This cleverly-illustrated NY Magazine article makes a good case that shoes suck. I’m fascinated by Vibram FiveFingers:
From what I’ve read online their killer app is running; kayakers looking for something weirder than foam clogs also like them. I don’t run nor kayak, so I’ve been looking for other excuses to buy a pair:
I currently wear Vans to lift weights. Regular athletic shoes are not good for lifting because they’re spongy and don’t provide a stable base. Some people lift in bare feet, although the experts say weightlifting shoes are better. The exercise cult of CrossFit often requires a combination of running and weightlifting: Ryley tells me that some cultists wear FiveFingers as a crossover shoe.
I’m into lightweight backpacking and part of that philosophy is that supportive boots are more harm than help with a light backpack. I currently hike in Chaco sandals with socks to protect my toes and they still get plenty banged-up. If they ever wear out, I could replace them with Keen toe-protecting sandals or FiveFingers?