REVIEWS

Tom Langhorn, the Scottish Bushcraft expert, explains why we should go barefoot in his video – Barefoot and Minimalist Footwear Benefits? Past to Present Comparison

Hi guys
Just dropping you a line regarding the outstanding service your company has yet again provided.
Thanks so much for your speed of proccesing returns and also the quality of the shoes you make, I now have 3 pairs and they are my go to gym shoe right now. I work as a strength and conditioning coach so I’m in them all day every day and I couldn’t be happier with there performance.
I get loads of questions about them in the gym and people are starting to really come around to the idea of barefoot shoes as an important part of their kit for training

Martin B

Dear Freet,

I am 38 and started running with Freet 2 years ago. I could never run before, with regular shoes, because my right knee would always hurt after 15 min. My husband runs the marathon (2h48), + cross country and some trail, and is friends with a physiotherapist who specializes in runners and minimalism. This friend suggested I tried minimalism and sent me a training program from “La Clinique du coureur” (Canada). I bought my first Freet shoes, and started from scratch. Of course it was frustrating to follow the (very slow) program, so I took some liberty… and injured my foot, and then my calf, a couple times and learned my lesson. The training needs to be very progressive. I can now run 45 min to an hour / 7-9 kms with Freet, no pain ! My knee was fine all along. Our 2 boys (11 and 9) wear minimalist shoes all year long. My husband is (very slowly) transitioning to minimalism, his shoes are zero drop, I’m hoping he’ll join my Freet adventure soon ! But I guess the transition is trickier for someone who runs as much as he does.

Anyways, minimalist shoes makes so much sense ! I could never have started running otherwise. And hiking is totally different too. AND the impact on overall posture is amazing. I could go on and on… THANK YOU !!

Juliette

Hi there,
 
Freet Mudee – my experience after  buying my first ‘barefoot’ shoes:
 
Don’t know If this interests you or not but I have had problems for many years with my feet, namely being I  supinate extremely and have high arches. This caused me pain inside my knees and much discomfort in feet and ankles. I actually had to leave my job as it entailed standing all day. I have been to a few podiatrist’s over the years and paid for very expensive full contact insoles. The last pair I had been trying to break my feet into for the last 6 months, I could not wear any longer than 4 hrs and dreaded putting my feet in them in the morning. On waking my feet were painful to stand on. I had mentioned to the podiatrist about trying barefoot in which she replied it was a very bad idea! I was kind of at my wits end as to what to do and started to research barefoot shoes.
 
These are my first barefoot boots and I  have been breaking myself in gently. I am pleased to report that already my knees have no pain. The comfort on the soles of my feet is great. The pain on standing in the mornings is sub-siding. My feet rotate naturally inwards allowing the ball of the big toe to have contact. I have had a little discomfort in my neck but have controlled this by swapping back and forth from mudee to regular trainers. That discomfort is now sub-siding and I am getting to a point I could wear them all the time.
Another interesting fact I have noted is in normal foot wear my shoes collapse to the outside very quickly. In barefoot the boots are remaining upright.
 
All in all I am blown away with how much making this transition has helped me! It is so simple and makes complete common sense that our feet are perfect without padded shoes and in fact all this foot wear we use must cause problems such as supination or pronation.
 
Thought if i share it may help people that suffer from similar problems as myself.
 
Billy A
 

From Dr Nicole Shaer, GP, 44, Orkney/ Cape Town:

I bought a pair of Freet Connect for my partner, Adrian as they looked so comfortable on a friend in Orkney. Adrian was an enthusiastic runner and climber before a traumatic brain injury in 2016 left him with hemiplegia: left-sided weakness and neglect.

What an incredible suprise it was to discover that the increased stimulation of his left sole, felt through the barefoot shoe, counters the reduced bodily awareness of his condition! In the Freet Connects, Adrian walks more evenly, with better ankle control, to the extent that in Freets he can go without the long-term ankle brace required when wearing standard / cushioned shoes.

Though just a study of one, Adrian’s case suggests potential, clinically significant benefit of barefoot shoes for people who have reduced awareness or sensation in the feet. I wonder what we might all gain by reawakening our bodies to the ground that holds us?

Nicole

 

 

Wearing Freet Respond for a 3,100 mile foot race:

I wanted to write in a bit more detail about my experiences wearing Freet footwear at the world’s longest certified footrace – the 3100 mile race – 5649 laps around a city block in Queens, New York.

This was my second attempt at the race having successfully completed the full distance, well within the 52 day cut-off, in 2014.

My history with barefoot shoes is that I have long experience of finding it difficult to find shoes that fit properly. I have very wide feet and they seem to have got wider with more and longer ultras.  As a result of this I decided, in early 2014, to turn to foot-shaped shoes as by then I believed that this course of action might be more fruitful and so it proved to be.

Since early 2014 I have been wearing  barefoot shoes for everyday life and since June 2016 I have been wearing them for all my running and racing too. This is quite a change considering I had transitioned from the mega-cushioned Hoka shoes.  Indeed, my 2014, 3100 race was run in Hoka footwear!

Clearly the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 mile race, now in its 22nd year, is a phenomenal test by any standards and to run it in minimalistic shoes isn’t a decision I took lightly.

In addition the organisers, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, always stress the toughness of the course, quoting that it is all concrete pavements, no asphalt or‘ black-top’ as they call it.  It should also be noted that parts of the busy 0.5 mile lap in downtown Queens, are uneven, tilting and requiring keen observation especially at night, to avoid tripping.

I wasn’t trying to prove anything and always had a bag full of various insoles, cushioning footbeds and so on to give me the greatest number of options when choosing exactly how much additional cushioning I needed at any one time.

