Barefoot, but shoes ….

After cronic foot pain, lower back pain and plantar fasciosis (fasciitis), I started a barefoot lifestyle that completely eliminated those problems for me.
Unfortunately I still have to function in a shod society and therefore I do have to wear shoes at times, like at work. This forces me to marry up my reasons for getting rid of shoes, to shoes that I can wear that meets me half way.

So here are the factors in conventional shoes that negatively affected my health:
Heels, narrow shoes, arch support, tightness and toe spring.
If you want to get rid of these evils in modern shoes, but you still want to / have to wear shoes, here are my review of the shoes I find best for the purpose : (these are in no particular order)

Softstar shoes.

These are very nice!
Getting rid of shoes, has the effect that your feet get more muscle action and blood flow and do not feel cold so easily. So I have also discarded the use of socks to prevent my feet from living in sweaty enclosures.
These shoes are made of leather and breathe very well. I also thought at first they would be too narrow, but that proved to not being the case.

Lems shoes.

My first minimalist shoes I used for work after going barefoot. Closest to a classic sport shoe. The company also makes minimalist boots and other shoes.
These are made of an artificial fabric and warm up your feet fast without allowing it to breathe. So, if you do not wash them every five days or so, they do start to smell. They handle the washing very well, probably because I only wash them by hand.

Snow Boots

Yup, I live in Minnesota and sometimes it is more comfortable and less dangerous to wear these in the cold and snow…..


My latest discovery. And the least expensive! $20 a pair.
They are made for both men and women. Mostly spandex on top, making them light and comfortable. It took a few days for the elastic strap around the edge to stretch our a bit and not put a line across my foot.
The soles are rugged enough for outdoors and when I load trucks at work up aluminium ramps. And this week I also used them in the gym without my feet sweating or getting clammy. (I know my feet are always sweating and that it is constantly evaporating and controlling the temperature of my feet – just like with your hands.)

Home made shoes

I am lucky that I do leatherwork and is able to make my own custom shoes. What can I say? As wide as my feet, breathing leather, flat thin soles, loose fitting shoe enough to be legal and accepted where society still fails in this aspect of life.

Home made Flip Flops

Just a thin sole and a thong – easy for just quickly running into a store.

Crocs Flip Flops

I usually travel with these. That was before I made my own. Mine will take up less space in a back pack.

Crocs boat shoes

When you want something more substantial on your feet. These have vent holes all round and have leather uppers.
For someone with a barefoot lifestyle, shoes truly take on the same function for which most people use gloves on their hands.

Birthday shoes

Given to me at birth, always adapting to my growth (and now shrinking), these have protected me against infection for six decades! Super comfortable and so much fun to use! At no cost whatsoever! Nothing beats this shoe……

A Positive Year – Week Five

Beginning of February – and the sun is starting to show some warmth!!   VERY positive!

Because I have to wear shoes at work – I have made my own in the past.  Unfortunately, by giving up on rigid soles, heels, arch support, you also give up on the durability of the shoes.  But, there is a positive side!  I get to make a new and better pair of shoes!  (Fancier too, this time.)

The week ended on a hugely positive note!

What could be more fun than hanging out with sixty other guys, playing challenging and fun games, listening to a good speaker and enjoying some good food. I also got to see the three masterful champions receive their trophies!


A Positive Year – Week Four

I made some more progress with the ax sheath trophies and was able to deliver them in time!  In a very hectic week, that was a very positive achievement.

And I also had time just to chill in front of the TV, scrolling through Google+ and playing a game or two.

I had a chance to revisit of of my favorite spots on the Mississippi River -= downtown St Paul.   The river has almost no ice on, as you can see.

Here was something that caused me to try to focus on the positive again:  They are breaking down some buildings on the cliff face right on the river.  You can see this as an ugly scar, or you can be positive and see this as necessary renewal, which is what I think it is.

It was cold enough that the walk only took about 10 minutes:

A Positive Year – Week Three

I was asked to help with the trophies for our Men’s Retreat again – this time three ax sheaths for the three axes that will be presented to three winners of some fun games played at the retreat.   This was a start on the first (gold) prize.  What a good feeling – and positive – to make something to give away!

So, I think this little hat make me look ridiculous, BUT it keeps my head and ears warm in the Minnesota winter.  Sometimes it is better to be practical rather than to ridicule yourself……

And on the subject of selfies – I don’t like them, I refuse to pull my mouth like a chimpanzee, I don’t mind if other people want a selfie with me, and I take very few of them.

But I do feel obligated now and then to do it, and here is why:

My dad was the photographer of the family – he took all the photos at funerals, and when family got together.  Which meant that there are relatively few photographs of him.  I wish that was not so.   So in an age of photographic documentation, I will attempt a selfie now and again and see how they come out.

This one was not too bad:

A Positive Year – Week Two

Few things are as positive as the sun in the midst of the Minnesota winter. Accompanied by the bluest of blue skies! 
The sun still does not have much to offer in the line of heat, but the beauty of the sunny days more than make up for the cold. 

