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The Spread Happiness Challenge: Start Suggesting Zero Drop Casual Shoes

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 | 14 Comments

Surrounded by people that frown more than they smile?  Maybe they’re in pain.  Maybe that pain is caused by their raised heel restrictive shoes.

Many of my friends have suggested this here in the comments section or on Facebook, most recently my friend Olle.  You guys have recommended more people would benefit if society either went barefoot most of the time or at least wore shoes that didn’t choke our feet and alter our posture.  This would probably make a bigger difference than our efforts to teach about good running form.

I couldn’t agree more.

To that end, I propose we start the “Spread Happiness Challenge.”  I challenge each of my readers to recommend zero drop casual shoes to five friends, relatives, or coworkers by this Monday (March 19th).

There are no real rules to the challenge, make them up as you go along.  Feel free to use your own dialogue, and it doesn’t matter if you give a specific shoe recommendation or not.  All that matters is you give the recommendation.

Who’s in?

Help me share this idea by blogging, emailing, or sharing the “Spread Happiness Challenge” via social media and forums!






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  1. Nick Hind
    March 19, 2012

    Great plan! I’m giving it my best shot over here in Australia. Way less awareness and choice than you guys seem to have in the US. I’m officially the shoe geek at our Crossfit box and am pushing barefoot/minimal shoes everyway I can. Just gave the speel to my in-laws this morning as I was trying on my freshly arrived Soft Star Moc3 and Dash from the current sale. Wearing the Dash at the office today to see if they’ll be suitable for casual/work use. Currently switching between Vivo Dharma and Aqua (black leather) for office time, but sometimes have to switch back to “normal” shoes for meetings etc.
    Definitely at my happiest when barefoot or minimal.

  2. Mike L
    March 17, 2012

    I love the idea! I also highly recommend Leming shoes. I would love a recommendation for a women’s shoe, I’m trying to convince my wife, but she is very concerned about fashion before function. I couldn’t get her in Lemings.

    Also, I think it would be helpful in spreading the happiness if we could point people to a one stop place that could really educate them. Any recommended places for that?

  3. Charlie
    March 16, 2012

    I’ve been wearing Lemings for a few days. Very comfortable, they feel like slippers. Good ground feel. Hope this isn’t a problem but I’ve had calf problems on and off for the past 2 years and my calves are sore after wearing the Lemings. Hopefully this is just soreness from getting used to zero drop shoes.

  4. Mo
    March 16, 2012

    My challenge is to stop doing it to everyone I know… My wife who lives in merrell BF of flip flops just finally gave away the heels she never wears. Both of my parents 66 and 68years old) have been in VFFs only for a while now. Slowly, some other folks are coming around too. I have been joyously free of foot coffins for over 2 years now, no going back!

    • Mo
      March 16, 2012

      Sadly, my father in law just bought new shape-ups! Oh, well…

  5. Gregor
    March 16, 2012

    Hi! There is a german brand that sells zero drop, big room for the toes. Bär shoes. High quality, comfortable, expensive. They also have a trekking/running shoe i use for trail running: Transeuropa. The good of this shoe is that have very protective sole (thick, flexible enough) but with little cushioning (it´s TPU not EVA). Their classic model “der feine” is the most confortable shoe ever. They also have models for wide feet and high instep.

  6. Simon T
    March 16, 2012

    A great idea. I know Patagonia have the advocate (gonna order some) and I wear vivo barefoot ra to work every day, with a different colour for casual wear. Just ordering some vivo barefoot oak hydro for work and casual 🙂 I found that after a month of going barefoot and using trail gloves for running on rocks etc I couldn’t bear to wear my old work shoes with raised heel

  7. Dustin
    March 15, 2012

    Another good casual option is Patagonia. I have a pair of Paus and Maui Mocs, and love both of them. I know the Paus are zero drop, but I think the Maui Mocs are 4mm drop, but thats still way better than most casual shoes.

  8. Alex
    March 15, 2012

    Every other barista that works at my coffee shop now wears flat shoes at work, and a couple have even dabbled in barefoot running. It’s easy to advocate for something you really believe in.

  9. Brian G
    March 15, 2012

    Instead of dialogue, how about shelling out some cash and buying them? I got my wife on them — for about 2/3 the time, but fashion is still important — and I’m getting my kids on them too (and paying for them, of course).

    Jeff, as for casual shoes check out Leming Footwear (previously Stem Footwear due to trademark issues) and Merrell Life series. There was a blog from Jason not too long ago that listed some others in the comments section.

    • Jeff
      March 16, 2012

      I like Leming, unfortunately, they don’t have my size. Their 11 is too small for me, but the 12 is definitely too large.

  10. Jeff
    March 15, 2012

    I’m waiting for someone to recommend some zero drop casual shoes to me. The focus seems to be on running shoes, and the majority of these seem to have somewhat flamboyant design, which is find for running, but look silly in situations that require dressing nicer than jeans and a t-shirt.

  11. Dave Robertson
    March 15, 2012

    Totally in! Great idea. A ‘Spread Happiness Challenge’ video would be powerful & I’m sure what help the virality of the campaign as well…

  12. trissa
    March 15, 2012

    I spread it every where I go, by going barefoot. I will share your note, though!! 🙂