What’s My Beef: Toeshoes

If you’ve spent any time at all in a gym lately, you’ve no doubt seen toeshoes, the ridiculous footwear pictured at left that are now all the rage with the workout set, or with those who wish to project the image that they’re part of the workout set.

Description-wise, they’re literally shoes with toes, giving one’s feet a strange, simian appearance. Think gloves for your feet. Apparently they’re supposed to offer some kind of advantage to the exercise experience, but I can’t see how because they don’t look to offer any foot support at all (‘You don’t need support,’ one toeshoe wearing friend told me. ‘That’s a myth invented by shoe companies.’)

Um, OK, but when asked, he was still hard pressed to offer up any of their supposed athletic advantages, because to me that whole ‘no support needed’ argument sounds like a lot of marketing crap invented by the toeshoe companies. I write marketing crap for a living, so I know marketing crap when I hear it. When I asked him if he could walk on glass or over hot coals while wearing them, he just called meΒ ‘difficult’ and walked away.

Need more evidence?

Or I should say padded away, as they seemed to force him to walk flat-footed and slightly forward with ape-like gait, almost like a waddle. All he needed to do was drag his knuckles on the ground, let his body hair grow out, and pick bugs off himself or someone else and the transformation from man to ape would be nearly complete.

Then again, Coco the talking gorilla is a good deal smarter than this dude, so comparing him to an ape might actually be an insult to the rest of the apes. Because I don’t think even the dumbest of simians would be stupid enough to wear toeshoes in public, let alone defend the supposed virtues they bring to the gym.

At least he’s not wearing toeshoes.

It’s well known that people at big city gyms sometimes wear the craziest things, particularly in a free-wheeling town like San Francisco; there’s a guy at my gym who dresses like a 70s porn star, complete with the cut-off denim Daisy Dukes and tank top that was too tight back in 1974 when he was shaking his booty to the Village People. I admire his complete lack of self-consciousness, actually. I gotta say he’s got balls, because geez, you can practically see ’em!

Anyway … my point is that toeshoes don’t look so ridiculous at the gym, especially when there are so many other ridiculous things to look at. What gets me is when people make them their daily footwear of choice, wearing them to work, on dates, to weddings or funerals — everywhere but the gym.

I’m guessing this is supposed to give them the appearance of someone who leads an active, athletic lifestyle, someone who spends their weekends rappelling or competing in Ironman competitions. You see this a lot in weekend warrior bicyclists who parade around the coffee shop in their lycra and spandex like they’re training for the Tour de France, even if all they did was bike the three blocks from home.

Does it come in tie-dye?

Perhaps this is their way of making a fashion statement — Tim Gunn might call it athlete chic, but even that maestro of fashion couldn’t make this unfortunate toeshoe fad work.Β And fittingly, they now come in various colors, each one more garish and outlandish than the other, because when you’re wearing something really ridiculous on your feet you really want to call even more attention to them.

Toe shoes apparently fall under the Barefoot Sports category (who knew?) and all the usual footwear suspects are in on the trend. One toeshoe company puts out a version called FiveFingers, which to me is ironic as all get out, being they have nothing at all to do with your fingers. Didn’t anyone toss out TenToes during one of those marketing brainstorming sessions? They’re also controversial enough to have earned a ban from the US Army, and that’s just too ridiculous for me to get into any further.

But no matter the pros or cons, I just can’t get past the simian aspect of the whole look (although I’m thinking they’d probably work to your advantage in climbing trees). The other day I saw a guy wearing a dark brown pair, and I swear I expected to see claws!
No, to me they represent a subtle form of regression, of slowly working our way backwards to our simian roots — evolution come full circle, if you will. And that’s a dangerous conceit.

Imagine sharing a cubicle with this guy!

Haven’t these toeshoe wearers seen last year’s ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ or any of the other POTA movies, or even the short-lived 1974 TV show? A planet of apes world be violent and chaotic, one of god-awful fashions and questionable hygiene — Charlton Heston didn’t call them “damn, dirty apes” for nothin’. Why do we want to put ourselves one step closer to all that?

Thirty-six years ago the new wave group Devo urgently asked, “Are we not men…?” arguing that de-evolution from man to beast had not only begun, but was in a fairly advanced stage. That was in 1977, and since then mankind has in many ways gotten stupider, cruder, courser, increasingly indulgent in the basic instincts — you know, like animals.

So now we have fashions that make us look like animals. What’s next, a strap-on prehensile tail? A neck muffler that gives the impression of gills? Pull-over knitted caps with giant elephant ears (all fake, of course – no animals were harmed in the writing of this essay). Next thing you know Coco the talking gorilla is the new host of Project Runway.

That’s a much broader discussion for another time, but at this particular moment in history when humans seem to be more animal than animals, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to dress like them. If that’s not enough to convince you, check out this visual below. That guy, second from right? He’s wearing toeshoes.

Stand Up! Resist! Say NO To Toeshoes!

