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Vivobarefoot review: I swear by these flexible, almost-barefoot shoes
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- shoes mimic the natural shape of your foot and provide minimal cushioning for maximum sensory feedback.
- The pair I tried, the are the most useful and versatile shoes I've added to my closet in a long time.
- The Kanna is stylish, comfortable, breathable, and roll up to the size of a pair of socks so I can carry them in my purse or crowded carry-on.
- You can find them at or Zappos.
Let me begin by saying that I have never been one to proselytize shoes that look like gloves for your feet. I am no convert. And while I do prefer going barefoot, the surprise-ridden sidewalks of NYC have completely tampered the impulse.
Having said that, clunky sneakers and boots make walking in the city a tiring, sweaty affair. So when sent a pair of their new sneakers — — to try out, I was excited by the prospect to potentially discover the same fervor those glove-shoe missionaries seem to have.
After a month of using them multiple times a week, I can honestly say I rely on these shoes more than any other pair in my closet. Their versatility is unprecedented for me. I'll get into the nitty gritty below, but they deliver on packability, versatility, style, comfort, and a lightweight construction I am consistently impressed by. They are extremely minimal (meaning minimal cushioning), but the trade-off is worth it.
How your foot sits in the minimalist Vivobarefoot design versus a padded shoe. Vivobarefoot is a pretty recognizable name in minimalist, almost-barefoot footwear. According to the company, the human foot is a biomechanical masterpiece that can cope with more than we ask it to nowadays: "by cramming it into a modern shoe, you negate its natural function." Your feet have 200,000 nerves in them — the same as your hands. By loading up on padding, you muffle the sensory feedback your brain would otherwise receive, resulting in clumsier, less skillful movement.
It reminds me of the logic oft-repeated in my sports of choice — kickboxing and yoga. Participants are asked not to wear shoes so that they can more actively and fluidly engage all parts of their body — through sensory feedback, and by more literally building flexibility and strength in every muscle group — all the way down to your toes.
are made from thin, puncture-resistant soles with no heel or support. In theory, they allow your 200,000 nerves to better provide your brain with the sensory feedback that enables you to move with greater agility and skill. Or, if you aren't planning to use them for added agility, it's as close in weight and breathability to wearing nothing as you can get without being poked by sidewalk glass.
Vivo shoes are also purposefully wide. Wide shoes allow your toes (especially your big toes) to provide a stable base of support. This "foot shaped" design enables your feet to move closer to how nature intended — whether you're clambering over rocks or pirouetting. This wide shape, though, may come with an adjustment period. I order my typical size 9, but I may have thought they were too big if I hadn't known what to expect.
I'm not sure what my nana would say about arch support looking at these, but at the moment I'm too happy with the product to care.
If you're looking for cushion, you have come to the wrong place. truly don't have a heel or sole — which is why they can roll up into a ball to be stuffed in your bag. However, I don't find them uncomfortable. There was some sensitivity — though nothing drastic by any means —when I ran six miles in them on the treadmill, and after spending a long day of walking around the hard concrete of the city, though. And since we learn "bad" (or, unnatural) posture and gait habits as we grow up, Vivobarefoot recommends 'walking before you can run' in their shoes — getting used to the flexibility and unusual muscle engagement before stretching yourself too far.
In fact, the company says that if you plan to stick to jogging (characterized by "long sticky heel-striking strides") the more cushioning the better — and you should stick to what you know and enjoy.
When I did some preliminary research online, I found that there were a decent amount of negative reviews (mostly pertaining to poor customer service, which I myself did not experience) — which surprised me. If you want to mitigate that concern, you might want to do your shopping on Zappos (though the newest iteration, the women's , is only available at Vivobarefoot so far).
As I've mentioned, I love these shoes. I did not expect to love them, and yet here we are. The is stylish and goes with a pair of jean shorts as well as workout leggings, the construction is impressively lightweight and exceedingly breathable, and they pack down to almost nothing (really) — making them ideal for a packed work purse, carry-on, or gym bag on long days.
All in all, if you value breathability, versatility, and packability in your shoes, this is one of your best options.In my experience, is impressively versatile and delivers on its claims of comfort, breathability, and lightweight construction. The fact that it can be folded up into the size of a pair of socks makes it my go-to for most days that require multiple activities, and even if you don't use them for the added agility they promise, the Vivobarefoot shoes deliver on everyday usefulness like few other pairs in my closet. For 5, they're a great buy if you think you'll use them.
Video: HSN | Baretraps Footwear Premiere 03.20.2018 - 06 AM
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