OTZ boots, shoes on Sale!
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The sale has OTZ over 60% off!
If you aren't familiar with OTZ, first off, they aren't minimalist shoes—at least, not out of the box (not yet anyway). OTZ shoes have a removable cork insole. Said insole has some arch support and an elevated heel. OTZ notes that it breaks in over time to your foot. That's great, but if you're like me, you probably don't want to deal with the heel-to-toe differential at all and could do without the arch support. The solution? Replace the came-with-the-frame insole with your own. For example, you can buy a cheap foam flat insole from a drug store and cut it to size based on the OTZ insole you get with your shoes so that it fits. Or just sub in an insole from a like-sized pair of Vivo Barefoots or Lems. Some more ideas on how to tackle this by Robert here in the forums.
Once you've done this, you'll have a pair of shoes that have a basically flat sole (no apparent differential or whatever it is is now very minimal as you can tell from the sole profiles in the photos), a large toe box (Robert notes in his OTZ Troop Boot review it's somewhere between a Lem and a Vivo, which seems reasonably right based on my own experience), and a stylish pair of shoes.
In the case of some of the Vibram-soled OTZ boots, you get a more heavy duty boot without the heel. Matter of fact, I've been testing out the OTZ Troop Vibrams and Brogan Vibrams to talk more about on BirthdayShoes.
The short of what I've decided on the OTZ I've tried: they're very solid boots that are made well, sharp-looking and stylish, and great for weather/climate protection, which is something the minimalist/barefoot shoe community needs. If you are up for slight shoe modification, this pricepoint is excellent.
And finally, did I mention that OTZ is prototyping a minimalist corkbed insole (think: about 5mm of leather-topped cork that is totally flat). Hopefully Ludo and gang will make this minimalist corkbed available at large soon as it really takes OTZ to the next, er... lower level (towards minimalist!). Stay tuned!