I have been through an arduous journey with shoes. It took me years to find a pair that worked for me. I have very flat feet and overpronate. Years of figure skating in a high, tight boot left some of the muscles around my ankles underdeveloped, which meant that once I started running, my ankles started rolling. I was always prescribed shoes with a big ol’ arch support, and I spent a couple years in and out of physical therapy. Then one day, after a 5 km fun run that took me 45 minutes to limp out, I gave up.
But of course, I didn’t give up for very long. Thanks to some prodding from my mom, I decided to give barefoot shoes a try. I didn’t ease into it. I bought the least soleful shoe could find– the ZemGear Ninja. I started slow, and at no more than 3 km runs. The calf DOMS were brutal, but I pushed through.
Eventually I needed something with a little more structure for longer runs, but I didn’t want to lose the minimalism of the show I had. I learned to love the feeling of the ground under my shoe. It kept me grounded, it stopped from rolling off the high heels of traditional shoes, and once I started lifting, I realized the great benefits of a zero-drop shoe while squatting and deadlifting.
Enter the Merrell Vapor Glove. This shoe is incredible. I have been through three different pairs of the wild color schemes, and I’m never looking back. It has a little more structure than something like a Ninja, and a little more sole too– but I can still grip the ground and feel what I’m stepping on. I use them for running, hiking, and lifting. While an endurance runner may need something with a little more cush for long runs, I did hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in these babies– so they have some staying power. They just require some foot training.
I love the zero drop, the lack of toe curl, and the super breathable mesh. These shoes have saved my athletic life. If you’re looking for something more minimal than the popular Nike Frees or New Balance Minimus, check out the Merrell Vapor Glove.