FAQ on the Paleos®ULTRA
Unknown and different - reactions and questions from the 'net!"Stainless steel on the skin - this can't work!" If you think so too, you probably should first read the independent review of a long-term test by BarefootRunningUK before you continue to explore this page. Written after 200 miles on various nature trails and 5 months of testing time! The author is Ian Hicks who is specialized in barefoot running!
As we announced on 09.01.2013, we would like use this post to provide some explanations in response to various comments we have read on the Internet about PaleoBarefoots®. Generating comment was one of our goals and we are delighted that the interest has been so great recently that on some days we have welcomed up to 16,000 visitors to our website.
As expected, reactions to the Paleos® since their inception 2 years ago have ranged across the spectrum from controversy to fascination to complete dismay!
To our great surprise, however, many of these statements have been made by those who have never physically seen, held, nor have ever tried PaleoBarefoots®. And yet, to read their comments, you'd think they knew very well what they are, how they feel, and what specific characteristics they have! Accordingly much that is exaggerated, misleading, and just plain wrong has been conjectured and published by these 'experts'.
There are still many doubters out there, but as you can read below, it is often those who have said that they would like to try Paleos at once! A few of the choice comments raised a smile:
"I think they might be useful if you drop a knife?"
"I wonder just what it feels like to wearing a cheese grater."
"Perfect for repelling sharks and zombies."
"If knights were minimalist runners."
"Where are the chain mail compression pants?"
"Heirlooms from my uncle, the good knight Kunibert."
Of course, we can share from direct experience, and we also understand why there is the odd misjudgment! At first glance, one can not easily define the Paleos®! To some, they look like they do not even belong in our time. Given the material it is not surprising that the image of medieval knights is instantly evoked. Thus, the reality of the concept is obstructed and initially provokes false assessments.
It takes a little effort until the exceptional utility, the hidden advantages and the most popular applications become compelling. Many visitors who were interested at first only in seeing the 'weird' images come back several times and explore our information pages more deeply.
► The concept - the Paleos® are different!
► For this you already have suitable shoes!
► But this only the Paleos® can do!
► Video "Natural Running" with Paleos®
► Response to questions from the net!
► Company /Product names: Why Paleo?
► Why have to wear shoes anyway?
► Why the high price of Paleos?
► Protection and durability!
► Do the Paleos® make much noise?
► The Paleos® should be heavy?!
► The Paleos® are unhygienic!
► Blisters and skin irritations!
► Thorns and insect bites!
► About hair on toes and feet!
► Collected dirt in the Paleos®!
► Hot asphalt and Paleos®!
► Zero grip on asphalt and concrete!
► Grip on natural surfaces!
► Foot stability (grip) in the Paleos®!
► The future of the PaleoBarefoots®!
"I understand Vibrams. I understand pure barefoot running. PaleoBarefoots I do not understand.""
PaleoBarefoots® been devised for our feet and the receptors located there that control balance, body position, circulation, temperature compensation, and more. As such, they deliver the most natural and immediate stimuli. About 70% of the receptors in our body can be found here - this has evolutionary reasons. If these receptors were not so important in our feet, there simply wouldn't be so many.
Natural Running requires natural conditions. Natural stimuli are only found in nature. Why is a barefoot walk on the beach or on a dew-covered lawn so soothing and invigorating at the same time? The answer is easy, because we need these stimuli for our physical and mental balance and wellbeing. What would one call such a foot cover, that works in this way? Maybe barefoot shoes? In order to understand our perspective on this, take a look at our article in the knowledge base.
Heading out into nature with the PaleoBarefoots® means placing new demands on your feet, and you'll definitely experience getting dirty, wet, cold, warm, sandy, muddy etc. (just as you would running completely barefoot). If this doesn't appeal to you, you likely will not be happy with Paleos®! Someone who wants exactly that, by using the Paleos®, gets much closer to nature with a close to barefoot feeling, a sense of freedom AND foot protection as well as the stimulation from the varied terrain encountered.
If you understand this, you'll also understand that there are some things that the Paleos® are just not designed to do because...
► Running on asphalt, concrete, pavement, gravel and other artificial surfaces.