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About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
This entry was posted in Essays, Fashion, Humor, What's My Beef?, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

248 Responses to What’s My Beef: Toeshoes

  1. We second all that about toe shoes!

      • Teina Bullock says:

        I was told by a Podiatrist to purchase “toe-shoes” to see if they would prevent my toes from getting blisters during my walk each night. I had already tried the traditional walking shoes, been professionally “fitted” for the perfect walking shoe at $140.00 that still caused blisted. I also bought the $15.00 coolmax socks after being told they would prevent blisters. After 3 months-$325.00 for 3 pairs of walking shoes-$50 for coolmax sock to prevent sweating, I was considering having toe surgery to shave the bone in one of my toes. As a person cant wear flip flops all the time. (I know I have what people here in MS call country toes, I have gaps between all of my toes and they DO NOT like to be cramped up together)So, when I went to the Doctor and told him my story, he suggested I give toe-shoes a try before considering any surgery. I went to a local sporting goods store and purchased 1 pair of Fila Skele-toes and 1 pair of coolmax toe-socks. Three weeks later not the first blister. They feel like you are walking barefooted which I myself find very comfortable. Now, are they pretty-NO, do people like them-I don’t really care because I am able to walk without getting blisters which was my problem and the solution. I myself wish they came in a solid color so they didnt stand out so much but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

    • Time-traveler says:

      I saw those shoes at the store and wandered what they were for. Now I know. Thanks

    • The toe shoes that are designed specifically for the gym do provide some advantages over your regular running shoe or basketball shoe. For squats and deadlifts toe shoes are effective in keeping you on your heels, which is where you want to be, so you can get the most power and drive. This puts the wearer of toe shoes at an advantage over someone wearing running shoes or basketball shoes, which have an elevated heel, putting you on your toes, where you can not generate as much power. Also, due to toe shoes not having much cushion, you can push down on the floor with more force, since there is no foam or air cushions to lessen the impact (try squatting on a bed).
      I have a pair of toe shoes that I occasionally lift in, and while they are better than running shoes for lifting, they fall short when compared to old school Converse Chuck Taylors.

      • hookerpain says:

        Converse rule…
        riding a longboard requires an intimate level feedback through the soles of the feet from the deck and flat soled converse work a treat. Toe shoes would too I guess, but I’m already getting enough dirty looks for riding a skateboard everywhere… πŸ™‚

        • hmmm … I guess they would be useful for skate/longboarding. thanks for stopping by … your blog is interesting.

          • hookerpain says:

            Being a 37 year old who rides a longboard and living the the UK (rather then the east coast on the states), I generally attract less the positive attention from those that witness me bombing down the road. I think the saving grace is I look good in converse so all I get is dirty looks, rather than physical abuse. I suggest, however, that was I also shod in ‘toe shoes’ the dirty looks would evolve into dirty great kicks in the teeth… The mob sucks.

      • Very interesting! Thanks for taking time to explain!

      • hey spencer … thanks for stopping by, mate. as an ex-trainer, I know they might have some (emphasis on some) advantages, especially, as you say, with squats. I just can’t past the strange look, but then again, I’m a purist when it comes to stuff like that, and I don’t like veering from what works for me.

  2. good2begone says:

    One more reason to avoid the gym!

  3. drewpan says:

    While I think toe-shoes are kinda ridiculous, toe-socks on the other hand (did you see the word-play?) are awesome! I feel a lot more comfortable in toe-socks if I have to have my feet in shoes all day long. I dunno… something about the snugness, and the way it stops you from getting sweaty between your toes. Did I just get too graphic?

    Anyway, toe-socks rule! Unless you’re doing anything athletic, cos a bit more padding would be appreciated then.

    • LOL … yep, caught the clever wordplay! yes, but would you wear them to work or the movies? But I can see where the fabric of toesocks would soak up excess moisture between the piggies, and would probably go a long way to alleviate embarrassing foot odor. Not that I have embarrassing foot odor … just sayin’ (one graphic description deserves another).

  4. Wow fantastic toeshoes πŸ˜› looks comfortable

  5. mzrubyd says:

    Toe shoes are not at all appealing to me…gee…why would I want my toes separated into their own compartments?? And besides that, they look ridiculous–to me that is. Don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, even if you are wearing those horrid looking shoes.

  6. I have a friend who wears toeshoes everywhere. They kind of creep me out. Two points: 1) As someone who just severely strained the tendon that runs along the bottom of my foot, during a class at the gym, because I’d caused long-term damage to my feet by not wearing supportive shoes? Let me assure you, you need arch support, especially while exercising. I see a host of future foot problems for toeshoe wearers. (Is this an Illuminati-esque plot designed by an evil podiatry league?) And 2) I suspect Tim Gunn would have an apoplectic fit at the prospect of said toeshoes being considered “fashion”.

    • Hey BP … as I researched this essay I was amazed at the online debate that rages on the Internet about the pros and cons of the whole “no support needed” debate. Some people get really passionate. Hmmm … subject for a future post?
      Tim Gunn wouldn’t be caught dead in toeshoes.

  7. Your story made me laugh out loud! I love when that happens!
    Thank you, Stephen!

  8. I surly resist toe shoes! Thank G. they did not make an appearance in my gym , yet!
    Thanks for a funny post!
    Come and visit my blog : lifestyleover40.com
    Sara

  9. followechoes says:

    For some reason these make me cringe. All I can think is sweaty feet ewww. Great post πŸ˜€

  10. Kate Rawlins says:

    I see these things on walkers in my neighborhood all the time. I finally worked up enough nerve to ask about them and ALL the wearers sung their praises up and down the block. I was so shocked, I went back to my porch rocker, toed off my clogs, put my feet back up on the hassock, toes wiggling in the breeze, took a sizable sip of my Margarita and continued reading. If the shoe fits… Thanks !

  11. Nabilla says:

    i reckon they are the ugliest thing invented since the Crocs!

