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Gost Barefoots get medieval with chainmail barefoot shoes


January 3, 2013

Gost PaleoBarefoots

Gost PaleoBarefoots

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At times, the barefoot shoe movement has played out like an all-out unleashing of designers' unbridled creativity. We've seen foam feet, ruggedized socks, foot condoms, half shoes and every other type of foot-suit imaginable. Now we add one that goes beyond our wildest imaginings: chainmail foot sleeves.

Gost-Barefoots separates the idea of "barefoot shoes" from the idea of "minimalist shoes," two terms often used interchangeably. Minimalist shoes (i.e. those offered by most other manufacturers) use more traditional shoe design elements in creating an artificial environment aimed at imitating the feeling of going barefoot. While they do strip away material, they still put relatively stiff cushioning between the foot and the ground.

"Barefoot or minimalist shoes have a completely different purpose, as these shoes continue to protect from dirt, temperature variations, humidity and water," the German company explains on its website. "But exactly those are the factors that make our feet strong and healthy."

Inspired by a natural paleolithic diet, Gost's managing director Jörg Peitzker pursued his belief that feet were meant to interact with their environment unimpeded by footwear. He believes that because the feet contain many nerve endings, they are an important part of our sensory system that has been nullified by stifling modern footwear.

Peitzker first tried the most natural approach, ripping footwear off completely and running around on naked feet. It didn't take long for him to realize that his feet weren't quite up to the task of running over raw, wild ground – not without significant risk of pain and injury. When he turned his attention toward existing barefoot shoes, he found them all to be too restrictive, not availing the feet the opportunity to provide the sensory feedback he sought.

Peitzger got to work on a more "environmentally open" design that lets your feet feel the surface, temperature, humidity level, etc. while still affording full protection from cuts, scrapes and other injuries. In searching for fabrics, Peitzger found the combination of properties he was looking for in the chainmail most commonly thought of in relation to the Middle Ages, but also used in modern-day applications like butcher gloves.

The stainless steel chain mail is strong, durable and flexible, allowing the feet to feel temperature, moisture and ground contours. Considering chainmail can protect from meat-slicing butcher's blades and medieval swords, it can presumably offer plenty of protection from the rocks, roots and broken glass that runners or hikers may encounter on a given journey. With nothing but chainmail on your feet, you can run with more confidence through all types of environments and still feel the grass, soil or sand below.

Metal booties don't necessarily sound very comfortable, but Gost says that the chainmail construction is smooth against the skin. They're designed for natural environments, such as trail and beach running, not roads or man-made surfaces.

PaleoBarefoots come in several different styles, starting at around €200 (about US$260). Gost sells them online and delivers to "all countries." While the price is rather steep for a pair of shoes, Gost claims that PaleoBarefoots are durable enough to "last a lifetime."

PaleoBarefoots are an interesting test of just how big the market for minimalist footwear is. They fill the gap between more traditional barefoot styles like Vibram FiveFingers and going completely barefoot, but is that a gap that really needs filling? We've watched enough Discovery Channel to know that people can travel over all kinds of harsh terrain completely barefoot, so is a chainmail shoe really necessary? Peitzger himself admits that the PaleoBarefoots are purpose-built for only off-road use, so wearers will want to wear separate shoes to travel to their off-road running destinations. It seems that buyers will get minimal use out of their $260 shoes.

The PaleoBarefoots do offer an intriguing combination of foot protection and natural, barely-there design. They definitely appear lighter and more "barefoot-like" than other barefoot designs and still offer protection from the sharp, nasty hazards that threaten to slice naked feet.

Source: Gost Barefoots via Gear Junkie

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Interesting and very cool-looking, but I'm pretty sure you'd get rubbed raw at the back of your leg (at the top of your heel).


re; mooseman

Until you develop the firmer skin.


Step on a cactus... "Tis but a scratch!"

Joe Apperson

Hummm, maybe get them magnetized, and they could collect all sorts of hidden treasures??

No mention of actual weight, I wonder how ones tan line would fare as well?

Bob Flint

At some point, won't someone simply develop a spray-on rubber sole for our feet?

I have to wonder if a chain mail shoe would really offer any substantial protection from the really nasty stuff - splinters, glass shards, um ELECTRICITY? Hot pavement seems like a potential problem, too. Once they heat up to the temperature of hot asphalt, you'll have to remove them until they cool.

Still, it's cool to see crazy innovation!

Vince Pack

"interact with their environment unimpeded by footwear"

Correct me if I'm wrong but these chain mail footies, socks or whatever you want to call them are still footwear.


Why so expensive? I see chain mail butcher gloves on line for $50-$60. The shape of these fingered gloves is much more intricate to make than a simple slipper shape.


thanks yrag, you got it right

Bill Bennett

Damn it people! Just run completely barefoot already! I tried the vibrams and minimus and free runs and a bunch of other crap and then finally just tried running barefoot.

