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"Barefoot" Footwear

Review of Terra Plana’s Evo Running Shoe

Vivo Barefoot Evo Review


By Tina Dubois

Minimalist Running Shoe Series Vivo Barefoot Evo Review

Buy them HERE

We are very pleased to review the new Evo running-specific shoe from Terra Plana’s Vivo Barefoot product line. After wearing them every day for seven weeks, I am thoroughly impressed. They are as comfortable while walking as they are while running and they felt good on my feet the moment I put them on. My feet are happy!

From online pictures, I was expecting the Evo to be narrower than other Vivo Barefoot shoes, but I was pleasantly surprised that this is not the case. I compared the insole widths of the Evo to my other Vivo Barefoot shoes (the Kali and the Lucy) and they are the same width in the forefoot. I’m glad that the pictures were deceiving.

The Evos were instantly comfortable. The upper, made of a mesh material surrounded by a TPU cage, is so flexible that it easily conforms to the shape of the wearer’s foot. There are no areas that bind or pinch. Although I have read and heard first-hand accounts of the shoes requiring a couple weeks of wear to soften the uppers before they stopped rubbing along the tops of toes, this was never an issue with me. The topline of the shoe (the top of the upper that surrounds the foot) and the tongue is made of a velvety-soft microfiber material with just the right amount of padding for a pillowy feeling. There is also a strip of microfiber running along the inside of the upper from the toe cap to the tongue, presumably to make the upper even softer along the tops of the toes. The rest of the inside of the upper is a breathable mesh. The seams are placed at angles such that they do not impede with the natural movement of your foot. None of the seams can be felt by the foot. There is also plenty of room in the toe box for the natural movement of your toes while walking or running, and the laces allows for a custom fit along the top of the foot

According to official Living barefoot weight measurements (my kitchen scale), each women’s size 39 Evo weighs 6 ounces without the insole and 6 ¾ ounces with the insole. Although this is heavier than some of the other minimalist footwear I’ve reviewed, I have never noticed the weight of these shoes while walking or running even on my longer excursions.

Flex / Sole
The sole of the Evo is a newly designed, 4 mm, soft rubber sole with even more flexibility than the regular 3 mm Duratex sole used in the other Vivo Barefoot shoes. It bends in such a way as to maximize flexibility in all directions to give your foot as much maneuverability as possible while wearing a shoe.

Support / Insole
There is no arch support of any kind in the shoe. The insole has no support in it either and is approximately 3-4 mm thick. Compared to the two other Vivo Barefoot insoles I have, it is considerably thinner; the Evo insole is made of two joined materials (a cushioning type of material and the fabric overlay) while both the Kali and Lucy insoles are made of three joined materials (two cushioning layers and the fabric overlay). The difference is about 3 mm in cushioning at the forefoot. I prefer to wear my Evos with the insole but that decision will be a personal preference based on how much cushioning you prefer and how strong your feet are.

Barefoot Feel
The barefoot feel of the Evo surpasses that of even the other Vivo Barefoot models I have reviewed (the Kali and Lucy shoes, and the Dundan boots). Because the flexibility of the sole is so great, the barefoot feel is equally as phenomenal. There is a slight difference in the barefoot feel with and without the insole and it will be up to personal preference as to how each person wears theirs.

The grip of the Evos is different again from the other Vivo Barefoot products I have reviewed. The hexagon size is much larger in size and height, and they do not cover the entire bottom of the sole. There are two different types of rubber used, the grey rubber being harder and more durable than the black. The grip feels secure on dry or wet terrain ranging from natural to man-made surfaces.

Because most of the upper is made of a breathable mesh, the breathability of these shoes is phenomenal. For those runners who get hot feet, these shoes will be great for keeping cooling air flow going. This is a significant improvement from the Aqua, which was previously the recommended shoe for running in the Vivo Barefoot lineup.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
Like all the Vivo Barefoot products I have tested, the quality of materials and manufacturing is excellent. There are no detailed manufacturing defects or errors in these shoes.

Water Resistance
Again, because the upper is made of a breathable mesh, these shoes are not water resistant. That being said, I did step in a rather large mud puddle on a run and the mud did not go through the shoe. My sock did get wet but it did not get muddy and neither did the insole. I was amazed.

I had the pleasure of trying on a couple of different sizes of the Evo while at the New York Terra Plana store. I generally wear a size 8 shoe and found the size 38 Evo a little tight and the size 39 to be perfect. This is what Vivo Barefoot is saying about sizing on their website: “The Evo is running true to size for women with size 8 or smaller feet. If you have size 9 or larger you need to order up at least +1. Size 9 Order a 40. Size 9.5 Order a 41. Size 10 Order a 42 (Yes a 42).”

The Evo is listed on the Terra Plana website for $160 USD. Although this may seem expensive for a minimalist shoe, it is similar in price to many running-specific shoes. This product is phenomenally constructed out of excellent materials and should last a long time. After extensive wear over the last seven weeks, only a few of the central knobs are worn on the grey hexagons on the sole and the upper, although dirty) shows absolutely no signs of wear.

