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Barefoot/minimalist rubber boots?

 
pollinator
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I'm in need of a pair of rubber boots for working in the chicken yard and generally wet conditions, but am struggling to find ones I can comfortably wear. All my everyday shoes at this point are of barefoot/minimalist variety and my feet no longer tolerate being squished into "normal" shoes. I have a pair of LEMS boulder boots that I love, but even after waxing them, they aren't really waterproof, due to the laces. Plus they're hard to clean.  I really want rubber boots that have a wide toe box, zero drop, are durable, fully waterproof and easy to clean. Has anyone here found boots like that?
 
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No idea but made me think of this:

 
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I'm a fan of XtraTuffs.. As far as rubber boots go they are fairly lightweight. They make some ankle high ones as well. Crocs have their place as well....
 
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Rubber boots are a must for working in a chicken yard.  I loved rubber boots for that.

When I bought mine, I bought men's boots because that is all they had.  

I now have a bunion so I never buy women's shoes as the toe box is way too narrow.  

I also never wore my rubber boots with socks. And they might have been a size too large as there was lots of room in my rubber boots.

Here are some threads that might offer some suggestions:

https://permies.com/t/140880/personal-care/purity/Earthing-rubber-boots-dealing-rubber

https://permies.com/t/70742/Muck-boots

https://permies.com/t/34936/Durable-Rain-Boots
 
Heather Sharpe
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T Simpson wrote:No idea but made me think of this:


Ha, hilarious! I know those feels all too well...That's probably how I'd feel asking this question anywhere other than Permies.

Anne Miller wrote:I now have a bunion so I never buy women's shoes as the toe box is way too narrow.  

I also never wore my rubber boots with socks. And they might have been a size too large as there was lots of room in my rubber boots.


Sorry to hear about the bunion, those are no fun. Thank you for the tip about getting men's boots rather than women's and for the other threads to check out! I can't stand narrow toe boxes. My toes need freedom to move!



 
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Heather, I need exactly the same thing!! I usually wear Xero shoes and can't handle thick soled boots anymore like others suggest. Xero has some water resistant boots that I love for every day but they aren't waterproof.

This is what I use over my regular shoes:

https://www.amazon.com/USHTH-Waterproof-reflector-Black-XL-12-6inch/dp/B072JH69KJ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=USHTH+Black+Waterproof+Rain+Boot+Shoe+Cover+with+reflector+%281+Pair%29&qid=1613608032&sr=8-1

They aren't super durable for working in the woods but for straight gardening and cutting the grass, they work really well.  They are water proof but don't breathe so my calves get damp. BUT much less wet and cold than I am with just shoes.

I go through a pair about every six months.  Cost isn't awful, but I hate the waste. I've tried repairing holes in them with tape and super glue. So far, nothing has worked but I'll keep trying. Also, if you get them, you want to use both hands to unsnap them at the top because otherwise you'll tear the top strap off.

I really hope someone reads this and solves our problem!
 
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Another possible option is something like these: https://www.amazon.com/Tingley-35121-WorkBrutes-10-Inch-Overshoe/dp/B000BQPXOG/ref=pd_aw_fbte_3/140-1037992-4340458?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B000BQPXOG&pd_rd_r=4bc79e49-f2ca-43e2-bf48-02f285186a80&pd_rd_w=pYrBe&pd_rd_wg=Apd3O&pf_rd_p=16a91b47-29f0-44ad-9cd6-3a1b8bcc4fa6&pf_rd_r=9MXG4GJ4CWQEZ36E31DX&psc=1&refRID=9MXG4GJ4CWQEZ36E31DX

They are thin and made to go over dress shoes.  Not a perfect zero rise, but if you trimmed an insole from something else they might be close.  The more expensive versions used to be natural rubber, but probably not anymore.

Another option is the boots made of crocs material.  Several brands, seem to be available at most farm stores around here anyway.  Not zero rise, but LIGHT and flexible.

 
Sonja Draven
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I tried the Tingley boots, R, and they were terrible. Heavy, unwieldy and don't stay fastened well.  

Thank you for looking for something that might work!
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:I really want rubber boots that have a wide toe box, zero drop, are durable, fully waterproof and easy to clean. Has anyone here found boots like that?



I really need these too!!! I live in my Softstar shoes in the dry months, but really need other shoes for the other half of year. I need EXACTLY the same shoes as you!
 
