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A blog about thriving and feeling awesome, by Brad Rourke

Boots For Barefoot Primal People

My friends know I am a strong proponent of Vibram’s Five Finger “toe shoes.” I have been wearing them almost exclusively since I discovered them in July 2009. I have six pairs, of differing colors, materials, and purpose. Some I wear in the gym. Others are meant for general “casual” use. I have a pair of the Flow model, which are neoprene and designed for cold weather.

Or, should I say, semi-cold weather. Because even with the thick material, in the winter these shoes may not be right for every situation. The other day my toes were FREEZING.

So I’ve been looking for a pair of boots that will give me as close to a barefoot experience as I can get, and still keep my feet warm. Turns out is not an easy thing to find — most boots have big, thick soles. I wanted as little sole as possible.

After some research, I found my solution.

Note Very Thin Sole, No Heel

Note Very Thin Sole, No Heel

It’s sheepskin boots — like UGG, only a different brand. UGGs have a sole that is too thick, and they are way too expensive. Instead, I went straight to a maker in New Zealand, Kiwi Sheepskins. Their mid-calf EVA sole boot is perfect. The sole is lightweight and relatively thin, and the workmanship is absolutely fantastic. I paid much less than I would have for UGGs and got something much closer to what I wanted.

I’ve treated my boots with water repellant (don’t tell UGG I used their brand) and they have been serving me well in my mild Maryland winter.

My Kiwi Sheepskins In Situ

My Kiwi Sheepskins In Situ

Would this solution work in, say, Michigan or Minnesota? I don’t know. If you are from truly northern climes, where you get real snow and cold, let me know how they work for you!


  1. Angelique · January 26, 2013 Reply

    Nice find on the Kiwi Sheepskins. I’m wondering if they have a slipper-like thing. My Ugg slippers keep my feet warm, but I traced my mysterious knee pain to them, caused by walking “funny” because of their completely inflexible sole.

    • bradrourke · January 26, 2013 Reply

      Angelique, they do indeed have slipper-type thingies. Also sole-less (sheepskin sole). Shipping is included in the price. They have a great calculator that helps you figure out what size to buy.

  2. Andrea Jarrell · January 26, 2013 Reply

    Angelique: I have the Ugg knockoff slippers from Target and they’re great.

  3. kay · March 17, 2014 Reply

    Hi Brad,
    How have these held up over time?
    Do you think the toe springs are noticeable when you’re stationary?
    Also, I’m always concerned about heel slippage. Do you think a narrow heel would slip in them? I only have very minor slippage in uggs as their heel cup is angled toward the toes and not that wide to begin with. However another brand of sheepskin boot was unacceptable in this regard.

    • bradrourke · March 17, 2014 Reply

      Mine have held up great! I couldn’t speak to the heel slippage though, I am just not sure.

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