Shoe Review: Somnio Nada

The Somnio Nada shoe that I'm testing weighs only 3.5 oz. and is a minimalist shoe for those who want to incorporate barefoot methodology into their routine. The shoe has a 6 mm sole, a mesh upper, and laces, and that's it. The Somnio web page for the Nada says to order the shoes one full size smaller than your typical running shoes, and is what I did. The shoes have a wide toe box, and my feet like the roominess of the shoes. I'm wearing my regular running socks, and the shoes fit nice and are light. The feel (for me) when walking on a tile floor isn't quite the same as going barefoot, but it is close. The sole doesn't provide cushioning, but it does slightly change the feel of the tile against my feet.

I'm not ready for barefoot running, so I'm testing the shoe as my "walking shoe" for non-running activities except yard work. Because I go barefoot around the house and out to get the mail, I'm used to walking barefoot for short distances. I'm looking forward to wearing the Nada throughout the day, thus allowing me to experience barefoot walking without having to keep a sharp eye out for small rocks and glass.

I'll be adding to this review as I gain experience with the shoe.

03/11/2021 I did my first outdoor trip with the Nada; I completed a few errands. The shoes felt fine. I can tell they are minimalist shoes, because I felt like I was barefoot. It was nice not having to look for small objects in my path. There are two steps leading from my house to my garage, and I forgot I was "barefoot" and took the first step kinda hard. I felt the shock from hitting the step go through my foot and into my leg. If I had been wearing my running shoes, I wouldn't have felt the shock at all. It will take me a bit of time to remember I'm "barefoot" and to act accordingly. As my friend, Wendy who runs barefoot says, running barefoot is all form. You either have good form or you injure yourself.

0-3/13/2011 I'm starting to use the Nada without wearing stockings. I like having bare feet with just the Nada sole protecting my feet from small objects.

03/15/2011 I think I'm starting to get used to the "barefoot" feeling of the Nada. I've worn them on a number of errands, and they are starting to feel natural such that I don't think about them as I walk. In fact, during my runs, my running shoes are starting to feel soft and squishy when I run. A couple days ago, due to the tunnel under 106th South being flooded due to Spring runoff, I had to cross 106th South at a light, and I had to almost-sprint across the large intersection to reach the other side before the traffic light changed; my running shoes felt so squishy that I started to get dizzy because I couldn't feel the concrete of the street; it was almost like I was running with springs in my shoes.

03/16/2011 I noticed during my run yesterday that my running shoes felt like I would expect while on the Jordan River Parkway path. The squishy feel I mentioned yesterday happened again as I ran across 106th South, but it didn't happen while on the Parkway path. Both the path and the street are asphalt, and the squishy feeling must be from something in the street.

03/19/2011 At the suggestion of Eric, I've added a photo of my feet next to the shoes. This will help one judge the width of the shoes. You will note that I still have some swelling and bruising from the blood clots. The bruising came from the wrapping of my feet and compression stockings used to control swelling. Click the image for a slightly larger view.

03/31/2011 I wore my Nada shoes on a dirt road while following a grandchild who was driving an electric jeep down the road. The road is a dirt road, but it is covered with a lot of small gravel-type rocks, and I found it very uncomfortable to walk on the road. The shoes do protect against small pebbles and pieces of glass, but they do not (and were not designed) protect against the larger rocks that were on this dirt road. I've run that road many times in traditional running shoes, and those shoes conditioned my feet from the rocks. Other runners might not find the rocks as uncomfortable as I did. However, I've found the Nada very comfortable to wear on relatively flat surfaces such as concrete sidewalks and asphalt paths.

05/20/2011 I've worn the Nada shoes exclusively for my non-running activities outside my house for several months. I like the feel of the shoes. I've had no blisters or hot spots from the shoes, and I've had no soreness or pain in my body during the time I've worn the shoes. I think, for me, they make great walking shoes.

I've noticed recently that my cushioned running shoes seem heavy. It appears that my body has become used to the light weight of the Nada shoes and that my running shoes feel heavy because they are heavy compared to the Nada shoes (during my non-running activities, I wear a pair of running shoes that are no longer used for running). Because of this feeling of heaviness, I've decided to stop wearing the Nada shoes so my body will get used to the weight of the running shoes. This does not mean I'm unhappy with the Nada shoes. It just means that I want my body to become used to the weight of the running shoes, that is, used to the extra effort it takes to move the shoes when I run.



Eric said...

I've been curious about the Nada since hearing about them. They seem to have less marketing than many of the other big named minimalist running shoes. I'd love to hear what you think of them after trying them out for an actual run. How wide does the toebox seem to you? Is there anyway you can take a top down picture of the shoe with your foot next to it? Thank you!

Allen said...

Hi Eric,

I won't be running in the Nada. They are becoming my "walking shoe" for casual use, such as shopping, post office, doctor's visits, etc. I've considered becoming a barefoot runner but decided against it. I've been running for over 38 years and have had no problems with my shoes, and I decided to continue using shoes with more cushioning. I do, though, go barefoot around the house and for short walks out to the mailbox. I'm 75, and at my age am less concerned about the weight of a shoe and am mostly running for enjoyment.

My dress shoes are 9D. I gave that size to the marketing person who offered me a pair of Nada for testing, and she choose a size 8. My foot is comfortable in the shoes, and the toe box seems fine. My wife is out of town right now, and as soon as she returns with her digital camera, I'll take the top down picture you suggested and add it to my review.

Allen said...

Eric, the picture you suggested is posted.

Eric said...

Thank you for posting the picture. I hope I'm as active as you are when I'm 75!

Erik said...

Why did you do a review of this shoe? Seriously, if your not going to run in them your opinion of a minimalist running shoes is kind of a waste of bandwidth.

Allen said...

Hi Erik,

If all of the visitors to this site were runners, I might agree with you. However, many visitors are walkers, either all walking or a mixture of running and walking. I felt my review would be helpful to those who walk.

In addition, in terms of the wear on shoes, there isn't an awfully lot of difference between running and walking. Both running and walking shoes suffer the effects of pronation, flat feet, etc. It's true that runners hit the ground with more force than walkers, but the wear patterns on shoes are similar. If shoes don't hold up while being used as walking shoes, it's unlikely they will hold up as running shoes.

Allen said...

Here is another reason why I think a review of a minimalist shoe as a walking shoe has value. I have a friend who runs and hikes barefoot. She has run two half-marathons and several 10K and 5K races, all barefoot. She recommends that a person starts out walking barefoot and then later switches to running barefoot or with minimalist shoes.

Geoff Granfield said...

I have to be honest that I have not heard of that Nada until only now. I have been a fan of this ecco sandals for quite a while now but since reading about that Nada thing, it somehow reinforces my gist to get me up and running again.