Minimalist, Chainmail Shoes Take Cue From Medieval Design

Minimalist, Chainmail Shoes Take Cue From Medieval Design

Chainmail shoes for running and walking protect wearers from cuts and punctures while providing a barefoot feel.

Libby Garrett
  • 9 january 2013

Gost PaleoBarefoots are a design alternative to minimalist shoes made from stainless steel chainmail and a nylon lace pull. Designed for use in natural environments (such as trail walks and beach running, not roads or sidewalks), the shoes let wearers feel and navigate the natural world while protecting feet from rocks, roots and broken glass.

Chainmail — the same material used by butchers to protect them from fast moving blades, as well as samurai and medieval armor that guards against slashing blows and blade penetration — is durable enough to last a lifetime and, reportedly, smooth against the skin.

The following brief video shows how the stainless steel mesh allows feet to get dirty, wet, feel surface level temperatures and flex at the midfoot across varying contours:

After decades of wearing increasingly high-tech shoes, some people (notably runners) have begun questioning the purpose and effectiveness of contemporary shoe design. In response, minimalist shoes try to get as close to barefoot conditions as possible while protecting wearers from punctures, cuts and infection.  Mimicking early forms of simple footwear such as sandals and moccasins, minimalist shoe design takes an about-turn from the walking and running shoe industry that touts pumped up cushioning, elevated heels, added stability and pronation control.


Backing the emerging niche interest in minimalist shoes, a Harvard study, led by Professor Daniel Liberman published in Nature in January 2010, examines how barefoot runners and running-shoe clad runners cope with the impact of the foot colliding with the ground’s surface.  The study found that barefoot runners run differently than runners wearing shoes.  Where barefoot runners most often land on the fore-foot or mid-foot before bringing down the heel, running shoe-runners more commonly strike with the heel, rolling the foot forward to launch off the toes.



Like other minimalist shoe designs (such as the Vibram FiveFingers), Gost PaleoBarefoots promise greater skin protection than calluses are able to provide completely barefoot runners, and have a similar thin outsole design, low heel-to-toe drop, lightweight construction and flexible sole that twists naturally from the center to the midfoot.

Open in design, however, PaleoBarefoots deliver greater sensation of the surrounding environment.  Wearers feel sand and dirt textures, dryness and wetness, temperature variation and humidity.

Starting at €178 (approximately US$230), PaleoBarefoots are available in three different models and come with a lifetime guarantee on the stainless steel mesh.

Click through for more images of these fascinating shoes:


Gost PaleoBarefoots


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Yesterday

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Retail Yesterday

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Yesterday

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Related Expert

Brian W. Jones

Collabrative Art & Design

Travel Yesterday

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Yesterday

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Yesterday

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 20, 2016

Wearable Tech Expert: Designing Technology To Empower Connection To Ourselves

Billie Whitehouse, Founder of Wearable Experiments, shares her new vision for the quantified self

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Work Yesterday

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

Advertising Yesterday

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Yesterday

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Yesterday

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Yesterday

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Yesterday

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Yesterday

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Yesterday

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

No search results found.