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Minnetonka Thunderbird Softsole Review

Getting hold of these was quite a mission but I was desperate to find a pair of softsoles after purchasing the Minnetonka Tramper in winter. (All Minnetonka softsoles have just a leather bottom rather than a rubber outsole, which means they are very flexible and offer a great barefoot experience).

Unfortunately, however, Minnetonka don’t ship internationally outside of the US and although there are a number of European suppliers (you can search for retailers by country on Minnetonka’s site) I couldn’t find a single one that stocked any of their softsole styles. In the end I resorted to ebay.com, which was certainly a first for me for shoe shopping – especially as I’m not a fan of buying online full stop (you’ll find my tips on doing it in times of need here).

I was really worried about ordering the wrong size seeing as I was getting them from the US (with rather hefty delivery costs) and couldn’t try them on beforehand. A few of the reviews I read online mentioned that they came up large or that they stretched a little over time, therefore I decided to go for a size smaller than usual and have to say that it’s a good job I did, as they are the perfect fit and I definitely wouldn’t want them any bigger. I also haven’t had any problems with them stretching after 10 weeks and I’ve worn them a LOT over that time.

One other continued worry I have is ‘what will happen if they ever properly get wet?’ …And due to this I’m a bit obsessed about checking the weather before heading out in them. There have been a few times when it has been slightly wet underfoot and although the leather did definitely soak up a fair amount of moisture they quickly dried overnight and it hasn’t affected the shape at all.

If/when I do get caught in a proper downpour I honestly think I would be tempted to take them off and go barefoot rather than risk them getting ruined (yes, I love them that much). But maybe it’s an unnecessary worry, I’ll make sure to provide an update if it ever happens.


Minnetonka Thunderbird Softsole Review

Heel (5/5) – zero drop

Minnetonka Thunderbird Softsole Review

Toe box (4/5) – I was tempted to only give these a 3/5 because they are quite narrow in style. However, because they are so flexible I don’t feel that they actually restrict my toes so I’m bumping this up (and also maybe because I’m slightly bias because I’m such a fan of them).

Sole (4/5) – although the sole itself is super flexible and very thin (literally just leather), there is a rather hefty layer of padding inside. So if you want more of an extreme barefoot experience you might want to take this out – although it doesn’t look like any easy task going by these instructions. Personally, I find you really feel everything beneath your feet even with the padding in and at times I’ve had to be careful walking over stony paths not to bruise my soles. So I’m happy as they are but let me know how you get on if you decide to give the padding removal a try.

Minnetonka Thunderbird Softsole Review

Upper (4/5) – as a slip-on they stay on well but aren’t as well attached as a laced shoe.


I love them. You should get a pair.

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