  12. Pingback: Han setter strek over oss, med Herrens tillatelse « skyggebildet

  13. On the other hand, are they any more ridiculous than than 13 cm stiletto heels ?
    I’m sure they’re less harmful to the feet, anyway.
    Take a look:
    https://www.google.co.il/search?q=high+heeled+shoes&hl=iw&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=fUEmUKbsDaHN0QW0_oHACg&ved=0CFoQsAQ&biw=1024&bih=653

  14. The idea behind the shoe is that they provide minimal padding to your foot, with a very close to neutral drop in height from your heel to your forefoot. When you run in them, you’re not running heel to toe; you generally have a forefoot or ball of the foot strike. An article about the subject, and Navy/Marine Corps research (http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/08/navy-toe-shoes-allowed-medical-081311w/) led to generally inconclusive results, but did “determined that the shoes strengthen arches, reduce pronation β€” where either the inner or outer edge of the foot strikes the ground first β€” and encourage softer landings.”
    I wouldn’t say they’re turning us into animals because, after all, we generally have 5 toes on each foot already; we’re just choosing to hide them. The shoes aren’t for everybody, and you can’t just switch to them and run the same distance or pace that you used to. After 2 or so months, if you’re a regular runner, you should be back up to speed, or very close to it. Most of the injuries in the military community resulting from these shoes are usually involving a lack of knowledge and experience on how to transition to them.

    • The Readist says:

      While I hate the look of the toe shoes, I certainly agree that they dramatically change your gait. I ruptured a disc in my low back that damaged my L5 nerve causing a host of low body issues. I’ve had to drastically change my workout routine. My therapist said I should not run, especially long distances, but I could jog occasionally if I avoided heel strikes (running heel-to-toe). The barefoot shoes do make you run on your forefoot and offer a surprising amount of support for such a thin foot bed. Barefoot shoes do come in models that don’t have individual toe compartments though! Merrell has some great options (I have these, http://tinyurl.com/8kocewr ). They look like most other shoes.

      I think the FiveFinger folks just like the attention wearing them garners, much like your cyclists in the coffee shop.

      • I liked my Five Fingers, but I was a little annoyed when the sole ripped up overly quickly for the kind of training I was doing. I went back to New Balance and have a pair of their Minimus MT10’s and love them.

        • Hi guys … and thanks for dropping by. As I looked deeper into toeshoes, I was amazed at that passion that people show for them, either pro or con. I was also surprised at the whole “no support needed” debate that is raging on the Internet. My philosophy, whatever works. I think they feel freaky, but I know plenty of others who swear by them.

  15. I don’t like these shoes but that’s more because I don’t like shoes in general. But there are plenty who do just google for ‘barefoot running’.

    Unfortunately,though a well styled article, most of what you’ve written can be summarized as ‘because it looks ridiculous and non-conformist, it should be given a thumbs down’.

    These shoes have their pluses and minuses from a utilitarian point of view, like for example it may not be a good idea to go running with them without first transitioning into proper barefoot running technique or simply ‘running technique’.

    Can you walk on glass with these, of course I would, in fact I’ve done it with barefeet (small sized splinters). Unless it is some parallel arrangement of vertically placed cut glass intentionally made to cut through feet and ..er…most shoes as well.

    ‘You don’t need support ‘ is not necessarily marketing crap. Well it could be, shoe companies do routinely engage in it, however there are +ve and -ve sides of this again. Those with right running and walking technique don’t need ‘support’. For others it’s a different story. But don’t be under the illusion that you are saved with supports.

    I’ve been going barefoot 95% for almost an year now, and i can tell you that it’s the most comfortable thing than any shoes I’ve found barefoot shoes or otherwise. And my arches have got bit stronger and better. Unless you have a disability or are aged or have tenderfeet, if the roads are sufficiently clean it’s the way to go,. And walking in toes shoes could be an alternative for some.

    For the curious:

    http://freegrowthblog.com/438/reprint-natures-magic-bullet/

    As for not looking cool, it’s worth remembering that sideburns and bell-bottoms don’t look cool now. Perhaps after twenty years all your fashionable or heavily padded arch supported auto balancing shoes might all look ridiculous. The why not embrace the future early? And why see the human feet in disgust? After all we have had them for the last million years as opposed to manufactured shoes of the last 70 years? Aren’t your feet or feet shaped stuff the things that shouldn’t go out of fashion?

    • warriorofmetal says:

      thanks for that comment; speaks out of my heart. time & funcionality will judge – not looks.

    • Hey there … thanks for stopping by. I’m glad they work for you, and I know they work for a lot of people.
      But as far as “Unfortunately,though a well styled article, most of what you’ve written can be summarized as β€˜because it looks ridiculous and non-conformist, it should be given a thumbs down.” This essay was meant as satire, and as such can be strictly my opinion of how I feel about things in my life. I don’t like them, but I’m in no way telling people to not wear them or not buy them. I’m just poking fun at some of the things I see in my life.

  16. Glad you got that off your chest Stephen! I agree, they look pretty silly, and must feel disgusting between the toes, all splayed out like that and no sox to absorb the sweat – ugh 😦

  17. thatmidcenturyfella says:

    I went out with some friends a while back and my pal was wearing this all night. I feel bad saying this, but it was embarrassing!

  18. Reblogged this on AshbourneVoice and commented:
    It doesn’t matter whether they are good for the feet – they just look freaky

  19. kollshi17 says:

    thank you

  20. travelrat says:

    I think of Hobbits!

    Of course, toe*socks* have been around forever, but, since these are normally worn in the privacy of one’s own home, they rarely cause offence. Unless they’re worn in public, with flip-flops, for which offence, the pillory should be brought back!

  21. Thank you ! This needed to be said. πŸ™‚

  22. Franco says:

    Oh no, I own a pair. I have to say that I didn’t get them b/c I wanted to convince everyone that I have an active lifestyle, just that I thought they would be comfortable. And they are! Loved your article.

    • Brian says:

      I’ve had my toe shoes 5 or 6 years. I also didn’t get them to impress anyone at the gym. I work out at home and I work out in bare feet because it’s comfortable. When I go out I wear the toe shoes because they’re just as comfortable as being barefoot. To me, they’re no more strange than sandals or flip-flops.

