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I've been running in minimalist shoes for over 5 years now, mainly off-road in the U.K. Yesterday I threw away my second pair of Vivo Trail Freaks, having also worn through 4 pairs of Merrell Trail Gloves.

Each has worn through the fabric on the instep, starting with what looks like abrasion and ending in a tear from ball to heel. Some shoes have lasted a year, others only a few outings.

I suspect that being low to the ground the shoes don't cope well with small stones and twigs - should I look to my running or shoe style, or is this just a fact of barefoot running?

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I had a pair of Merrell barefoot running shoes that I used to use for every day as opposed to running. They wore through in about 6 months.

I went into a specialist running shop to get some more and asked about them wearing out so quickly, and was told that because of the minimalist nature of them and the soft material they were made from, they weren't particularly robust, and would probably wear out in 6 - 12 months.

The wear I was seeing wasn't specifically limited to the instep, but as I said, I wasn't actually running.

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