My 3 Favorite Shoe Companies and One I Kind of Hate


If you aren’t wearing
Correct Toes® inside your shoes, you may as well be going outside without pants on. Dr. Ray and his merry gang of mad scientists at Northwest Foot and Ankle are amazing podiatrists and help keep my toes properly spaced and feet healthy.
Now on to my three favorite shoe companies!… and one I kind of hate.

Interested in Correct Toes®? Use the code “messnerperformancefreeship” for free shipping on your next order!

I was introduced to Vivobarefoot only a few years ago and I’ve already owned a dozen pairs. They are my favorite looking shoes, and they are both comfortable and easy on the feet. I used to suffer with plantar fasciitis but no more, thanks in large part to Vivobarefoot.
I do have a minor gripe. I dream of a day when Vivobarefoot is a sponsor of the gym, but that’s kind of impossible when they don’t return my e-mails or phone calls. They have pretty terrible customer service too.
However, I’m still going to buy them because I am a sucker. Hey, they can always change, right?

Vibram FiveFingers are almost my favorite shoe. They feel better on my feet than Vivobarefoot, and they are my default running shoe. I even dig the way they look, being the forward thinker that I am!
I used to have knee pain, achilles tightness, hip pain, etc. You name it, I probably had it, but I now run pain free because of my FiveFingers (and
core exercises).
I like the idea of running with as little cushioning as possible. It makes sense to me. We aren’t born with shoes on our feet, so why do we need them when we are older? Furthermore, every client I’ve had with knee pain also had collapsed arches. I don’t think it is a coincidence that naturally shaped shoes, foot health, and strong arches go hand in hand, or foot in foot.

I’ve never owned a pair of Merrells, but my most of my college runners do. The Merrell Glove is our default training shoe and I am pretty sure we have one of the lowest injury rates in the NCAA.
I often times lie to my college athletes. I know this isn’t the best way to build rapport, but hear me out. I try to stay away from telling my college runners that their old running shoes may cause weak hips because (a) they may not understand it and (b) that’s a negative thing to say to a young adult who is trying to figure out how their body works. Calf soreness occurs almost immediately after wearing Merrells the first time, so I just tell them their calves are weak. I’m such a clever coach.
Not clever enough, though. Merrell doesn’t return my phone calls either.

Jon has more than 40,000 hours as a personal trainer and can be reached at or 732-475-0142.