Among the things I ordered and had delivered to my parents’ house were a couple of pairs of shoes by companies that are into the barefoot-running movement. I have zerio interest in running (at least for any distance; sprinting is fun), but I like being barefoot and because I travel so much, I like the idea of having shoes that take up very little space in my luggage.

I got an Invisible Shoe DIY kit and Softstar Design-Your-Own Merry Janes.

I expect to wear the Invisible Shoes in the same wear I wear flip-flops – not all that often, just if I’m going to a pool or just walking around town on a hot day. They will also be great for when I’d rather be barefoot but don’t want my feet on the ground, eg in a public shower. I may also try them for shoes to wear to rowing, since they look OK for on the way there and don’t matter if they get wet while in the boat. That will only be for summer, though, since the thong tow doesn’t work well with socks. (Anyway, in winter I like to wear Ugg boots too and from the boathouse – they’re great when you’re damp and chilled.)They weren’t too hard to create; definitely follow their instructions and put newspaper on the floor when using the hole punch to place the holes in the sole. (I ended up also punching out lots of little circles of newspaper!) I only got around to tying them properly when I got home, so haven’t warn them yet other than briefly around the house. I can’t quite imagine running in them, but apparently people do, even for long distances.

I’m wearing the Merry Janes to work today for the first time, and during my trip I wore them to a party where I was on my feet the whole day. There is one thing I dislike about them: the toe part comes fairly far up the foot and coupled with the width of the toe box, there is a very slight suggestion of Bozo-the-clown shoes. (See the third picture below, which I took specifically because the angle of the first one minimizes this effect and I was afraid people would think I was imagining it.) I have big feet for my size; this effect might be lessened on soemone with smaller or more proportional feet. Other than that they’re great. I find I tend to wear them in the house longer – I usually take my shoes off as soon as I get home but these really do feel more like going barefoot. The sole is very flexible. I am wearing them barefoot (without socks) today, but I think they’ll be perfectly comfortable with socks when it’s cooler; the strap is adjustable and the heel and toe provide plenty of room for even thicker handknits. The decorative perforations I chose dress them up a bit. I wish the blue was a little toned down, but it’s not bad and there are lots of colors to choose from. Most of all, they feel great and I do enjoy having the ground-feel. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more barefoot-style shoes in my future, especially if I can find ones that are a bit more streamlined.