      • My niece and her boyfriend have been wearing theirs for a couple of years and I thought they looked really weird, but they raved about them so I thought I’d give them a try. I got a pair for Mother’s Day and I’ve warn them every day since. I absolutely love them! I work from home barefoot and usually slide on flip flops or Ugs when I’m running errands, but these are so comfortable I can wear them all the time. I wouldn’t wear them to a wedding or funeral or if I worked in an office, and because I live in Los Angeles, it’s pretty much acceptable to wear them everywhere else. The only problem I’ve encountered is if I’m hiking, twigs and leaves can get stuck between the toes. However, I find that I trip a lot less. I don’t know if it’s because they’re lighter or there’s not an extra inch of shoe surrounding my foot. Still, I can absolutely understand your criticisms. They look like ape feet.

      • Hi Brian … and thanks for dropping. Hmmmm … interesting. I usually work out at a gym, but on the occasions when I work out at home I never wear shoes or socks. I would do the same at the gym if they’d let me. But when I tried a pair on, I was disappointed that I wasn’t getting the total barefoot experience. And you’re right, I’ve seen sandals that look just as ridiculous.

    • Hey Franco … and thanks for dropping by and reading my silly little essay. They’re not my cup of tea, but I know many who echo your sentiments. I think the bottom line is: whatever works!

  23. My question is, how do you keep them clean? Those little toe-spaces are the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of delicious pathogens.

    • acomp250 says:

      They’re machine washable.

    • Hi there … and thanks for visiting. You got me on that one. I guess you can throw them in the washer. After after wading through swamps foraging for food I guess they could get pretty gnarly. (love the visual image I’m getting from “delicious pathogens,” especially since it’s dinnertime!!!

  24. Denni says:

    Looks really nice pair shoe, The very interesting thing is the evolution of the previous shoes into shape like a people’s feet let people feel more cozy. Love the article. thank you to share πŸ™‚

  25. I tried toe socks in the 70s and didn’t like them. They were supposed to keep us warmer than regular socks, but all I noticed was the extra material in the shoe, which drove me crazy.
    As for the shoes, even if I accept the whole “barefoot” theory, I don’t understand why our toes needs to be compartmentalised.
    I saw a woman wearing a pair to high tea once – ridiculous!
    Wendy

    • Hi Wendy … and thanks for visiting! I don’t know about anyone else, but my toes like the tight knit feeling of being five together, and they have no desire to be separated or compartmentalized (great word) in any way, shape or form!!! High tea? There should be a law…!!!

  26. What Day, Week, Month, Year is it? says:

    Where can I get some from they look brilliant. Especially if they strengthen arches and reduce pronation. Fantastic! Thanks for your article. John

  27. interesting article πŸ™‚ but dont know if id ever go out in public with them..haha !
    Do you mind checking out my blog, its brand new and your feedback would mean the world!
    Thanks so much and great posts!

    • Hello Maria … and thanks for visiting my blog. I like your blog a lot. I think a successful blog should have lots of interesting stuff that will be of interest to a lot of people, and yours is really getting there in a short amount of time. After a few months you’ll be amazed at how cool your blog becomes, especially if you stay consistent with posting. Well done!
      Food, fashion, TV, pop culture, lifestyle … consider me a follower!!!

  28. Rosalind says:

    And here was I thinking I was the only one who thought these things looked like alligator feet. “Marketing Crap” is right!

  29. Never heard of these until now but then I don’t work out at a gym. We have tons of bicyclist in the area that go past my house though. Thanks, now I’m going to be checking out all their feet. I’m an artist and I like the funny, weird and disgusting…I may just have to go by me a pair…(-:

  30. Well done, Stephen. I’m a “marketing guy” too, so I understand from whence you come. Marketers are always coming up with ingenious new products to enable human beings to satisfy their deep-seated need to be a part of the herd.

  31. Funny stuff, enjoyed it.

  32. Pat says:

    I don’t go to the gym so I have never seen anything like this. Are they here in England too? You are quite right, they are mad. And I do not ever want a pair.
    Wish I’d invented them though. Bet they go down a storm!

  33. What I feel is much worse in terms of logic are socks worn with sandals in public. Great writing. I enjoyed it down to my naked toes.

  34. I’m with you 100%. I’m also an avid ‘hater’ of men who wear flip flops in places other than the beach, especially during cold or rainy weather… Sorry, just stupid, but totally UNCOOLl!

  35. Jean says:

    ” You see this a lot in weekend warrior bicyclists who parade around the coffee shop in their lycra and spandex like they’re training for the Tour de France, even if all they did was bike the three blocks from home.”
    …….Perhaps this is their way of making a fashion statement β€” Tim Gunn might call it athlete chic, but even that maestro of fashion couldn’t make this unfortunate toeshoe fad work.”

    Ayeeee, I’m a cyclist and I do wear a basic jersey, chamoisless (unpadded) lycra cycling shorts for both rides around city and going on multi-hr. touring vacation rides with my packed bike panniers. There is a reason why some ladies don’t feel like wearing streetwear (sundress, jeans): I don’t want to wreck my street /business clothing. It’s expensive just to find clothing that fits me.

    I saw a guy in business attire wearing toe shoes while waiting for the transit rail train. Ridiculous. I was not aware of the trend of wearing toe shoes with streetwear: I bike everywhere (have no car) and don’t notice people’s footwear for pedestrians.

    Toe shoes doesn’t work for folks with real foot problems….I even wear customized orthotics when I bike, snowshoe, etc. Maybe one day, it will be chic to wear orthotics.

