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Barefoot Running shoes

I don’t talk a lot about my health, but I have nerve damage in my back. I broke my back when I was 15 and it took them until I was about 35 to figure out where all the pain and numbness in my left leg and foot were coming from.

Like most of these conditions it does get worse as time goes on. I am on a strict routine of ‘body maintenance’ of injections, exercise and medication. I have been dealing with the numbness, and the broken toes that go with it, by getting taller and thicker and more supportive shoes.

That said my feet swell and I have to change my shoes several times a day. I have also developed plantar facetious. About a year and a half ago I met someone who had many of the same problems I have, he had on the weirdest shoes I had ever seen, he had Vibram 5-finger shoes on – basically they look like someone trying to fake a bigfoot sighting.


I couldn’t possibly put those on my feet – so I set about looking for minimalist shoes I could bring myself to have on my feet and found the ZEM bootie. I picked the ‘round toe, high top’ and picked pink stripes (I don’t know why pink).


I work in a warehouse, so I am on my feet all day and I am standing on unheated, uneven wooden floor all day. I got the ZEMbooties the week before Christmas and tried them out that day.

The uppers are like wetsuits and the sole is like those little black shoes that were so popular when I was growing up.

They take a bit to get on, like anything made out of a stretch material you have to pull it on and then sort of fit it to your foot. That said by the second day the bootie had form fit to my foot – I don’t think that I could loan them out at this point.

The first day I wore them all the way through the day with no discomfort. I think it was the first time in about 5 years that I didn’t have to take my shoes off during lunch. In fact in two weeks I haven’t needed my half hour ‘shoe down time’.

I have two complaints about the booties.

The first is the way the bottoms are attached: the cloth touches the ground while I have them on. That said after two weeks the cloth doesn’t seem to have had any ill effects of touching the ground for 8 hours 4 days a week, so maybe this won’t be a problems.

The second problem isn’t something that the people producing the shoe would probably think of. The company is from FL. The cold comes right through the bottom of these shoes. This hasn’t been a problem with my right foot (the normal on) but a few years ago I froze my left foot pretty badly and was completely unaware of it for about 12 hours. The areas that were damaged at the time still swell badly the first few times they are exposed to real cold every year. So right now the tip of one of my toes is swollen.

I have added a memory foam insoles to the booties to buffer the cold and hope that will end that problem.

Foot, knee and back seem a lot better the past two weeks. And I had very few ill effects from all the shoveling I did on Monday (I did that in boots though – I’m not running through the snow in my ZEMS)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
Yeah I'm thinking about keeping track of everything for a month or so and hten sending them a letter.

I'm also looking at a pair made by a Finnish company - I imagine that they would be pritty toasty.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
The ZEMbooties sound like a good solution to the pain - I hope the memory foam can help combat the cold!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 11:51 am (UTC)
So far the memory foam has helped. The ultimate goal is to forstal surgery for 10 years.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Good job with the ZEMs, Bodge! I hope that they continue to give you some comfort.
How would the Finnish shoes differ or be the same as the ZEMs, besides being toasty?
Jan. 2nd, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I really like them - I feel much more steady on my feet in them (and you would think I wouldn't)

The feelmax shoes have a bit more sole and it comes all the way out to the edge. So that would deal with both complants - mind you they are twice the cost...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )