Wellypedia: A Guide To Barefoot Wellies

I first came across barefoot footwear in summer of 2019 whilst we were selling wellies at the Bird Fair. There was a company called Freet there and Mrs Welly and I bought a pair of barefoot shoes each.

For those who don’t know. Barefoot shoes essentially don’t have a mid-sole and don’t have a heel. So they’re as close as you can get to being barefoot, whilst having the same level of protection you need from wearing a shoe.

I love barefoot shoes. For me it reminds me of running around as a child barefoot and as a 30 something man, (all right, nearly 40), that’s a surprisingly liberating way of walking. I’m certainly no expert on Barefoot footwear, so I am relying on the information from the well-established barefoot companies that exist. But barefoot shoes:

  1. Allow the foot to spread out in its natural form – your feet aren’t unnaturally constrained by tight-fitting shoes (i.e. modern footwear)
  2. Allow you to feel connected to the earth. It may sound a bit “hippy”, but it’s true. With a barefoot shoe, you get an enhanced feedback from the ground beneath your feet and it’s a really nice feeling. Especially if you’re a “naturalist” type of person who enjoys the outdoors (stress Naturalist, NOT naturist, they’re 2 very different past times!)
  3. Because barefoot shoes are more natural your body stands in a more natural way: your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones move in a natural way. When you actually stop and think about how you walk in shoes and how you walk in barefoot shoes, you can notice the difference.

Again, I’m not an expert in the field so I suggest you do your own research on the pro’s of barefoot footwear.

Barefoot Wellies

We’ve started importing Barefoot Wellies in 2020! The boots we import are folding, barefoot wellies. They’re based on Japanese agricultural work boots!

So in the paddy fields of japan, the rice farmers wear a light-weight rubber barefoot boots. A company called Atom has then taken this boot and adapted it to make it a portable, folding welly for those who need a boot, but don’t have the space or don’t want to carry a traditional (heavy) rubber welly. The brand is called Pokeboo.

They’ve kept the barefoot style for 2 reasons:

  1. To keep the weight down on the boot. The point is that they’re portable. If you then put a mid-sole in the boots the weight and bulkiness increases and it eliminates the point of a super-light weight boot you can clip to your belt loop when you’re at a festival.
  2. It’s a common style of shoe in Japan and the barefoot style is increasing in popularity around the world. Especially in Europe.

Now for the downsides:

  • Some people want ankle support, and you don’t get much ankle support in barefoot footwear/wellies. If you’re climbing Ben Nevis, you’d probably want to opt for your hiking boots.
  • Because the outsole is relatively thin and there’s no midsole. You won’t want to do certain jobs, for example, these are awesome gardening wellies. However you might struggle using a fork/shovel to dig.

In summary, these barefoot wellies are the best solution if you need a pair of portable wellies. Where you need a pair of high-quality, rubber wellies but don’t have the space. For example:

  • Camping
  • Caravanning
  • Back-packing/travelling

They’re also ideal if you may need a pair of boots but can’t carry a heavy pair of boots:

  • Festivals
  • Bird-watching
  • Around town
  • Other outdoor pursuits

They’re ideal if you just want a super light-weight pair of boots. A pair of these boots weigh about 500g, whilst a pair of Normal wellies, weight around 2.5Kg! 5 times the weight! So they’re fantastic for:

  • Gardening
  • Dog-walking

Finally, they’re ideal as an emergency pair of wellies. As this wonderful world we live in changes year by year, it feels like the weather is becoming more unpredictable. Global warming doesn’t just mean the world’s getting warmer, I reckon the weather will become extreme at both ends of the scale, so this means wetter weather at times too. So flooding will increase and you may need to think about being prepared for this. I.e. waterproof footwear being one thing you may want to invest in.

Anyway, that’s an introduction to barefoot wellies and the boot we have on offer. I hope it’s enlightened you somewhat and I’ll look forward to winging you a pair of folding, barefoot wellies.

Thanks

Peter
Mr Welly

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