"Barefoot" March

Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 01 Apr 2011 13:51 EDT

March 2011 was my first month of the year completely back to "barefoot" running. I completed a total of 20 miles (INJURY FREE!!!) for the month wearing a mixture of super cheap grocery store Aquasox, Invisible Shoes Huaraches, and my Merrell Trail Gloves. Each shoe has it's strengths and weaknesses and I thought I would take a minute to highlight a few for each different form of footwear.



  • Price, I paid $2.50 for mine
  • Very minimal, ground feel is awesome
  • Flexible
  • Fits the foot like a standard shoe


  • Sole is "squishy", some sort of injection molded rubber
  • Does not breathe very well
  • Can flop around a bit due to S,M,L sizing scheme

Invisible Shoes Huaraches:


  • Price, my kit was $26.00 delivered to my door
  • Extremely minimal, ground feel is exceptional
  • Foot is fully un-restricted
  • Light weight


  • I am having trouble adapting to running downhill in them, this seems to be a learned art
  • Fear of injury, the shoe is so minimal that I find myself obsessing over where I step and how I step so that I won't re-injure myself as I did last fall
  • Toe string wore a blister on my second toe

Merrell Trail Glove:


  • Great all around shoe
  • Zero drop
  • Tread is aggressive enough to feel secure off road but not so aggressive that running on the road is uncomfortable.
  • Less minimal than Aquasox or Huaraches. Ground feel is still good and the stone plate and extra sole material are allowing me to run more distance. This reason alone is why I included less minimal in the strength category. Being able to run more distance with a bit less impact allows me to train my body to run for duration and strength, where at this point the Aquasox and Huaraches are really only allowing me to run short distances to strengthen my feet and calves. I know distance will come with time but I see the Trail Gloves as a tool to help push myself further.


  • Price, $110 retail...why are minimal shoes so maximally priced?
  • Reduced ground feel, I wish there was some way that all the good benefits listed above could be present along with a little more ground feel
  • Smell will be an issue. Mine don't stink yet but they get pretty wet after even a short run (I do wear socks with them). I have decided not to wear them after a run until they have dried out completely to try and combat the smell creeping in.

Final Thoughts:

After a month of thoroughly enjoyable running I had a hard time finding too much bad to say about any of these shoes.

I did find that self-reflection is fun. I can see that I am a bit biased toward loving the Huaraches since all my weaknesses listed were MY weaknesses, not the shoe's.

With more time in each shoe, I can only imagine that if I compile a list like this again at the end of the season there will be different items in each category. In fact, that's just what I will do sometime in the fall.

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