By Tina Dubois
We are very pleased to review the second generation of Kigo Footwear’s Mary Jane-style shoe: the Curv. There are a few improvements to the Curv compared to the first generation, the Star, but for the most part, they are the same comfortable shoes I’ve become accustomed to wearing as one of my favourite easy-to-slip-on, go-anywhere shoes.
The Differences between the Curv and the Star
The Star was the first women’s specific Kigo shoe released last year and the Curv is the updated version with a few improvements based on customer feedback. The most obvious difference between the Curv and the Star is the lack of hook on the toe cap of the shoe as well as there no longer being a detachable strap at the back of the shoe to fold up the shoe and attach in this folded position. This definitely changes the portability of this shoe as they can no longer be hooked closed and packed around. However, in the many months that I have worn the Stars, I never once folded, hooked, and packed them around. I don’t think it’s much of a loss to the shoe to no longer have this feature. In addition, it greatly enhances their esthetics. The hook on the top of the shoe was something I mentioned in the review of the Star as something you definitely had to get used to. It was removed from Kigo footwear to improve safety as the hook had the potential to get caught on low-lying objects and cause tripping.
The upper on the Curv is also made of a much stretchier material than the Star. This is especially noticeable in the stretch of the strap across the top of the foot. There is much more give to the material while putting them on.
In addition to the stretchier upper material, the upper has been made a little wider in the Curv. While the rubber sole appears to be the same, the material part of the upper does provide more room in the new shoe compared to the old. This is probably to allow for people with wider to feet to enjoy the new shoe.
For the remainder of the review, as the Curv is so similar to the Star, text used for the Star review that has not changed in the Curv will be repeated in this new review but in italics.
The Curv is still an incredibly comfortable shoe. My feet and toes have plenty of wiggle room. The seams on the inside of the upper seem to be flatter and more comfortable in the new shoe as well. The insole, where the foot rests is slightly textured and very comfortable against my bare soles.
One aspect of the redesigned upper does somewhat affect the comfort of the shoe, but only while walking. I noticed that because the shoe is constructed slightly wider and the strap along the top is more stretchy, the heel of the shoe often came away from my foot while walking and would strike the ground before my foot hit the ground. This makes for a shoe-striking sound and feel with almost every step. This would probably not be a problem for people with wider feet or higher arches as the shoe would fit more closely to the foot, as the Star does for me. As my feet are not that wide and my instep only moderately high, I did notice the sound and thought it worth mentioning.
Each size W9 Star weighs 6 ¼ ounces or 174 grams. This is slightly heavier than the Star but I honestly can’t tell a difference in weight if wearing one of each on different feet. While walking, they do not feed heavy.
Flex / Sole
The rubber sole is very flexible and can be bent in half, however, the heel of the rubber outsole does not bend at all. The forefoot and midfoot areas are quite flexible if bending upward but they do not flex much along their length.
The sole does have a positive heel, as the midfoot of the outsole is 1.5 mm and the heel of the shoe is 3.0 mm. I have an incredibly sensitive back to shoes with higher heels and I do not notice the raised heel in these shoes (and I haven’t walked in shoes with a raised heel in over two years).
Support / Insole
The contoured EVA insole is removable and treated to be anti-microbial. The insole is uniform in width along its entire length and is very comfortable to walk on. The insole has a slight cushion to it, which I only really felt under my toes and not under my arch. The shoe is not built with any arch support at all.
The Kigos do not have a comparable barefoot feel to other minimalist footwear brands with thinner soles. The sole is definitely thicker than most minimalist footwear, reducing their barefoot feel. You can, however, feel some rocks underfoot. Although they don’t compare to most other minimalist footwear brands in this department (including Vibram and Vivo Barefoot), they are far better than the conventional shoe.
