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Close to Barefoot Shoes--Suggestions?
Old 04-01-2016, 11:28 AM   #1
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Close to Barefoot Shoes--Suggestions?

So I'm now post-big toe surgery (3 weeks) and am doing physical therapy. Stitches are out and toe is beginning to bend ok, with a ways to go. Since this all stems from a stress fracture last August, I've been basically hobbling around flat footed on a flat surgical sandal since then. My PT guy wants me to immediately ditch the sandal so that I can start walking more naturally again. He recommended going bare foot as much as possible, which of course I can do at home (and can walk in my socks at work--no one cares!) However it is still cold in MN and I need shoes. Since the surgery foot is still swollen I can't get into any of my "regulars" and it may be some months before I do so. PT guy said just get a shoe that has a big toe box so toes aren't scrunched together and that are flexible so that I can begin to flex the foot naturally as I walk. He said cheap is fine. Just wondering if anyone has suggestions? The toe box seems to be the issue as it still hurts to put any pressure on the (dorsal) scar area, and that rules out lots of shoes. Thought I'd pick the collective brain of people on this forum!

PS Just read an interesting New Yorker article online about how shoes of all types are deforming our feet and how barefooting is better. But this is MINNESOTA, land of multiple and ever bigger and better boots. Sheesh.

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Old 04-01-2016, 11:32 AM   #2
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If you have an old pair of shoes cut out the area around that toe or buy a cheap pair and cut them up.

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Old 04-01-2016, 11:47 AM   #3
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You should take a look at Katy Bowman's site, Nutritious Movement. She is an advocate for minimal shoes and going barefoot. She has a couple of lists of footwear that meet her standards.

Link is to her feet and shoes page -
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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Trouble with the cutting a part of a shoe is that I DO need to look fairly respectable at occasional work meetings and such as well as church and other events. And whatever I get will need to be all-purpose until the foot swelling is down.

I will look at the Bowman site; sounds interesting!
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:31 PM   #5
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How about dark sandals that go over the top of the foot, if you are male, get dark colored ones and wear black socks with them.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:54 PM   #6
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I bought a pair of Altra zero drop trainers. The toe box is high and wide, while the shoe fits snugly in the heel. From my POV, the only negative is they are pretty soft underfoot, and I prefer a firm surface. Another excellent shoe is is the non-sandal version of Birkenstocks. For years I wore the Birkenstock Boston. I have had I don't know how many soles replaced. They are long way from normal looking however. One day I was walking done the street in the U District and a young women came up right in front of me and said-"No one would know you were old, if you lost the Birks." So I lost the Birks.

I looked at the web page linked above. It seems that everyone has ideas about how modern people should do things (Nutritious shoes? How many of us will ever ever try to subsist on our shoes?.) I can't help feeling that there are reasons why overall, mankind over many centuries has preferred to wear shoes. Putting shoes on poor people in the US south and all over Latin America has immensely improved health, mostly from lessening anemia due to el anquilostoma (hookworm). Also cuts down on stings, snakebites, cuts, punctures, tetanus and much other not to be desired stuff.

I am as easily gulled as anyone, so I did try Vibram Five Toes or whatever they are called. They are good, and the heavier soled ones will give some modest protection from stepping on bad stuff. They don't help much if you drop something on your foot, which I have certainly done and usually am very happy to be wearing real shoes. But even if worn only in safe situations, it is easier to launder socks than shoes, and these things can take me a long time to put on, since my toes seems to resist going in the right toe holes.

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Old 04-01-2016, 02:38 PM   #7
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I really liked the New Balance minimal shoes, but my foot tendons hated them.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:01 PM   #8
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:18 PM   #9
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I don't know if they would work at your office (they would have been fine where I used to work), but a young fashionista gave me a pair of Mahabis slippers, which are felted, fleece-lined, and have snap-on outersoles that will stay in place. I have worn them most waking hours since I received them. The toebox is round and generous. Online at
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:38 PM   #10
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My gal has very short wide feet with very high arches - she swears by and wears year 'round Keen sandals for the great support and little ledge behind the toes she can grip while walking. She says they aren't considered a wide shoe though, as Clarks are. Crocs for the big sloppy toes box and softness?
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:46 PM   #11
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I wear cheap New Balance in 4E. Very large toe box. I don't know what the have for women.
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:55 PM   #12
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I'm a big fan of the Altra shoes that haha mentioned, especially for the wide toe box. carries them with good prices and free 2 day shipping. A lot of them have the really soft tall soles that are great for cushioning but may feel weird. A few aren't so tall, like the Altra One. Look at the "stack height" to compare how high they are.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:27 PM   #13
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I could not come up with any good shoe ideas, but I just have to say that I think it is SO cool that nobody at your work cares if you walk in your socks at work.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:34 PM   #14
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These are all great suggestions. I'm particularly intrigued by the Mahabis--they look so comfortable! I am also thinking about a soft pair of leather moccasins.

Probably one of the reasons I am not retired yet W2R. My workplace--at least my wing of the building where low level academic administrators dwell--is totally casual. There's just a few of us and we know each other well. Many people here switch into slippers or ballet flats or the like once we get to the office and the winter boots come off.
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:44 PM   #15
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I'm a huge fan of crocs for comfort. I have my regular crocs flip flops (capri style)- and my "dress" crocs sandals (I think it's the Rhonda wedge - might be the Patricia.... it's been a few years since I bought them.) I have a pair of the "Alice work" mary janes - lots of room in the toe box - but they make my feet sweat... so I don't wear them much.
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Old 04-01-2016, 08:16 PM   #16
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I recommend Nike free - A bit expensive, but it is closest to bare foot.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:03 PM   #17
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If you look for broken toe shoes on the web it will list on Amazon a bunch of shoes for the situation. Another way is to look for post operative shoes. (they have open fronts but you could wear thick socks with them. Another alternative would be to go to a podiatrist and get a recommendation. Since you are recovering folks would understand these medical style shoes.
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:10 AM   #18
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When I had foot surgery some years ago, I ended up with a pair of New Balance black walking shoes in a nice wide width, similar to NB 813.

With a little bit of polish to shine them up a little, they pass a nice casual shoes.

Good luck

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