Finally the Perfect Minimalist Shoe: Sockwa's G4

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by Bare Lee, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Well, thanks to HappySongBird's rec, who I think got her rec from Rick Whitelaw, I've finally found the perfect minimalist shoe for winter running. I'm something of a purist barefooter who only uses minimalist shoes out of necessity, but I think even those who use them as a preference will like these, provided their preference doesn't included some cushioning and structure.

    If we take 'minimalism' literally, you simply can't get any more minimal than this. The sole is only 1.2 mm thick! That's thinner than even Merrell's Vapor Gloves or Soft Star's Moc3s. They also have much better traction than either of those shoes, which is very important to me since I mainly use shoes in the winter, when it's either too cold or snowy/slushy to run bare. The upper is super thin too, yet the shoes are so well-designed that they fit snug without being tight, and with no shifting around whatsoever. And I've found them to be true to size.

    When running in them, only the tactile stimulation of running bare is missing. Otherwise, the foot feels and seems to function the same as when completely bare. I don't need to think about my foot landing at all, and can feel all the subtle contours of compacted snow. However, for those who use shoes to protect themselves from small rocks and debris, the soles might not be thick enough. On the other hand, they may dull the protrusions just enough to permit minimal shoddie wimpage--a real boon to those who enjoy barefooting but have low pain tolerances.

    Finally, at $49 retail, they're around half the price of most other minimalist shoes.

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  2. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Those bottoms look like they're "almost" painted on. Nice.
    SockwaG4.jpg

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  3. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, and they're pretty rubbery with good grip. Would probably work as a good minimalist gym shoe too.

    Also very easy to slip on and off despite the snug fit.

    Perfect really, as a true minimalist shoe.

    Now what to do with my Vapor Gloves and Moc3s? I may even replace my Neo Trails with the G4s for fresh snow running.

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  4. paulbeales Administrator
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    Apart from occasionally using my VFFs for rough trails, if I'm not in bare feet, I'm in Sockwa. I have three pairs. Did you know the latest X8 model is breathable and therefore a little less prone to getting smelly? (Not that this is a great problem as they can be thrown in the wash with your sports kit)

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  5. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Cool, wish I'd have known about them sooner. I looked at the Sockwas a few years ago, but didn't realize the soles were so good.

    I looked at the X8s a bit this morning, but since I mainly need shoes for cold weather running, breathability isn't a concern for me, and it'd probably necessitate socks, right? Unless the X8 material is thicker. So far I've been able to run down to single digits (Fahrenheit), and minus 15 F without any socks. I like that my feet get cold in them, so I don't lose my cold adaptation while I wait for more reasonable winter temps when I can go bare.

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  6. scedastic Barefooters

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    Lee, help me out. I'm excited to try these, but I fear sweaty foot syndrome.
    I bought a pair of vff's just to wear at the gym, and to walk around in. Sure enough, sweaty feet. Ew.
    So what about breathability of the sockwaG4 compared with, say the moc3s? I love the ventilation on these.
    However, I would love to run in something more snug around the ankle, and maybe the sockwa would do it.
    EH?
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  7. paulbeales Administrator
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    Go for the X8 Scedastic

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  8. Robin Barefooters
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    minimal shoddie wimpage...i like your phrasing :D laughing out loud for real!

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  9. Robin Barefooters
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    minimal shoddie wimpage...solution leguano_premium_schwarz-500.jpg
    these have slightly thicker soles (about 4mm),they're great to run in too :)

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  10. Robin Barefooters
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    How's the sizing?Same as your shoes?I have to order them in the UK,so I can't try them till they're here...