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I know vivobarefoot has made rubber boots at some point. For some reason I could not find them on the vivobarefoot site itself any longer, but I could find it for example here: https://www.avesu.eu/vegan-barefoot-rubber-boot-vivobarefoot-waterloo-ladies-rosewood-eu.html - I do know vivobarefoot often does seasonal shoes, so maybe the rainboots will only come again when we are closer to fall. Other than that I could only find: https://www.vibrams.co.uk/collections/vibram-furoshiki-boots, which are not really rainboots but I guess close to it. Otherwise you can maybe find something here:  https://anyasreviews.com/complete-list-waterproof-barefoot-shoes-rain/
 
 
Sonja Draven
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Those red boots look perfect Markus! Too bad they're not in stock. Will definitely keep an eye on them.
 
Heather Sharpe
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Sonja and Nicole, nice to know I'm not the only one in search of such boots! Though I wish the search was easier for all of us. Foot shaped shoes shouldn't be such a big ask, it seems to me. I wonder why barefoot rubber boots seem so hard to find?

Markus, good finds! Too bad they don't seem to make those Vivobarefoot boots anymore..I wonder why? The Vibrams look slightly hard to clean, but a definite possibility. Vibrams were my first foray into barefoot shoes and I loved how comfy they were! That list may have some good options too. Not sure any of them have a very wide toe box, which is really the biggest thing on my list. It's so hard to tell from pictures, perhaps I'll have to ask manufacturers about widths on some of those.
 
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For years I bought the cheapest Tractor Supply boots available. They were fine ...especially for the price. Then I made a terrible mistake. I tried on a pair of Muck Boots.  The fit was incredibly good. I had the cash, so I bought them.  I have not regretted the purchase.
 
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I have a similar problem with my wellingtons.  Admittedly I don't tend to spend much, but I find that they rarely last more than a year or so. I'll make another post about that I think.....Anyway, maybe there is a product opportunity here for someone.  Waterproof boots that fit (even wider calves) that either last indefinately, can be easily repaired, or returned to compost.
 
R Scott
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Muck now makes a wide calf version!

And their Edgewater model is pretty low heel, not quite zero but close.
 
Sonja Draven
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These look promising:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07RKP848L/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

I ordered a pair and will report back.
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:

I ordered a pair and will report back.


Please do... I see some on eBay I'd jump on if they're recommended. I've been keeping an eye out for exactly the same thing so thank you to everyone here.
 
John F Dean
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Hi R,

Yes.  I have the Muck Edgewater Classic.  It also seems to grab well on ice. Normally walking on ice is difficult for me. This year I have not had a slip.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I really need these too!!! I live in my Softstar shoes in the dry months, but really need other shoes for the other half of year. I need EXACTLY the same shoes as you!


Yup! I live in my Softstars, too!

Here's a great minimalist/barefoot shoes list put together by a wonderful lady in Washington.
https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/shoes-the-list/

Scroll down and you'll find a section for winter boots. Living in southern California, I have no need for these and haven't tried any, but I trust this lady and her curation.

HTH!
 
Heather Sharpe
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Sonja Draven wrote:These look promising:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07RKP848L/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

I ordered a pair and will report back.


I will be curious to hear how they are! I almost went with those, but felt iffy about whether there was enough toe space for my taste. I ended up ordering these Bisgaard boots since they specifically mention having a wide toe box, along with being zero drop, flexible soled and everything else on my list. Plus being cotton lined! I will report back when I get them. Thank you all for the help! Hope all in search of such boots can find something that makes their feet happy!

Austin Durant wrote:Here's a great minimalist/barefoot shoes list put together by a wonderful lady in Washington.
https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/shoes-the-list/

Thank you, Austin! What a great list! I've looked for such a list and found a few, but never one with so many options!
 
Sonja Draven
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Heather Sharpe wrote:

Sonja Draven wrote:These look promising:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07RKP848L/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

I ordered a pair and will report back.


I will be curious to hear how they are! I almost went with those, but felt iffy about whether there was enough toe space for my taste. I ended up ordering these Bisgaard boots since they specifically mention having a wide toe box, along with being zero drop, flexible soled and everything else on my list. Plus being cotton lined! I will report back when I get them. Thank you all for the help! Hope all in search of such boots can find something that makes their feet happy!

Austin Durant wrote:Here's a great minimalist/barefoot shoes list put together by a wonderful lady in Washington.
https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/shoes-the-list/

Thank you, Austin! What a great list! I've looked for such a list and found a few, but never one with so many options!


Yes. I'm not sure if the ones I ordered will be big enough. I have big feet so it will depend on their sizing. Yours look great too, so looking forward to your review as well!
 
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Target sells Smith and Hawkins garden boots. I have a pair (and bunions) and love them.