    • Hi Jean … thanks for dropping by. The difference between you and the weekend warriors I refer to is that your bike is your everyday mode of transportation. If I rode my bike to work I would totally wear the biking shorts and jersey (and helmet, of course), because, like you said, ride to work in your business suit and it’s gonna get wasted fast. Makes sense. But toeshoes? NEVER!!!

  36. First, congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! Yours is one of the best-written posts I’ve seen, and that’s going some. Though I’ve never tried (or previously seen–I’m living under a rock) toe shoes, I can’t see how I could benefit from them, since I’m fully convinced by the argument my feet give me that I need support in shoes. I don’t wear high heels, do go barefoot inside most of the time, and still don’t like the idea of toe-shoes. The material looks a lot like the same material as for crocs, which someone above compared them to, and crocs are one of my pet peeves, because they help give children athlete’s foot. Re: that point, I agree with the medical person in the responses above, who points out the difficulty of cleaning them, and the pathogens that could, and probably do, accumulate. After all, the shoe people don’t care–they would just as soon you threw a scummy pair away so that they could sell you a new pair. No, now that I am informed about them, I don’t think I can see myself wearing them.

    • Hi Victoria! Wow … thank you for the amazing compliment! I’m not as confident a writer as I am a photographer, but the nice reaction I’ve gotten from you and others has inspired me to start writing more often, at least an essay a week. As you can see, I like to write funny … it’s my way of dealing with life’s absurdities.

    • I wear mine with toe socks, they work wonders without smell. I wash them in the machine as often as I do with my “regular” shoes. They are more supportive and durable than crocs by a long shot. I got mine to deal with my knee problem and blisters I get when hiking. I hiked up and down Yosemite Falls (like doing 3 Empire State Buildings) and was pain and blister free. They have also greatly improved my balance. I don’t wear them to work, but as I hate wearing shoes of any kind they protect my feet a lot more than flip flops or sandals. I have my “everyday” pair (versus my hiking pair with aggressive treads) in a soft muted grey color so they don’t stand out too much. They aren’t for everyone, but just another alternative.

  37. shovonc says:

    The next logical step is vests with nipples.

    • Oh, no! Then people will be getting obsessed about what size and shape of nipples they can wear on their vests (I’m surprised that someone in toe-shoe land hasn’t already created some hype around length or diameter or toes, or something, a la Shirley Jackson. In her scary novel “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” there’s something about the narrator being a kind of freak or monster or something because her index finger is the same length as her middle finger!).

    • LOL … NOOOOOOOO!!! The humanity! (thanks for stopping by, btw)

  38. lindsaygreenthumbs says:

    I want a pair. Humans were never meant to wear shoes.

  39. Jet Wiksten says:

    It’s obvious that you’ve never tried them on. They feel AMAZING! Once you’ve worn them awhile it feels like you’re missing something when you take them off. Best shoes I’ve ever owned πŸ™‚

    • Hi there, and thanks for visiting. Actually, I have tried them on, and I just couldn’t get the hang of them. But I’m glad they work for you. I guess the bottom line is: whatever works!

      • Jet Wiksten says:

        My fault for skimming your article, you probably mentioned having tried them on. The first time I tried them I was not sold, but once I took them home, hiking, to the beach and to the gym I couldn’t get enough. Whatever works is right, and I’m the toe shoe type πŸ™‚

  40. redkpro says:

    Reblogged this on .

  41. racontouring says:

    Hey, really funny post! I haven’t used toeshoes personally, but I think the benefit of them comes in allowing you to use all of the muscles in your feet….while running. That was their original design intent from my understanding. When your gym buddy says “they don’t support your feet” he probably means that while wearing shoes, we’re not forced to engage all of the tiny muscles in our feet, especially in the in-step and toes. After spending a summer sprinting barefoot on a grass field, I can attest to the advantages of not wearing shoes for running. My ankles felt stronger and my balance improved a lot. Though I totally agree it’s weird to see people wearing them out to bars (which I’ve seen) :/

    • Hey there! thanks for dropping by! i agree, i really like running barefoot as well. I don’t live that far from the beach, and I’d rather run barefoot on sand than with running shoes on a hard surface. I’m a former hockey player, and I have a few issues with my knees, so I like running on softer surfaces.
      Glad you got a chuckle from my goofy little essay.
      Oh, like your blog, btw. Consider me a new follower.

  42. Your rant is amusing.

    My toe shoes are pink and they make me happy.

  43. I, too, have received the “you don’t need foot support” lecture by a barefoot enthusiast. My crime was saying that my severe plantar fasciitis is helped by wearing shoes with good arch support. A friend told me that until I accepted that going barefoot was the real solution to all my foot problems, I would never get any better. No doubt many people would advise me to get some toe shoes. But I’ll stick with sneakers, and when advisers to the contrary have arches as high as mine, they can recommend those awful toe-shoes.

    • Hey Alaina … thanks for reading. Appreciate that!
      My cousin is dealing with plantar fasciitis and he was telling me that people don’t realize how painful, and debilitating it can be. Hope you’re doing better with that!

  44. I have freakishly large feet, and have a real struggle finding any shoes whatosever. Quite frankly, I’m jealous of people who have so many choices of shoes that they could go this far down the aisle of bad taste and questionable design.

    I know that I hate wearing gloves which have fingers which are shorter than my own, making the gloved hand feel more like a platypus appendage, so I can only begin to imagine how horrible it must feel to have too-short toe sleevess in my shoes.

    In other news, this was a very clever, funny, well-written piece, which is a nice change of pace for what sometimes passes for humor on Freshly Pressed. Well done, sir.

