Most important is arch support but...
4. ....all characteristics have to be there for me to qualify them as minimalist
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 07:51:31 PM by Horse Rider » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 07:55:40 PM »

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?  

A foot covering that allows you to be as close to barefoot while still attempting to be socially acceptable.

Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)

with a zero heel to toe drop
wide toe box (if I have to have one)
flexible very thin sole that allows natural foot movement and ground feedback
allows my feet to be feet


Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?

The most important thing for me which even Vibram is failing with now is toe flexibility.  I WANT to be able to pick things up with my feet shod or not!  It's just natural to me...  THIN THIN THIN, did I mention thin, sole!  I want to feel the difference in textures and temperatures of what I am stepping on.  Yes, even the rocks or grass crunching beneath my feet.  The ONLY reason I wear shoes is out of respect for others...

Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?

To me minimalist should mimic barefoot.  Sans the original KSO's and an old fashioned pair of mocassins NONE of the newer "minimalist" shoes truely meet my requirements....
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 07:57:36 PM by barefootin » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 08:41:20 PM »

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?
It is a foot covering that allows the foot to function as if it was bare while providing a minimal amount of protection. Notice I didn't say "shoe".

Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)
1.) Must be zero drop - PERIOD!
2.) Must have a big enough toe box to allow FULL toe splay.
3.) Must be thin enough to give good ground feel while providing just enough protection. This is a tricky one and very individualized.
For me I'd place the limit of sole thickness around 10mm or less.
4.) Must have a very breathable upper to keep the feet cool.
5.) Must not have any toe spring molded into the last - I HATE THIS!
6.) Must be flexible and allow full range of motion.

Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?
Probably a full sized toe box.

Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?
I would say that I would want most of the characteristics in order for me to consider a shoe minimalist.
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 08:46:36 PM »

Robert,

     Are you asking about this out of general curiosity, or will this info be used to assist a manufacturer? Or, you can't say?  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 08:56:35 PM »

First things first.  Don't read any other persons response till you have posted your own. 

I have been thinking about what qualities and characteristics make a shoe be qualified as minimalist.  I feel like if you ask 10 people you will get 10 different answers.

So here is my questions for you:

First question: What is your definition (in your own words)  of what a minimalist shoe is?

A shoe that protects your feet using the least amount of materials possible, while maintaining form and function.[\b]

Second question: What are the the characteristics of a minimalist shoe? (List them)
Minimal (4 mm or less) heel to toe drop
Low stack height (12 mm or less)
Flexible sole and upper
Lightweight
Good groundfeel
Generous toe box to allow splay[\b]

Third question: Out of the characteristics you named which ones are the most important for you?
zero heel to toe drop
Groundfeel
Roomy toe box/b]

Fourth question:  Do you think a minimalist shoe has to have all the characteristics you mentioned, most of them, or just a few in order to qualify as a minimalist shoe?

most of them

Remember try not to read anyone's response till you post yours.  I don't want to have anyone else answers affect what you might write.  Thanks for taking the time to answer.  Once you anwser feel free to read everyone's response.  You can compare yours to others and see how similar or different your answers are.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 08:59:04 PM »

It is just a long standing curiosity.  I was once asked by someone who owned a shoe store what I defined as a minimalist shoe.  I have been thinking about that question ever since.  When I talk to people about it I usually get quite varied responses.  I thought I would just create this thread to gather the forums members individual definitions and opinions on what qualifies a shoe as minimalist.  Everyone answers are great!
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 05:07:51 PM »

I personally think that there will be a lot of similar answers, but here is my take on it:

A minimalist shoe is an apparatus used for protecting the foot from physical harm while promoting the natural biomechanics of the human body by utilizing a thin sole that provides little to no structural support.

Characteristics:
-Made from enough material to be durable and functional while eliminating excessive and/or unnecessary material
-Provides very little to no structural support for the ankle, heel, forefoot, toes, and arch
-Reduces or prevents physical injuries of the foot
-Lightweight and flexible (especially the sole)

Bonus points if the shoes are made from abundant, long lasting, natural, and/or renewable resources. All of these characteristics are important to me as they are all necessary for promoting the natural biomechanics of the human body, which to me is the primary goal of minimalist footwear.


Thanks for the fun topic idea, BearFooted... well played.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 06:46:27 AM »

First things first.  Don't read any other persons response till you have posted your own. 

^ This is one of the best ideas I've seen on this forum. Getting raw uninfluenced opinions can tell you a whole lot more than you think.
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2012, 11:22:31 AM »

Zero drop
Anatomically correct last
Flexible soles and upper
Good ground feel
Lightweight
Dynamic

Those are all words that I'd like associated with a barefoot-minded shoe.  "Minimalist" ... it just sorta is a loaded word right?  Huaraches are incredibly minimalist (sandals) that don't have to worry about the last or upper issue; they're lightweight almost as a matter of course and zero drop.  Where they "fail" is mostly in how dynamic they are relative to your foot -- they don't flex the same way as your foot does (thus the toe spring, which I appreciate, in the Invisible Shoe huaraches sole).

Most conventional shoes lose the dynamic requirement, too, because a roomy toe box doesn't work well with adhering the shoe to your foot through it's range of motion.

Anyway, it's a really hard question to answer and pretty personal.  While not perfect, I still think most FiveFingers models still satisfy more of my requirements than any other option.
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 01:59:28 PM »

1: A shoe that is almost completely unrestrictive to the natural movements of the feet and their information relay.
2: Total zero drop, not a bit of it. Exceptional ground feel, I want to feel everything under my feet. Wide toe box, if I can't spread my toes in the shoe I don't want it. Flexibility is a must but that seems to be hand in hand with ground feel, it its to stiff to flex easily then it's likely to stiff to feel anything small. Can't say it must be super thin to feel everything, Lemings are much thicker than regular kso and don't mute much more ground feel at all. But the thinner the better but to the point of sacrificing durability, shoes are expensive. Slight toe spring isn't a problem siblings as it flattens with a foot in it.
3: Super toe box and ground feel.
4: All. If it affects the foot anymore than adding a layer of protection, and a layer of socially acceptable then it is unacceptable.

May have missed something, posting from my phone so it's hard to do somethings.
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 03:19:10 PM »

My definition is of minimalist footwear can be defined in two ways.

1.) Minimal in materials and workmanship such as Huarache sandals.

2.)Minimal as in the impact the shoe has on the wearer.  How it alters your natural state.

I prefer the latter of the two definitions when I am looking for footwear.

Characteristics include being lightweight, zero drop, ground feel, toe splay/roominess and overall comfort level.

Most important to me is comfort.  Don't get me wrong, the other aspects are important too and I think to some degree they need to be there in order for comfort to occur.

I think that a minimalist shoe has to have most of the characteristics I listed.  There are always exceptions.  In the winter, I am willing to sacrifice ground feel for warmth, since I am in Minnesota.  
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 03:32:57 PM by Mr. Leigh » Logged

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