Just kick off your shoes and find a decent trail to run. I run completely barefoot on pavement also now and have never enjoyed running more or ran futher/faster!

Tom Hirschmann

I don't think you'd enjoy walking in the wilds of south Texas with these. Too many different plants with long, hard spines to which cactus spines would be soft and painless by comparison.


You could also put a gel insole in them to protect against splinters and glass on the trail, and put some moleskin in place to guard your heel and around the top to prevent blisters. But then, it becomes a shoe......


I bet goat head stickers would still stick you, and sharp rocks still poke your soles. If you go someplace where you're not pestered by these things, seems you might as well be barefoot.

John Hagen-Brenner

Try stepping on a nail...


Once you go barefoot after a while you develop thick pads on your foot bottoms as we were designed to have, use.

My feet have always smelled if stuffed into socks, shoes so decades ago I went barefoot except when I had to use shoes for business or social reasons.

I have no problems with smell, etc since then nor do most hazzards like glass, etc bother me. Only thorn type plants but even then my foot tells me fast to let off the pressure before I get hurt.

I've also found that it's much easier to get a nail intpo your foot if you wear shoes as by the time you feel it it's too late as you are commited to the step.

So go barefoot as much as possible and you'll have little problem with your feet.


Not a chance in purgatory mate. Too many slips into rocky ruts, non-smashed toes and avoided ankle damage in my trail runners for me to trust something with no protection and zero traction on hard surfaces (like rocks). Even if they didn't rub me raw in the first 2km, I'd be asking myself why I didn't just leave well enough alone when I found that perfect low-volume fit down as Asics...


yrag...You nailed it. It's almost offensive that they would ask for such a price on a product that is clearly capable of being made available at a fifth the cost.

Paul Anthony

Hello all, I am Jörg Peitzker of GoSt-Barefoots.

First a big thanks to the author of this post. We are delighted that he even has taken a close look to our German website, since there currently are far more background information on the genesis of the idea. In recent days all over the world appeared Posts about the Paleos, but so far none of them describes the subject as comprehensive as this one.

We are now working for two years at the Paleos and constantly further develope them, provide them with accessories and testing them with many volunteers. Therefore, we also know the first reactions of people and we understand this quite well. Who, however, takes a closer look will realize that we are doing a very serious work with our unique approach.

In the past few days we have been trying to gather all the comments on various online publications and want to answer the comments in a central blog post (it is impossible to answer all of them individually and everywhere) on the GoSt-Barefoots portal.

We will try to answer the most frequent questions and correct some prejudices. This includes, for example, the ring mesh, applications, effects when using them, grip on different surfaces, wearing comfort, behavior, protection, response to heat and cold, stiches of plants and Insects, accessories, weight, and much more.

Please, however, give us some days to create this summary. Thanks and regards, Jörg

Jörg Peitzker to zero traction on concrete, unravel as soon as one link gets worn down, can't prevent puncture injuries, doesn't insulate against cold or hot pavement, no cushioning, heavy, expensive, allows questionable liquids to contact feet when using public urinals, can't be used to put out cigarette butts without burning feet, must remove when entering government buildings.

Positives...can prevent shark attack foot injuries, dishwasher safe, survival grilling surface, breathable, hypoallergenic, can be gold plated.


Hi all, thanks again for your entertaining discussions here. Finaly we are finished with collecting and answering you questions a special FAQ page. If you already know the Plaeos® it's a more entertaining page - for all others, the content might be elemental and worth knowing. Thanks and regards Jörg (Gost-Barefoots).

Jörg Peitzker

It would be great for the electric chair.....One set for the feet, another one for the head. It might even be more humanitarian since the greater conductivity would make the perp die that much faster with less pain.

Don Jennings
The fact that these are made in small quantities determines the price I think. There are no common shoes that protect against electricity. But as far as comfort and long term health of the feet shoes are important. Our ancestors walked on clay and mud even inside their homes. These days we spend our hours on hard surfaces and the cushioning effect of good shoes helps control bone and joint injuries in the feet, ankles, knees, hips and even in the spine. What seems to make sense at the age of twenty can really seem awful at the age of fifty or sixty. Dwayne Wade's team mates have told him to watch his jumps as a man only has so many jumps built into his knees and ankles. And these athletes often have the finest foot gear that sports medicine can design. Jim Sadler

"Stainless steel mesh on the skin - that's not a good idea!" If that is your convictiont, read this independent review of a long-term test by BarefootRunningUK. Findings from more than 200 miles on various nature trails and after 5 months of testing time! Written by Ian Hicks, since years specialized in barefoot running! See blog article at:

Jörg Peitzker
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