Last year I bought a pair of minimal shoes that I loved immediately. The brand was Onitsuka Tiger. Super thin sole. The sole was actually too thin to do my uphill sprints with, but that didn’t matter, because they were perfect for walking, which is what I really care about.
Well, it turns out they weren’t perfect. The shoes aren’t that sturdy. Holes near the heal started appearing within a few months. They were falling apart fast. I decided I’d get a better made shoe and reserve the Tiger for the gym, when I do leg presses.
After seeking recommendations from my local Paleo group, I purchased a pair of Merrell Minimal shoes. Super light and super comfortable. And they have an orange sole, which I love. However, I noticed that when I’d walk for more than an hour or two, I felt a little achy. It took me several months to figure out that my stride had lengthened. One of the benefits I first experienced when I embraced minimal shoes was a shorter stride.
From my 2009 post Learning How to Walk Again:
Going from running shoes to super thin shoes means I now walk slower and cover less distance. This feels more natural. I think the most I have urban hiked in my Diesel shoes has been 10 miles. Unlike past urban hikes, I felt no lower back pain.
Monday I decided to shelf the Merrell shoes and pull the Tiger out of walking retirement. My stride shortened and I felt great enough to cover 19.1 miles. My original plan was just to hike 10 miles. The Merrell shoes are better built, but I feel better after walking with the Tiger.
Does there exist a super thin shoe that is well made? Not Vibram 5 Fingers, but a real shoe.
My 19.1 mile Urban Hike through Seattle.