Cool minimal men's shoes.
March 23, 2013 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Where online can I find and purchase stylish casual shoes that are either minimalist or have pretty flexible soles?

I run barefoot. I wear huaraches all summer. I've gone barefoot and worn minimalist shoes for so long now that a stiff sole and arch support are very uncomfortable for me. Casual men's shoes and basketball style shoes tend to have way, way too much structure for me.

I want thin and/or very flexible soles. Top structure is fine. There's no indication about sole stiffness in any online stores I've seen, and I am not of a temperament that would allow me to surf around multiple department stores. Consider my upper range of sole stiffness to be in line with Chuck Taylors, and my tastes run in the hippie and hipster directions (which also limits my luck at department stores).
posted by cmoj to Shopping (17 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I've got the perfect pair for you! Merrell Barefoot Life Radius super thin flexible sole. Vibram seem to be the go-to people for barefoot-esque running soles, which is what these shoes use.

Couldn't be happier with them.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:04 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have a look at the Skechers Go range. I have two pairs of women's Go Walk shoes and they are insanely light, extremely comfortable with a very flexible sole. This commercial is for the women's range but you can see how flexible the shoe is.

They're not all sneaker styles. There are slip-ons, chukkas and lace-ups.

I know Skechers isn't the coolest brand around but these shoes are soooo comfortable.
posted by essexjan at 6:07 PM on March 23, 2013

New Balance makes leather versions of their MT10 flat trail shoes. They're still pretty sporty looking but I think they look cool with jeans.
posted by ftm at 6:15 PM on March 23, 2013

Vivobarefoot is what you're looking for. I wear a pair of Vivobarefoot Mary Janes basically every day and they are wonderful - true minimalist shoe (very thin sole, thinner than my Merrell Barefoots) but they are shoes, not sneakers. I assume their men's shoes are similar.

(I linked to the company website because it's better laid out but Zappos has a better return policy.)
posted by mskyle at 6:25 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thin soles and hipster stylish? Hows about Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66s?
posted by charlemangy at 9:49 PM on March 23, 2013

Seems to be a popular subject on some of the running blogs I follow; here are some of their choices:

Soft Star Shoes
Lems Shoes
posted by meowzilla at 11:47 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Zuriick, specifically the Ake slip-ons. Thin, flexible soles. Nice colors.
posted by spanishbombs at 12:01 AM on March 24, 2013

I've had two pairs of Patagonia's Loulu. They're durable, the sole is thin and flexible, and there's harldly any arch support.
posted by dmo at 7:03 AM on March 24, 2013

Sanuk makes "regular" slip on shoes, sandals, and a sort of hybrid, where the upper looks like a conventional slip on shoe, but the bottom is essentially a sandal footbed. You might want to take a look at they hybrid sandal models. They don't really differentiate which is which in product descriptions, but you can look at a profile picture of the shoe and tell. Models with the "sandal" lower include Chiba, Pickpocket, and Vagabond; there are a couple of others. Even the "regular" Sanuk slip ons are fairly minimal and would pass your "Chuck Taylor" litmus test. Available through Zappos or at REI if you have one close to you.

Cushe makes a similar-to-Sanuk sandal hybrid shoe called the Evo-Lite, comes in a couple of different models. Again, looks like a shoe, feels like wearing a sandal. I bought a pair of these on a whim on closeout from the Clymb, so don't have a good "where to get" recommendation.
posted by kovacs at 9:01 AM on March 24, 2013

German Army Trainers (GAT). Put This On has ebay tips on their site. You'll want to google that.

Otherwise, Sawa (J Crew sells em' and I think you'll like them) or Adidas Dragons (Zappos sells em').
posted by oceanjesse at 9:23 AM on March 24, 2013

And here I had feared this would be an unproductive question.

I'm best-answering based on whether the mentioned brands seem to range into my personal stylistic tastes because all of the answers here look useful for general minimal shoe purposes.
posted by cmoj at 9:58 AM on March 24, 2013

plimsolls? they are pretty flexible and have no support and are about 10 quid in London.
posted by mary8nne at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2013

Clae are quite nice and have a few thin-soled styles (why can't they make women's shoes too..)
posted by citron at 10:55 AM on March 24, 2013

My tip for Vivobarefoot shoes is to take the insoles out. They are pretty thin regardless, but with no insoles I can feel the texture of the ground a whole lot more.
posted by Acheman at 2:04 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a pair of the Onitsuka Tigers, and while they are indeed minimal, they're pretty flat and hard.

I was brand-loyal to the Nike Free shoes, but their recent models fit me funny, and shoes that are too big/loose end up hurting my feet. I stumbled into a pair of Saucony Bullets, and it's something I can wear without foot pain and still gives me some feel for the ground. The heel is a bit thick, but the shoe is perfectly snug on my foot, and the sole is thin, durable, and gives me good grip.
posted by Turkey Glue at 5:35 PM on March 24, 2013

Nthing the Onitsuka shoes. They are available in a billion colors and styles. I have two pairs - one I wear to the gym and one I wear around town. They've lasted for a couple of years so far.
posted by fieldtrip at 7:27 PM on March 24, 2013

I have two pairs of Merrell barefoot shoes (the women's Pace Gloves) and they are super light and flexible. And they come in awesome colours. Seriously, these things are ruining other shoes for me.

Zappos has them and so does REI.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:53 PM on March 25, 2013

« Older Non-performing Residential Loans   |   Can my car tell me "if" and "when" and "how long"... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.