► Take a look at our knowledge base article called "Forefoot running! Nonsense?"
► Indoor slippers for polished marble, wood, smooth ceramic tiles and similar surfaces*.
► These are too artificially smooth! Each shoe has its operational area! The Paleos are
► OUTDOOR shoes. Only outdoors will PaleoBarefoots® provide experiences that you can not
► experience with other shoes.
► *Unless the Ultras have the "Multi-Paw option".
► Casual shoes for purely urban areas without parks and green spaces*.
► In this environment, there are too few opportunities to experience the usefulness of
► PaleoBarefoots®. If you buy them for this purpose, you won't use them to their potential!
► *Unless the Ultras have the "Multi-Paw option".
Stay tuned! Soon there will be new Paleos®!
► Swimming, snorkeling and diving, etc.: The road to and from the water is not always purely
► sandy and safe. Especially for sea swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers our minimalists
► protect against sharp rocks, coral and sea creatures. And - in the water you really do not feel
► the Paleos®!
► Beaches, creeks, rivers and lakes: rapids and disturbed or cloudy water often require great
► concentration and caution to avoid injury. So, you lose a lot of the fun. With Paleos® neither
► caution nor concentration is required. Just go,feel and enjoy!
► Explore them in parks and nature: feel true proximity to the ground and nature!
► Feel and experience natural stimuli. Remember as a child, how much joy a simple
► puddle could bring? This is the exact feeling you can have with the Paleos® - inevitably
► you'll begin to smile. Every change from sunny to shady, moist and dry happens almost
► immediately. Unless you have particularly sensitive skin on your feet and ankles, and
► you leave the laces a little looser, you will be fine without the supplied lining socks or
► ankle savers and can enjoy the barefoot feeling to the fullest.
► Hiking and walking: we have customers and testers who wander through the woods
► for hours with the Paleos®. For longer and more intense activities of this kind, we
► recommend wearing the supplied lining socks or the ankle savers to enhance comfort
► and prevent any possible skin irritation.
► Jogging and running in nature: Here the accessories such as the lining socks or
► ankle saver (or running/neoprene socks depending on temperature) may be required
► for less experienced - same goes for events such as trail running, mud or off-road racing.
► *Paleos®-Lining-Socks: these are made from a special material that forms a very porous and
► therefore breathable layer, which in a few weeks will be accessories that ship with every
► PaleoBarefoots® order. They provide a soft and comfortable sheath for all sensitive feet,
► while still enabling the full barefoot feeling being obtained by open soles.
► Just like with conventional shoes wearing socks is better with prolonged exposure!
► *Paleos®-Ankle-Sleeves: this is a wide neoprene/lining elastic band similar to the type
► that is used as a midfoot and ankle support. It covers areas of the foot so that are usually
► sensitive to friction. (Pictures soon on our website and in our online shop).
►*Paleos®-Running-Kit: This Kit can be very helpful at low temperatures or when sports
► activities get considerably longer and more intense. The two Running Socks in this package
► also have an open sole and are soft and elastic. There are two sock in it: A neoprene and
► another (slightly thicker) lining sock that even covers the toes.
The "Multi-Paw principle" of the Paleos®!
► The hardly noticeable, soft sole spots make our unique purists applicable over natural soils
► also for urban surfaces. Whether in nature, on rocks, in the city on tile, marble, asphalt, gravel,
► concrete ... anywhere, this "Paws" provide maximum grip and safety. With customary minimalist
► footwear and usual shoes you never have experienced such a safe, slip-resitant contact with
► the ground. Learn more about it and read bog-post "The "Paws" for your Paleos®!
Video "Natural Running" with PaleoBarefoots®!
"Natural Running" on concrete, tarmac and pavement? Heel, midfoot, forefoot? Do I really need a coach to do it right ? Are there even good reasons not to run in the immediate nature? Indeed, there are! Our video shows the comparison of the PaleoBarefoots® to bare feet and usual running shoes / minimalists in the great outdoors!
Caution! Barefoot running is different!