I also had shoes in both my usual size and also one size larger to allow for additional inserts as required.  If it had come to it I would have switched to a zero-drop, cushioned shoe – something like the Altra shoes came to mind – but this was never needed.

The race comprises an invited field of usually 10-14 athletes, the majority of whom are disciples of the late Indian guru, Sri Chinmoy who settled in Queens in 1963 and went on to found the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team who now organise races in over 40 countries around the world, ranging in length from 2 miles to 3100 miles!

Runners are expected to be on the start line every morning at 0600 hours and must finish at midnight. Athletes can leave early if they want but obviously that means that they have less time in which to log the required average of 60 miles a day to achieve the full distance within the 52 day cut-off.

An army of volunteers from the Sri Chinmoy organisation keep the race going, 18 hours a day for 52 days. A team of cooks keep the runners fed and watered, another small team keep the camper vans secure overnight and get everything ready for the 6am start everyday. Every runner is accommodated in a simple apartment nearby and volunteer drivers chauffeur the runners home every night.

Every lap is timed and recorded manually and because the course has been officially measured and certificated by US Track and Field, records for multiple, ultra long distances can be claimed and authenticated there.

I have been pursuing my project Journey to 750 records for some years now and my initial interest in the 3100 was sparked by the opportunity it presented to set records beyond the 1000 mile point, which up to 2010, was the longest distance i had ever covered.

I started the race using a 2mm flat footbed under a pair of insoles in both the Freet Respond and Freet Connect shoes.  To accommodate these I used a size larger than normal for me. My typical routine was to run/walk for approximately 4 hour periods after which I would rest in the roadside camper van allocated to me for about 20 minutes.  Usually using the time to eat and sleep before staggering back out onto the busy pavement to resume the task of covering at least 109 laps before mid-night.

I was keen to use both the Respond and Connect shoes as I believe in a bit of variety in this type of race, feeling that it is beneficial both physically and mentally. For no particular reason I tended to use the Respond until about tea time and then switch to the Connect until the end of the day.

The summers in New York are notorious for the their heat and humidity.  In fact, if they can arrange it, New Yorkers try to be elsewhere over the summer period!  This year the heat and humidity were of record proportions with multiple days on which the mercury passed 35deg C and the morning and evening humidity levels made walking, let alone running, a severe trial.

On the whole I run well in the heat. I arrived at the race very well heat acclimatised – thanks to my DIY heat chamber in Orkney – however this year’s conditions, especially during the afternoons, were beyond my ability to adapt – especially with regard to the fierceness of the sun which slowed me to a walk during the day and then when I was able to start running again in the evening I simply couldn’t catchup with the required daily mileages and gradually slipped behind my schedule.

I found the breathable uppers on the Respond shoes excellent in those conditions, keeping my feet as cool as possible given the excessive heat.

It became apparent in the early stages of the race that I was experiencing fewer foot issues than other runners.  One walker had to abandon the race after about 14 days with her feet looking like raw meat!

Through long experience I have come to understand that having ‘foot-shaped’ shoes is a pre-requisite to achieving foot comfort and performance when walking and running.

I only got my first, superficial blister after over 2200 miles of running!  This obviously says a lot  about the success of my footwear strategy.

As my race progressed I became aware, after about two thirds of the race duration, that I no longer needed the 2mm footbeds in my shoes ie I needed less cushioning as the race progressed!

By midnight on August 8th – 52 days into the race – my time had run out and I had to stop. I had covered 2,904 miles a little shy of the targeted 3,100.

I had gone through 5 pairs of Freet shoes.  As I had used a mix of running and walking the main area of wear was on the heels, with one heel wearing down first. Other parts of the shoe showed little wear.

Yes, my feet were tired and aching at the finish but I sustained no injuries at all and had a tiny handful of small blisters – none of which had to be treated in any way – as my souvenirs of the race.

William Sichel, Orkney

 

Mudee Review

Would I be disappointed? – after all, this is THE product I’d been waiting to be released.
As a reasonably recent convertee to the barefoot way of life I had been loathed to give up my sturdy, supportive,weatherproof walking boots- they are after all what most people rely on for longer walks.
Test week 1 – South West Coast Path in balmy sunshine.
Verdict. The barefoot experience I was used to but from a fantastic looking brown boot- even with shorts! Superbly comfortable, ‘snuggling’ to the ankle, giving support and holding the foot back on those downhills yet still allowing the freedom of movement. Incredibly grippy on all those hills, even the loose gravely surfaces. 7 days walking- 15 ish miles per day, no wearing in and my mudees were the most comfortable boot I’ve ever had.

Test week 2 – Rain, rain, rain ‘Up North’.
Verdict. Grip brilliant- I just love the way your feet relax and mould to the terrain giving you confidence and surefootedness ( is that even a word ?) like no other. BUT.. will they be weatherproof? I hadn’t cleaned or treated them in any way since taking them out of the box. Despite paddling through various streams, wet grass and muddy puddles my feet were always dry at the end of the day- pretty good for a boot that is described as ‘weatherproof’. Hubby was wearing boots from another ( more expensive) company and sadly had wet feet.

All in all a fairly perfect barefoot boot, and good looking enough to wear around town too- well worth waiting for. Just about to order two pairs in black – one for me and one to keep hubby’s feet dry.

Belinda S, Skipton

Mel wrote a review of Urban on her blog, BareSteps:

https://baresteps.co.uk/2018/08/24/review-freet-urban-ayr-fantastic-barefoot-school-shoes/

From Nicholas M:

‘I am a new convert to Freet – having bought my first pair (Urban) a week or so ago – and they were 47 and perfect size for me.

I am wondering how I have managed until now. I am almost 81 and have never felt comfortable in shoes until now! Thank you so much.’

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