 
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Try a set of reasonably priced Gum Boots. They usually come up to the top of the calf, have fairly flexible soles, and still protect the foot, especially if you use very thick socks. No need for shoes inside these so you don't add that extra weight either.

Item shown is from WalMart for under $40, but you might find boots even cheaper at places like Dollar General, Dollar Store, and other types of local markets.
WalMart_Find.jpeg
[Thumbnail for WalMart_Find.jpeg]
 
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I bought these recently because they seemed to be zero lift. I took out the insole and they are working for me. I replaced it with a thick, flat felt insole. I’m sure they won’t hold up as well as traditional gum boots, the upper is quite soft and the sole is soft as well. They are made for boating so not designed for rough terrain.  They sure are comfortable to wear though! Like bedroom slippers - very light. Natural rubber upper. They fit large, especially taking out the insole. Very wide toe box.
VW26 Viking Mariner boots.
http://www.vikingwear.com/index.php/products/boots/vw26-vikingr-mariner-boots-features.html
 
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T Simpson wrote:No idea but made me think of this:



Add flower or Talc powder to your feet first. The rubber-painted shoes should come off them ;)

Men should shave first, OUCH LOL ;)
 
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I want sloggers. They are a garden boot. I read nurses are wearing them all day at work, and say they are comfortable.  I have half boot garden boots I got on clearance somewhere. I have a love hate relationship with them.  I love them because me feet stay clean and dry, I can do whatever needs doing and not worrying about my shoes. I painted yesterday, and the paint just peed off my boots.  The hate part is mine are very uncomfortable.  They have a hard grid on the bottom.  Insoles help a little.  I should probably buy the sloggers, they are supposed to be very comfortable and are super cute. I just feel guilty paying 30.00 + for garden boots.  Though I spent less than 10 on the ones I have, and they still look great.  Gotta take care of our feet.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I have a pair of Sloggers, and they're decent. If I wear them too long, my feet hurt...but then, my feet hurt if I have them too long in any non-minimalist shoes. I'm thinking that if someone likes regular shoes, Sloggers will be great. If they're looking for minimalist shoes, Sloggers won't really cut it.
 
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My answer is not of help ... but here in the Netherlands there's a Dutch brand of rubber (? maybe it's a synthetic fake rubber ?) boots for sale in every garden-center and shops for farmers, gardeners a.a. Those are probably exactly what you mean. But I don't think you can buy them in the USA or online.
But maybe the Dunlop rain boots are available where you are?
 
                                    
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I went on a similar quest years ago, but for safety toed boots with no heel drop. I settled on these: https://japangoodsshop.com/product/sokaido-l-wins-security-tabi-black/

They had a nice large toe box and are super flexible. Not waterproof though. The site has some options that look promising. You do need tabi socks though. My favorite is actually a bunion sock https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TXNJPO2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apap_zXScby65PVzJA
 
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Austin Durant wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

Here's a great minimalist/barefoot shoes list put together by a wonderful lady in Washington.
https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/shoes-the-list/

HTH!


Katy Bowman’s advice helped me get rid of constant foot pain. She’s awesome!  I started with Lems and now all I wear generally are Xero shoes. Before they got a winter boot line, I found some from Feelmax. They’re super lightweight and incredibly warm, albeit pricey.

 
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Anne Miller wrote:

When I bought mine, I bought men's boots because that is all they had.  

I now have a bunion so I never buy women's shoes as the toe box is way too narrow.  

I also never wore my rubber boots with socks. And they might have been a size too large as there was lots of room in my rubber boots.




Absolutely agree with man boots over lady boots - 2 years later my often worn gumboots are in great condition because they are built for work rather than for prancing in puddles as lady boots always seem to be. Specifically they lack stability for farm work as the sole is thin and delicate when compared to decent mens normal thick soled boots.

I also never wear socks with my gummys, well I am in the subtropics, but who has time to put socks on?!
 
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So, to sum up this search, you're looking for a durable, thinner-soled boot, with a secure fit, and the comfort of a wide toe box? Have you searched for a wide width version of a women's boot?
 
Heather Sharpe
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So, to sum up this search, you're looking for a durable, thinner-soled boot, with a secure fit, and the comfort of a wide toe box? Have you searched for a wide width version of a women's boot?


That is mostly what I want, yes. Though it seems there are boots that have a thinner sole, but still a heel raise, which I don't want. There's also the challenge that the toe boxes on most shoes aren't actually foot shaped for some reason, they're more pointed. So the wider toe box doesn't always help me. This could be good option for some folks to consider, nonetheless. Especially if other options aren't accessible/workable.
 
