Zero Drop/Minimalist, Keen Shoes, Etc.


* Ace Member *
Aug 18, 2012
I've seen a few times that the Keen Delaveaga is a "preferred" shoe for disc golf because the toes are built up, etc.

I've recently (the past few years, to some that might be recent :D) been big on minimalist footwear, zero drop shoes with wide toe boxes, etc. I run in minimalist shoes, and wear minimalist golf shoes (TRUE Linkswear). I wrote a big post on my own forum (golf) about how good minimalist shoes are for you, etc.

What are the thoughts of DGers on the recent movement in footwear towards minimalism, towards relying on the structure and strength of your feet (or rebuilding the strength of your feet after wearing supportive, overly cushioned shoes)?

If you start to look into it, you'll find growing support and evidence that supportive, squishy shoes are actually bad for your feet. Now, that's a little more to do with running than walking, but it still applies to just day-to-day walking and living, too.

Any thoughts? Any minimalist shoes that hold up well for the DGer out there?
As someone who spent a long time looking at ALL types of shoes to play in, my biggest concern, and subsequent gripe with minimalist shoes, was trying to find ones that were both rugged enough for potential toe drag and/or rougher playing conditions (rocks, crags, rugged terrain), and that didn't confine me to a specific brand.

I really wanted to go with the Minimus shoes, but they just never came across to me as being rugged enough to be worth the cost. This was more of my own observation of them, trying them on and having an expectation of them compared to some of the more 'armored' up versions of popular hiking and trail running shoes. I never liked the feel of any of the Five Fingers shoes out there, but at least they're starting to set more of a precedent for a rugged shoe, because I really believe there is a need (or want) for those types of shoes. I was also really interested in trying both the Vivo and Innov8 shoes, but could never find anywhere near me that had them to try on, and I live in a pretty populated city with lots of stores that you would think stock these brands.

Hopefully more stores will start to realize the benefits you're talking about with going zero drop, and manufacturers will recognize that there is also a demand for RUGGED, bombproof construction that can transition to both hiking and sport.

/my $0.02
I never thought of barefoot/minimalist shoes until I played with a guy (he is now 64 years old farmer from northern Minnesota) who plays dg barefoot. He had no problem (he always throw FH except for putting) and he said he can walk virtually anywhere with no problem, even sharp rocks etc. That was back in summer of 2009. A year ago or two I tried Vibram FiveFinger and I really like it but I had problem with small toe that does not fit well into "toe pocket".

I heard about a great book called "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall while ago then I finally read that book back in late Feburary. After reading that book, I decided to go barefoot/minimalist shoes full time and ditched all of my regular shoes away. A must read book. Agreed with Iacas that all (if not all) of the foot problems (and knees, hips etc) would go away if one start doing barefoot/minimalist shoes (The only time I wear minimalist shoes is dg and shopping, I run barefoot on sidewalks/road). Those regular shoes are like a cast to my feet nowadays.

I would love to play dg in barefoot, but it will be hard on my feet on those concrete pads and those sharp small rocks will sting my feet time to time (my feet are not as tough as that 64 years old farmer from northern Minnesota yet). So I am using minimalist shoes made by Soft Star Shoes. They're very comfy to wear and has flat soles in 2mm and 5mm thickness (the 5mm one is trail version). I do have Merrill Trail Glove, New Balance Minimus Zero, Altra Running Samson and some others but I prefer Soft Star Shoes by a country mile and the main reason is comfort. RunAmoc Dash and RunAmoc Original are ones I am using. In dry weather, I use them without socks, but in wet weather/wet ground/walking through streams, I use Drymax Trail Running socks (I always have extra socks in my dg bag just in case).

One downside of Soft Star Shoes is they takes longer to dry when getting wet (as they are fully leather) so I have several pairs of them so I rotate them around.

Altra Running Samson is not bad, not as comfy as Soft Star Shoes, have to use Drymax Trail Running socks with it. I probably use Altra in very wet weather as it would dry overnight.

I also use Luna Sandals as minimalist sandals. (Use for running and walking around/shopping or any place that require shoes).

If you decide to try barefoot route, be sure to go slowly as your feet are not used being barefoot and will get sore, especially walking on uneven ground. Give your feet some time and they will eventually get stronger.
Vibram Toe shoes best shoes ever.

I have a pair of KomodoSport LS that I run in occasionally (great form trainers), but on the course, I don't know. No rock plates, etc. Some minimalist trail shoes at least have rock plates and things in them which would be nice.

Ya'll shouldn't really be dragging your toes, right?

P.S. I'm not as minimalist as 811rv, but I don't have any problem with people who go that route. I have some Brooks Pure (the Connects and the Flows) for running. Thus far I've worn my TRUE shoes out to play DG (they're the only other shoes I really ever wear).
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Um... :)

Vivo and Innov8 are good ones too. I am spoiled by Soft Star Shoes RunAmocs Dash as it feels like using very thin leather glove that fits your hand perfectly (i.e. golf glove) compare with other shoes which feels like using thick ski gloves. I have narrow, "thin" feet which is why I have problem fitting most shoes. I order RunAmocs in narrow (they have option of narrow, regular and wide widths) and it is perfect for me.

