Invisible Shoes

As part of my minimalist approach to running, I’ve been experimenting with various types of footwear. I’ve tried running barefoot at the beach and even at the track, but with all the things that you could cut yourself on in the streets of NYC, I’ve been looking for the next closest thing.

A lot of people have suggested that I try running in Vibram Five Fingers, but I’m turned off by the price tag. When I came across Invisible Shoes, which cost less than half the price of a pair of Vibrams (for a custom pair nonetheless!), I knew I was on to something.

Invisible Shoes are the closest thing that I have seen to actual barefoot running. They’re based on the famous “huaraches” that the Tarahumara Indians wear when they run. Putting them on made me feel like a Native American warrior!

They also offer a do-it-yourself kit, where you can make your own huaraches by purchasing the raw materials. Without the cost of labor, the price drops even more.

The first few times I went running in my Invisible Shoes, I had a little trouble getting the laces tight enough to keep the sandal on my foot without over-doing it and making them too tight. Once I found the sweet spot, however, the Invisible Shoe felt great.

Running in Invisible Shoes will keep you on your toes–literally! The few times when I lost focus and let my form get sloppy while running in them, I was immediately brought back to the hard reality of the pavement.

Like all things, it’s best to gradually transition to your new running style in order to let your body get conditioned. You’ll likely be using muscles in your feet that you’re not used to, and if you aren’t already practicing the forefoot running technique, you’ll need to get used to that as well.

I going to stick with my plan to run the upcoming Brooklyn Half Marathon in my Vans slip-ons, but perhaps at the next race you’ll spot me sporting Invisible Shoes.

35 thoughts on “Invisible Shoes

  • By michaelvoigt -

    I made myself a pair of those from the rubber soles of some old slippers. I could not keep them from sliding to the outside of my foot for the life of me. Sweat and rain made it even worse and I would find myself getting nasty blisters from where the lace splits the toes. I still want to try making them, but this time with the proper materials.

    The Tarahumara make their own huaraches from car tires. I wonder how those feel.

  • By Lou Fogel -

    The material used for the soles on Invisible Shoes gives just enough traction that your foot doesn't slide on the sole, even when wet (I ran through some creeks the other day). If you have the right type of sole material and you still get blisters, that's usually caused by either: tying the huaraches incorrectly, or; b) incorrect barefoot running form, usually overstriding.

    The car tire rubber is stiff and thick. Not very barefoot-y.

  • By henry_kr -

    Ditch the Vans & run in the invisible shoes!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    So far I have not had any issues with sliding or blisters while running in the Invisible Shoe. Compared to car tires, they seem pretty fancy!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    If the race were a little farther off I would do that, but I haven't had a chance to run more than 5 miles in the Invisible Shoes yet. I need a little more time to acclimate.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Hey Lou–thanks for sharing your experience. The huarahces certainly help me stay aware of maintaining my form!

  • By phattrainer -

    They look a little feminine

  • By The Fool on the Hill -

    I used invisible shoe and made some as well. Fan-freakin'-tastic.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    This is coming from a guy who regularly wears knee high leggings.

    Seriously though, the Invisible Shoe is a unisex item. You can even get them with pink laces if you're secure enough with your manhood, Lenny.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Right on! Beatles fan, eh?

  • By Fitz -

    These are just like the huaraches that Barefoot Ted sells on his site. I have to ask though, are you running the Brooklyn Half for time or just to finish? If for time, then you'd be better off using these sandals as a tool to improve lower leg strength and form, not as your main training shoe..err…sandal.

  • By chrismarcantonio -

    Looks too much like a gay gladiator to me.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Hey Fitz–I'm not really running the half for time or just to finish–I'm running it for enjoyment and personal satisfaction. Having said that, setting a new PR would be a nice added bonus!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    To each their own, Chris.

  • By Steven Sashen -

    They're very similar to Ted's, only with a different lacing material (we use nylon/polypro because it doesn't stretch or shrink and is basically waterproof), and a lower price.

  • By ajcurl -

    I hardly ever run without my vibrams. I have a running pair and a pair I wear in public. Talk about building leg and feet muscle, just wear them everyday for a week and you will feel the difference. Running my first race in them in a week.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Cool! Which race are you doing? Let us know how it goes!

  • By rickseedman -

    dominatrix style! lol

    fun as always today Al!!!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    You guys can break my balls about the sandals all you want–I still like em!

  • By char -

    I was looking for shoes for running, and thinking of the Vs, but the invisible shoe is more economical. I will need vibrims for the forest trecks tho.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Hey Char – you can run trails in Invisible Shoes. In fact, you can run anywhere in Invisible Shoes!

  • By Char (PSI Tutor:Mentor) -

    Technically perhaps~ but I live in taipan/brown snake country and it is common for me to meet up with one of these whilst in the hills, so need shoes with heel and ankle guards ~:-)

  • By Patrick -

    Are these ok for wearing in place of regular shoes (i.e. even if you're not a forefoot runner), or is there something specific about them that makes them only good if you're using running techniques? Thanks.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    You can wear invisible shoes for any activity. When it's hot out I wear them just about everywhere so my feet stay cool!

  • By Netterunner -

    Born to run, baby!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Hell yeah! That book changed my life.

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  • By Amy -

    Hi Al,
    Don’t listen to any of these guys about the shoes, I think you look great in them just like a warrior! Anyways I don’t know if you’ve come across this vidoe or not but the very first one on the page that shows the different running angles is pretty informative. Sorry I couldn’t make that an active link with my iPad. Enjoy!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for the link (and the kind words), Amy!

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  • By Blair Norwood -

    Hey Al, are you still wearing and liking these?

    I started running in my VFF’s but found them wearing out a bit, they are my primary shoes and quite expencive so I wanted something cheaper to run in and these seem like the way to go. (I run on country roads, not gravel, but not flat concrete either).

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Yes and Yes.  Although not as much with the weather getting colder here.  Try a pair for yourself – I bet you’ll like ’em!

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