Head honcho Grant Sible posted this question on Facebook the other day:
Q: Working on natural walking today. Here are three examples of minimal footwear on the trail. After some gait, posture and cadence coaching. I do feel more efficient, lighter and less impact on my joints. Anybody else have similar experience with a minimalist approach? (ps I've been working on this over time) -G
The idea regarding minimalism in hiking footwear has been getting more attention and from what people are saying, for good reason.
One of our previous Customers of the Week, Chris Scala, chimed in:
Did the JMT in Inov-8 Roclite 295's... was the only one I met with no blisters, sweaty feet, tired feet, etc. I did develop a weak left knee, but I think that had more to do with compensating for stiff joints day after day and developing a weird gait. Still, I wouldn't have traded those shoes for anything else. I even wore them loose at night as camp shoes.
Gossamer Fan Stephen Fleming added some great insight:
The beefier the shoe, the more dependent the foot is upon it. Naturally the foot builds up calluses, strengthens itself, etc. for whatever the terrain brings. Shoes generally take away from the natural toughness of the foot, and lead to a weakened system of the body. And as ms. Tautkus stated, there are definite needs for shoes/boots with support to meet a persons health needs. The "barefoot"/neutral shoe approach is an ancient school of thought on foot health, and has been rediscovered by Western culture over the past several years. But as any foot specialist will tell you, you either have to slowly phase into the barefoot method, or they might oppose it. This is one of those things that going either way on doesn't hurt. The Inov-8 Roclite 286, has the classification as the world's lightest hiking boot if still wanting an in between.
And last but certainly not least Founder Glen Van Peski added:
I run in Five Fingers, up to a marathon, on paved and trail surfaces, but have not had good luck backpacking with minimalist shoes (have not tried the FF yet). After a 3-year search, I REALLY like the Altra Lone Peak shoes, which some people might describe as semi-minimalist.
Also, I can not talk about this without mentioning Trail Ambassador Barefoot Jake. He is an avid minimalist hiker with great posts about minimalism and beyond!
**The Facebook discussion had so many great comments, info, and opinions on the subject I highly recommend moseying on over to the Gossamer Gear Facebook page to view the post and join in on the complete discussion! You can even "like" the page while you're at it!