When running barefoot or with Paleos® your running style will automatically be switched from heel strike to midfoot and forefoot strike. Too fast and thorough approach may lead to overuse injuries. Please leave your body enough time to reshape muscles and tendons, to build them up and to strengthen them. Distance and speed should only be increased slowly. Before you frequently wear "barefoot shoes", you probably should consult a physician or your podiatrist.
Company and product names: Why Paleo?
“Can someone please tell me why they are a good idea? Or called Paleo? "
► Yes, we can! So first, the origin of the name PaleoBarefoots®!
GoSt-Barefoots: the name of the company is not simply a marketing gimmick, but is derived from our actual personal development. Around two years ago we began a pure Paleo diet and found this brought many positive changes in our health. Shortly afterwards, my wife Uschi, who is a passionate amateur cook, started the WordPress blog GoStoneage Paleo which now with contains over 250 illustrated Paleo recipes.
Gost-Barefoots: along with the weight loss that went with the diet, we felt a desire for more physical activity, and wished that also should be as close to nature as possible, and we quickly decided to go purely barefoot. As you see, we became aware that there were no commercially available barefoot products that really met this need, and with the help of a Facebook group, we created the first PaleoBarefoots®. The actual development of the product and GoSt-Barefoots name idea stems from the blog GoStoneage Paleo - from GoSt ... to Barefoot (s).
PaleoBarefoots®: the brand name was created as a logical consequence of the above, and to describe the purpose for which they were developed: Barefoot running on all natural surfaces and in the wild, as close to Paleo-times as possible, including all the sensory highlights that one appreciates in bare feet. Who does't know that it is relaxing to feel nature, sun and water "up close"? Here again, we reference our article in the knowledge base.
Paleos® offer important additional benefits over ordinary minimalist shoes, that play into the conditions for the feet and overall health. 70% of the sensory receptors that help our bodies control circulation, temperature, positioning, balance, and even mood, are located in our feet. Why do we find a barefoot walk on the dew-covered lawn, or a beach so invigorating? We really need these natural stimuli for our physical and mental well being. So what would you call such a foot covering? Maybe barefoot (shoes)?
Why have shoes anyway?
"Just take off your shoes and look for a suitable route to run barefoot"!
I run completely barefoot on asphalt and I enjoy running more than ever now".
There are many comments like this. But, there are mentioned two very good reasons why the Paleos® make so much sense!
► We don't want to waste time looking for a 'tidy' easy to view route so that we can
► then run a few little varied barefoot laps. No, we want to be far away from cars and roads,
► and spontaneously be able to run wherever it looks nice and the feeling suits us.
► Also, running on asphalt is a very 'one-dimensional' feeling, that puts a far higher
► burden on our feet than the same run on natural surfaces.
► Here we quote a mail of a commendably honest runner
► "Everyone talks about Natural Running - but why do so few get there!"
Why is it so hard for a barefoot runner to get himself off the roads and into the country side? Most of the time it is fear that in nature, it will hurt more. Statistics show quite the opposite, but what good is it if you can't get mentally relaxed. However, even if you do it, there remains the risk of injury, the way ahead must be scanned more intensely and therefore, concentration must be much higher.
All that works against relaxation and fun - EXACTLY what the PaleoBarefoots® can change!
Quality has its price!
"Double price for half the shoe!"
"Why so expensive, when I can find butcher's gloves online for $ 50 - $ 60?"
Producing high-quality ring mesh requires good raw material, highly sophisticated machinery and a lot of manual labor. For fabrication, there is also the "Made in Germany" aspect, which allows us to examining the production process more closely, but does increase cost.
The steel used in the Paleos® is food grade stainless steel that complies with the applicable DIN standards. Each individual ring is bent, cut, intertwined with four other adjacent rings and then individually welded. The more evenly this process takes place, the more uniform and 'smooth' the mesh will be. Clean seams are particularly important. These processes require very technically advanced machinery. Finally, all Paleos® are assembled by hand, again seamlessly, and ring by ring welded together before the finished shoe is finally polished to a high gloss in different baths and then gets assembled. The material specifications:
► Surface: bright shiny shiny barrel finished.
► Skin and food-friendly (DIN EN 1811).
► Hygienically harmless.
► Decades of good cut and puncture protection.
► Rings per m2: about 134,700 pcs.
