Top positive review
10 months later - upgraded rating from 4 to 5*
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 August 2020
Got these in August 2020 and wanted to update the preliminary review I left back then.
1. Sizing: I'm usually a size 10 or 10.5 but bought these in 11 following the advice on Vivobarefoot's website: “If you're new to Vivo we recommend you size the same as you would with your existing shoes. Our shoes fit 'big' deliberately - there should be a thumb width of space around the 'toe box' separating your toes from the shoe. If you're in-between sizes, we recommend you size up.”
I would say that the 11s have just enough space in the toe box for my toes not to touch front inside of the shoe when rolling off the foot, so if you like to have that literal thumb worth of space in your toe box and you're like me size-wise, maybe go for 11.5.
-> Update June 2021 - This still stands, and I would like to add two things:
a) As Vivo mention on their website, your feet may stretch out a bit once they’ve gotten a “taste” for the extra space, so I’d definitely go for an 11,5 following what I wrote above.
b) There is now a V2 model of these, which I have tried, and I feel this is somewhat tighter, so definitely go for an 11,5 on these.
2. The lacing system. I have to say I'm not a massive fan of this lacing system (yet?), and for a shoe at that price range they should have included some traditional laces really. So if you prefer more traditional laces, maybe factor in the cost for a traditional pair of laces before buying these.
-> Update June 2021 – Gotten used to the lacing system and even took a bit of a liking to it, but still think they should add regular flat laces given the price of these shoes.
3. Firm means firm. The sole is a fair bit stiffer than previous Vivos I've had. Same goes for the protective patch on the toe box and the inside of the shoe. Depending on where the root joint of your big toe sits, this may be a tad uncomfortable and will require some breaking in.
-> Update June 2021 – This has turned out not to be a problem. I went on a 3-4 hour walk in September last year (forest and rough gravel trail) and got a way with zero blisters. The padding on the heel is especially excellent and shows no wear to this day.
4. Apart from the toe thing mentioned above, I have found them to be a very good fit for my wide feet and much better than a pair of Merrell Trail Glove 5 Leather Barefoot Shoes I recently tried.
5. Summary June 2021 (new) – These have become my everyday shoes and I wear them walking through town, on pebbly beaches, for countryside walks and pretty much for everything else.
I have worn them throughout the cold season, except for some of the coldest of days when temperatures went below 0. I feel they retain warmth quite well, so with a pair of decently thick socks I’d say you’re good for temperatures to around 0° Celsius. I probably won’t wear them in July / August for that reason (maybe more on that in another update).
The tread has gone down a fair bit but probably in the acceptable range for someone who does pretty much everything on foot. They may not be a “true” barefoot shoe per se, due to the firmness, but I actually like that part about them, since they offer your feet a bit of support, so they may not tire out as quickly as they would on a full-on barefoot shoe with a thinner and more flexible sole. So probably a pretty good “gateway shoe”. Upgraded rating to 5*