Anne Miller
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Have you looked at the brand called "Bogs" as some of their rubber boots have a minimal heal.   Not all of them so look at this one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bogs-Womens-Classic-Lite-Waterproof-Insulate-Snow-Winter-Gum-Boots-71676-009/284029414233

 
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I’m a barefooter and struggle finding winter boots of any kind for the wet PNW. Those that could work are prohibitively expensive. After doing some research I settled on Bog boots Neoclassics. They are thinner soled and more flexible than Muck boots but still waterproof, insulated, and warm. So far I’m really pleased with them in snow, mud, and rain. They are pretty close to zero rise and have an adjustable width insole system. And they’re far more affordable than others I’ve looked at. Found mine on sale at REI.com bargain basement.
 
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I bought the xtratuf legacy 6 inch mens boots.  I have had them for 4 years as I bought them in 2017. These aren't insulated so I wear them in spring summer and fall when I go outside in the wet dew covered grass to let chickens out, and milk goats. They work good for rainy days and in mud that is just a inch or two deep. They are pretty comfortable but I have to put in a stiffer insole due to having heel spurs. So for someone wanting a barefoot feel they would probably work great. When I bought them they were cheaper. I didn't like the Sloggers. I have no signs of wear on these boots. I expect they will last a lot longer. I have wide feet so even though I am female I buy mens boots and shoes because I need that extra width. I like to have room for my toes to not feel crushed together.  If you have the money to invest in good long lasting boots for the garden and chicken yard these are great.  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XAR7P8/ref=dp_iou_view_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For winter use and deep mud. I use the LaCrosse Men's Alpha Range 14" Waterproof 5MM Outdoor Boot. This boot has a very flexible sole but I use the same insole in it as I use in my other boots and shoes.  So someone wanting flexible would just keep the original insole in the boot.  Comfy boot with adjustable calf. I never bother adjusting the calf. I use them all winter long in North Central Ohio.  The first pair I got about 4 years ago lasted two years but I stepped on a screw in a board and put a hole in them. The hole self sealed which was great because I stepped on that screw a week or two after I got them. It took them that long to start leaking. I was so impressed with the self sealing sole that i bought another pair to replace them. I have had that pair for two winters now. NO signs of wear. I went with the LaCrosse boots because my muck boots would wear out and start leaking after one winter of use and I was buying muck boots that were as much or more in price as the LaCrosse boots.  I wear these boots putting out hay and the mud is deep around the hay feeder. I wear them out in the pig pen which has deep mud all winter long. I do chores in them. I only wear them in the summer if it is really muddy or the water is deep from a rainstorm.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COTE16S/ref=dp_iou_view_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And if anyone is interested these are the insoles I use now. they work good for my heel spurs plantar fasciitis and they are much more reasonably priced. They last longer too. about a year instead of six months.

https://www.amazon.com/Physix-Gear-Sport-Orthotic-Inserts/dp/B078GPBXHB?pd_rd_w=duuzb&pf_rd_p=c0dee9af-852c-4d19-9f11-5b16a874bf5e&pf_rd_r=HARDW237B1HCQAZ18J5W&pd_rd_r=9113e9a1-79dd-43a7-98cd-275edc9d4d48&pd_rd_wg=UPhIi&pd_rd_i=B078GPBXHB&psc=1&ref_=pd_bap_d_rp_17_t

Hope this helps someone. .I know that shoes and boots are a very individual thing. I spent a lot of time researching boots before I spent the money and I have been happy with my choices so far.

Bonnie
 
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Do you have the water proof LEMs? I didn’t know about them until recently - my business partner purchased a pair and they work great for keeping dry. Not a typical shin-high muck boot, but you already have leather LEMs so you know their profile

https://www.lemsshoes.com/collections/waterproof-boulder-boot/products/womens-waterproof-boulder-boot?variant=32088926421050
 
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Maybe crocs?? I love that they can be hosed off. Not sure what the drop is and most have some degree of toe spring but they aren't even remotely rigid. They have more than the standard classic croc these days.

https://www.crocs.com/p/womens-jaunt-shorty-boot/15769.html?cgid=women-footwear-boots&cid=410#start=2

https://www.crocs.com/p/crocs-on-the-clock-work-slip-on/205073.html?cgid=women-footwear-clogs&cid=001#start=5
 
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Hey Bonnie, just wanted to offer a quick tip on repairing punctures from midwest ohio. If the rubber is vulcanized then a tire patch could be glued on, maybe punch a smaller patch with a hole punch. If the rubber is not vulcanized then you might be able to flow it with a hot screwdriver or soldering iron. If they are molded silicone I'm not to sure about that.
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