Wednesday, April 13, 2011


As previously noted here, I have a long, troubled history with shoes. I've therefore watched with interest the progress of the 'barefoot' or minimal shoe trend that's underway right now.

One thing about these shoes (the Vibram Five Fingers, with space for each individual toe, being a notable example) is that they tend to look a bit odd to people used to more conventional footwear.

People like me, and like the other people in my workplace whom I see on a regular basis. I'm not saying I'd be instantly fired for showing up to work in shoes with toes, especially since we have a loose-to-nonexistence dress code, but it would seem a bit out of place.

So while I've been intrigued by the idea of these thin-soled, flexible shoes, I haven't actually tried them. Not until now.

Now, I got a pair from a brand called ZemGear that, although they do make a shoe with a split sole (not room for each toe, but a separate space for the big toe and the other toes), also makes a more ordinary-looking one.

This is called the Playa Low. Pretty nondescript, right? It also comes in bright colors, but I thought solid black would fit in best in a work environment.

I have been wearing them around the office this week, and I must say, I have received no blisters or new shoe pain whatsoever. On that basis alone, these are among the best shoes I have ever worn.

It feels--and looks--like walking around in a light slipper, so it's not exactly like wearing an ordinary shoe, but to the casual eye I think it's not anything remarkable. They're made of a very light, stretchy fabric over a thin sole, so I'm not sure how well they'll hold up to long term wear, but I'm going to make sure to find out.

Your people who are really into stylish and adorable shoes will not be very impressed with these (sorry, Dr. Isis), but my main shoe concern these days is "will this cause me pain?" and if the answer is no, I'm halfway sold.

And if I can get away with wearing it at work, the sale is basically done.


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