Shaolin-style barefoot shoes
Why do I prefer Feiyue to the previously reviewed Vibram FiveFingers shoes? Price is half of the benefit. Another 30% of the benefit is that they don’t look like Vibrams. You can wear them around and not get stared at. There are other barefoot-style shoes, such as Terra Plana, that look good but they are still expensive as sin. The final 20% of the benefit is in durability. I generally wear a pair of Feiyue from autumn to summer and then go through another pair in the summer when I walk everywhere on concrete in Chicago. The soles aren’t exactly thin, but they allow you to feel a lot more without getting jabbed all the time. I have walked on railroad ballast with these and it’s not the most pleasant experience but certainly better than barefoot, and nimbler than with heavy boots.
I find that these shoes are good not only for wearing sockless in summer, but also I’ve been wearing them with double layers of socks in winter and they hold up pretty well (again I live in Chicago). I’ve also noticed that my feet are feeling much stronger, though the flexor digiti minimi is a bit sore as I start walking in them more.
I also have a pair sized smaller that I use for running and exercising in the gym, which is more along the lines of what the shoes were actually intended for.
Another thing to note when purchasing is that they run about a half size too big. I normally wear a size 41(EU) but in these I’ll wear a 40(EU). Also, if you plan to wear them sockless they stretch a bit, especially in summer if you wear them in the water which, I find, is a great way to get them to mold to your feet.02/16/10
(It's pronounced "Fay-Yoo-eh." I have not been able to verify the Amazon product feature entry for these shoes that states: "The #1 choice for Shaolin monks and masters." -- es — editors)