    • why thank you very much sir … that’s a supreme compliment indeed.
      Just discovered your very cool blog. At first glance it looks like there’s looks of interesting reading going on there … I like your style. Consider me a new follower!

      • Welcome to the tribe! Please don’t let my recent fixation with Freshly Pressed make you think that I’m so one dimensional. If you go back a little there are much better posts, and hopefull there are some better ones to come.

      • I’m sure you’re busy enough, but if you’d like, a couple of my posts which I like are “47 shades of pink”, “let’s drop iphone and call it a royale with cheese” and “when life gives you lemons, make lemon scented garbage”

  45. Impybat says:

    All I can think of is “Weeds”, when Guillermo was wearing them. “Did Mr. Freaky Shoes do that to you?”

  46. reluctantwritergirl says:

    lolll who knew there was so much to say about this subject. but i will tell you i wasn’t ready for the article to end.
    btw – i can’t even believe the guy who thought this idea up wasn’t fired on the spot!

    • Hi there! Thanks for dropping by. I could have gone on and on, but I didn’t want to beat a dead horse. unfortunately, i have a sinking feeling the guy who thought these up is probably cashing in on them … for now.
      Like your blog a lot! You have a cool, breezy style. Consider me a follower (but that doesn’t mean I’m stalking you).

  47. You made me laugh!! I thought I was the only one who thought that way. There were some people wearing them while hiking in the mountains while we were on our road trip. I can’t see how that would be comfortable. You could still stub your “toe” on a rock.

  48. What next, anatomically correct men’s briefs with a little sock puppet? I remember when earth shoes were the rage, and they said it was as natural as walking on sand. You walk five miles on sand and see how natural it feels. Thanks for the laughs!

    • No, thank you for the laugh … funny comment!!!
      Geez, I haven’t heard of earthshoes in ages. I have a sneaking suspicion toeshoes, like earthshoes and crocs, are destined to live on in infamy in the What Were They Thinking Hall Of Fame.

  49. lexiesnana says:

    I am glad I stopped by because I saw my niece wearing these things and I thought I wanted a pair.Thank you for bringing me to my senses!

  50. spiralboundforthestars says:

    When training stand-up martial arts like Muay Thai, this footwear can save you from losing toenails when your heavyweight partner steps on your foot and pivots his weight. Not to mention the MRSA and athletes’ foot protection from the mat.

  51. This is one more thing I love about my gym: I haven’t seen these there.
    I work in Washington DC, where I *have* seen them on tourists. Apparently, viewing the Lincoln Memorial is a Barefoot Sport .
    I have trouble keeping up with the blogs I already follow, but I’ve added yours. This is the line that made that decision for me: And that’s a dangerous conceit.

  52. “I write marketing crap for a living, so I know marketing crap when I hear it.” – I think that was my favorite line! I’m an editor for a company that does a lot of marketing, and I feel the same way when I hear it. So it pains me to say, I get what they’re saying, maybe they are better for your feet. When I work out at home, I don’t wear shoes, and I feel more balanced and steady. But there’s no way I’d wear something that ridiculous. Every time I see someone wearing those in public, it’s all I can do not to laugh. My friend’s cousin swears by them, but he goes out of his way to be different. He insists on wearing a different colored one on each foot…

  53. twistnpout says:

    Funny post. I never thought of these as making ones foot look ape like, I just thought they were plain ugly and can’t see how they could possibly be good for your feet.
    The other night while watching the olympics, I actually thought of these “new and improved, high tech” toe shoes and noticed none of the Olympians were wearing them. hmmmmm

  54. lizardesque says:

    I took an outdoor yoga class, and the instructor wore toe shoes. I can see them being good for that. Other than that…not so much.

  55. Pingback: I’ve Been Freshly Pressed!!! | Stephen Kelly Creative

  56. Anonymous says:

    I wear toeshoes to the gym. I really like them. I started wearing them for running in because my knee was hurting when I ran in trainers. The idea with toeshoes is that you land on your toes more, rather than heel striking. It’s a good principle, except that I’m getting older and my body is on its way out anyway. But I still like my toeshoes. Perhaps they just seem strange to you because trainers came along first. Rather than asking what’s better about toeshoes than trainers, try turning it around and asking why trainers are better than toeshoes. I find toeshoes more comfortable. They’re lighter and smaller too, so are easier to carry in my bag. I’m pretty shy, so I actually don’t wear them to garner attention. I find the attention embarrassing.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Anon above was me. I should have signed in before commenting! πŸ™‚ I might yet write a post about loving my toeshoes. πŸ˜‰

  58. Is that really a shoes…. I can’t believe. I have never seen this before..

  59. goodgarbs says:

    Follow The Official GoodGarbs Blog | GoodGarbs.Wordpress.com

  60. I had issues with shin splints until I bought a pair of toe shoes – yes, I own the Vibram Five Fingers. I agree with you that they are horrid looking. I don’t wear them when I’m not running or at the gym!

  61. llanwyre says:

    I’m not wild about the look, either, but if you’re a hiker who does a lot of climbing up rocks, you’d be AMAZED at how much more traction toe shoes give you! They’re practical for sports, and if some people like them just for their looks…well, that’s cool, too. πŸ™‚

  62. Here are some aditional Gym Rules…besides the toe shoes. NIce Post!
    1.What is up with your huge ass luggage bag o shit? Leave that damn thing at home, and yes it makes you look like a d-bag. Betcha this is the milk jug guy;)
    2.Stop making love to yourself in the mirror while lifting…guys and ladies that do this just creep me out. ” I am just checking my form”, Bullshit Amigo.
    3.Rack your weights…look I don’t want to clean up after you!
    4.Stop lubing the equipment with wipes…one or two will do the trick. There is no need to give the machine a “Cleaning Hand Job”, just move along.
    5.This is a personal one. To the guy who asks me if I am using the machine, when my ass is on it. Do me a favor and go to Hell.

