What to look for in a shoe

Here are some guidelines for choosing healthy shoes. These principles apply to both child and adult shoes, but adults need more time than children to adapt to less structured footwear. Adults require a slow transition to minimal shoes. This means if you've been wearing heeled shoes with cushioned insoles, choose a shoe with a slightly lower heel and a slightly less cushioned insole.

To support your body while you adjust to minimal shoes: go barefoot more often, read Whole Body Barefoot, and come see me for a private session to get customized support. Whatever you do, don't neglect the transition!

If you have a great minimal shoe to add to my list, I'd love to hear about it

Photo by  James Baldwin  on  Unsplash

Photo by James Baldwin on Unsplash

Look for these qualities …

  • Wide toe box
  • Flat, flexible sole
  • No (or very little) heel rise
  • Foot fits on sock liner without much spillover
  • Shoe attaches firmly to foot (no mules or flip-flops)
  • Shoe upper is made of breathable, flexible material

Avoid these …      

  • Shoes that aren’t foot shaped
  • Narrow toe box
  • Elevated heel
  • Super squishy foam sole
  • Rigid sole
  • Toe spring (when the toe of the shoe curls upward)

Shoe brands (adult)

These shoe brands make at least one model that meets the healthy shoe criteria. You can find sales on many of these brands on discount sites and at the end of the season. Be aware that many of the shoes here won't fit your needs exactly. Some may be too narrow or too minimal or even too cushy.  

Altra 
The Drifter Leather
Carets
Earth Runners
Into the Wild Way
Lems
Luna Sandals
Merrell (Vapor Glove, Pace Glove, Bare Access models)
Shamma Sandals
Sanuk
Topo
Unshoes
Vibram FiveFingers
Vivobarefoot
Xero shoes
Check Etsy for other handmade minimal shoe options

Shoe brands (child)

Bobux (soft-soled shoes)
Softstar
Momo Baby (soft-soled shoes)
Sun and Lace
Skidders
Wildings
Plae (the Ty style)
Robeez
Vivobarefoot
Unshoes
Luna Sandals
MyMayu (rain boots)
Stonz (rain boots)
Into the Wild Way
Cat & Jack brand water shoes at Target
Check Etsy for other handmade minimal shoe options