Not too long ago, I was referred to a New York Magazine article about shoes. More specifically, it is about not wearing shoes and how everyone walks wrong. It was intriguing, and while I am not yet ready to jump on the crunchy-granola, dirt-worshiping, tree-hugging, long-hair-hippie bandwagon (heck, I just cut off all my hair!), it did make some good points. I walk barefoot in and around the house, at yoga (okay, maybe I’ll admit to being a little crunchy-granola), and even sometimes at work. In fact, I prefer barefoot. I’ve been looking for some new shoes, too, and want to go in a little different direction, stylistically, from the clompy, stompy boots I have been wearing for years, so thought I might investigate some of the shoes in the article.
For those that did not read the fine article, barefoot shoes are ones with a thin flexible sole. It is strong enough so that you do not get injured if you, say, step on broken glass, but is thin enough such that you do not have air cushions padding your step, forcing you to come down heavy, and unnaturally, on your heel. The article mentioned a few different brands of shoe with varying degrees of sole thickness. I am not into the rolling style Masai, and was pretty much done with the Nike shoe style in Junior High when the Nike Air hightops were brand new and all the rage. The Five-Fingers were a little too eXXXtreme outdoor sports for my tastes, which left the Vivo Barefoot.
It has proven difficult, nigh impossible, to find a pair locally. A Twitter question to #pdx turned up nothing. An email to their US headquarters confirmed that nobody around here sells them. For a shoe paradigm shift this drastic, I was a little hesitant to order them sight-unseen (although their exchange and return policy seems quite generous.)
A few days later, I got a Twitter friend request from Terra Plana, whose profile mentions a 20% discount code. I asked about it and was given the code. That big of a discount makes the plunge into the shoe unknown a little less scary. A little measuring to confirm that my boot size really is my shoe size (sometimes boots — maybe it’s just UK boots? — are a size off from shoes), and I’ve ordered a pair of Dharma Vivo Barefoots (Barefeet?) which should arrive in a week or so. I’ll let you know how they feel once they get here.