I bought some Feelmax Osma shoes. They are made in Finland and are specifically designed for people who want to have as minimal a shoe as possible. I bought them from Extreme Outfitters.
I wasn't really sure what to expect. They are much like moccasins that look sort of like running shoes. They don't look quite like running shoes because most running shoes look really disco space-age plastic with big rubber heels, but they come close. I got the green ones. They match everything I wear because I always wear green and orange and earthy colors. They have a thin, rubber-like sole that wraps up around the edges, so they aren't exactly like moccasins. But the sole is very thin and quite flexible without a heel rise or arch support so your feet are left to their own abilities.
The Osmas are supposed to be for running. I will try running in them soon, but so far all I have done is wear them around the house and to Trader Joes on my scooter. In order to wear them on my scooter, I put the hard plastic parts of superfeet insoles into the shoes. It's the only way I could put my scooter up on the center stand wearing these shoes. Putting it up on the center stand requires standing on the kick-stand while I push the scooter back. This takes a bit of force.
Still, even with the hard plastic insoles, it felt much like being barefoot. A lot more like being barefoot than I expected. I often walk part of the way home from work barefoot, but other than that, I don't go anywhere barefoot. This was my first time in a public environment like shopping with such minimal shoes. The soles are only a few millimeters thick. There is no built-up heel. I could tell that my ankles and feet are not used to being so free. Not used to being held up by stiff shoes. I kept thinking as I walked the aisles of Trader Joes, "Let the healing begin!"
What healing? Well, 3000 miles of walking has impacted my feet quite a bit. Although doctors might tell me to put all kinds of orthotics in my shoes and tell me to get all kinds of supportive shoes, I'm pretty sure the opposite is a better course of action. Ray Jardine said that if you want to avoid ankle injuries while backpacking, forget the big boots and instead wear low-cut running shoes to build strong ankles. I'm going to move one step forward from Ray Jardine's advice. I want to have strong feet and ankles so I am going to strengthen them in barefoot shoes.