    • I feel your pain with #5. I still need to come up with a better response than a dirty look and a disgusted – “NO.”

      • I know (on #5, that is)! How’s about “No, I’m not using the equipment really, I’m just a paid seat-filler for the guy who didn’t show up. You know, so the gym will look full.” (I hope you don’t get punched.)

    • Cheers, mate … thanks for checking it out!
      THE funniest response I’ve read yet. Gotta tell ya, #2 really gets my quills up!!! Check this out: https://stephenkellycreative.wordpress.com/writing/fitness-articles/fitness-gym-etiquette-men-behaving-badly/

      • Great stuff my friend…it’s like we are the same guy…lol. Here are some additional Gym Rules I did:
        1.No orgasm faces or noises while lifting weights…you have seen these guys and it’s creepy.
        2.Socks are required…I always see one jackass not wearing socks and it drives me nuts.
        3.Turn your damn I pod down…if I can hear your Nickelback over my ACDC, that’s a problem.
        4.Leave the bike shorts on the bike…I do not need to see your bike bulge pants.
        5.Wear workout clothes…this is not Roadhouse leave the tank tops and painted on jeans at home.
        6.IF YOUR FINE…do not wear like the sexiest outfit ever and expect men not to look at you.
        7.Leave your Roid Juice in the car.
        8.If your old as hell and your naked in the locker room cover up…I get it you don’t care, but damn.
        9.No flexing in the mirror…I give less than a damn if your triceps look toned.
        10.Ladies don’t be helpless…if you do not know how to use something ask somebody, like the bike short guy.
        11.Keep your kids off the equipment…you don’t see me riding the fire truck at Chuck E Cheese.

        • Hey Mike! Awesome!!! My favorite line: “If I can hear your Nickelback over my AC/DC, that’s a problem.” Hilarious! My next question is: who the f*^# actually listens to Nickelback?

          Also, with regards to #1, I’ve always had the idea of putting out a coffee table book called “Gym Faces” which would be nothing but the “orgasm faces” you so masterfully describe. Although I think getting releases would be tough, especially when you tell people you want to publish pics of them looking like absolute idiots.

          About #8: Oh, the horror!!! At what point in a guy’s life does his ass start looking like the sagging rear end skin plates of an elephant? Throw a towel over that shit! No one wants to see your ass cheeks flap back and forth as you stroll towards the shower!

          #12: Don’t play air drums in between sets with the same inspired intensity of a Neil Peart or Keith Moon. You’re at the gym, not playing before 10,000 people at Wembley.

          Dude, I used to work as a personal trainer at a big city gym (Gold’s), so I got a million of ’em!!!

  63. Funny post! I’ve posted on Vibrams and their ilk a few times on my site and while I can see their benefit I agree that hilarious/ridiculous to see people walking around in Starbucks with them on. But the other day I saw the perfect use for them – I watch American Ninja Warrior, American Gladiator on steroids, and a lot of competitors wear them to compete. I thought that was genius because you can grip onto any surface while still being able to feel the course like you didn’t have shoes on. πŸ™‚

    • Hey there Sami! Thanks for dropping by. Wow! I thought I was the only one who watched American Ninja Warrior! I can see where toeshoes would definitely be an advantage in a competition like that! Maybe I’ll wear them next season … NOT! Cheers!

  64. Strange looking things really. I used to wear toe socks – but only around the house where no one else could see me πŸ™‚

  65. foxyandcarver says:

    I can’t agree more!!

  66. Def look weird, but they’ve strengthened my calves and my running game like nobody’s biz. Sales gimmick? Possibly. But at least this time they’re marketing something that really does work : )

  67. pastormack says:

    I want some and my wife has forbidden it. Sad. Good commentary, though. It is certainly trendy and who knows if they are good for you.

    But I still want some…

  68. I see these things all the time at the gym. Like, really? It looks ridic. My best friend wanted a pair for his birthday. He didn’t get one from me! lol. (Actually, he didn’t get toeshoes at all. Thankfully.)

  69. Carlie Chew says:

    I don’t know what it is that freaks me out so much about these shoes, but they just look strange.

  70. Kathryn W says:

    Probably the most refined rant I’ve ever stumbled upon. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Perhaps we should be looking at these shoes as an ingenious invention designed to distinguish the morons from those of us possessing brain cells? πŸ˜‰

  71. nanashistudios says:

    I may disagree with your overall assessment of the toeshoes but you have creatively put forth some funny comparisons and arguments.

  72. sef0181 says:

    I actually own a pair of the cheaper ones. I bought them because this particular brand was created out of material similar to that of a wetsuit, and I purchased them for a water park/to wear on the pool deck as a 8 & under coach. As a person who prefers to be barefoot, I find them fantastic because, compared to being barefoot, they actually offer quite a lot of arch support, and on deck they provide more traction than any other shoe I’ve worn. I pretty much only use them when I’m in a situation where my feet are going to be wet. (They’re actually comfier when wet.) I agree they look ridiculous, and avoid wearing them to the majority of public places. However, my toe shoes are far better looking than all of the other swim coaches on deck who are wearing Crocks (and my don’t make squelching sounds).

  73. These shoes creep me out! I just can’t get over it! Every time I see them I feel my skin crawl with someone it usually only reserved for giant spiders and their webs!

  74. fairydancer221 says:

    This reminds me of that one episode of “Married With Children” where Al Bundy gets a vision from God (it’s really from some dead shoe salesman) to make shoes that look like this.

