Comment from: Scott [Visitor]

Thank you for your post. What size did Reef Boot did you end up buying and if you don't wear the wool and aqua sock underneath the reef boot is the boot to big? Would you consider wearing the boot in summer in place of your VFF treks?

12/29/10 @ 16:30
Comment from: Bryan [Visitor]  

That is a truly genius idea. I always thought of using my scuba booties, just didn't know how well it would work. Keep running no matter what nature throws at you.

12/29/10 @ 16:40
Comment from: skp [Visitor]

This looks like a fantastic idea that I'm going to have to try. Did you have to size up on the Oneill Reactor Reef Boot at all? Or does it stretch enough to accommodate for the extra layers?

12/29/10 @ 18:18
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]

Great idea for snow running when it's cold. Curious, any advice on sizing for the reef shoes (or the socks)? I wear US13 for most of my shoes. Also, are the shoes tight in the forefoot?


12/29/10 @ 18:44
Comment from: Barbara Seckler [Visitor]
Barbara Seckler

What a genius idea! But could you just wear your vffs as layer number 2? Injinji socks, vff, then the bootie? For a 25$ investment, I may try it and let you know how it works.

12/29/10 @ 20:35
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]

Being up in Erie, PA, the sixth snowiest city in the US, I may have to give this a try. What an innovative and creative idea! Thanks Dudley!

12/29/10 @ 20:54
Comment from: Dudley Edmondson [Visitor]  
Dudley Edmondson

to answer folks question sizing is the same as your typical shoe size. I bought a size 9 US. The shoe appears to come in whole sizes so by the size closet to your foot size. I normally wear a 9-1/2. the reef boot stretches very well and will fit over several layers. don't know about wearing them over vibrams. you'd really have to size up quite a bit

12/29/10 @ 21:19
Comment from: Dudley Edmondson [Visitor]  
Dudley Edmondson

The Reef boot fits over my naked foot just fine and under warmer conditions I could run in them that way. I plan to run triathlons in them for a quicker transition from biking to running

12/30/10 @ 10:47
Comment from: Sev [Visitor]

Great Idea, after reading this I hopped on ordered a pair. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out a way to avoid the water that and snow that keeps me from being on the trails this time of year. My package showed up this afternoon, and I've got to say, spot on. I was even aiming for puddles in the melt :P Feet are as dry as a bone, and I still feel like I do in VFFs. One side note, the toe box on these seems a little tight. I ordered a 1/2 size up (I'm an 8.5 US, so I went to a 9 for layers) and I don't feel like I'm getting a great deal of room for toe splay, it's certainly not the "wide" feeling i get from my treks.

Regardless, it's all better that giant thick boots :)

12/30/10 @ 15:20
Comment from: Patrick [Visitor]  

I live in the Colorado Rockies and now run exclusively in sandals. My run this morning was -32˚F with windchill and only one sock. Here's how:

12/31/10 @ 19:55
Comment from: Patrick [Visitor]  

To clarify, that should read minus 32˚F. The dash managed to hide on the line above.

01/02/11 @ 11:15
Comment from: Bob Lasky [Visitor]
Bob Lasky

I just got back from a little run in my KSOs and Injinjis. It's about 26˚ here in Western NY. Little chilly on the toes. I have some watershoes/booties that I wanted to try for the winter. Great layering idea.

01/02/11 @ 14:22
Comment from: Stacy [Visitor]  

So far I have survived down to -5 (celsius) with Bikila's and Wool Injinji's up here in Toronto. But if February becomes as slushy as it can get here I may have to look into this. Thankfully city running gives you clear sidewalks.

I've been finding the flows just cut off my circulation and make my foot colder, anyone else have this problem?

01/03/11 @ 03:03
Comment from: Maria [Visitor]

thank you so much for sharing - I'm really excited about trying this myself. I was becoming desperate after sliding around in my Bikilas yesterday (lots of ice and packed snow here), but regular running shoes just don't work for me anymore. this sounds like such a great solution!!

01/03/11 @ 06:43
Comment from: Austin [Visitor]

Just got mine in the mail this monday morning and all i can say is wow. These things are so comfy from the second you put them on. There is no seams rubbing my feet like in my Northern Michigan and running on snowmobile trails in the winter with my flows is a joke, feet are soaked and aching before the first mile. These 20$ aqua socks are a dream to wear no matter the weather. I sized down 1/2 size for swimming in the summer. Triathlons wont be so stressful now when it comes time to switching shoes, as these are my new go to Ninjas.

01/03/11 @ 12:39
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]

I've been using Terra Plana Evos and a pair of neoprene socks in NH. My feet get cold easily but I have had no problems with this combo. Haven't tried it yet, but I think Yak Trax would be feasible as a last layer in very slippery conditions.

I also cannot use VFF Flows. Too tight on the toes.

01/03/11 @ 15:27
Comment from: Evan in Anchorage [Visitor]
Evan in Anchorage

My winter shoe of choice right now is the Feelmax Niesa with different thicknesses of insole and sock depending on the weather. Flexible and breathable.

01/03/11 @ 19:12
Comment from: Matt [Visitor]

Do you think these would stretch ok for wide feet? I go between 10 and 11 based on width. I guess I'm wondering if a 10 would stretch snug, but not uncomfortable.

01/04/11 @ 00:11
Comment from: Patrick [Visitor]

@ Matt: In my experience, any shoe that constricts the forefoot at all is too tight. THere actually should be as much room sideways and in front of the toes, to allow for proper forefoot splay. ANything less and you're practicing modern Western foot binding. That's actually why I only wear huaraches sandals or go barefoot now.

