By Capt. Andrew Derr.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]like the feeling of barefoot and not having to worry about slipping on the boat ramp, stubbing my toes or cutting my feet on shells or rocks when launching my skiff.
Recently, I got a chance to test the latest toe shoes from Body Glove, the Barefoot 3T. This style of shoes is all the rage these days. Outdoor enthusiasts using them for Stand Up Paddle boarding, kite boarding, surfing boarding, fishing and running. Other than the Army, who recently banned soldiers from wearing them because they don’t look appropriate, folks are buying them up in droves. Citing advantages such as strengthening muscles in the feet and lower legs and improving range of motion, balance and agility, fans of the shoes are creating a big demand in the shoe industry for these minimalist kicks.
No break-in time
As the name suggests, there are 3 toe compartments in the 3T; some companies are designing shoes with up to five. I’m using them guide-fishing out of Greenport, New York with a skiff or flats boat and out of Montauk, New York on a bay boat. The shoes are comfortable and no break-in is required. They’re very light weight, well constructed and intelligently designed. Maybe the best feature of the 3T is its Integrated Drainage System, which is basically holes in the soles that let water out (quickly) through a thin metal mesh barrier. The mesh also keeps shells and stones from getting inside the shoe. That said, serious wading fisherman will want to consider a more formidable wading boot that keeps sand and debris from entering around the ankle.
This style of shoe is not about arch support
The soles are comfortably flexible for walking. However, I didn’t log anything that could be called long distance experience. However, on day long charters poling from the platform I did notice a pleasant reduction in foot fatigue – compared to poling barefoot all day.
This multi-purpose amphibious shoe is priced very reasonably at $49. The shoes fit and wear comfortably all day – clearly made with function and durability in mind.
NOTE: Body Glove is a company obsessed with all things water. Twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell co-founded Body Glove when they designed the first practical wetsuit. Almost 60 years later, Body Glove is one of very few family owned surf and dive brands in the world. It all began in a pool in Booneville, Missouri.
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