This post from 2015 was lightly edited (resources updated) in 2020. For more information on feet and gait, read through Our Favorite Feet, Footwear, and Walking Resources.
All of the shoes we've purchased in the last couple of years have been minimal, but as we transitioned, we found that some of our current, non-minimal shoes could be transitioned with a little help from the tool shed. My husband shares his favorite DIY shoe hack below.
The shoes I wear most often are none. After that, Vibram’s FiveFingers, because they are really similar to wearing none, only I can walk on gravelly roads and driveways (like ours).
When shoes are required, I wear my old Earth Shoes, which I gather are now called Kalso Earth Shoes – the ones with the heels slightly lower than the toes. (Don’t bother looking for them. They no longer make shoes for men.) Shoes without a heel have saved me the inevitable back and knee aches that happen while doing any significant amount of walking or working in regular men’s shoes.
The problem is (was), Earth doesn’t make a pair of adequate work boots. I have a good pair made by North Face (they’re hikers, actually), but like all work boots I have ever seen, the heel is (was) way higher than the toes. With the help of my handy jigsaw, I was able to make my work boots into some very comfortable and stylish “earth shoes” – no capital letters…
I also hacked my soccer cleats after I kept getting stuck in the turf.
Most chronically-shod people carry their weight over their toes, and the spikes of a cleat are designed to accommodate this "normal" arrangement. Since I've transitioned to minimal shoes and a more vertical stance—which is better for my back, butt, and hamstrings when I'm off the field—I was finding myself pushing my heel-spikes into the ground, increasing the traction. Not great for playing well or safely.
The jigsaw hacks again. Just trimmed the tips off of each of the back spikes.
As usual, the solution to life's problems is using power tools.
Find more, and power-tool-free minimal footwear options on our minimal shoes list.