imo a barefoot shoe (i run in various merrell barefoots, trailglove, roadglove2 and vapor glove) should be a nice snug fit around the mid foot, holding the shoe in place, but the toes should be free to wiggle about, Part of running barefoot is the splaying out of the toes, i would suggest you have a pair too small, i go a full size up in merrells.
I'm currently trying out a pair of Merrell Bare Access half a size up from my everyday shoes and appreciate the extra room for movement of the toes. What I don't like is the arch support seems too far forward because of the larger size and isn't a snug fit with the instep. I feel it's upsetting my plantar fasciitis injury.
Seems odd for a "minimalist" shoe to have a arch support. Anyhow after 100 miles of running in them it's less noticeable. I have say I have doubts about durability, parts of the soles are already showing some serious wear including the vibram patches.
thats interesting, after 1000+ miles my last pair of merrells still show little wear on the soles, its the uppers that started to fall apart, but since i use them for mud and bogs and rivers etc, and scrub them clean, i could expect nothing less.
stanmorek: If you want minimalist and no arch support, try VivoBarefoot - I run in the Neo (and Neo Trail for off-road) and they're blessedly free of arch support etc - and plently of room in the toe box as well. If you have narrower feet you might prefer the Evo.
I use vivobarefoot trails as well and really like them. the only sizing issue I have is that I could have done with them being in half sizes - the 4 is a bit too snug to allow toes to spread but the 5 is a bit too big unless I wear thicker sock which seems a bit silly when I'm aiming for a barefoot approach (sort of). I did email vivo and asked them why they didn't consider doing half sizes and they emailed me back saying 'we don't do half sizes' !!
Marc.S - I've done most of my running in the Merrell barefoots on pavement though admittedly some of it has loose chippings which have cut up the soles somewhat. However still surprised by the amount of wear on the vibram patches for so little mileage. I was led to believe they'd be hard wearing.
Debra unfortunately I've had to put the barefoot style running to one side for the time being. My PF is flaring up and is quite irritated by any kind of arch support. I've taken to replacing the insoles of a new pair of Inov8 X-233 road shoes with something flatter from an old pair of brooks racers.
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