footwear, how to choose shoes, minimalist shoes,

How to decide which shoe is best for you?

footwear Jun 23, 2021

There are so many choices with footwear: barefoot, running shoes, training shoes, tennis shoes, basketball shoes, cleats, hiking boots, trail running shoes, climbing shoes, olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, sandals, dress shoes..etc. 


Not to fret! 

In future articles, we will review specifically, what the demands of each sport are and what to look for in a shoe. 

In general, how do you decide which shoe is best for you?

  1. Purpose
    1. What is the use for the shoe?
    2. Does it have multiple purposes?
      1. Training
      2. Every day use
      3. Traveling
  2. Structure
    1. Toebox
      1. Narrow vs wide toe box
    2. Heel to toe Drop(HTT)- measured in millimeters (mm) the difference between the height at the heel to the height of the forefoot 
      1. A typical sneaker has a HTT of about 8-10 mm
      2. More on the HTT when we chat about running shoes
    3. Flexibility of the sole 
    4. Curvature of the big toe 
  3. Comfort
    1. Shoe size: There should be about ½ inch from toes to end of shoe 
    2. Does it pass the squat and lunge test? Can you perform a squat and lunge in the footwear?
  4. Style
    1. Do you like them?

We have a bias towards barefoot and minimalist shoes. Barefoot or minimalist shoes are made to mimic barefoot walking or running. Typically characteristized by reduced cushioning, thin soles, wide toe boxes, and are often lighter than typical running shoes. The intention of barefoot and minimalist shoes are to allow for sensory contact of the feet (proprioception) while providing some protection from ground hazards, such as dirt or rocks. 

Not all barefoot and minimalist shoes are created equal. If you are considering a more minimalist or barefoot shoe, consider the amount of time you spend in the shoes as your foot must adapt to the new footwear. As a rule of thumb, drop down gradually with 2mm HTT at a time. 

Other things to consider: 

  1. Try shoes on in the afternoon 
  2. Mileage: how often do you wear your shoes? Recommend alternating shoes to allow for proper air flow and the lifetime of the shoe tends to last longer
  3. If you are looking for some amazing dress shoes, check out Carets. [This is not a paid advertisement, we think Carets has an amazing minimalist dress shoe product.] We interviewed the founder of Carets, Mountain Evan Chang, on our podcast

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