► Light transmission: about 43.2%.
► Environmental influences permeability up to 100%.
► Sole thickness of PaleoBarefoots® is ONLY about 1.4 mm!
In fact, the Paleos® are extremely low priced comparatively! A single, high-quality oyster glove with similar quality features of Paleos®, will cost anywhere from €160 to €240 on the open market. Here is an example on AMAZON. Of course you can also buy mesh gloves imported from third-world countries, where the price, in accordance with lower quality, is €60 - €100, but remember that's just for ONE single glove! The Paleos® not only contain of a larger amount of high quality ring mesh, but are also supplied in pairs!
Protection and durability!
"What about the likely event that one of the ring breaks, and it is sticks in the foot?"
"I wonder if a ring mesh shoe can effectively protect from the really bad stuff - splinters, shards of glass?“
With Paleos® you can actually run on the worst sharp objects. No matter whether it is … glass shards, shells, sharp rocks, sheet metal parts, coral, bottle caps etc.
Firstly, you should know that gloves made from this material can be used in large abattoirs and in the sheet metal industry. There, working with knives and hatchets, or sharp metal sheets, there is much greater potential danger than could ever be found in nature. The puncture and cut protection that this material affords has been proven in industry for many decades. The diameter of the stainless steel wire for the manufacture of these products is actually only 0.55 mm + / - 0.01mm - and yet still offers enormous protection. The mesh is even used to prevend shark bites and to feed dangerous animals.
It is the natural behavior of the mesh to mould itself to the shape of the surface. The pressure exerted on a single ring (say by a sharp edged stone) simply causes the surrounding rings to move along with the ring under pressure, thus completely redistributing the pressure of the load. Because the material rests on the skin - itself a soft, flexible, surface, ultimately, the force is absorbed across the tissue, not in a single point. Then, there is the ground - preferably natural surfaces - that are usually fairly soft, and thus enhance this load distribution even more.
To do damage you would have to stretch out the rings and fix the shoe immovably to a hard surface, then deliberately apply a hard load (say a screwdriver) to a single ring - something that's just not going to happen in reality.
"The shoe completely falls apart when a ring breaks or gets worn down!"
Even in the extraordinary case that the comment describes, it's hardly possible that the ring could open, straighten and insert itself in the foot. Each ring is round - if one did break, it might eventually come out of the mesh, but the rest of the mesh is secure as each ring is intertwined with four others.
We, and the Paleo® testers on our team run on natural surfaces over 10km several times a week, and have done for over a year with the same Paleos® . So far, not a single report is known of any visible damage or wear to the PaleoBarefoots®, let alone a ring opening or bending. According to our recent findings, a PaleoBarefoot used according our recommendations (natural rather softer soil and waters) will last a lifetime.
Wearing out the ring mesh of PaleoBarefoots® on softer natural surfaces such as grass, sand, soil, clay, forest soil, in the water etc. is hardly possible - however, on hard high-friction surfaces (eg concrete and asphalt), over large distances and a long time, wear is far more likely to appear!
Our lifetime warranty refers to the processing, quality of materials and welds. It does not apply to premature wear caused by improper use!
They'll tear out one's hair!
"I have too much hair on my feet, this can't end well"
Sorry, but this one's completely wrong! Think about it, if it were true, then that would mean that all meat and sheet metal workers in the world would have no hair left on their hands and forearms (as we've mentioned elswehere, gauntlets made from chain mail are in typical use in these industries). These people even work up to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week wearing exactly this type of metal mesh.
"I have hairy feet! My main concern would be to get hair stuck in them".
No! You could even wear chain mail on the head without jamming a single hair in the tiny rings (in fact, knights would have done!). The individual rings are smooth, round and loosely interlocking. There are no hinge effects and no fixed connections. A hair has a wider diameter than the point at which two rings touch each other.
This property is just one reason why ring mesh is so suitable as sole for the shoes. In the loose links, which are constantly able to move, nothing gets trapped (except maybe a 0.5-0.7 mm grass blade which is thick enough to hold itself there).
Do the Paleos® are loud and make metallic noise!
"Deal Breaker: The constant clatter and Clink Clink would drive me crazy!"
