No-Shoe Shoes · 3 July 2013

People like to call them minimalist shoes, but I think that shoes which have no heel-to-toe drop and no arch support ought to be called “no-shoe shoes.”

Maybe it is my Japanese heritage, but there is something special about effortless effort – when we make something look easy because we have mastered it. Chinese martial artists who study Tai Chi Ch’uan call this effortless effort wu wei. The rest of us just call it making things look easy.

Regardless of what it is, tons of effort go into making it look easy. We need to work and work to finally get to a place of effortless effort. (At least usually.) This notion of effortless effort is why I am redubbing those shoes with no drop and no support as “no-shoe shoes.”

Like the martial artists and others who seek to make things look easy, wearing no-shoe shoes to run does not start out being effortless. It takes time to build up foot, leg, and supporting muscles. That is what most people do not realize about no-shoe shoes and effortless effort. That time to mastery tie-in with effortless effort is one reason I like the new name of “no-shoe shoes.”

I know it is really not my place to rename anything, but no-shoe shoes makes sense to me. These shoes with no support and no heel-to-toe drop are really just a barrier between the ground and our feet. They provide lots of feedback but no support. I can feel everything on the ground with my no-shoe shoes. That is the way they are supposed to feel. They really are just supposed to make me feel like I am barefoot and provide a little protection for my feet. They really are supposed to be no-shoe shoes. Which is the other reason I am giving these shoes a new name.

I really hope this redubbing of shoes with no heel-to-toe drop and no arch support (and other minimalist shoes) to “no-shoe shoes” will take off, but it does not really matter. No-shoe shoes is what I am calling them now because that is what they are. They are shoes that are not shoes. They are no-shoe shoes.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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