  75. BevG says:

    I’d heard about these “shoes”, but hadn’t seen them until the other day. Being worn as regular footwear by some dude in a coffee shop. They creeped me out. I was at the coffee shop to try to do some work and couldn’t focus because of the leather-clad toes staring at me! Down with the toe shoe.

  76. David Mahlow says:

    Be a hater all you want. I used to get shin splints when I ran. I bought Five Fingers 6 months ago and haven’t had shin splints since. I don’t care how I look in them. Just glad the pain is gone.

  77. Karen says:

    Great post! I totally agree. I just can’t seem to wrap my toes around these things. Ugh!!

  78. 5kidswdisabilities says:

    Oh my GOD! Someone finally said what I’ve been thinking. Of course, you wrote it more eloquently than I thought it in my head, but we “think” alike…

  79. Along A Path says:

    A few years ago, a young fella ran past me on the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Traverse wearing these five finger thingees. Upon questioning, he told me that he had just got them and raved about how comfortable they were. A number of hours later, in the depths of the canyon, who should I pass but this same fella. There he was, sitting on a rock with bloody stumps in the place where his feet should have been. He had a good long time ahead of him to contemplate his footwear choice since he had almost 5000 ft of elevation to climb before he could call it a day. There are consequences for being a slave to fashion.
    Thanks for the laugh!

  80. Shannon says:

    I hate the look of these shoes! I’m glad I’m not the only one! Every time I walk into a shoe store and I see them I just shake my head.

  81. missmareefinch says:

    Toe shoes totally creep me out!! Seriously – they issue ointment for gettingstuff out from between your toes, stop putting stuff back there πŸ˜›

  82. Lawaina says:

    They look like and ugly pair of socks!

  83. societyred says:

    Great post. Totally agree. Wait…Devo was 36 years ago? One more thing, never tuned in to project runway but I’ve heard about it…Coco the talking gorilla would probably be an improvement. And maybe he could handle those freaking wedding dress shows as well…

  84. happyuan says:

    My husband usually wears toe socks. He like them. Because they prevent feet from smelling sweaty. But I don’t like them.

  85. slinkywhat says:

    Reblogged this on slinkywhat and commented:
    Hilarious ranting πŸ™‚

  86. This post is so spot on! Congrats on the Freshly Pressed. Check out our family post http://www.Cop-A-Squat.com when you get some time.

  87. Pingback: What’s My Beef: Toeshoes « My Favorite Spaces

  88. Pie says:

    Toe shoes: one hundred percent wrong.

  89. i’ve honestly never hated anything more than these shoes. sure, maybe the whole no support thing is true – whatever. doesn’t matter. wear them to the gym, for a run, whatever, but they are hideous and they should not be worn in normal day situations, or with a suit (yes, i’ve seen that), or with a skirt (yes, that too). they are the worst. seriously. THE worst. i just don’t see why there has to be toes?!

  90. Great post Stephen! My son the vegan toe-shoe wearer would probably have some issue with your post, but I have to say I love it!! It gives me fuel for my fire… πŸ™‚

  91. Hey Stephen! I take it that you do not like “Toe Shoes” then!! hahah! πŸ˜€

    I saw an obvious Gym guy wearing them and I liked them but more for the reason that they strengthen the muscles between in the feet. But when I looked at them on the net I was quite disappointed because as you say there is no support and I never knew that they were more for Walking sports. Doing Plyometrics they then would be totally unsuitable. But I like the concept behind them. And, at around Β£80 I had to think twice.

    I ‘may’ get a pair just for walking but they do look a bit on the ridiculous side as you aptly pointed out. They should kind of hide the toes bit with an outer cover making the more “Trainer Like”.

    When I have a spare Β£80 I might try them – the most normal looking ones at least!!

  92. Rochelle Karina says:

    I’m dizzy after reading this – though I’m not sure if it’s from laughing myself silly or all the nodding in agreement I was doing. Well said!

  93. Pingback: A Lesson from the Barefoot Running Debate « Naturally My Dear

  94. I’m a massive fan of this post and your blog in general (you can thank Freshly Pressed for that). Although I’m as much enjoying the ongoing commentary! You’ve evoked a passionate response! Nice.

    • Hi there … and thanks for following my blog … that’s much appreciated. I kind of expected the vociferous response after going back and forth about them with people I know who wear them. Well, maybe that should be more like me mocking people I know who wear them, but we won’t go there.

  95. Pingback: I’m not really a Navy Seal « Hippie Cahier

  96. Pingback: Essay: Unfortunate Fashions #2: The Facekini | Stephen Kelly Creative

  97. I hate those toe shoes, they are even more ridiculous than crocs, and that’s saying something. Oh, and the animal head hats? They are in the stores and will be everywhere by winter. My daughter wants the wolf…

    • Hi there, and thanks for reading. I actually had a paragraph about the animal hats, but i cut it because for length. Here in San Francisco the panda hats are all the rage, mainly because one of the more popular players on the SF Giants baseball team is nicknamed Panda. We’ll see who’s laughing after global warming really kicks in!!!

  98. You got me, i have a pair of these shoes…. just kidding…. Come ooon, when it comes to fashion and branding we are all victims! (almost all of us at least) This is a post of a friend of mine, http://goo.gl/QNuVp, about overpriced paper bags….. It is mind blowing! :-/

  99. viveka says:

    I understand why this … got Freshly Pressed – brilliant write up … and I also understand why we haven’t seen much of those shoes. As we say in Sweden, everything will sell with killing advertising. Did help with this product, thank god. Thanks a million for the link.

  100. Pingback: In Praise of FiveFinger Shoes | rjheeks

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