Obviously, when you think of metal, it's natural to think of noise. However, you'd be mistaken with the Paleos®! You can't really hear the fabric moving against itself. So, it's pretty noiseless when running with Paleos®. Think of a piece of jewelry like a necklace - the rings move silently against each other. You can think of the ring mesh in this way - a chain of tiny rings. Worn against soft skin, they're noiseless even when you move rapidly.
Even when you are using them on hard stone, concrete or asphalt, they're quieter than the clapping steps of rubber soled shoes. At most, you can hear a faint scratching here and there against the road surface and the Paleos®.When they are where they belong, on natural surfaces, they're completely noiseless. Walking and running in the woods with Paleos® means that you'll hear just yourself and your surroundings.
In fact, we've been considering a special campaign just for game wardens, hunters or wildlife watchers, who will definitely benefit from the soundless Paleos®.
The Paleos® must be heavy?!
"All joking aside, these things must be pretty heavy!"
Wrong again! The Paleos® are true lightweights! Commonly, a single safety shoe will run around 600grams (1.3 lb). Conversely, a DELINDA barely weighs 200g (.45lb) per shoe, and a PRONATIVE is no heavier than 240g (.53 lb). Therefore, the weight corresponds to the weight of an average running shoe.
However, the Paleos have an unbeatable advantage in that they will weight no more when it's wet and muddy. Unlike other shoes (see picture), they don't absorb water and don't hold the dirt. They can also easily be cleaned with just water after you walk or run - it's stainless steel!
The Paleos® form dirt clods inside!
"I am sure that they'll collects tons of dirt immediately and form lumps inside!"
We'll admit that this is an understandable assumption. But even here, just the opposite is true! This fabric has many hidden features that make it so interesting for us. This is one of them.
(Picture: Running shoes after a wet cross country racing!)Imagine the view from the side when wearing Paleos: under the foot, for example, you have soil, then comes the layer of angled standing intertwined rings. Due to your own body weight, only objects which are smaller than 0.5-0.7 mm can get pressed through the mesh and stops at the soles of your feet (this the way we produce our natural barefoot feeling).
Thus, any soil fragments touching your skin are very small and harmless. However, the soil can not get further into the shoe as it gets stopped at your soles. Since the Paleos behave like an open sieve in both directions, the inner of the shoe will always remain clear of any irritating foreign objects. When you step into mud, for example, the sieved elements pass the chain mail, but are simultaneously pushed back out and aside in all directions again by your foot.
After many runs over the last two years, by over 70 testers, on all terrains, we've just had a single case of a tiny pebble stone that was pressed through the fabric into the Paleo and didn't fall straight out again - compare that with regular running shoes - where once a stone is trapped, it can't escape.
Hot asphalt and Paleos®!
"What about hot asphalt? Do you have to take them off and let them cool down regularly?"
Fortunately not! Again, the opposite is true. If you're running on very hot asphalt in normal running shoes, the soles can start to melt, but with Paleos® you can keep them on for hours - there's natural air conditioning! The same is true for cold temperatures on any hard surface, it's a property of the structure and material of the fabric, which creates a thin layer of insulating air against the cold and heat.
Ultimately, since your body weight is spread over many little points (lots of tiny open rings) rather than a continuous surface, instead of touching the ground with 100% of the surface (like you would in completely bare feet), with Paleos®, only 5-8% of the 'surface' is contacted. Compared to normal shoes, the effective transfer of heat and cold is much less efficient.
Our testers report that even on hot sand at the beach where you'd struggle to walk with bare feet, you can easily walk in Paleos®. Again, the principle is the same, as the angular sand crystals only touch minimal points on the mesh.
Nevertheless, the Paleos® are metal - if you leave them in the sunshine, they heat up like a pair of sunglasses with metal frames. On account of this, (e.g. at the beach), they should be in your bag, stored under a towel or in the shade, if they are not in use. Regarding asphalt, gravel, tiles, marble, pavement....Remember, the current models of the Paleos® belong to natural soils and on / in water!
The Paleos® are unhygienic!
"Eww, won't one come into contact with all kinds of questionable dirt?"