The sun even looks good when it shines in on a disorganized work bench.

Another few positive minutes in a hectic work week: Kudos to the Culver’s staff in Plymouth who has spotless restrooms – even fresh flowers in the men’s!

A Positive Year – Week One

So here is something new I am going to try to do this year. Publish something once a week about the preceding week. And it can only be positive.

I enjoyed the one photo a day I did on Facebook last year. It opened my eyes a lot to things going on around me and to notice beautiful things in my surroundings.

I almost had withdrawal symptoms from that project.

The first of the year was on a Sunday and I could not help noticing this very good start to publishing about a positive year.

It was also a very cold week – yes, that is positive – it kills the mosquitos, it makes me appreciate warm weather in autumn summery and spring and it makes for beautiful days when the sun comes out in full blast!

I went to look at one of my favorite spots on the Mississippi River. No barefooting this time though!

It was just spectacular with a blue sky and the ice on the river. On the far side the water was open.

So, what does it mean to be more positive?? Being blind to the negative in life?

No, I think one should just think about your first reaction to everything you observe. A positive attitude can do a lot for physical health and happiness.

A Photo Review of 2015 – December

So in December this happened:  The city is redoing Nicolette – the whole street will remain car-free and get beautiful tree lanes and walkways and places to sit and be enjoyed.

To do that, they are tearing it up numerous times and doing all sorts of ruff stuff.  So a world known statue of Mary Tyler Moore was taken off the mall and put in storage.  We even had people coming into the store and ask us where the statue was.  So someone got the good idea to take her out of storage and place her in our store.

So we had to almost completely strip the store for the seven hundred pound lady to move in and her ton and a half base to be placed under her.

After hours of careful dancing, she arrived at her home for the next two years or so.  Then she will go and brave the elements again.

And there she is.  Ready for people to borrow our selfie stick and get pictures of her.  And you will have a tough time convincing me that this is not the most photographed statue in the world!

Some sunrises just compel you to take out the camera.

Working downtown makes for a few weird surreal scenes.

Like on this one early Saturday morning. NOBODY on the streets at all, except …..  these protesters for green energy, who started a march in front of an energy company building where there was nobody at work to see them.  One was blaring on a bullhorn and they were chanting; and THERE WAS ZERO AUDIENCE TO SEE OR HEAR THEM!!!!   Just me peering through the window of the store before opening time, wondering if I had awakened in a type of Alice-In-Wonderland alternative reality…..

The day after Christmas (we did not have a white one) saw the second snowfall of the winter and the start of more permanent temperatures under freezing.

I am not sad that the year is over.  But it is always important to focus on the positive things in our lives.

Two dogs always fight in your life – a white and a black one.  The one you feed most, will win.  Have FUN!!!!

A Photo Review of 2015 – November

The night closes in!!  After work one afternoon  I walked to where Gina was attending a course on the other end of Nicolette to get a ride back home with her.  I was able to get this photo out of the parking ramp …. Days get really short and the sun even more precious.

Some fun on a quiet afternoon in the store – the director brought in a selfie stick for customers to use (the big purpose for this came in December!).

Well, those selfie stick might be looked down upon by many, but I dare you to try to use one!  Not easy at all – especially at my age…..

The month ended with the first snow for the winter – and not much snow at all.  It was gone in a few days because of the many days after that with temperatures above freezing.

A Photo Review of 2015 – October

In October I started working for St Croix Retail.  Very soon we were hard at work getting the new store ready to open.  Opening date was October 12th.

This is one of the reasons I took the job, despite a fairly long commute to downtown Minneapolis.  I am standing on the light-rail platform, ready to take the train home.  The light colored building across the one-way street, where the cars are waiting for the light, is the exact corner where the store is located (Corner of Nicolette and Fifth).  It is also a visitor information center as well as a central spot where people can get train/bus passes and find out everything there is to know about commuting to and from and around downtown.

Yet another really nice warm day made for a very good hike with the barefooters in one of our many local parks.

Finally the store was opened – a soft opening without too much fanfare – stocked with all locally made artwork, jewelry, chocolate, t-shirts and prints, as well as quick-buy items for bicyclists.

Here I am sitting in the social media command center that is also part of the store and I am playing with a much maligned item – a selfie stick.  Behind me is the light-rail station from where I took the earlier photo.

A Photo Review of 2015 – September

The state fair ran into September and most days were VERY hot.  One of my sons had given me this cloth/towel thingy that you get wet and then hang around your neck and it REALLY works!

For people not from Minnesota – the T-shirt has the outline of the state of Minnesota and therefor spells out “Minnesotan”, which I can claim to be after 18 years here, I think.

The Renaissance Festival was in full swing and according to this photo, Wilhelm took his role as Viking very seriously.  But he also has a blast out there!

The Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church had an arts day and I was asked to bring my leatherwork out there.  It was a good day.

I am still of the opinion that if I belonged to a primitive culture, I probably would have worshiped the son (I’m actually better off now worshiping the Son).

September also meant the end of a little more than a year of driving schoolbus – if only hours were more and throughout the year, I would return to it any day.