Barefoot shoes, like the Vibram FiveFingers, aren't known for their looks, but fashion and function merge in the new line of shoes from Skora. Now you can be stylish and experiment with barefoot running. And while I'm not a full-time barefoot runner, I use minimalist sneakers on short runs to improve my stride and strengthen my lower legs and feet. I've logged some miles on the road in Skora's Base barefoot shoe ($110) after the company sent me a pair to test.
Like other barefoot running shoes, the Base has a zero-drop sole, meaning the heel isn't any higher than the toe, like you'll find in a traditional running shoe. These shoes feel like slippers, totally flat and comfortable with a dense sole — much thicker than Vibrams or the New Balance Minimus Zero. I appreciate this extra protection, but for hardcore barefoot runners, the thicker sole might dampen the "feel" of the road. The toe box is roomy enough for my wide feet, and while running, my toes had room to spread out. Sizing wise, the Base runs big; I traditionally wear an eight, but the size seven fits me just fine. The crossing strap with velcro closure makes adjusting the fit of the shoe easy, and there is also a velcro strap across the heel if you want to create a more snug fit.
Keep reading to learn more about these Base running shoes.
Unlike other barefoot running shoes I've tested (see my reviews here), the Base comes with a thin, removable insole, which offers just a hint of arch support. As someone with a tendency to roll in a bit much at my ankle and overpronate, I like the small lift the insole provides. I prefer going sans socks on my "barefoot" runs and haven't had any blisters when wearing the Base; the shoe's interior is well designed to avoid rubbing spots. I do wish the Base was better ventilated; the thick fabric can leave feet feeling a bit overheated, especially when running on a hot day. This makes me worry about the potential stink factor after continued use. While I usually keep my running shoes separate from my knock-about sneakers, I do like to wear these shoes about town because I think they are so cute and comfy. Of course, I'm of the believe that even walking in barefoot running shoes is beneficial.
Have you tried barefoot running shoes? Tell me your faves in the comment section below.