01/05/11 @ 07:20
Comment from: Nelson [Visitor]

I've had a great time running this winter. I wasn't sure what would work best, so I bought the VFF Flow and Trek models. I found that the Flows actually made my feet too warm, even in below freezing temperatures. For below freezing temps, I've found Treks plus a pair of wool Injinji socks to work well for me. Would be nice to try the Flow/Trek hybrid, not available in the U.S., for sub-zero snowy conditions...

01/05/11 @ 14:05
Comment from: Selle [Visitor]  

Live in Sweden and I've used the Hiko Surf shoe with three pair of socks during winter. Slightly thinner sole compared to the O'neil.
Dry, warm and comfy.
Really the way to go.

01/09/11 @ 04:40
Comment from: Barbara Seckler [Visitor]
Barbara Seckler

I purchased both the reef shoes and the neoprene fin socks. They are a little tight in the toes when worn with socks. I did purchase an extra pair of the fin socks in a size 11. I tried them over my vffs and they fit. (I wear a womens size 40 in treksports) I ran 2.5 miles in them on a snowy trail and my feet were toasty warm and dry. They're not great for running on concrete or rocks but they should get me through my next trail race without frostbite.

01/11/11 @ 22:32
Comment from: dfrank511 [Visitor]

i had been looking and looking for a winter-time solution and this seemed just perfect for iowa winters. i purchased the oneill boots and speedo socks and they arrived the day before we got about 3 inches of fresh snow. i headed out the next day and they were perfect. toasty warm feet! thsnks for sharing the idea!

01/13/11 @ 04:22
Comment from: Jocelyn [Visitor]

Dudley you rock! I had been wearing WuShu shoes, aka Kung Fu shoes, until I tried these. Since WuShu are canvas, they would get wet and soggy. If I stopped for too long in those my feet would get so cold that they hurt. I've been wearing your combo of SmartWool + aqua booties + reef boots for a week and my feet have been toasty warm! My first outing was in 4" of snow and they were great. I can feel the bits of rock salts under my feet, too.

Thanks so much for this suggestion!

01/14/11 @ 11:27
Comment from: John [Visitor]  

I just bought a pair of the reef boots from amazon and I love them. I have been an avid VFF fan for over a year but after a couple of runs in the snow with painfully numb toes it was clear I needed something warmer than treks + injinjis. The reef boots are really well-made and comfortable and actually provide better flexibility and groundfeel than my KSOs. I generally wear a size 10 (size 42 in KSOs and treks) and size 10 reef boots fit well.

01/22/11 @ 01:30
Comment from: GG [Visitor]

Cool idea, thanks. I had been pretty much a straight barefoot walker/runner for more than four years, but for certain reasons I dropped a load of money on Vibram KSOs and was pretty disappointed - they really jammed my pinky toe on one foot (that was AFTER getting a first pair shipped overseas and paying to send them back because they were too small).

So the O'Neill Reactor Reef boots look like an cheaper and even more flexible alternative to the Vibrams I had, which is nice.

I lived in a fairly warm place in the States, but I've passed 3 winters running in St. Petersburg, Russia and Choibalsan, Mongolia (pretty cold places), and I honestly just layer up in a couple pairs of ordinary thick socks and run in those. The outer pair can usually take 1-2 weeks of daily running before getting a hole (then I toss them). I do run pretty short distances (3-6km) and generally stick to debris-free areas in the winter, so if you run further, yours would probably wear out faster. By the way, I have no problem with reeking sweat smell doing this.

In any case, I find that with just two pairs of thick socks, my feet stay warm enough after I get running, even with -30*+C and wind chill. When it's that cold, they don't get wet from the snow - it's just too dry. (That's more of a springtime problem...)

01/22/11 @ 03:12
Comment from: jj [Visitor]

That's a very clever combination! I would've thought that something by Teva would've qualified for the outer layer since that's for wet conditions (and their new Zilch is as close to 5-fingers minimalism as they'll get). My O'Neill "super freak" split toe booties are similar to 5-fingers with a fake toe pattern on the top :-) But despite the flexible fabric center instead of a solid sole, the sole pattern is nowhere as grippy as your Reactor Reefs. Still, I appreciate a wetsuit bootie that comes up higher since we have really REALLY wet slushy conditions around here in NY/NJ.

02/04/11 @ 21:20
Comment from: Ann [Visitor]

Just got a pair of reef boots as another barefoot convert from Erie, as another person said, we get TONS of snow. Wore them on a short walk with one pair of socks and the boots. Warm enough but will layer wool socks next time. Dry and flexible solution to the winter running issue. Thank you!

01/04/17 @ 23:23
Comment from: Monkey Mike [Visitor]  
Monkey Mike

I came across this post back in 2011 or 2012 and tried this layering system out. It is now 2018 and I have gone through about 2 pairs of these reef boots every winter season since! (the rubber is very grippy, but wears fairly quickly on bare pavement. I do about 30/70 trail/road) If you stick to the trails they should last an entire winter. I've experimented with other surf boots and shoes but this is the BEST option for minimalist/barefoot style running in the snow. I usually don't need the neoprene sock unless I know I'm going to be out for a few hours (over 20 miles). I typically layer a thin pair of running socks, then a thick wool/blend ankle high sock (sometimes two pairs) over that and my feet stay plenty warm. Highly recommend anyone reading this to try this out for themselves!! I may be late in saying it, but thank you Britt!!

10/24/18 @ 23:06

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