I started experimenting with barefoot shoes a few months ago with a view to improving my running form and accommodating my short, wide feet. I have really got to like the barefoot feel, so decided to buy some ‘proper’ walking shoes – something that would keep my feet warm and comfortable when out walking all day over mixed terrain. The ****** M has not disappointed after several outings in the last week. I still get that nice agile, barefoot feel, but with a good level of protection, grip and reasonable water resistance. The ankle collar is probably the most obvious feature designed to aid walking in tougher conditions and seems well thought out. It is generously padded, but it doesn’t seem to spoil flexibility and holds the foot nicely in place when going down steep slopes. I’m OK with the padding, but I see others think it may be overdone. My suspicion is that the barefoot design aids improvement in walking style by discouraging over stride in the leading leg and enabling longer stride in the trailing leg by allowing more flex at the toes. (Any comment?) Anyhow the transition to barefoot walking seems easy compared with the transition to running! I was unsure about sizing. With a normal shoe I would go for size 7 : 4E (8 if narrower). I first tried a size 7 Magna Trail from Vivobarefoot, but sent them back as they felt too tight on width, but overly long, creasing uncomfortably on the top of my big toe. I took a chance on a size 7 (41) ****** M. With thin socks I find them very comfortable – the right length, snug on width and plenty of toe room. I have since bought the Freet Mudee (in the same size) as an everyday shoe and I am still pleased with the fit, despite the lack of a water resistant lining in this shoe. It would seem that Freet are quite accommodating on width.
I got my ****** M last week. I was looking for a good hiking boot that I can also use during the winter; and had been looking at these for a while. I finally ordered them ordered a size up, and they fit great. They’re really sturdy, great materials and the insole is a nice addition. I already used them for one hike and can’t wait to use them for many more. I had previously tried more expensive barefoot hiking boots from Vivobarefoot which were really uncomfortable and tore open my skin from the harsh materials and seems on the inside, but not with the ******’s from Freet. And that for half the price! Great wide toebox and more durable compared to Vivobarefoot , zero drop, overall just a good comfortable hiking boot. I just ordered another pair of Freet for when I’m not hiking and hope they will be just as comfortable in every day wear.
I love the look of the Freet Bootees however, the fit and comfort were the worst I have ever experienced. After taking some 10,000 steps, my heals were bruised, the arch of my left foot was hurting, a blister had developed on top of my right big toe (my first ever...! and the rear of my right ankle was sore from rubbing against the ******. Needless to say, I will not be wearing my Bootees. I will gladly them to anyone who is game and/or interested in them.