Regarding their use in nature, we don't really understand this question! Is it not healthy to be in contact with nature? People normally have more bacteria on their hands or even in their mouthes than a dog does in its mouth! On the one hand, many people claim that - against all evolutionary logic - that running barefoot in the woods would be unhygienic and unhealthy. On the other, some recommend (as we do) walking / running barefoot as often as possible because it's so healthy! Well, now what?
"What about public urinals, or dog dirt in the city?".
We use Paleos® in natural surroundings, not really in urban areas, and of course, not in public urinals (remember, tiled floors!)! However, even if we did, unlike ordinary running shoes, the Paleos® can't form breeding grounds for bacteria or fungi. This (apart from its protective properties) is one of the main reasons why stainless steel ring mesh is used in the meat industry. The same alloy is even used for surgical instruments in operating rooms. Whatever you face, Paleos® can be washed in a dishwasher or washing machine up to 60°C and then, in terms of hygiene, are spotless again.
Blisters and skin irritations!
"These would be so abrading and cause so many blisters! It hurts to think about!"
Again, there's a natural assumption that metal = cold, hard and uncomfortable. And, again, in the case of Paleos®, it's different! We know of people who have run with bare feet on pavement and gotten bloody blisters. But, even for untrained users, it's almost impossible to get this kind of blisters when running and hiking with Paleos® on natural surfaces.If chain mail was aggressive to the skin and felt so uncomfortable, protective gloves made of this material would have long been replaced by something else. Instead, industry has been using ring mesh gloves, aprons and gauntlets for over 30 years.
Another unique advantage, again a feature of the chain mail's structure and flexibility, is that it easily moves against your foot, reducing friction. A conventional shoe has full contact with most areas of the foot. When running, the shoe (when not wearing socks) drags against the skin (e.g. your heels) and pulls it with each step. Particularly if the shoes are new and this happens over any length of time, the uppermost layer of the skin is heated by the friction, and it creates a blister, it can even burst, leaving a painful sore.
Chain mail has no flat surfaces. The ring mesh is a kind of movable knobbly surface that moves according to chaotic principles. Additionally, the individual rings are round and very smooth. All the rings are angled relative to each other and when it comes to loads or pressure all rings move and slide within the mesh and along the skin. Thus, at each step, the individual ring edges are touching the skin in different spots each time. Compared to normal shoes the surface area a Paleo® contacts with the skin of your feet might only be about 10-15%. To get blisters when walking, hiking or even running with properly sized and fitted Paleos® is almost impossible! But it is not entirely excluded, of course. Especially when you have untrained soles or on longer running on very hard ground like gravel and/or without any previous training you have a chance to get them (as with any other shoe, to which one has not yet become accustomed)!
"I wonder just what it feels like to be wearing a cheese grater!"
We like this comment because it's so pictorially vivid. Actually, it is very pleasant to stand on the material and to run on it. You just can feel the mesh a little, especially when moving on smooth, hard surfaces such as marble, tiles, etc. (Here the Paleos® also can get slippery - see section grip)! But on natural surfaces it's exactly the opposite. It's like you're not wearing anything at your feet anymore. As if there's nothing between your soles and the ground! So far, everyone has been completely surprised by how nice this feels.
Garrett alias MudRunner about his "cheese graters"!
For a better understanding, it may be easier to imagine a chain of jewelry. We are sure that women in particular can confirm that although jewelry is metal it feels very pleasant on the skin. This is similar to what how the fine ring mesh of the Paleos® feels.
However, it's true that, the Paleos® can cause problems. However, these can easily be avoided or prevented. If you have a sensitive skin, pressure marks and skin irritation due to the ever moving ring tissue can occur, particularly to the top of the foot and the ankle. This has to be considered when you want to do more with Paleos® than just playing golf, strolling or walking.
The soles of the feet are not a problem at all no matter how hard you run. Even absolute barefoot beginners don't have the slightest problem with this part of the foot! But there are people who have very sensitive skin on the dorsal part of the foot and around the ankle, and this really depends on the intensity of your activity. With the Paleos laced loosely, you can walk and stroll around quite happily with naked feet. For running, though, you may need to lace a little tighter - which can make the fabric movement feel more intense. Here, it's best to wear the supplied Paleos®Ankle Sleeves or the Paleos®Inner socks. If you are racing, for instance in a muddy event, you definitely should consider these accessories or even the Paleos®Running-Socks.
