Costa Rica: Pure Life, Pure Feet

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Although we didn’t do much running on our honeymoon (ok, if we’re being truthful, any running), that doesn’t mean we left our minimalist shoe lifestyle behind. As excited as Steven and I were to explore the country of Costa Rica for the first time, we were also looking forward to spending an entire vacation in only minimalist shoes (and barefoot)! As you might expect, our trip to the land of “Pura Vida” was fantastic and it was even better getting to experience it with “Pies Puros” (that’s “pure feet” to you). I have to admit, though, I don’t think I’ve ever put so much time into considering which shoes would be traveling with me or brought so many pairs along on a trip before! So much for minimalist, huh? It’s a good thing that most minimalist shoes are thin and packable or we would’ve been in trouble. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff. FYI: Good stuff = pictures of us doing awesome things in Costa Rica while wearing minimalist footwear. Yay!

Our trip started out in the ever-exciting Chicago airport, where the great debate of “Which minimalist shoes are best for airplane travel?” began. Steven went straight to his Sockwas, which offer the comfort of a sock and the protection of a shoe, combined with the convenience of being a slip-on shoe. I, however, donned my trusty Lemings for maximum comfort. Pro tip: leaving the laces a little looser on your Lemings essentially makes them a slip-on shoe, too!

Washed my Lemings right before we left for Costa Rica. They look brand new & dried super fast!

Once we got to Costa Rica, our go-to shoes for walking, driving, or any casual activity quickly became our huaraches. The comfort and convenience of a flip-flop, plus the foot-strengthening and proprioception (ground-feel) benefits of a minimalist shoe? I’m sold! Steven was pleased to find his Brancas beginning to mold to his feet by the end of the trip, while I was happy to see my footprint showing up in the leather top of my Lunas. New shoes are great, but there’s definitely something to be said for a perfectly worn-in pair, isn’t there?

A sidewalk in San Jose, a restaurant floor (post-pedicure for me), and Steven pausing on the street on our way to see the Arenal Volcano.

Hiking was actually the part of the trip I was most nervous about in regards to wearing minimalist shoes, not because I was worried about comfort or my feet being able to handle it, but the fact that poisonous snakes can be a big-time problem in Costa Rica. My resolve to wear only minimalist shoes was tested at the Neo Fauna Wildlife Reserve. While there, we learned all about the many kinds of Costa Rican snakes, including a viper with fangs long enough to pierce through boots, but meeting the awesome little dude below helped to strengthen my resolve to go find his brothers and sisters out in the wild, minimalist shoes or not!

His name is Cesar and he is an orphaned 5-month-old White Faced Cappuccino monkey taken in by Neo Fauna.

So soft and fluffy!

When we did go hiking, I found my Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves (sans socks) to be exceptionally comfortable, while Steven favored his Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS’s. The great breathability of the Pace Gloves managed to keep my feet at a comfortable temperature and relatively dry in the 90-degree (and excessively humid) Costa Rican weather. Most of the trails and roads we hiked on were rocky, so Steven really appreciated the rock block effect of the Spyridons.

Me hiking near the Arenal Volcano and Steven looking for monkeys (& sloths!) at Manuel Antonio National Park.

Newlyweds enjoying a view of the Arenal Volcano!

The Lemings made a second appearance during our zip-lining adventure. I continue to be impressed by the breathability and quick-drying properties of those shoes. I was pretty nervous about zip-lining at first, so it was nice to at least have a secure, comfortable pair of shoes on my feet while flying through the air at up to 60 mph and standing on wooden platforms up in the canopy. And if I was going to fall to my death or slam into a tree at top speed, what better way to go than in my most cushy pair of shoes? Ok, enough being morbid. In all honesty, the zip-lining set-up was very safe and secure and we had a fantastic time. We also looked super awesome in our zip-lining get-up, right?

I promise we had way more fun than we look in these photos!

That’s it for our shoe travelogue. In more ways than one, I would say that minimalist footwear is ideal for travel. It is easy to pack, comfortable to wear, and, for shoes like the Lemings or the huaraches, can be worn in a multitude of different situations! I hope you enjoyed your look into our minimalist footwear friendly wedding and honeymoon. If you do a lot of traveling, we’d love to hear what your most trusty pair of minimalist shoes was during your travels, so be sure to let us know in the comments. To wrap things up, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the awesome creatures we met at the Neo Fauna wildlife reserve and our beautiful hotel. Happy travels!

This Red-Eyed Tree Frog has some of the coolest feet I’ve ever seen!

Lovely camouflage on these butterflies, which are the largest butterflies in Costa Rica.

The cliffside + giant hill location wasn’t very conducive to running, but we had a great time at the Zephyr Palace!