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Durable minimalist/barefoot/zero drop shoes

seedlings

* Ace Member *
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
3,713
Location
Northwest Missouri
That's right. I'm looking for unicorns. Minimalist, zero drop, wide toe box DURABLE shoes. There are almost zero popular brands. I like Lem's shoes for most activities. I have several pairs of their Boulder boots and Primal2. The soles are too soft for disc golf. My last few pairs have been inexpensive (but respectable) minimalist hiking shoes from amazon. Those cost $30 and have half the life expectancy of $175 Lem's.

With my extreme wide, flat, duck feet, I'm not interested in Keen, Merrell or sporting good store brands because they have a high arch, high heel and/or pointy toe box. I might try a pair of Vibram if I could find a disc golfer who knows how they wear. But a pair of 5 Fingers might be the next try.

I've looked into Idio, but I'm not convinced the toe box is wide enough and I don't like the heel rise - though it is minimal compared to most shoes.

My biggest problems are Left to right:
$30 Amazon torn out toes
$170 Lem's leather boulder boot toe
$160 Lem's leather boulder boot tread (diff pair)
$30 Amazon toe 4 months old
Tread of same pair
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Xero Shoes is another option that might be a contender. I'm going to order some soon and give them a shot...because I'm tired of wearing constricting shoes.
 
Xero Shoes is another option that might be a contender. I'm going to order some soon and give them a shot...because I'm tired of wearing constricting shoes.

I have looked at Xero and didn't look like they were too much more robust than Lem's. I am very interested in how yours wear. If you've never tried the minimalist footwear, expect lots of foot aches for a while using muscles that you haven't used since you ran barefoot as a kid.

Thinking they would have a disc golf shoe recommendation since they make discs… I did get a marginally helpful email reply back from Vibram:
Thank you for your email.

The thickest sole that we have is the V-Trail 2.0: https://us.vibram.com/shop/shop-all...6.html?dwvar_M76_color=Black / Yellow#start=1

The upper material is pretty robust, but I know that the movements with Disc Golf certainly wear down shoes easily. I would not be able to accurately tell you how long they will last. None of our shoes have been made specifically for disc golf.

Hope this helps some,
 
I have looked at Xero and didn't look like they were too much more robust than Lem's. I am very interested in how yours wear. If you've never tried the minimalist footwear, expect lots of foot aches for a while using muscles that you haven't used since you ran barefoot as a kid.

Thinking they would have a disc golf shoe recommendation since they make discs… I did get a marginally helpful email reply back from Vibram:

Thanks for the headsup on the foot pain. I generally wear Birkenstocks most days, which I've heard are pretty good for your feet and use Tevas for more adventurous things. I've tortured my feet with Adidas Terrex shoes for disc golf for the last several years and mine are finally wearing out and I'm looking for other options.
 
Was served an ad for "dance sneakers" recently. Don't know why, but I noticed they had reinforced circles under the heel and ball and looked pretty minimal, not wide though. I really don't like using my light hikers with a shank. Slick tee pads are the other end. I think there's lots of room for progress in shoe design.
 
I've been using the Lem's Trailhead. Tread has gone flat after a year, but I still play in them and don't have too many issues. 4mm drop instead of zero, but they still feel good. I have also used Xero Shoes Prio and liked them as well, but the ankle was just a little low and I kept getting a ton of sticker weed in my socks. Vibrams always gave me blisters unless I wore Injinji toe socks. I haven't tried Vivobarefoot yet, I see them all over the place out here but I don't like the way they look. There are a couple more out there, but I'm hooked on Lem's for now.
 
I've been using the Lem's Trailhead. Tread has gone flat after a year, but I still play in them and don't have too many issues. 4mm drop instead of zero, but they still feel good. I have also used Xero Shoes Prio and liked them as well, but the ankle was just a little low and I kept getting a ton of sticker weed in my socks. Vibrams always gave me blisters unless I wore Injinji toe socks. I haven't tried Vivobarefoot yet, I see them all over the place out here but I don't like the way they look. There are a couple more out there, but I'm hooked on Lem's for now.

I use toe socks daily, and would definitely wear with five finger shoes. Vibrobarefoot are really pricey, so very doubtful I'll ever try them - even though they have some good looking soles.

Re the Lem's… I want better grip soles for DG.
 
I've played using Vibram 5 toes shoes. Used them on a very rocky, hilly course, with concrete tees. I like minimalist shoes as I walked barefoot a lot when I was a kid.