Thorns and insect bites!
"Seems a good way to a tetanus shot!"
If you run purely barefoot on unfamiliar, difficult to visually map, natural terrain or in cloudy/dirty water you are hardly going to be protected against the bites of insects, cuts from sharp edged stones and the stabs of sharp plants. Even in your own garden this is not precluded. But, with Paleos® any cut risks are completely ameliorated on the covered part of the foot. But even the risks of punctures, pricks and stings are limited to very tiny, harmless ones.
Insects have at most a 0.5 mm opportunity for stinging you! Each ring from the mesh has an inner diameter of 2.9 mm, and whent this ring gets intertwined with 4 others the resulting open diameter is about 0.5-0.7 mm. This diameter is so small that in rare cases only a harmless prickling is felt.
For example, if you step on a thistle with bare feet, all the vertical spines can reach your skin unimpeded. Let say 50 spines will hit you. Remember that chain mail is not flat like your skin - all the rings are angled against and in relation to each other. Of the 50 spines far more than 90% will be bent or simply break due to this structure, and before reaching your skin. So just a very few spines remain to pass the mesh to your skin. As there is only an open cross section of 0.5-0.7 mm you might just feel a little sting (if the thorn can make it though your soles too). We have been working for two years with 50-70 testers and only one of them has had this experience.
Even otherwise dangerous conical thorns can only penetrate so far into the foot, until the 0.5-0.7 mm are filled. Compared with the sort of risk barefoot runners face, this is no risk at all.For insects it is is even more difficult to reach your soles! Their spines are indeed fine, but relatively short. Since the fabric is not flat, distance always remains a between foot and insect, usually is about 2 mm. Even if the sting came through, no penetration is possible. Reagrding "successful" insect bites or stings (including ants), so far we have no report from any tester either.
Zero grip on asphalt and concrete!
"Zero grip on asphalt and concrete - what should one do with those things?"
We have repeatedly pointed out that the PaleoBarefoots® are intended for natural soils, surfaces and water. But, this does not mean that they have no grip on asphalt and concrete. Here, too, exactly the opposite is true! There is no other sole that delivers here such a convincing - almost aggressive - grip like the PaleoBarefoots® . This is where the effect is so immediate and direct that when braking on ashpalt or concrete one has to be very careful not to fall forward! They are like that in any weather situation. No exaggeration!
Grip and pure experience on all natural surfaces!Althouhgh this property is technically spectacular, like the "0mm" of damping with Paleos® (again 100% less than your thinnest minimalists) it's counterproductive from a physiological perspective. From the experience of 2 years and conclusions about our evolution, we don't recommend long distance barefoot running (and we include running in Paleos in this category) on artificial, permanently hard surfaces such as asphalt or concrete paving. See also "Barefoot for Beginners/Migrators"
Evolution has not constructed our feet for these substrates. At best one may get used to it, but we are convinced that this has little to do with Natural Running in its truest sense. Whoever wants to put such demands on and train his feet "naturally" must go to nature - because unfortunately there is no other way! See also "Barefoot for Beginners/Migrators"!
Hence the same question again and again is: why don't people prefer to run barefoot in nature? They simply don't do this because in nature one never knows on what your foot will land with the next step. Things like the fear of injury and greater demands on care and concentration do spoil the fun when running in nature! It's Exactly THAT that the Paleos® are able to change! Please take a look at the "Multi-Paws". This option/upgrade for the Paleos® make them suitable for all urban soils and conditions!
Off the roads and concrete paths where you can experience the natural and varied cushioning due to the ground, you'll find the best conditions to train your feet naturally. So we better get off the road and go to nature.
Grip on natural surfaces!
"The fabric will quickly fill with clods of dirt and you'll imediately loose all grip!"
"Sure, no grip = no security!"
