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Posted by terrepruitt on April 14, 2011

One Monday after my Nia Class, I went to a store down the street from the studio in San Jose.  I went to a shoe store in Willow Glen.  I had decided that I was going to buy myself some MBTs.  MBTs have been around since 1996.  I would say since 1997 I have wanted them.  But they were huge, clunky, and EXTREMELY expensive.  I had never even tried any on because I could never bring myself to spend over $200 on tennis shoes.

I am very excited to have FINALLY purchased a pair of MBTs.  I spent almost two hours in the store trying on different styles.  I was fortunate that I liked the ones that were on sale.  Yay!  Even though the price of tennis shoes has probably caught up to the price of MBTs.   I still couldn’t bring myself to spend $200 on tennis shoes.   I figured if they help me walk properly they really are worth it, but I am still glad I saved my Christmas gifts so I could splurge on these “shoes”.

What are MBTs you ask?

MBTs are the “antishoe”.  Their websites states:  “MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) was born in 1996 when we discovered that natural instability can have positive effects on the human body. We made this discovery by observing the wonderfully agile Masai people walking barefoot on natural, uneven ground.”  Because the shoes were designed to allow us to experience walking on uneven ground even as we walk on flat ground the idea is that one needs to give the body time to adjust.  I looked on the site to see if they have a guide as to how to acclimate the body, but I didn’t see anything.

Kind people keep telling me to go slow, but unfortunately I don’t think I will have the opportunity to get to that point where I need to take a break because my legs need a rest.  Ya see, as you might know, I injured my toe about five months ago.  I want it to be completely better and function as it used to, but it is not.  It is MUCH better, but nowhere near where it used to be.  It gets tired.  I still have to rest it.  I still have to pay way too much attention to it.  But that is what I have to do.  My toes are the reason I finally decided to treat myself to my long lusted after MBTs.

The sole of an MBT is curved so the idea is to encourage the wearer to walk heel toe.  Those of you familiar with Nia know that is one of the “body’s way” movements we practice doing.  The ankle was designed to flex and extend and walking heel first, rolling through the foot to the ball/toe is good for the ankle and lower leg.  With my toes as they are, I can’t roll through my foot so I thought the MBTs would be perfect to help me/allow me to do that.

Well, the shoes are great.  They do allow me to walk whole foot and through my whole foot.  It is easier to do that in these shoes than in regular shoes, but my toe still gets tired.  I think my toe gets tired and makes me take my shoes off long before my legs get to the point of being tired.  I think that my toe will be the guide I need to acclimate myself into using these shoes–or shoe I say these “anit-shoes”.  😉

8 Responses to “MBTs”

  1. niachick said

    Great info about MBT’s. Helen Terry, Nia First Generation Trainer from Houston, sells them. I always found them way to expensive. Glad you like them!!!


    • Yes, Helen’s are the first I tried on. She had just gotten the boots . . . they were new to MBT at the time. She let everyone at the White Belt Intensive try them on. I had always planned on buying a pair through her, but I forgot. And I needed to try them on. This store has a 30-day-bring-back-the-shoe policy. EVEN IF YOU WALK OUTSIDE in them.

      I think they are expensive too, but these were on sale for way less than I was thinking I was going to have to pay. Thank God for cash Christmas gifts. 😉


  2. […] MBTs « Terre Pruitt's Blog […]


  3. suzicate said

    I’ve never heard of these. Let me know how you like them after you’ve worn them a while.


    • Oh, I like ’em. I think I wore them too much for my toe though. I was so excited to be able to walk . . . not hobble and limp, I wore them out shopping and when I got home I didn’t take them off and my toe hurt for days. So I stopped wearing them because I needed to rest my toe for the Nia Class. I have yet to put them back on. I will wear them tomorrow for the MS Society Walk.

      There are a lot of brands out there that look as if they have copied MBT, but I would do some research before buying them. The MBTs have different materials in the sole so that adds to the benefit, whereas I think some brands are just foam or a regular shoe sole shaped to the curve. So depending on what you want out of the shoe . . . . check into what you are going to buy. And ask people. The only response I have ever gotten is, “Oh, I love my MBTs.” Oh, I did get one different response once and that was that she didn’t wear them that often because they are narrow. So for that I would tell you to try on all different styles. There was one style I liked but it was too narrow so I decided against it.

      Thank you so much for visiting, Sweet Suzi!


      • suzicate said

        I have narrow feet and find that most shoes are a bit wide for me. I hate spending that much money on shoes, but the Dirt Man insists that I purchase “good” shoes for walking. I’ve found that Merrell and Keen give me the support I need in most types of shoes. My last athletic shoes were NB and Nike. I could wear a tennis shoes for years, but he insists I switch to a new pair every year…I shouldn’t fight him on it because I wore special shoes as a child because my feet turned in at the ankles, hard to explain, but the shoes were ugly manly leather brown shoes, I hated them. Anyway, I just dislike changing my shoes of comfort, but I like familiar, even on my feet!


        • Yes, a pair of comfy good ol’ worn tennies is awesome. But I do believe that they do need replacing if you wear them a lot. It is so nice that Dirt Man takes such good care of you.

          I think some of the MBT styles are narrow and some are more wide, but they don’t come in “wide” and “narrow”. You just get what the style dictacts.

          If you are ever in a shoe store that carries them you might wanna try them on for fun. You might end up liking them. They are shoes that really make you practice your balance and I know balance is important to work on. But I am not sure they are good for hiking, but maybe some people like them for that. Another thing, I think it is important to go to a store that has been trained to sell them because it helps if they know the shoe so you can get the right one for you.

          Thank you so much for all of this “visiting”. I love it (and really appreciate it)!


  4. […] DONE!  And it was pretty funny.  I had been out today in my MBTs and I decided to practice the Nia routine Sexi in my MBTs.  So after that, I decided to do the ten […]


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