The barefoot feel can be improved by removing the insole from the shoe. I found that the shoe was much too loose on my foot and that the stitching on the footbed was too uncomfortable for me to walk around without the insole. I have no doubt that it can be done and that it would improve the barefoot feel but I can’t comment on this directly as I didn’t like the feeling and chose not to wear them as such.
I was pleasantly surprised at the grip these shoes have, even on wet surfaces. The bottom of the sole is patterned in a fingerprint design with deep grooves. I had no trouble on smooth, wet, marble surfaces, nor on any other slippery surface.
The breathability of the Curv has not changed from the Star so I will include my original opinion. Kigo shoes are advertised as being made of CYCLEPET material, being lightweight, breathable, stretchy recycled textile, although I do not find the upper all that breathable.
The climate that I was in while testing the Stars was around 30C or 86F in high humidity and these shoes, where they cover the foot, did not breathe well. My feet did get hot in these shoes under these conditions. I am happy to report, though, that even without the breathability, my shoes still don’t smell at all (and my feet were quite sweaty at times).
After six months of wear, the Stars still don’t smell at all and they have never been worn with socks.
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The manufacturing and materials could probably still use some improvement, although the manufacturing is better than the original pair. There are still visible glue marks along the bottom of the upper where the sole meets the material in many places, but it is quite minimal and only visible really up close. The stitching is much improved, however, and there are no longer any sharp parts on any of the seams on the inside of the upper.
Although I have not worn the Curvs as much as I have worn the Stars, I do believe that the Curv will keep its shape and durability for quite some time. I am truly impressed by how well the Stars have stood up to all the wear I have put them through. They still look great.
The sizing of the Kigo Curv definitely runs short. I am usually a size US 8 or EUR 38 but I found that the W9 is quite comfortable with plenty of room both along the length and even more room along the width compared to the Star. The Kigo website mentions that ‘the shape is like a traditional shoe, so if you like more room in the toe box, order one size up.’
The Curv is sold on the Kigo Footwear website for $69.99 USD. For a versatile and comfortable shoe, that’s an acceptable price. However, the Star is currently being sold on the Kigo website for $49.99 USD (although they will be phased out as stock is sold out).
Because the hook and Velcro-strap have been removed from the new design, the style of the Curv is so much better than that of the Star. The contrast stitching and simple design really appeals to me and they come in six different color combinations on the Kigo website.
The upper material of the Curv will stretch with wear as well as become softer and more pliable; because of this, they became easier to put on. However, because the upper is made of a stretchy material, I had no problems getting these shoes on.
The upper material comes stain resistant using an EPA-approved water and stain resistance technique designed by Daikin and Dow called Unidyne TG-521 (a fluorochemicals/silicone composite used to treat fabrics). And because the sole is high-density rubber, the shoes do not require any kind of shoe protector treatment before wear.
Kigo shoes can be washed in a gentle washer with water only or wiped with a damp rag followed by drying in a cool drier or in the sunshine.
Kigo Curv can be used from anything to errands, shopping, commuting, driving, or just about any activity you would wear a casual, Mary Jane-style shoe. They are probably not an appropriate shoe for running or hiking because of their open top, but for any activity that includes walking, the Curv is an incredibly comfortable shoe to wear.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like the Kigo Curv shoes. The comfort of these shoes is what truly makes them excellent shoes for any type of walking activity. I love the contrast stitching design and find the upper design stylish as well. I truly appreciate the grippiness of the sole, too, especially on wet or slippery surfaces. Although they do not have the best barefoot feel for a minimalist shoe, their other qualities more than make up for the thickness of the sole.
Kigo Footwear is advertised as eco-friendly so if that appeals to you in a product, you can check out the Kigo website for more information on how their footwear and business practices are friendly to the environment.
Kigo Footwear is a company that truly listens to their customer’s feedback. The redesign of the Curv compared to the Star proves that Kigo appreciates the opinions of their customers and are willing to go to great lengths to satisfy them.
Get 20% off Kigo shoes by using the discount code: LIVEBAREFOOT
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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