I love the style of the Evo. It is a sleek looking running shoe. Although there has been speculation about the width of the Evo, the last is much wider than it appears and should be as comfortable for wide feet as for narrow.

The women’s come in black with red trim, yellow and grey, blue and grey, and pink and grey while the men’s come in black with red trim, white with red trim, green and grey, and yellow and grey.

Break-in Period
I did not find that I needed a break-in period for the Evos as they were comfortable right out of the box. However, I did find that the upper softened after about a week of wear and is now even more flexible than when new.

Shoe care
As there is no leather incorporated in this shoe, there is no pre-care required. When they get dirty, the shoe can be washed in the sink, scrubbed with a toothbrush, and air dried; as can the insole as it holds the most moisture and odors. I have done this and the shoes dried perfectly well overnight and look brand new again.

When asked about the recommended washing technique for these shoes, the responding employee from Terra Plana mentioned that due to the nature of the TPU cage, it would be strongly advised not to put the shoes in the washing machine. In addition, it is recommended to watch the red liner color of the men’s white/red Evo to prevent bleeding.

The Evo incorporates Agion antimicrobial protection. According to the insert included in the box, Agion is an environmentally friendly technology that protects against odors, prevents bacterial and fungal growth, and provides long lasting protection.

Environmentally Conscious
The Evo is advertised on the Terra Plana website as 100% vegan. Also included in the box is a Nature Tex 50 insert that reads, “This lining fabric is made from 50% recycled plastic bottles.”

With/Without Socks
The microfiber and mesh material on the inside of the upper is so soft that the shoe can easily be worn without socks. Your feet will feel significant air flow because of the mesh material. They are also quite comfortable with socks. Because there are laces, you can customize the tightness of the fit to easily incorporate socks or not.

Varying Terrains
I have walked and run on concrete, asphalt, grass, dirt, shale, roots, rocks, and sharp gravel and had no problems at all with any of these terrains. Although you can feel minute contour changes, I did not find sharp gravel to be painful to the soles of my feet even while running downhill.

Most minimalist shoes I’ve tested for running do not have laces and depend on the stretch of the materials to keep the shoe in place. The laces on the Evo allow the shoe to be customized to the width of your feet, which makes inclines and declines comfortable with no slippage of the shoe. It truly feels like there isn’t a shoe on your foot at all whether running flat, up, or down.

Terra Plana has made another excellent product in the Vivo Barefoot Evo. It is a phenomenal all-purpose shoe as well as an amazing running shoe. It is extremely comfortable with or without socks and form fits to your feet well because of the laces. The barefoot feel is outstanding and, while running, definitely promotes a midfoot strike. It has incredible breathability because of the choice to use a mesh material surrounded by a TPU cage, allowing even the hottest feet cooling air flow. And, of course, the quality of the materials and manufacturing is superb. Although the price may put some people off from buying them, it is comparable to many running-specific shoes and should last much longer than their usually prescribed 500 miles. The Evo is a stellar minimalist shoe and the fact that they were specifically designed for running, which they also feel fantastic for, makes them even better.

To purchase these shoes, visit the Vivo Barefoot section of the Terra Plana website HERE

Other Great Living Barefoot Articles:

Buy Vibram FiveFingers at these quality online retailers:

Rock Creek
Half Moon Outfitters
The Flip Flopper


About Living Barefoot Reviews:

As you read our reviews, please keep in mind that our reviewers review shoes in terms of their suitability for those looking to find the highest quality minimalist shoe products. All reviews are as factual as possible. In an effort to be transparent and ethical, we will point out any defects found, even if these do not affect the usability of the product. Not all defects will be present in final production shoes as we are sometimes offered “seconds” or pre-release products in an effort to provide you with reviews in a timely manor. In the event that serious issues are found with a review sample we will give every opportunity for the manufacturer to replace to explain the review samples before the final review is released. We never accept payments for reviews. We do not guarantee a good review for any products sent to us. We do not review products that do not claim to be minimalist or “barefoot like” unless we receive a significant number of requests from readers or listeners.

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17 comments for “Review of Terra Plana’s Evo Running Shoe”

  1. When I run in the Aqua, the front of the shoe makes an annoying slapping noise+feeling when my foot comes down. It sort of feels like I’m paddling the ground. It makes it really unpleasant to run on pavement. Does the EVO have this problem too?

    Posted by mike | July 6, 2010, 22:03
  2. Hi Mike,
    I know what you mean about the slapping sound with the Aqua. I have had a similar issue with the Lucy while walking if I heel strike instead of midfoot strike.
    No, the Evo definitely does NOT make a slapping sound when you land. The sole of the Evo is considerably more flexible than the regular 3 mm Duratex sole on the Aqua and the Lucy. The increased flexibility in the Evo sole helps it conform to the movement of your foot more closely than other Vivo Barefoot products so no pre-slapping of the ground when you walk or run.
    Great question!