Pros: Comfortable. Better feeling of the ground, where I was stepping. Excellent grip.

Cons: (these are cons for wearing them playing disc golf, a couple other cons are below). stubbed toes. Definitely felt sharp rocks. Weren't good around cacti. Twisting during my throw, my toes sometimes got caught on the ground. Same with run/walk-ups, sometimes a toe would catch/drag and I could feel it.

I ended up with sore toes more often than with regular athletic shoes. Weird thing is that they didn't wear out as fast as my athletic shoes. I never thought to keep track of how many rounds were played in them....but they never got holes in them and I'd guess I used them quite a lot. A con about the shoes themselves...and the really bad part about the Vibrams is the smell. My wife wouldn't let me bring them in the house after wearing them and playing disc golf or hiking in them. They stayed in the garage. Then I got five toe socks and that helped with the smell, but then I was wearing something in addition to the shoes. A second con about the shoes, they are hard to get fitted for. They are designed for a certain type of foot/toes. My small toes are really short, so I had a tough time getting them into their spot on the shoe and sometimes while wearing the shoe they would come out of their spot. Also, on my right foot, the second toe is longer than my big toe....the Vibram had to be fitted to that, so there is a bit of a gap from the end of the other toes to the tip of the shoe. Didn't bother me....but something to think about. It would be nice if they took an imprint of your feet and made the shoes to match, but that would increase the price.

Anyways, I'd still be wearing them for disc golf, but I didn't like the "after use" smell and the not so good fit.
 
Hay! Have you worn these?

No. My current shoes are toast, though, so I'm shopping/watching this thread. Thought it might be worth sharing what I'm looking at. This general style seems to be designed for granite rock hopping and getting to a climbing. No glue is gonna last forever. A disc golf shoe would ideally have an integral band around the ball of the foot that prevents this.

The sole looks like foam with thin rubber. Do they hold up to torque?

IDK. Wild roses are making a hash of what I have now, and I don't like the lugs.
 
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I've been using the Lem's Trailhead. Tread has gone flat after a year, but I still play in them and don't have too many issues. 4mm drop instead of zero, but they still feel good. I have also used Xero Shoes Prio and liked them as well, but the ankle was just a little low and I kept getting a ton of sticker weed in my socks. Vibrams always gave me blisters unless I wore Injinji toe socks. I haven't tried Vivobarefoot yet, I see them all over the place out here but I don't like the way they look. There are a couple more out there, but I'm hooked on Lem's for now.

How would you compare sizing between Lem's and Vibram?
 
Using Xeros now. Too new to comment on durability, but I do not drag either toe. Very pleased with the comfort so far.
 
Xero Shoes is another option that might be a contender. I'm going to order some soon and give them a shot...because I'm tired of wearing constricting shoes.

Xero had a really good sale last month. I bought a pair of 360s. They claim to be designed for quick lateral movement. I have only got a few rounds in with them so far but they feel great and still look brand new. I got them for $65 on their sale but they are $120 right now. So far I would recomend them. I just want to see how they are doing in a few months.

https://xeroshoes.com/shop/shoes/36...oAqdm83rnKGRJOlmIGpxToO2k3-rZVuRoCVBcQAvD_BwE

In the past I have used Merrell Trail Gloves and New Balance Minimus shoes for disc golfing. The minumus have been my favorite so far, but these Xeros have a chance to take that title from them.
 
In the past I have used Merrell Trail Gloves and New Balance Minimus shoes for disc golfing. The minumus have been my favorite so far, but these Xeros have a chance to take that title from them.

I've used the Merrell Trail Gloves. The toe did not last long at all for me....I'm a forehand toe dragger.

I loved how they felt, but the cost was too high to replace them for disc golf.
 
I have looked at Xero and didn't look like they were too much more robust than Lem's. I am very interested in how yours wear. If you've never tried the minimalist footwear, expect lots of foot aches for a while using muscles that you haven't used since you ran barefoot as a kid.

Thinking they would have a disc golf shoe recommendation since they make discs… I did get a marginally helpful email reply back from Vibram:
Xero's were alright. except for the part where the top split from the sole. If I recall correctly, it was the inside which separated. Not the outside from foot rotation. The sole was kind of a hard rubber, if I remember. Durable. But, the shoe was functionally useless to me before that was put to an actual test. I'm pretty sure they didn't last more than 6 mos.
 
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