So, having decided that "barefoot shoes" were a good idea to try out, our first impulse was to find the new Vivo Barefoot technology shoes. We soon learned, however, that these are only available from one store in New York. We could mailorder them, but we couldn't try them on before purchasing them. On top of that, the Vivo Barefoots run $120-160/pair, which seemed a little steep for experimental purposes.
The other brand mentioned was Vibram Five Fingers, which we were able to locate locally, so off we went to try them out. They run about $85/pair, so they were about half the cost of the Vivo Barefoots.
I'm the one home more often, as well as the one who has foot problems periodiocally, so we opted to make me the guinea pig. I wanted the style that came almost to the ankle - even though it is harder to get on, it is reported to be better at keeping dirt and gravel out of the shoes, an important consideration if I'm going to wear them around the yard and garden in them a lot. Our local store didn't have that style in women's shoes, but did have it in the men's line, so I bought a pair of the men's and they fit me fine.
So here are my feet, sturdily encased in their barefoot shoes. I have walked up and down the driveway several times with no problem. I can feel the stones; occasionally one feels somewhat sharp and reminds me to walk lightly, but I've not had bruising or significant issues. The shoes felt strange at first (and still look strange to me - I call them my gorilla shoes), but are very comfortable once I began to get used to them. I'm not sure I'm ready to run in them yet, but then I'm not really ready to run in any shoes! I'm definitely happy to walk in them, though, and I'm curious to see whether I notice a difference in the health of my feet overall.