Anyone who has ever run in rubber soled minimalist shoes, or even barefooton wet soils (earth, mud, puddles, moss, etc.) knows how slippery this can get (BTW, another reason why most runners stick to roads or dry tracks). An innattentive step or wrong angle can send you falling headlong. It's all apbout grip!
Aside from the open concept that provides very natural stimuli, the gripping property of Paleos® is their greatest strength. The material structure, where hundreds of little rings stand at a diagonal angle means that they claw into ever nook and cranny. If there's moss on wood or stones, or algae growth in water, the rings just get pressed through that layer into the harder surface underneath. As there can't be any planing effects (water passes through the surface, not around it), the grip is incredible almost everywhere - even on ice!Immediate and indestructible grip - in puddles, mud and water!
Slush and mud are the greatest!Since PaleoBarefoots® pretty much consist of holes, they are extremely safe on these surfaces. When stepping into a puddle with a Paleo, it can't form a slippery layer between the sole and the ground. The rings are all intertwined, and this causes them to be inclined in relation to each other, and theferore they engage the soil like little scales and press through into harder layers below.
Even in the thickest mud, you can't slide, since the softer sludge can simply escape through the fabric. Liquid and mud penetrate the entire shoe, and ooze back out on all sides of the ring mesh. Nothing remains between the PaleoBarefoots® and the ground that coud be slippery - more than that, you'll leave an almost dry footprint behind.
We regularly meet other runners who, because of caution and worrying about ruining their shoes (or running with uncomfortable wet feet) avoid every puddle or muddy spot. With Paleos, you'll tend to seek out the next bit of mud or water, because it's so safe and so much fun! The extraordinary grip that they give you on any natural ground including soils, stone, rock, coral, reef rock, ice (yes, ice!) is without peer.
In the last few months, we've engaged with a tester in Iceland who runs daily on ice, they report that it's as safe as running on ordinary soil, and that the risk of slipping is considerably reduced. Once the surface has minimal structure, the Paleos are incredibly safe. They're only slippery on really smooth polished hard surfaces, which are barely found in nature, or at least are very rare - large stones in rivers being the only possibility.
For this kind of conditions there is an interesting upgrade/option - the so-called "Multi-Paw option". It also makes the Paleos® suitable for all urban soils and conditions!
Foot stability - the grip inside the Paleos®!
"You'll roll back and forward like a tank in these shoes!"
Not at all! What applies to the grip on the outside, also applies to the grip inward against the soles of the feet. As described above, the rings are neither flat nor perpendicular, (neither do they they work like like small wheels ;) Instead, under pressure the rings align more vertically and engage against / in the ground and vice versa also against the sole of the foot.
Double Grip under load - both internally and externally!Thus, sliding within the Paleos® is not possible. Even excessive sweating does not harm grip, as sweat and water can immediately escape from the PaleoBarefoot®. As feet are always well ventilated they maintain a firm grip in the shoe.
See also „Grip on natural surfaces!“!
The future of the PaleoBarefoots®!
"Who wants to get back to the Middle Ages!"
We don't! Over the last two years, we've invested heavily in building an International team of PaleoBarefoots® testers on different continents and collecting their feedback. Our technology has fascinated and inspired them, and every day, we have more interest.
On this page, we've tried to answer the most imporant questions about the product, but it's hard to adequately explain such a new and unique product in words. Sometimes you just need to experience it and feel for yourself what makes these barefoots so amazing and the effects that you can experience when wearing them.
In future, the current products "DELINDA, ANTERRA and PRONATIV" will belong to a new category called Paleos®ULTRA. This is because, we believe, nothing provides a more durable, efficient product or a more holistic barefoot feel for training in natural environments. A more pure concept to support 'Natural Running' in the truest sense of the word, would be impossible.
In parallel with our work on Paleos®ULTRA we are working on the next generation of Paleos®. Since not everyone has nature on their doorstep, and since we have daily enquiries demanding product adapted for more urban environments, our future range of PaleoBarefoots® will be more versatile for modern society - without losing the typical characteristics of PaleoBarefoots®.
Those who care to take a close look at our website will already find some clear hints on where our second 'society-conforming' Paleos®URBAN journey will lead.
Thanks for visiting this page! Jörg Peitzker (CEO)
20 Jan 2014