    Posted by Tina | July 6, 2010, 22:30
  3. I picked up a pair of these a couple weeks ago, and after only a few runs in them from 12-18K, I think they are a good shoe overall, but I am disappointed in two areas. The back part of the upper and the tongue absorb way too much water and sweat, and they take a long time to dry. The reviewer said they dry overnight, but she must live in a much less humid place than rainy season Japan. Also, I do not find that they grip well at all on wet concrete and other city surfaces. Making them with some kind of a mesh/non-absorbing tongue and a better gripping sole would be great improvements, not to mention cutting off some of the weight.

    Posted by CW | July 6, 2010, 23:02
  4. I just received an email from Terra Plana saying that all colours and sizes of Evos are back in stock! If you’re interested in buying a pair, now is the time.

    Posted by Tina | July 7, 2010, 01:54
  5. Hi CW,
    I don’t live in a humid place. I live in pretty much a desert and it is dry here a lot of the time. My shoes definitely dried overnight, though, after soaking them in the sink. Although it doesn’t rain often, I did walk with them on wet concrete/asphalt and had no problems with the grip myself.

    Posted by Tina | July 7, 2010, 14:48
  6. Hello,
    Got a pair of Evos not too long ago. Overall, I like them a lot. A lot of toe room which I like. Cool and light. A few cons. Expensive. Nice packaging but unnecessary in my opinion. And poor customer service. I emailed them with questions and they never replied. They did ship quickly though. I hope this helps.

    Posted by Gary Mak | August 13, 2010, 15:53
  7. Hi Gary,

    Thanks for adding your experiences. Could you please use our contact page to let us know what your questions were and we can help get an answer for you. I can’t say what happened but we are sure Vivo Barefoot would want to know if your questions had nit been answered and we also want to make sure that they know. Brand image is important and so is customer service.

    Posted by Al Gauthier | August 13, 2010, 19:30
  8. thanks for the great review! do you know if there’s anywhere in vancouver that carries Vivos / Terra Planas?

    Posted by kareem | August 22, 2010, 07:46
  9. Hi Kareem,

    As far as I know there are no retailers in Vancouver that carry the Vivo Barefoot lineup. You might want to try and contact Terra Plana directly and see where the nearest retailer is.

    Posted by Al Gauthier | August 22, 2010, 08:38
  10. thanks al.

    Posted by kareem | August 23, 2010, 15:28
  11. I love my Evos. Just made the transition from the old Sauconys and my feet, ankles, knees feel great.

    I know I am running more gently, but I definitely hear my feet more. Is the louder strike a natural result of a more midfoot strike in your experience? Perhaps quiet comes with time as my form adjusts?

    Thanks. Great review

    Posted by Chad | September 9, 2010, 03:47
  12. Hi Chad,

    It may, in part, be your strike, but it is also the flat design of the Evo shoes. It’s not clear to my what exactly it is about Vivo Barefoot shoes but they do tend to make a slapping noise. I suspect that the flexibility of the sole allows the shoe to slap the ground far more easily than in typical shoe designs.

    Posted by Al Gauthier | September 9, 2010, 07:08
  13. I’ve been using the Evo’s for about a month now and I think they’re a great “barefoot” shoe. I too experience a slapping noise when running and I think it’s because of the very stiff heel. Even though I touch down on my forefoot allowing the whole foot and heel to settle gently for a second before I’m off again, the heel makes a loud slap on the pavement. It does kind of bother me but I’ve gotten used to it. It would be great if the next version had a softer heel.

    Posted by Todd | September 22, 2010, 10:05
  14. [...] performance response and the TPU cage allows for ultra lightweight breathability. See our review HERE.  Buy them [...]

    Posted by The 2010 Minimalist Shoe Holiday Gift Guide | Living Barefoot | December 16, 2010, 21:36
  15. My wife bought me the evos for an early Christmas present
    and I’m not happy. Not even a week of running in them and a
    shoelace loop (Left shoe) pulled apart and the right shoe sole has
    begun to peel away from the upper. I originally run in Steve
    Sashen’s Invisible Shoes (huaraches) but wanted somthing to run in
    the winter. I found the Injinji socks w/ the huaraches is good
    until the temps outside get well below freezing. I had hoped the
    barefoot evos would be a better choice. I also have a severe
    Morton’s toe so VFF never feel good for me. In conclusion the
    comfort of the evos is good but I must have got a defective pair
    because these shoes are too “frikin” expensive to fail this

    Posted by Jason barefoot athlete | December 22, 2010, 02:51
  16. Hi Jason,

    What a frustration for you! May I suggest contacting Terra Plana. They stand behind their products and I’m sure will arrange to exchange the pair for you. Any product line has a defective item here and there. You are the first we have been contacted by with this problem so i would suspect this is not a wide-spread issue.

    Let us know the outcome!

    Posted by Al Gauthier | December 22, 2010, 05:51
  17. [...] Check out this Terra Plana Evo review by Tina Dubois from Living Barefoot. [...]

    Posted by Terra Plana | Community | January 10, 2011, 22:48

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