I don't do toe drag. Toe drag would wear out the leather part. You could order custom made RunAmoc Dash with thicker sole like 8mm or even 10mm as there are various kinds of soiling materials in varying thickness. I think you could ask for thicker leather as well.
I run in Kinvaras, but no way would I take them on a DG course, they would get shredded.
I think, at least in this area of the country, that a more substantial shoe is better to stand up to the blackberries and shrubs that would tear lesser shoes to pieces.

Plus, I'm a toe dragger when I throw FH off the tee. :D

My minimal runners are my most comfortable shoes. Most are designed without internal seams for people that want to run without socks, so they feel like slippers on your feet.

I guess if I was super rich, or if I owned Saucony, I would wear them. Probably would be one pair per round though.
I run in five fingers and played a few rounds in them but found my toes would stick in different places on concrete pads (RHBH) which was very uncomfortable. Wanting to stick with minimal shoes I got a pair of Merrell tough gloves which worked great except that I found I had to avoid really rocky terrain. So now I'm back to a pair of trail running shoes, though only for disc golf, love the minimalist shoes for everything else.
I <3 my Vibram Trek Sports. Comfortable, with nice tread and just enough rubber to keep rough terrain from hurting my feet.
I used to love playing on a little 9 hole course in college barefoot, it had nice thick grass everywhere. My concern with all the minimalist shoes I've seen is that I'll destroy the sole when I pivot on gravel or concrete pads. I wear out thick vibram soles so I don't see those thin soles lasting very long for me.
Every time I visit REI I am always taking a long hard look at the Vibram Fivefingers. I just don't see them being durable enough for concrete pads, and I really don't want to abuse their return policy with these things. I used to play disc golf barefoot a lot but finally stopped after getting stung in the sole by a bee twice in the same week. I would love to go back to that light barefoot feel.
I have a pair of Altra Adams and VFF KSO. I play more in the Altras because I wear them to work. I love minimalist shoes since I have wide feet. The only problem is rocks. Traditional footwear is an abomination.
I have been wearing the minimus and I will have to say after 70 plus rounds the sole is holding up just fine. you can see on the right shoe that it is starting to wear a little. I would not expect them to last a full year at this pace, but for rounds here and there they are money.
Try some Vasque Transistor trail runners...I have been extremely happy. They aren't waterproof, but I have a nice set of Gore-Tex shoes for those situations. The Transistors are super light and breathable...enough said.
I also wear New Balance Minimus Trails. They are perfect for disc golfing, rugged enough to give a little toe box protection from small roots (broke toe with 5 fingers on sneaky root), and yet very very comfortable. They also take a dip in the water like a charm. I've used mine for over a year, and they still are great. Highly recommend.
Every time I visit REI I am always taking a long hard look at the Vibram Fivefingers. I just don't see them being durable enough for concrete pads, and I really don't want to abuse their return policy with these things. I used to play disc golf barefoot a lot but finally stopped after getting stung in the sole by a bee twice in the same week. I would love to go back to that light barefoot feel.

I've been wearing my VFF Bikilas for most of my rounds over the last 2 months (playing 3-4 times a week) and I just inspected them and I see no wear on the heel whatsoever. All the courses in my area have concrete tee pads too. I'm curious how well the TrekSport sole holds up to teepads, b/c if the Bikilas are still doing well by the time winter rolls around I'm gonna spring for a pair of Lontras. I want a pair of Spyridons too :)

PS To the people dragging your toe. Stop. heh. Easiest way to make sure you stop wearing down the top of the shoes.
I have 3 pairs of NB Minimus runners, and they are great for tournaments. No frills, super light weight, and my favorite feature is youcan FEEL the ground. I think this adds to your sense of balance, especially when putting. I also have some NB runners that are my everyday shoes, regular sole. I wear both on the course. I have no slip issues, but my first Minimus shoes did rip at the front of the lace "box" where your toes hinge. both sides of both shoes wore out there. I still wear them. I don't care about water. I will walk into rivers with them. I always wear Smartwools or good wool socks too if that matters. Unless your fairways are 3/4" high grass I see no point in paying for Goretexed up shoes. The water will get in and your feet will sweat. I would rather just let the feet get acclimated instead of fending off the wet. It's gonna happen.
Merrell Trail gloves are awesome. Vibram soles and an actual toe box. I don't run but I dig the comfort and functionality of the minimalist footwear. I feel that I move smoother on the tee, and my putting is more balanced. I don't wear them on super rugged courses but for most of the courses I've played they are perfect.
I wear the altra adam's and they hold up great. I feel more balance and my footwork is beter in the minimalist shoes. I wear minimalist shoes everywhere except work, which I'm on concrete floors fore 13 hrs at a time and also want protection from bodily fluids (Nurse).