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  11. paulbeales Administrator
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    Measure the length of your feet and check it against the chart on the web page Robin

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  12. OdiarAmor Chapter Presidents
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    When I read this, I read it as "with your sports KILT"

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  13. paulbeales Administrator
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    Whatever takes your fancy OdiarAmor! :)

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  14. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    From what I understand, I would go with Paul's X8 rec. They have the same sole as the G4s, but are supposed to be more breathable, making them more suitable for indoor and summer use. Since I only need running shoes in the winter, I think the G4s are the way to go for me, although I might pick up a pair of the X8s as a casual shoe in the summer. I think I would prefer that to most of the minimal sandals out there, which are either tricky to put on, or flop around too much. The only sandal I've liked so far are the Lunas, but they don't have near the groundfeel as the G4s.

    In comparison to the Moc3s, the G4s' upper isn't as warm I think, even though the Moc3s are designed to be breathable. The G4s upper material is pretty thin. Yesterday while picking up the kids, which involves minimal time outside, my feet did get a bit chilly at around 13F. And the sole is so thin that you can feel the cold of the ground/snow as well. If I were to run far in really cold temps, I would put on smart wool socks.

    I got the bright yellow pair, because I'm tired of trying to distinguish all my black gear in the garage early in the morning. This also helps draw attention to them when I'm out and about. One parent at my daughter's school yesterday asked me if my feet didn't get cold in them. I said yes, a bit. She said they did look comfortable though, so perhaps wearing these bright minimalist shoes will help propagandize the cause. I'm not a bright colors kind of a guy, but I do like looking like a dork.

    Robin: the G4s seem pretty true to size. Mine have just enough room for socks, although I haven't gone out with socks yet.

    Those Leguanos, which sounds like "bird shit" in Spanish with a French definite article, sound like a good option for folks wanting a little more protection from sharp, pointy things. Or maybe for trails as a superior groundfeel alternative to the Neo Trails.

    Ach! More shoe talk from barefooters.

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  15. paulbeales Administrator
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    You've hit the nail right on the head there Lee. Sockwa is the nearest you can possibly get to a barefoot feel, so have to be the best choice for a barefooter that has to wear something sometimes.

    PS - I love the yellow ones too. They don't do X8 in yellow :( but they are bringing out sky blue, grey and white ones in Spring :) They are also working on a warmer waterproof model I hear :)

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  16. scedastic Barefooters

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    RIGHT?! This winter has me thinking shoes.
    The sockwas would be for winter use and indoor gym use if i could get away with them, so the ventilation would be for now. No way would I want neoprene on my feet in the summer.
    My feet get sweaty rather easily now, even in the winter. I wear the moc3s for all but the worst conditions. in which case I go for the soft stars. As soon as things dry out or warm up to the 30s, I"m socks and sandals or just sandals.
    The moc3s get a little wet and my feet are a little cold, but as you say, I prefer that now.
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  17. NickW Guest

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    Now that I have a job I may have to order a pair of these... Nice review Lee!
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  18. Robin Barefooters
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    thank you :)

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  19. Sid Barefooters

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    Hello. My name is Sid, and I'm a shoe shopper.

    Thank you for the great review, Lee. As someone who has decided to run exclusively barefoot, I curiously find myself looking at shoes quite often. It's not that I'm completely against shoes, it's just that I haven't found any that meet my current personal needs. Over the years, I've bought shoes that not only fit my feet currently, but will also allow for further barefoot development. So, the shoes that I buy have been progressively wider and thinner over the years.

    However, it seems that I've run out of options. Even the widest toe box and thinnest sole isn't wide or thin enough. Honestly, there are no shoes out there that fit the habitually unshod. [IMG]
    Well, it seems that he doesn't need shoes, and perhaps neither do it. Especially where I live, if the weather isn't conducive to barefoot running, I can just wait until later in the day. Maybe this epiphany will cure my shoe shopping. I don't need to look for the perfect running shoe, because I don't need them.

    Hello. My name is Sid. I'm a barefoot runner, and I don't need shoes! :p
  20. paulbeales Administrator
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    Oh how I wish I could live in a climate like you do Sid. Wales is not known for its climate conducive to bare feet :(

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