Minimalism is a bit of a fad these days, and marketers are targeting some products especially to those of us who enjoy minimalist living. But do so-called minimal shoes — including those barefoot or five-finger shoes that let you feel the ground under your feet and related styles and types — really fit into a simple lifestyle?
I’ve gone back and forth about this, but now I think that minimal shoes can be part of your life without compromising your principles or making you appear hypocritical. But like any other buying decision, the decision to buy this product should be made carefully and deliberately.
Consider these reasons, then decide for yourself whether you want to invest in this very particular and very peculiar form of footwear.
Here are three reasons why I believe minimal shoes can fit into a simple life:
1. You can feel the planet on which you live.
So many things in life separate us from the planet on which we live and of which we’re a part. And that isn’t good. Part of simple living is reconnecting with some of the things that modern life and previous generations have tried to disconnect us from. And that means reconnecting with the earth itself.
Minimal shoes aren’t just about looking cool or funky. Some of them look pretty much like regular shoes — like these New Balance minimal running shoes, available from Amazon — but they have thin soles that let you experience the ground beneath your feet.
While some people think this could cause foot problems, wearing badly fitting shoes definitely causes foot problems. So why not gain back some of the connections you’ve lost by feeling the planet while still protecting your skin from damage?
2. Most are quality products, and they aren’t that expensive.
Some five-finger shoes are on the pricey side, but not all barefoot shoes are the same. Most of them are quality products made to exacting standards because that’s what the purchasers of these products require. They won’t settle for less.
And living a minimalist lifestyle isn’t about lack or deprivation. It’s about making informed, conscientious decisions and avoiding needless spending. When you compare the price of well-made minimal shoes with other high-quality shoes, there’s very little difference.
So you don’t need to feel guilty if you’re considering some of these specialties shoes. They don’t contradict your lifestyle, and you’re not a sellout!
3. They’re a simple alternative to something that’s gotten complicated.
In fact, you could consider minimal shoes as an ultimate expression of minimalist living. Shoes have gotten very complicated, especially in recent years. Teens fight over then, and celebrities endorse brands they’ve never even worn. What’s wrong with our society when shoes are worth stabbing for? And why do we care what a reality TV star or a sports figure wears on his feet?
The minimal running shoes shown above may look like regular shoes, but they’re completely re-engineered, and all the unnecessary things have been stripped away. That’s the kind of thing a minimalist would do.
The important thing is not to fall for a fad or a trend. Buy simple shoes if that’s what you — because you’re entitled to whatever you want, no matter your lifestyle choice.
Don’t sell yourself short. Minimal shoes are a smart alternative to bloated, brand name shoes with features and logos that don’t do you any good. And they can fit into any lifestyle.
It comes down to this: Do you like this kind of shoes or at least want to give them a try? Then order some. No one is judging you.
In other words, minimal shoes can fit into your lifestyle, no matter how you label that.